With so many of us at home right now and a lot more time on our hands, now’s the perfect time to try new things and face your fears. Are you scared to take the leap and travel? Or maybe you’ve been dying to travel solo and don’t think you can do it alone. Whatever the reason may be, it’s time to overcome your fear of travel!
1. Do your research
While I often arrive at a destination not having planned much for my time there, it’s important to do some research beforehand! I always look to travel blogs and people who have been to the destination to get my info.
Believe it or not, many places aren’t as scary as they seem! Many countries place travel advisories, encouraging their citizens not to visit certain places. Although there are definitely some countries you should exercise more caution in, don’t fear a certain place because you’ve heard it’s dangerous.
Generally, after doing some research of my own, I ask hostel staff or locals working at restaurants about the area. They’re the most helpful because they live there! They’ll fill you in and you’ll be prepared.
It’s also important to have travel insurance in case anything happens during your trip. I use World Nomads – it’s reasonably priced and gives me piece of mind. If you’re worried about hospitals in other countries, fear not! They’re generally not as bad as you think and as long as you’re close enough to a big city, you’ll be fine! If you do get hurt/sick, contact your insurance and ask locals what hospital would be best to go to.
2. Work on a budget
A HUGE fear for a lot of people considering travel is the cost. “Travel is too expensive for me”, “you need to be rich to travel”, “I could never afford to see all of those places” are a few common thoughts/concerns.
Yes, travel does cost money and it’s a privilege to be able to travel BUT if you’re willing to work on a budget, you can travel quite easily. I’ve travelled to over 15 countries on a dime and if I can, you can too!
If you’re worried about running out of money during a trip, start exploring ways you can make money while you’re away from home. Here are some easy options in the ‘worst-case scenario’ that you run out of money or it gets stolen:
- Work at a hostel – You usually receive accommodation and food in exchange for your work or you might find a paying gig if you do reception/bar work!
- Use WorkAway – This website allows you to get accommodation in exchange for work at hostels or home-stays.
- Start CouchSurfing – I’ve never done it personally but if you’re in a sticky situation you can find someone’s couch to crash on!
- Come prepared – Find skills you could use to make money ANYWHERE – ex. nannying, teaching English etc.
3. Get comfortable with the idea of staying in hostels
Is your biggest fear of travel staying in a hostel dorm room? If so, you’re not the only one!
Most people I’ve met who haven’t travelled are scared of hostels. While staying in a room with strangers can be a bit intimidating at first, it’s the BEST way to meet people. You’ll also save heaps of money on accommodation that you can use for activities, food or going to other places!
If you’re new to the hostel life, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Check out HostelWorld – This is the hub for all hostels. I always set the ‘rating’ filter to 8/10 and above to ensure I’m staying in a nice place! Also be sure to check how many reviews there are because a 10/10 with 3 reviews could be risky.
- Start in a female-only dorm – If you’re a woman who’s worried about being in a mixed dorm, there’s almost always a female-only dorm option.
- Bring a lock – Seems like common sense but a lot of people don’t lock up valuables and that’s when things go missing!
- Bring protection – Put your mind at ease by bringing pepper spray or another form of protection if you’re concerned.
While you’ll always come across hostel horror stories, it’s important to keep in mind that more often than not, you’ll have a great experience! You’ll find a community of people you get along with. It might not happen the first day of your trip but it will happen!
4. Choose an easy destination
If you’re new to travel, why not start with an easy destination? By ‘easy’ I mean a country where they speak the same native language as you or one that’s commonly frequented by backpackers! You can also dip your toes into the world of travel with a guided tour group, if going by yourself is too nerve wracking.
My first trip without my family was a G Adventures tour in Thailand. The group was such a great experience and showed me that I could travel on my own afterwards. Thailand is also a great Asian destination to start because English is widely spoken and it’s very touristy now, making it easy to navigate.
5. Take the plunge
While choosing an easy destination is a perfectly acceptable choice to get over your fear, you could always take a different approach … Maybe you want to embrace your fear of travel and jump into the experience entirely! This could mean going on a few months of backpacking or moving abroad on your own. Find info about moving abroad and living in Australia here and see how I embraced all of my fears by jumping into travel.
After all, I think the best way to get over a fear is to face it, so why not go for it?
6. Realize it’ll never be the right time
Have you ever found yourself saying you’ll travel once you get that promotion at work? Once you graduate university? Once you save X amount? Or maybe once you’re settled down? The list of excuses are endless for some and that’s why they never end up doing it.
There will always be a reason not to travel right now if you decide so in your mind. Once you realize it’s never going to be the ‘right time’ to travel, you’ll start taking action. Of course, as I’m currently writing this, we’re living through the exception to the rule … A global pandemic may be standing in the way of travelling this second but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan your future travels TODAY!
7. Find the right inspo
Finding inspiration will help fight off your fear of travel almost instantly! Look to your favourite creators online for travel inspo and you’ll soon forget all of the reasons you were worried about travelling to begin with. Hearing/reading about travel from someone who does it often will help settle the nerves and give you the courage to do it yourself.
You could also start working on a bucket list of destinations to get you excited! I’ve been posting a new country on my Instagram highlights named ‘bucket list’ twice a week. It’s been amazing learning about new places and starting to plan out future travels.
8. Think of it as a learning experience
Travel can be challenging. It forces you into many situations you’ve never had to experience before. While that can sound scary, just think of it as an experience to grow.
Some of the many things you’ll learn along the way include:
- Directions – If you’re directionally challenged, travelling will push you to develop that skill!
- Asking for what you want/need – If you’re timid and don’t like to ask strangers for things or help, you’ll be a pro soon enough.
- New foods are great – You’ll step out of your comfort zone and try foods you never would’ve experienced, had you not travelled!
9. Embrace the unknown
Since we’re currently in the midst of Covid-19 with no secure plans for the future, it’s a great time to play around with embracing the unknown. Unless you plan your trip out hourly, you’ll be working with a lot of unknowns – which can be scary!
I’ve found meditation helps with stressing about the future. Try using an app like Headspace every morning or evening for 5-10 minutes and it might help manage overwhelming thoughts!
I’ve also noticed that my travels with more unknowns and less planned activities end up being the most memorable and exciting.
10. Reach out to people you know who HAVE travelled
I moved to Australia by myself for semester abroad when I was 20 and I won’t lie to you, I was nervous. I had never gone to a new city and had to figure everything out on my own!
Speaking to people who had done it before helped ease the anxiety immensely. I knew a girl who was a year above me in high school who had lived in Melbourne before I got there. She was kind enough to offer more information that I could’ve imagined.
Remember: it never hurts to ask!
11. Try travelling solo
With a fear of travel, usually comes an even greater fear of solo travel. This is completely understandable because I’ve been there and know it can be a big step to take! Solo travel is the best way to fight your fear because it will force you to be more aware and not rely on others.
I’d always suggest getting a SIM card if you’re by yourself. You can always grab one at the airport or wait till you’re in the city to get them for cheaper! A lot of people chose to go without a SIM card because there’s usually wifi almost everywhere. With that being said, having a phone that works in cabs/Ubers/Grabs will be reassuring when you travel solo. You’ll be able to use maps and call for help if needed.
12. Don’t live with regrets
I hope by now I’ve put your mind at ease and helped you fight your fear of travel. As always, feel free to DM me on Instagram with any questions you may have. You can also find my other contact info here!
See you next Tuesday.