“What if” is a question that can stop you from doing a lot of things in life. It can make you freeze up and get stuck in the same place day after day. I’ve had a lot of experience with this fear, and unfortunately I let it keep me from doing things I really wanted to do.
Is travel something you want to do? Are the what ifs holding you back? Many people have fears surrounding travel. But if those fears are holding you back from trying things, they’re actually preventing you from having amazing experiences. They aren’t protecting you. I can’t guarantee nothing bad will happen, but I can help you work through your fear and book that trip.
I won’t deny that things could go wrong. But chances are, everything will go smoothly. Instead of leaving yourself with that scary, unanswered question, come up with an answer. Squash “what if” with reason, logic and planning.
What if I get sick while traveling?
Hopefully you have some over-the-counter medicine with you for minor things. If not, find a pharmacy and buy what you need. If your illness is something a little more serious, as your hotel’s staff or manager to help you find a doctor or even a hospital if it’s that bad.
Remember that people get sick in other countries too, and they have doctors to help.
If you happen to be traveling to a country that doesn’t have great medical care, do some research ahead of time so you know what your options are. I was in Southeast Asia last year, and I knew if I got really ill in some places, Bangkok or Singapore were good options for quality care.
Also, buy travel insurance that covers you for medical emergencies in the country you’re traveling to. Ask lots of questions to make sure you know what it covers. A good policy will cover the cost of transporting you to the nearest quality hospital if you aren’t already near one.
What if I lose my passport while traveling?
Before you even leave home, make at least two copies of the photo page of your passport. Give one copy to someone you trust who won’t be traveling with you. Take the other copy with you, and store it somewhere different from where you keep your passport. Better yet, scan a copy onto your computer at home and email the file to yourself.
Find out where the nearest embassy or consulate is to where you’re going. Have their address and contact information with you when you start your trip. If you lose your passport, they’re the ones who can help you get a replacement. Get in touch with them as soon as possible, and get the process started.
What if I hate it?
If you’re on your trip and find that you’re not enjoying yourself, ask yourself why. Do you not like the climate? Are you in a big city but would rather be at the beach? Is your hotel run down? Are you traveling too quickly?
If there’s something you can do during your trip to improve the situation, do it. Nothing says you can’t change your plans halfway through your vacation. If you can’t do anything to change your situation, at least finding the reason you’re not enjoying your trip will help you when planning the next one. If you realized traveling to northern Europe in winter is not your thing, pick a different season or destination next time.
Don’t tell yourself you hate traveling without really finding out what it is you hate and why. Chances are it’s not travel itself. It just means you need to adjust the way you travel.
What if I have amazing experiences on my trip?
Have you thought about this possibility?
Your vacation could turn out to be really fun and filled with amazing experiences.
You could see sights you’ve dreamed about for years.
You could taste delicious food.
You could enjoy gorgeous landscapes.
You could go snorkeling or take a hot air balloon ride.
You could learn interesting history about the place you’re visiting.
You could take a cooking class or learn a new language.
You could meet wonderful people who become friends for a day or a decade.
You could discover a new passion.
You could find the confidence that’s been hiding for years.
What if you missed out on all these things because you let “what if” paralyze you and stop you from traveling?
You might also enjoy:
- Are you afraid to travel alone?
- What if you don’t speak the language?
- Interview on Building the Confidence to Travel
- A Story of Overcoming Solo Travel Fear