Working in the travel industry has provided me with many opportunities that I would never have sought out for myself. I’ve ridden in a NASCAR pace car at 125 miles an hour, stood on the top Kicking Horse Mt in South Dakota and danced with crabs in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. All of these amazing experiences have enriched my life and created friendships and stories to share. But what if the fear of travel had kept me from travelling?
Fear is what often keeps us from living our lives to the fullest and experiencing amazing things. When I meet people, many tell me about their desire to travel and the places they dream of visiting. When I ask why they have not pursued their travel dreams, they describe a list of their fears of the unknown or are bogged down by thoughts of “what if?”
- What if I can’t afford it?
- What about my daily responsibilities that I am leaving behind?
- What if I am lonely?
- What if the unexpected happens or something goes wrong?
- What if illness or a fall happens on the journey?
All of these fears are real, but in my mind they can occur just as easily in your daily environment as they can when you are travelling. The biggest difference is that at home you are in an environment that you are familiar with. Let’s break it down:
- Affordability: For any large purchases, we need to budget, plan and sometimes purchase the Kia instead of the Lexus. Travel is no different. When making your travel plans, research the destination. Find what travel companies go there, and ask your travel savvy friends for advice on how they book and who they book with. My advice, book with a professional and reputable company and not online as images and information can be misleading.
- Daily Responsibilities: Paying the bills, making sure our home is secure, pets and children are taken care of. Again, I would seek out someone you know who travels and find out what they do. We always have a house sitter come and stay which solves the problem of taking care of the dog and having someone check on our home.
- Fear of Feeling Lonely: Group travel is the way to go if you worry about being alone. There are group tours available for small groups of 8 to 10 or large groups of up to approximately 50 depending on the destination. Whatever the size of the group, remember you may not bond with everyone, but similar experiences and shared memories are a huge common denominator for any group.
- Fear of The Unexpected: Whether you are at home or on the road, things can go wrong. An unexpected storm or a flat tire may delay travel plans, but those things are not unique to travel. Travelling with an escorted group travel company helps alleviate these fears. Those escorts are along to smooth out all the bumps in the road.
- Illness or Fall: Travel medical insurance is a must anytime you are travelling. Be sure to have the policy with you and the insurance company’s emergency contact number. I always recommend having two copies of this. One with your passport and a second copy along with a copy of your passport and any Visas required in your luggage as back up should you lose one. If you are travelling with a group escorted tour, it is important to share this information with the Tour Director. If you have any food or medical allergies, make sure you have let the company you are travelling with know, as they can do their best to work around food allergies if they know in advance.
If you have never ventured far from home and are fearful, I suggest starting with a short trip close to home. For example, British Columbia is a very diverse province with its dramatic coast line and the Rocky Mountains on the Alberta border. Wells Gray Tours plans many shorter tours that explore this beautiful scenic landscape. Another option would be to take a theatre tour, which is usually or 3 to 4 days in length but includes the magic of an on stage performance as well as scenic views.
Push aside that fear of the unknown, step outside your comfort zone and get packing. We’ve got your back.
Photo: Kay and Dorothy in the Beaver. Bella Coola Tour 2018
We Plan. You Pack. No worries.
Written by: Joan Niemeier