Always wanted to travel the world but you can’t find someone to go with you? Or maybe you’re a group of friends but all feel clueless and are worried about stepping out into the unknown. Don’t worry; we’ve got your back!
Yes, travelling for the first time can be daunting. 101 what ifs begin to run through your mind and you shoot into panic mode. But what we need to consider is how epic travel can be. The memories you are about to make will wipe away any previous anxiety you may have had. You just need to put yourself out there.
I have devised a list of the top 10 first time travel fears based on the frequent questions I get asked. Now let’s beat them together!
#1. Is it safe?
First things first, being safe is ‘relative’. The truth is, it doesn’t matter where in the world you go, danger will be lurking somewhere. Travelling is no different to being at home. You know your boundaries, you just need to adapt to your surroundings. Do a bit of research about the area, find out the dress code and what behavior is not tolerated and you will be sweet! Most countries are the same. Just stay cautious and have your wits about you just like you would anywhere else. Stop bubble wrapping yourself and get out there!
#2. Will I feel lonely?
This is one of the biggest factors which stop people from stepping out of their comfort zones. I had the same thoughts the first time I went travelling. None of my friends were able to come with me and I started to panic as I have never been good with my own company. But within a few hours of arriving at the hostel, I was out for drinks with five new friends and had arranged a boat trip for the next day. You have to remember, there are plenty of others out there in exactly the same boat as you.
#3. What if I run out of money?
The answer to this is simple. Planning. If you work out exactly how much you are likely to spend before you set off, you will have nothing to worry about. But make sure that when doing your calculations you take into account any luxuries you may wish to indulge in like shopping, massages, or extra excursions. It is always good to bring a little extra ‘just in case’ as you never know when a spanner will be thrown into the works. That is not to say that things always go wrong when travelling, but let’s face it, life does throw some curve balls our way sometimes and it is best to come prepared. And hey! If you don’t end up using it, well then the beers on you!
#4. Nobody will talk to me as I am shy.
One of the beautiful perks of travel is the vast amount of characters you will meet along the way. The world would be a boring place to be if everyone was exactly the same. The people you meet when you travel are some of the most down to earth, spirited, happiest souls you will come across. Whether you are shy, quirky, or the class clown, the acceptance from complete strangers is just overwhelming! The world is a big place; there will be someone that gets you.
#5. What if I miss home?
It is only natural to miss home a little when going away for the first time. But don’t let it get you down. Your loved ones are only on the other end of the phone and everything will still be exactly the same when you get back! Trust me. I have made the error of ending a trip prematurely before, and after the two week whirlwind return when the novelty wears off and everyone get's used to you being back again, it will feel like you never left. So do yourself a favour, and stay out as long as you can. Embrace EVERYTHING, and live a little.
#6. Will I be bored?
How can you get bored when everything around you provides you with a platform to explore?! New sights, new smells, new people, new language, new culture, the list goes on. If you are bored, then you are not putting yourself out there. There is a world of activities right at your doorstep, if you would only open your eyes to it.
#7. What if I don’t make friends?
The thing to remember is that most people are in exactly the same boat as you! So knock down those barriers, what's the worst that can happen? If someone is rude to you and doesn't respond, then screw them! You don't need them in your life anyway. But I doubt this would be the case as most people you meet travelling are like minded individuals who also love to meet new people. So go and show everyone how awesome you are!
#8. Is it okay to travel solo as a female?
Yes, for sure! Of course there are more precautions to be aware of as a woman unfortunately, but as long as you are aware of this and plan ahead, you will be sweet. For example, suss out the vibe before you go, take note of the dress code required and be assertive. It does not have to be dangerous or scary, you just need to do some research before you head off. Joining a group tour is also a great way to start your trip to relax yourself into the next step of your journey.
#9. What if people disapprove of my decision?
Anyone ever heard of that saying 'in the end, we only regret the chances we didn't take?'. Well exactly that! You cannot cave in to friends and family trying to put you off fulfilling your dreams. Of course, it is only natural for them to have worries because they care. But this is your dream, your adventure and there is so much more to see out there.
#10. What about the language barrier?
Communication in a foreign country can seem daunting when you don't speak the language, but it is a lot simpler than you may think! A simple smile goes a long way and surprisingly you can express a lot through gestures and facial expression.You will find that actually most people just want to help. Even if you know a few basic words, they will appreciate you trying. How about looking at it as a challenge? Try to learn a few words each day and you will see how quickly you begin to pick it up! Just remember to speak slowly and clearly using simple vocabulary. Grab yourself a phrasebook and get stuck in!