For first-time travellers, the prospect of venturing to a new country can be quite daunting. The media plays a very important role in that matter by feeding us with all the negative things happening around the world. If one was to believe all of it, the travel industry would go down in a minute. However, there is so much beauty to discover that it would be quite sad to let the fear of travelling keep us from exploring the world.
Yes, it is true that there are some risks associated with travelling, but the same could be said about staying home. The difference lies in the fact that we are in an unknown environment outside of our comfort zone. Luckily, many people have gone through the journey before us and have lived to tell the tale. Here are the most common risks and misconceptions in regards to travelling and how to face them.
“I won’t feel safe”
According to the news, it seems like no place is safe right now including home. Should this stop us from travelling? Of course not! There are regions that are definitely not advisable to visit. This information will be easily available on your government’s Foreign Affairs website. However, it should also be taken with a grain of salt. You shouldn’t cross off a destination because it has a regional advisory. Look at Thailand for instance, the South of the country should be avoided at all costs but it doesn’t stop the influx of tourists visiting the rest of this beautiful country. The key is to use caution and travel smartly.
There are preventive measures that you take at home that should be followed when going to another country. It is tempting to let go of inhibitions and drop our guards while on holidays. However, remember to keep your valuables safe, to stay low profile while trying to merge with the local culture, to avoid heated areas (especially at night or when travelling alone) and to use common sense. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do at home under the pretense that you are on vacation.
Help yourself by following these two guidelines:
– Get travel insurance before you leave for your trip
– Register yourself with your government in case of an emergency abroad or at home while you are away
“I could get sick”
There are many factors that can lead to illness while travelling. With basic precautions regarding food and water you will already be one step ahead. Book an appointment at a travel clinic a few months before your trip to make sure you have all the necessary immunizations for the region you will be visiting. You will also be prescribed medications such as malaria pills, antibiotics, etc., that could potentially be needed. Consulting a doctor abroad is actually not as scary as it might seem, especially with the help of your travel insurance agent who can assist you by finding the best medical care available. For little ailments and minor incidents, it’s always practical to carry a simple first aid kit including tablets, rehydration packs, bandages and hand sanitizer.
“I might get lost”
You don’t need to go too far to lose your reference points. Arriving in a new city, country or continent can be overwhelming. On top of that, there could be a language barrier. It’s surprising how one can even find their bearings in such context.
Getting lost is a very high possibility, but it’s also in those moments that you discover the most beautiful destinations and make the most memorable experiences. Of course, there are ways to overcome this fear such as:
– Planning your itinerary in advance, especially in regards to your arrival
– Getting a paper map of the area (normally available at tourism offices or even from the front desk of your accommodation)
– Using an app for offline maps (Google maps or Maps.me)
– Keeping a card/paper with the address written in the local language of the place you are staying at
– Asking locals for directions and recommendations
Common sense will once again be your best friend. Trust your instincts and don’t venture into areas that don’t look safe, especially when it’s dark. After feeling lost a few times, you will realize that it’s actually not that bad and it is to be expected. You will welcome the opportunities of getting lost only to discover new and exciting places.
In any case, the biggest risk to travelling is that you might catch the travel bug and will want to travel forever. There are so many beautiful things to see on this planet that it would be unfortunate to let those misconceptions stop you from exploring the world.
Article by Nomad Junkies team