Q&A: Worried About Traveling? Common Travel Concerns

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So you’ve decided you want to go traveling. You’ve bought all your gear, planned your route and read the guide books.

Despite everything seemingly going to plan, you still have a few concerns/worries about traveling.

It’s only natural to have some worries/concerns about traveling for an extended period of time, but most concerns can be easily dealt with.

Here’s a few of the most common things people worry about (and how to resolve them):

Q. I own my own flat. What should I do with it while I’m off traveling the world for a year?

A. You have a couple of options here. You could sell your home (providing you don’t want to live there when you get back), rent it out (which is often a much more sensible option) or simply get someone to housesit for a while (meaning they’ll just come round and water the plants and pick up the mail every once in a while).

If you are planning on renting out your home while you travel, give yourself plenty of time (i.e. 6 months) to get everything sorted and to find tenants.

Travel concernsWhen letting out your flat, the safest way to do things is to contact a local estate agent and let them sort everything out for you. They’ll come to your flat for a valuation, help find you a tenant and draw up a legal tenancy agreement contract (all for a small fee, of course).

If you don’t mind the hassle of doing things yourself (and you don’t want to pay an estate agent any money), you can go about finding tenants yourself. This is easy if you’ve got a friend (or someone at work) who needs somewhere to stay.

If you don’t know the person who’ll be staying in your flat, be sure to properly vet them before agreeing to anything. Ask them to provide bank statements (proving they’ll be able to keep up with rent) and ask for a month’s deposit in advance.

Make it clear what their obligations are (for example, are they responsible for looking after the garden?) and have them sign an ‘inventory of contents’ (so they’ll accept responsibility if they break/damage anything) as well as a tenants agreements (stating how long they’re staying and how much they owe you each month). You may want to get a solicitor to help you write this up.

Q. What about my pets and my plants back home? What can I do to ensure they don’t die while I’m away?

A. Most friends or family members will usually be more than happy to occasionally water your plants for you while you’re away (although be sure to bring them back something nice!)

Having someone look after your pets, however, is a different matter, as that requires a lot of time, effort and responsibility. If you know someone who’s a cat lover and you have a cat, it can seem like a natural fit, but be sure to leave them with enough money to pay for food and anything else your cat might need (such as a vet bills). Again, be sure to bring them back a nice present from your travels to say thank you.

Q. I don’t speak any foreign languages. Will this be a problem as I travel the world?

A. Obviously being able to speak the local language (at least enough to have a brief conversation) will make traveling easier and will allow you to understand the local culture better.

That being said, if you don’t know any other languages (and you don’t have the time/inclination to learn), you should be able to get by in most places speaking English (as it’s the second or third language in a lot of countries) and using exaggerated sign language (i.e. pointing at things).

Traveling to popular traveler locations (such as Europe and South-East Asia, for example), as many of the locals have adapted to deal with the influx of English-speaking tourists.

If you’re planning on staying in one country for a while, it’s worth learning a few basic words (such as ‘hello’, ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘how much?’). Guide books (such as the Lonely Planet series) contain a list of common phrases/words at the start of each chapter.

Q. Where will I stay when I’m away traveling? How will I find places?

A. As long as you’re not traveling to the middle of the jungle, you should never have to worry about finding accommodation en route.

Popular tourist areas and cities will have dozens of hotels, hostels and guesthouses for you to stay in – most of which can be booked online (through sites such as Hostel Bookers or Hostel World).

For most travelers, staying in hostels is the best way to go, as they’re often full of other travelers, meaning it’s easy to make friends and share travel experiences.

You might feel the need to book all of your accommodation in advance, but this really isn’t necessary (unless you’re sticking to a tight schedule) and it’ll limit your freedom once you’ve out there.

Saying that, it is advisable to have accommodation booked for the first couple of days away (particularly if you’re arriving in the middle of the night), as no-one wants to be traipsing around an unfamiliar city at 3am after a 20 hour plane journey looking for a hostel to stay in.

In addition to this, another time when you’ll want to book a room in advance is when you’re arriving in a country/place during a public holiday/festival/party (such as the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan), as rooms will be very difficult to come by.

Q. I’m very close to my friends and family back home. Although I’d like to take a gap year abroad, I’m worried that I’ll miss them too much.

A. It’s perfectly natural to miss your loved ones when you’re away, and at times you’ll wish they were there to share many of the amazing experiences with you.

At some point in your trip it’s likely that you’ll experience homesickness (especially if you’re traveling solo). This is to be expected, and there are ways of dealing with it.

For more tips on dealing with loneliness while traveling, check out this article.

Remember that your friends and family will miss you too, so don’t forget to send them a postcard from whatever exotic location you’re passing through.

Q. I want to go traveling, but as none of my friends share this desire I’ve decided to go on my own. I’m fine with this, but I’m worried that we’ll grow apart while I’m away.

A. Remember that each of your friends is different. You may grow apart from some, but you grow closer to others, as they’ll be proud of what you’re doing and inspired to do it themselves.

Growing apart from certain people is part of life, and will happen eventually whether you choose to go traveling or not. This isn’t something to worry about, however, as you’ll make many new friends on the road.

Q. I have a job that I like but I can’t resist the temptation of taking a gap year. Will I have difficulties getting another job when I get back? Won’t future employers think I’m reckless and irresponsible for taking a gap year?

A. Some people worry that by taking a gap year and traveling the world, future employers will view them as being lazy and not the kind of people they want to employ.

This is rarely the case, as by traveling the world you’ll naturally become more independent, confident and able to show initiative – all of which are traits that employers admire.

Providing you did something worthwhile during your time off (such as volunteering to work on a farm rather than sitting at home playing video games all day) you should have no problems.

In fact, being able to tell employers that you’ve done something amazing will help separate you from the crowd and could actually improve your chances of getting the job you want.

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