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January 18, 2018 0 Comments

Cover photo by Ambassador Josh Cervantes (@j.nkyll_photo)

 

8 Minute Read

 

 

Let’s be honest. Traveling to a new place, especially a country where the local culture couldn’t be more different from your own, is pretty intimidating. Most people have a dream location they’ve always wanted to experience, but they get discouraged when they start thinking about potential hardships they might face on the road.

For one reason or another, the idea of going to the place just seems too scary.

Here are some of the most common fears that stop many would-be travelers, and some steps to take to plan for them.

 

Alpacas of Peru. Photo by Ambassador @armin_holguin

 

1. I don’t know how to speak the language

 

This fear is the one that comes to mind right off bat. Not being able to communicate easily with the locals of the place you’re visiting complicates everything. What if you need help, but can’t get across to others what you need help with? Thankfully, there are many resources, either free or very cheap, that you can have ready ahead of time that will smooth out your interactions with locals.

 

Google Translate App (Free)

Google has been the biggest player in language translation for a while now. Google processes a billion (yes with a B) translations for over 200 million users every single day. Google Translate App features include:

  • Translate Typed Text

  • Translate handwriting

  • Voice Recognition & Translation

  • Perform OCR: This one blows my mind, and requires some explanation if you’re not familiar. Using the camera on your phone, you can point it towards any sign and the software will translate what the signs say instantly.

While this app already has all these amazing features, what makes it really stand out is that it has a setting that allows it to be used without internet. There are 50 language packs that you can download ahead of time. You now have a means of communication, even in a pinch.

 

Learn Key Phrases (Link)

There are some human needs that are universal among all people. To save you time and headache, learn ahead of time basic phrases to express common needs in the local language. Don’t worry about being embarrassed to speak a different language. More likely than not, you will still get your point across. Plus, the locals may even be impressed you are making an effort in learning their language. Check out this list of 101 useful survival phrases to learn for any language HERE.

 

“Most often than not, there are gestures and mannerisms that are pretty much common no matter what nationality you are, for example, pointing gesture or smiling. By utilizing this, you can practically survive conversing with people of other nationalities. Remember, it doesn't hurt to try! If that doesn't work, you can always use pictures and or a translator app to convey what it is you would like to say.” 

- Travel More Ambassador Jem Kua

 

 

Shibuya at night. Photo by @ wenxinyang

 

2. I’m afraid that I will get lost

 

Some countries are very accommodating to tourists, having dual lingual signs to help keep visitors on the right track, but this is not always the case, especially in more rural locations.

Worry not, some simple precautions will keep travelers on the right track.

Grab A Map

While most of the United States has pretty much abandoned maps, other countries still provide them free of charge in large cities. You are likely to find a city map in places like the airport, public transportation stations, and tourist centers. Grab two copies as soon as you come across them (in case you lose one), and familiarize yourself with the city as a whole as well as the area you are staying. Memorizing notable landmarks nearby your hotel, hostel, family member’s home, etc, will help others get you home in case you get lost.

 

Screenshot Your Route

Google saves the day again. Use the search engine’s map feature to get a detailed list of how to get to and from a place, how long it will take, and more. It often even provides information on bus lines or metro departure times. Every morning while you still have access to wifi in the hotel or hostel, take the time to figure out where you want to visit. Once you have that pulled up, take a photo or screenshot the directions with your phone. That way you won’t forget how to get somewhere and be able to reference the information on your phone at different steps of your journey.

 

Enable Your GPS

Although not everyone’s cellular plan has international coverage, your phone can still be usable in an absolute pinch. If you have no clue where you are, enable data connection on your phone and use the gps to quickly determine your location. Connection may be a bit slow in certain countries, but it should work well enough to guide you back to a major landmark. Using data abroad may be costly, but it definitely beats being lost for an extended period of time.

Hire A Tour Guide

Going somewhere really rural or hard to get to? Your best solution may be using a trusted service to hire a tour guide. Sometimes, no matter how much you plan ahead, there are just some places that are hard to get to without help. Do not trust random “tour guides” asking for your business in the streets. Do your research ahead of time and hire a certified local tour guide from a website or from the tourist center. While this option is the most pricey, it’s the one that will save you the most headache. Tour guide services range from meeting you at a location and showing around, to picking you up from where you’re staying and driving you to and from the destination.

“I used to be concerned about getting lost, or people giving me the wrong directions. I decided to shift focus and approach asking for directions with an attitude of trust. I now have the confidence to know I'm never lost, I'm just someplace other than where I planned on being. Nothing kills a trip faster than worrying or being afraid before something actually happens.”  

- Travel More Ambassador Marie Bodine

City living. Photo by Ambassador @armin_holguin

 

3. The places I want to visit are too expensive

 

This is one of those statements that many people make without doing the research to figure out how much a trip actually costs. With a little bit of planning and budgeting, most trips actually become much more financially feasible. Here are some common costs during trips and how can save on them:

Flight

The plane tickets is often the largest single cost in a trip. It is also the cost you could most easily lower with good planning. It’s always a good rule of thumb to buy plane tickets many months ahead of time. The earlier you book, the lower the price. Use sites like Cheapoair or Kayak to help you determine the cheapest airline to take. Google Flights is another good resource to use in this case because Google will also check nearby airports for even cheaper rates. You could save hundreds of dollars by simply driving to a different airport instead of taking to your local one.

Housing

Long gone are the days of choose between this expensive hotel over the other expensive hotel down the street. There are now a multitude of housing options for travelers depending on their needs. Options include

  • Hostels: Great low price option where you share one room with multiple people, with each person sharing a fraction of a normal hotel room price

  • Airbnb: A housing sharing platform where people offer up all kinds of different spaces in their homes. Accomodations range from someone’s living room couch, to a bed in a house, to entire mansions. There’s definitely a housing type for every need.

Transportation

Buying single bus or metro tickets over and over can add up. If you know you’ll be staying longer in a place, consider buying a pass. Not only will it save you time from constantly buying tickets, a pass will significantly cut transportation expenses. If you are in a bike friendly city, using a bike sharing program for going short distances will cut transportation costs even further. Seeing a city by bike, rather than inside a vehicle, will help you get to know the city better as well.

Food

Being able to cook your own food will save you huge in this category. Eating three meals a day plus the additional drinks with friends will quickly eat into your budget. Research ahead of time whether the place you’re staying offers access to a kitchen. If one place is a bit more expensive, but offers kitchen access, you may consider staying there instead of the cheaper alternative without kitchen access.

 

Golden hour at Great Dunes. Photo by Ambassador @winstonians

High Banks in Columbus. Photo by @ wenxinyang

4. I have no one to go with

 

That’s perfectly okay! You don’t necessarily have to travel with a companion to enjoy a destination. There are many articlesthat discuss the benefits of solo-travel. Travel More Ambassador Evangeline Ryder had to say this about her solo-travel experience:

 

6.5 years ago, I started my first 2.5 month solo trip all over Europe. I had nobody else to travel with, but refused to let this hinder me being able to see the world. Being alone, I had so much freedom. I would wake up and take the train to another country as I saw fit. If I had to wait for someone to be ready to travel, I’d still be waiting today. Life really is too short to wait around. Money was tight as a college student, and instead of finding a place to stay in Los Angeles for Summer break, I opted to expand my horizons on a budget. I couchsurfed the whole way, and bought food from grocery stores instead of restaurants, and spent a fraction of what I would’ve spent on rent and food in LA. I ended up seeing 10 countries, and having the time of my life.

-Travel More Ambassador Evangeline Chen ( @evangelinetravels )

 

 

5. What if I get injured?

 

Unless you live in a bubble, injuries cannot be 100% avoided. The best you can do is to take steps to set yourself up to be as okay, mentally and financially, as possible in the event you are injured. Travel More Ambassador Joshua Martin’s advice sums this up perfectly.

 

Call your insurances before you leave for the trip. You can find out how to cover yourself in case of emergency. Create a little piece of paper with your insurances, the numbers to call and your coverages. In case of an emergency, you can pull that out and hand it to someone. You’ll know what your responsible for, and what they are. You also can purchase Travel Insurance, I’ve bought it twice and used it twice. It’s worth the protecting. Paying $200 for a $10000 trip could save you, or your life in case of an emergency. That way you don’t prevent injury, but you’re the best prepared you could be.

-Travel More Ambassador Joshua Martin (@joshmartinphoto)

 

 

6. I’m worried the place I’m traveling to is unsafe

 

Life itself is unsafe. But that shouldn’t stop you from seeing the world and becoming a global citizen. Not traveling to new locations because you think it’s unsafe is similar to saying you won’t go swimming in the ocean because there are shark attacks.

In 2015, there were only 8 recorded shark related deaths worldwide. By contrast, there were 818 fatalities of just workers in the United States from tripping/slipping.

You face tremendous risk on a daily basis, but you’re not scared of them. Why? It’s because we’re familiar with the elements of our everyday life. Humans are bad at assessing real risk. We’re more likely to believe something that is unfamiliar or foreign to be more dangerous than something that we see everyday. It’s a natural defense mechanism to have, but you shouldn’t let that worry keep you from experiencing the world.

The most common “real danger” a traveler will face is petty theft. Often someone is simply looking to take your belongings without you noticing. The chance of getting pickpocketed or having your bags slashed and taken is increasing every year.

Here are steps you can take to lower your chance of becoming victim to petty theft:

  • Don't wear or display flashy or expensive clothing or accessories.

  • Keep your belongings in your bag rather than pant pockets. A zipper is much more difficult to get into compared to your back pocket with your wallet.

  • Get the best hybrid solution, which is a theft-proof bag. Loctote’sline of highly theft-resistant bags were made for just this purpose. Packed with features to deter the opportunistic thief, you can feel at ease knowing your belongings are safe. It can also be locked up to keep valuables safe in case no one else can be around to watch it. Travel worry free knowing that your belongings are protected by our soft portable safe.

 

Remember, the world is a huge place, and every person only has finite time. Why not take the time to see a little bit more of it?

As always, Live More & Worry Less.

 

Cover photo by Ambassador Josh Cervantes (@j.nkyll_photo)

 

8 Minute Read

 

 

Let’s be honest. Traveling to a new place, especially a country where the local culture couldn’t be more different, is pretty intimidating. Most people have a dream location they’ve always wanted to experience but most people get discouraged when they start thinking about potential hardships they might face on the road.

For one reason or another, the idea of going to the place just seems too scary.

Here are some of the most common fears that stop would-be travelers and the steps to take to plan for them.

 

Alpacas in Peru. Photo by Ambassador ( @armin_holguin)

 

1. I don’t know how to speak the language

 

This fear is the one that comes to mind right off bat. Not being able to communicate easily with the locals of the place you’re visiting complicates everything. What if you need help, but can’t get across to others what you need help with? Thankfully there are many resources, either free or very cheap, that you can have ready ahead of time that will smooth out your interactions with locals.

Google Translate App (Free)

Google has been the biggest player in language translation for a while now. Google processes a billion (yes with a B) translations for over 200 million users every single day. Google Translate App features include:

  • Translate Typed Text

  • Translate handwriting

  • Voice Recognition & Translation

  • Perform OCR: This one blows my mind, and requires some explanation if you’re not familiar. Using the camera on your phone, you can point it towards any sign and the software will translate what the signs say instantly.

While this app already has all these amazing features, what makes it really stand out is that it has a setting that allows it to be used without internet. There are 50 language packs that you can download ahead of time. You now have a means of communication, even in a pinch.

Learn Key Phrases

There are some human needs that are universal among all people. To save you time and headache, learn ahead of time basic phrases to express common needs in the local language. Don’t worry about being embarrassed to speak a different language. More likely than not, you will still get your point across. Plus, the locals may even be impressed you are making an effort in learning their language. Check out this list of 101 useful survival phrases to learn for any language HERE.

“Most often than not, there are gestures and mannerisms that are pretty much common no matter what nationality you are, for example, pointing gesture or smiling. By utilizing this, you can practically survive conversing with people of other nationalities. Remember, it doesn't hurt to try! If that doesn't work, you can always use pictures and or a translator app to convey what it is you would like to say.”  - Travel More Ambassador Jem Kua

 

 

Shibuya at night. Photo by ( @ wenxinyang)

 

2. I’m afraid that I will get lost

 

Some countries are very accommodating to tourists, having dual lingual signs to help keep visitors on the right track. But this is not always the case, especially the more rural the location.

Worry not, some simple precautions will keep travelers on the right track.

Grab A Map

While most of the United States has pretty much abandoned maps, other countries still provide them free of charge in large cities. You are likely to find a city map in places like the airport, public transportation stations, and tourist centers. Grab two copies as soon as you come across them (in case you lose one), and familiarize yourself with the city as a whole as well as the area you are staying. Memorizing notable landmarks nearby your hotel, hostel, family member’s home, etc, will help others get you home in case you get lost.

Screenshot Your Route

Google saves the day again. Use the search engine’s map feature to get a detailed list of how to get to and from a place, how long it will take, and more. It often even provides information on bus lines or metro departure times. Every morning while you still have access to wifi in the hotel or hostel, take the time to figure out where you want to visit. Once you have that pulled up, take a photo or screenshot the directions with your phone. That way you won’t forget how to get somewhere and be able to reference the information on your phone at different steps of your journey.

Enable Your GPS

Although not everyone’s cellular plan has international coverage, your phone can still be usable in an absolute pinch. If you have no clue where you are, enable data connection on your phone and use the gps to quickly determine your location. Connection may be a bit slow in certain countries, but it should work well enough to guide you back to a major landmark. Using data abroad may be costly, but it definitely beats being lost for an extended period of time.

Hire A Tour Guide

Going somewhere really rural or hard to get to? Your best solution may be using a trusted service to hire a tour guide. Sometimes, no matter how much you plan ahead, there are just some places that are hard to get to without help. Do not trust random “tour guides” asking for your business in the streets. Do your research ahead of time and hire a certified local tour guide from a website or from the tourist center. While this option is the most pricey, it’s the one that will save you the most headache. Tour guide services range from meeting you at a location and showing around, to picking you up from where you’re staying and driving you to and from the destination.

“I used to be concerned about getting lost, or people giving me the wrong directions. I decided to shift focus and approach asking for directions with an attitude of trust. I now have the confidence to know I'm never lost, I'm just someplace other than where I planned on being. Nothing kills a trip faster than worrying or being afraid before something actually happens.” -Travel More Ambassador Marie Bodine

City living. Photo by Ambassador ( @armin_holguin)

 

3. The places I want to visit are too expensive

 

This is one of those statements that many people make without doing the research to figure out how much a trip actually costs. With a little bit of planning and budgeting, most trips actually become much more financially feasible. Here are some common costs during trips and how can save on them:

Flight

The plane tickets is often the largest single cost in a trip. It is also the cost you could most easily lower with good planning. It’s always a good rule of thumb to buy plane tickets many months ahead of time. The earlier you book, the lower the price. Use sites like Cheapoair or Kayak to help you determine the cheapest airline to take. Google Flights is another good resource to use in this case because Google will also check nearby airports for even cheaper rates. You could save hundreds of dollars by simply driving to a different airport instead of taking to your local one.

Housing

Long gone are the days of choose between this expensive hotel over the other expensive hotel down the street. There are now a multitude of housing options for travelers depending on their needs. Options include

  • Hostels: Great low price option where you share one room with multiple people, with each person sharing a fraction of a normal hotel room price

  • Airbnb: A housing sharing platform where people offer up all kinds of different spaces in their homes. Accomodations range from someone’s living room couch, to a bed in a house, to entire mansions. There’s definitely a housing type for every need.

Transportation

Buying single bus or metro tickets over and over can add up. If you know you’ll be staying longer in a place, consider buying a pass. Not only will it save you time from constantly buying tickets, a pass will significantly cut transportation expenses. If you are in a bike friendly city, using a bike sharing program for going short distances will cut transportation costs even further. Seeing a city by bike, rather than inside a vehicle, will help you get to know the city better as well.

Food

Being able to cook your own food will save you huge in this category. Eating three meals a day plus the additional drinks with friends will quickly eat into your budget. Research ahead of time whether the place you’re staying offers access to a kitchen. If one place is a bit more expensive, but offers kitchen access, you may consider staying there instead of the cheaper alternative without kitchen access.

 

Golden hour at Great Dunes. Photo by Ambassador (@winstonians)

High Banks in Columbus. Photo by (@wenxinyang)

 

4. I have no one to go with

 

That’s perfectly okay! You don’t necessarily have to travel with a companion to enjoy a destination. There are many articles that discuss the benefits of solo-travel. Travel More Ambassador Evangeline Ryder had to say this about her solo-travel experience:

“6.5 years ago, I started my first 2.5 month solo trip all over Europe. I had nobody else to travel with, but refused to let this hinder me being able to see the world. Being alone, I had so much freedom. I would wake up and take the train to another country as I saw fit. If I had to wait for someone to be ready to travel, I’d still be waiting today. Life really is too short to wait around. Money was tight as a college student, and instead of finding a place to stay in Los Angeles for Summer break, I opted to expand my horizons on a budget. I couchsurfed the whole way, and bought food from grocery stores instead of restaurants, and spent a fraction of what I would’ve spent on rent and food in LA. I ended up seeing 10 countries, and having the time of my life.”

 

 

5. What if I get injured?

 

Unless you lived in a bubble, injuries cannot be 100% avoided. The best you can do is to take steps to set yourself up to be as okay, mentally and financially, as possible in the event you are injured. Travel More Ambassador Joshua Martin’s advice sums this up perfectly.

“Call your insurances before you leave for the trip. You can find out how to cover yourself in case of emergency. Create a little piece of paper with your insurances, the numbers to call and your coverages. In case of an emergency, you can pull that out and hand it to someone. You’ll know what your responsible for, and what they are. You also can purchase Travel Insurance, I’ve bought it twice and used it twice. It’s worth the protecting. Paying $200 for a $10000 trip could save you, or your life in case of an emergency. That way you don’t prevent injury, but you’re the best prepared you could be.”

 

 

6. I’m worried the place I’m traveling to is unsafe

 

Life itself is unsafe. But that shouldn’t stop you from seeing the world and becoming a global citizen. Not traveling to new locations because you think it’s unsafe is similar to saying you won’t go swimming in the ocean because there are shark attacks.

In 2015, there were only 8 recorded shark related deaths worldwide. By contrast, there were 818 fatalities of just workers in the United States from tripping/slipping.

You face tremendous risk on a daily basis, but you’re not scared of them. Why? It’s because we’re familiar with the elements of our everyday life. Humans are bad at assessing real risk. We’re more likely to believe something that is unfamiliar or foreign to be more dangerous than something that we see everyday. It’s a natural defense mechanism to have, but you shouldn’t let that worry keep you from experiencing the world.

The most common “real danger” a traveler will face is petty theft. Often someone is simply looking to take your belongings without you noticing. The chance of getting pickpocketed or having your bags slashed and taken is increasing every year.

Here are steps you can take to lower your chance of becoming victim to petty theft:

  • Try not make it obvious you are carrying lots of valuables.

  • Keep your belongings in your bag rather than pant pockets. A zipper is much more difficult to get into compared to your back pocket with your wallet.

  • Get the best hybrid solution, which is a theft-proof bag. Loctote’sline of highly theft-resistant bags were made for just this purpose. Packed with features to deter the opportunistic thief, you can feel at ease knowing your belongings are safe. It can also be locked up to keep valuables safe in case no one else can be around to watch it. Travel worry free knowing that your belongings are protected by our soft portable safe.

Photo by (@w enxinyang)

 

Remember, the world is a huge place, and every person only has finite time. Why not take the time to see a little bit more of it?

As always, Live More & Worry Less.

 

Forwar, faster, no stop. Photo by Ambassador ( @j.nkyll_photo)


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