Fear. The worst of the four letter words.
I am a 32 year old lady who loves to travel. Most of my friends are married and have kids, making travel out of the country nearly impossible for them. This leaves me with the option of either traveling solo or allowing fear to rule me and not go.
I choose to go.
Do I feel fear when I get on the plane to parts unknown? Absolutely. The key is that I tell that fear to shove it. A couple months ago I traveled to Thailand solo - fourteen hours to Tokyo and seven hours to Bangkok. That's a lot of time to second guess yourself.
You know what happened? I had a phenomenal three weeks. I hung out with elephants, met people from all over the world, danced my face off at the Full Moon Party, and ate Thai food until I couldn't stomach another bite.
The real key is to make the choice to do (whatever it is that you're fearing) and know in your own heart that you are more powerful, smarter, and braver than you've ever imagined.
You can be fearless. The choice is yours.
There are several common travel fears. Let me debunk them:
No one will understand me.
Many people around the world speak English. You will be amazed how far a simple smile and hello gets you. If you download the google translate app on your phone you can always communicate with anyone.
Be a better traveler: Learn how to say hello, please, and thank you in the local language.
I will be lost. All the time.
Take some time before you get to a new city to familiarize yourself with a map. This will help you be more comfortable when you're exploring the streets.
- Download the Google maps app so you're never lost.
- Find a friendly face and ask directions. Most people want to help.
My hotel will be infested with rats, bed bugs, and creepers.
Have a quick look at reviews on TripAdvisor before you commit to a place to see what other travelers thought of the hotel. If it was terrible, the reviews will reflect that.
Consider taking a rubber door stop if you're traveling solo.
Remember - it's always OK to leave if you need to! If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable it's always better to leave. Just chalk up that hotel/ hostel bill as a sunk cost.
It's so unsafe!
The best thing you can do to stay safe is to travel to economically stable countries with a well established tourism infrastructure. Personally, I've felt comfortable being a solo female traveler in Europe, Australia, and Thailand. I do not travel to countries where there's war or terrorist hot spots.
A couple tips:
- Try to blend in. Have a look at what the locals are wearing and follow suit. I tend to err on the side of conservative when traveling solo.
- Leave your flashy jewelry at home.
- Consider taking a handheld noisemaker.
Again, TripAdvisor is an excellent resource for first-hand accounts from fellow travelers and more info on safety from Wanderalot can be found here.
I will be broke forever if I travel.
Traveling doesn't need to break the bank. There are many creative ways to see the world cheaply.
The critical thing is to prioritize what's important to you. If you're a travel nut like me, you prioritize traveling. I run every purchase over in mind and think, is this worth it? Is this getting me closer to my dreams of seeing the world? Make conscious decisions about how you spend your money.
Experiences > things.
Are there any fears keeping you from traveling?
Share in the comments!
I whole-heartedly agree with all those common travel fears & add that the fear of poverty, destitution & desperate forces as I saw in the favelas in San Francisco Xavier, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil or around Iffco Chuok, Guargon, New Delhi were not only the happier folks but also the more grateful & easily amused folks I’ve ever encountered during travel. Safety concerns are real but manageable just like those concerns above, within reason. It’s important that we seek out all humanity to live a fuller life as travel tends to do.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Richard!
beaitiful, wise words, as always! I will reference this to anyone who may want to take the leap into adventure travels!
I absolutely love that you want to see the whole wide world, but that you are so practical and realistic about the very common hazards that come along with being a solo female traveler. Great post!!!
Thanks Jewel! I’m so glad you liked it. Can’t wait to see a new part of the world with you in a few months!!