By Rachel Diebel
Sometimes it seems like there are many reasons not to travel. It’s too expensive, I’ve never done it before, I don’t speak any foreign languages–the excuses can be endless. In reality, there are a million more reasons to travel than there are not to. For anyone who is too nervous to book a vacation adventure, here’s a bit of traveling inspiration for you. Just go for it!
1. With a little careful planning, you can afford it
One of the most common reasons for not traveling is the cost. And it’s true, traveling does cost money, but if you are willing to give up a few luxuries, it can also be completely affordable. The first thing to consider if you are nervous about finances is where you want to go. Exchange rates and expenses are different all across the world, so choose a place where the exchange rate favors the US dollar, and you will be saving yourself a pile of money. Once you arrive in your exotic destination, the trick is to try and live like a local. Shop at street markets for fresh food, stay in a hostel or rented apartment room instead of a hotel, and avoid taxis in favor of public transportation. Airfare will, of course, be a significant investment, but if you shop around for deals, even that cost can be significantly lower.
2. A language barrier is a learning opportunity
Communication is not all about speaking the same language. Even though anywhere you go, you can likely find someone who speaks English, traveling to a country where they speak a different language is also a great opportunity to learn and grow. Before you leave, buy a phrase book and spend some time looking at it. Knowing how to say even a few key phrases will make you feel more comfortable and safe in your new environment. Look at a language barrier as an opportunity to stretch yourself. Find someone patient at a restaurant or hostel that you can try to speak with. Rather than being offended by your mispronunciation, most people will be thrilled that you are trying to learn to communicate in their language.
3. There’s no time like the present
Oftentimes, people are nervous about traveling because it is something new and scary that they’ve never done before, so they keep putting it off. There is no way to “learn” how to travel; you just have to go for it. Being scared is completely understandable, but it can’t keep you from having new and amazing experiences. Fear can be a strong deterrent, but contrary to what you might read, people are generally wonderful and it isn’t’ scary out there. Just keep your basic street smart skills in mind.
4. Go slow and take it all in
It is always extremely tempting to plan out every detail of your trip, especially when you are nervous, but excessive scheduling is not the answer. It can be so tempting to try and “see it all,” especially when you are only spending a few short days somewhere, but not only is this impossible, it will likely make you miserable. Too much planning usually means exhaustion and more stress rather than less. Sometimes you just need a day to sleep in or do nothing but wander around a new city. Give yourself time to be spontaneous.
5. A great opportunity to travel light
One of the many great things about traveling is the opportunity to leave behind the physical and mental baggage that weighs you down from day to day. When you decide to travel, make sure that you take the opportunity to travel lightly. Take only one checked bag, or, if you can get away with it, only a carry on such as a backpack. Clothes can we washed and toiletries purchased when you arrive. Taking less means having less to keep track of, which is much better for your stress levels. When you travel, also try to leave behind all of your daily stresses and anxieties. This is a time to have fun and be adventurous!
6. It’s always worth the view
Traveling is a chance to realize your place in the world. Whether it is seeing the earth from a plane for the first time or realizing how small you are compared to the Swiss Alps, travel expands your view of the universe and shows you corners you never knew existed. Even if you have a hundred excuses to not travel, remember that seeing the sunset over the Great Barrier Reef or suddenly experiencing a whole new culture is always worth it.