The Biggest Travelling Fears and How To Overcome Them

  • Nine fears whilst travelling and how to overcome them.    

Notwithstanding the uncertainties and fears associated with travel, the joy of adventure and meeting new people, discovering new cultures motivates me to travel. Here are some fears – 


1. Will I get a Visa?


At a time when the visa waiting list for the U.S. and U.K. is years, at least in India, the first concern is whether I will get a visa because it is the starting point for any trip.


I applied for a U.S. visa twice. The first time I behaved as if I was doing the U.S. a favour by visiting and asking for a 47-day visa since I was actually going for my nephew's first birthday. They gave me a 10-year multiple-entry visa. As advised, my paperwork was perfect. I returned on the 48th day. The second time around it was easier. Without too much of a conversation was again given a 10-year multiple-entry visa.


The learning for me is to be cool, have asked for paperwork and not show too much desire to visit. Plus apply for a 10-year visa to avoid going again and again. When the Consulate returns your passport, check the visa carefully.


Countries want tourists, not potential immigrants. Keep that in mind whilst applying. Trying to find a local sponsor, friend or family makes it easier.


2. Will I get tickets and prices?


Getting tickets is not much of a problem, getting a lower price is. In today’s online world, scout around for the best deals online. Before confirming the tickets research online about how to get the lowest fares for your route. Be sure that the flight numbers and time match to avoid buying fake tickets.


Also, post-booking, enter the PNR of the ticket paid for on the airlines' site to check if your name appears in their records. This is just for reassurance and to avoid surprises.


3. Packing with the right bags


In domestic travel, one can manage with smaller bags but in international travel, one needs bigger bags. Importantly, the bags need to be in good condition esp. check the zips.


Once, whilst travelling to the U.S. the zips gave way. Fortunately, the ground staff saw it and wrapped plastic around the bag. This way all the goodies inside the bag remained safe. They wrapped in a way that I could not recognise the bag post landing.


So always check your bags esp. to see zips ok and are not torn.


4. What happens if I miss the flight?


Many times a few days before the date of travel I dream of myself at the airport landing either one day before or after the scheduled date of travel. Once I landed up a day late.


The best way to avoid this is to check the date on your ticket and place a calendar next to your bed with the date of travel circled in bold. If booked tickets through a travel agent, ask them to call you a day before to ensure you do not forget.


5. What happens if I lose my passport or tickets?


We usually carry passports/tickets in our travel bags. Always keep a photocopy of the same and visa in your checked-in baggage and jacket. Even if you lose them there is a photocopy to bank upon. The PNR number would help and your Social Security/Driving License cards can help identify you.


6. What happens if I lose my wallet whilst travelling?


The first precaution is to keep your wallet in a zipped pocket or rear pocket if wearing jeans. Keep two sets of photocopies of your credit cards, one in the checked-in baggage and another in your jacket. So that in case your cards get lost you can immediately call or email the bank helpline and ask them to deactivate the card.


7. What happens if I lose my phone?


At a time when Smartphones have revolutionised our lives and become virtual computers, losing a phone is the worst thing to happen.


You lose a watch, numbers of your contacts, messages, travel tips and saved data. It is akin to losing your best assistant at work. If lost in a foreign country an additional complication of the next steps, where to file a police complaint etc.


The first precaution is to take a printout of key numbers, and places to see and keep one copy in your bag and another in your jacket.


With the amount of stuff, I am suggesting you keep in your jacket you might wonder how much can one carry. If you are in a cold location a jacket with zipped pockets would be ideal. If in a hot and humid country it is best you carry a large pouch i.e. tied around your waist.


8. Now suppose I get lost?


It is good to be adventurous and explore new places. Whilst doing so one runs the risk of getting lost.


In an urban populated setting getting lost might not be so much of a worry, at worst you could get mugged. However, in a rural less populated place you could be attacked by people and animals. I remember getting lost in the hills whilst trekking and was lucky the guide found me. Once I went boating deep into the waters of Dubai and the diesel ran out. I was stuck in the midst of nowhere. Lucky to be pulled ashore by a local police vessel.


So a bit of caution would always help. Look for a local guide if you wish to be too adventurous.


9. Now suppose I fall sick in a foreign country.


This is the worst thing to happen to any traveller. One could get a stomach upset, and suffer insect bites or sunburn.


Before leaving, buy good insect repellent and creams to avoid sunburn. A cap, mask to cover your mouth and sunglasses would help. Apply repellent before landing at your travel destination.


Try for airline tickets by which you reach the destination between 7 and 11 pm. This allows you to reach the hotel and crash into bed. This way the after-effects of jet lag are reduced.


Get your doctor to prescribe a list of medicines for routine sicknesses and carry them along with you. Get clear instructions of when to eat, i.e. before or after food, and frequency. This way you can medicate as step one.

Keep your host or hotel informed of your sickness at all times. And ask them to have a Plan B in the form of a local doctor.


The author is a travel photojournalist.



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