As I said in my previous post, there are some people who really just have no desire to travel because they feel everything they need is right there. Other people don’t want to travel because of the “complications.” I get the sense that a decent amount of people would agree that traveling is a complicated process, and this disturbs me. Planning (or not) and following through with trips should be a fun and relaxing endeavor. To help those of you who suffer from travel planning anxiety many a restless night, I have outlined a few frequent misconceptions people have about travel and why you shouldn’t worry about them.
1. It’s too complicated. What does that even mean? What’s complicated? Maybe back in our grandparent’s days when trip advisors didn’t exist travel was complicated, but not now. Plenty of websites offer to book airfare, hotels, cruises and/or cars all in one deal. What’s so complicated about that? Once your trip is booked, wait until you get there to do the rest of the planning. You don’t need to know every restaurant you’ll be eating at for the trip three months in advance. Let things happen as they come and everything will turn out alright.
2. It’s too dangerous. If you feel the need to hike the Colombian Amazon in search of the FARC, then yeah, your trip will probably get you killed or imprisoned for ransom. But if you’re smart and use simple, everyday common sense, wherever you go, you should make it out unscathed. When planning a trip, make sure you know the stereotypically dangerous cities and regions in the world, and check the news for current events to make sure a normally peaceful place has not found itself in a political or civil uprising that you won’t know about when you get there. Once your trip is booked, check with a travel doctor to make sure there are no vaccinations you need to get before arriving. You should always have a map and First-Aid kit packed with your belongings too, but that should be common knowledge. Finally, stay in groups if you feel uncomfortable somewhere. Even if your traveling alone, you’re bound to find other sole wonderers along the way. Form an allegiance and stick together for as long as you’re heading the same way.
3. It’s too expensive. If you want to stay at the Plaza Hotel in New York during the busy summer months, then you hit the nail on the head: it is expensive. But there are other ways for one to travel on a smaller budget. Sign up with online trip advisors like Expedia or Travelocity. They’ll email you a few times a week notifying you about sudden travel deals. Flights can get pretty cheap if you leave on a good day of the week (Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually the best), even though that may require you to leave tomorrow. Getting to your destination is half the battle. Once you’re there, looking for hostels will be your best bet, as they can be as cheap as a couple dollars a night (not to mention how many cool people you’ll meet there with similar interests as you.) Finally, if you go somewhere with more than a five hour plane ride, stay there for a while and get your money’s worth. Traveling within a continent is pretty cheap, so you can cross a lot of places off your bucket list in one trip.
4. It will take up too much of my time. Nobody ever said that travel has to be a month long experience or that you have to go half way across the world to satisfy your desire. A small road trip is always a good time, especially if you can manage to ring in a few close friends to join you. Even leaving town for a long weekend may be just enough to satisfy your impulsive self. Jump in the car and head to a small town in the next state over. You never know what you may find!
5. It’s unproductive. True, you won’t be working or earning money, but traveling is productive in its own special way. While you’re gone, you’ll be seeing some of the most culturally and geographically rich places that this Earth has to offer. You’ll learn new culture queues and etiquette, learn about histories of places you didn’t even know existed, and maybe learn the basics of a new language. Evaluate yourself first and define what productive means to you, then get packing.
6. I can’t speak the language, so I can’t get around. English is one of the most spoken languages in the world. I guarantee when you get to where you’re going you’ll be able to find at least one local who can mutter a few English words. And if you can’t? At some point in your life you had to communicate without language, since you didn’t know how to speak yet, so revert to your instinctual ways. Point, jump, shrug, do what you need to do to get your message across. And for a small safety net, it wouldn’t hurt to bring a language dictionary.
7. I don’t know anything about where I’m going. So you find that perfect last minute deal on a flight to somewhere you’ve never heard of. If the price is so great, take it. What’s wrong with a little spontaneous adventure? Book your flight and get packing. While you’re in the airport waiting to leave, start doing a little research on your phone or lap top (if you choose to bring one) about the location you’re headed off to. And if there’s no time for that, who cares? See what the place is all about when you get there. Since you already have no expectations, your destination can’t possibly let you down.