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10 common travel problems and how to deal with them

If you travel for long enough you'll experience all these problems and more. You'll also learn that every problem has a solution. Here are 10 of the most common travel problems and ways to avoid them.

difficulty of travelling

Adam NomadicVA.com

Apr 01, 2023

travel problems

When it comes to travel problems, I've experienced them all!

When you commit to a life of travel you have to accept that it won't always be a smooth operation. Some trips go perfectly without a single problem, but many don't. Some things you can prepare for, others you just have to react to.

The best solution to most travel problems is preparation . Sometimes you'll need to be creative and resourceful with your solutions but this is also one of the joys of traveling . 

You can't prepare for every eventuality, but no problem is insurmountable.

While the situations and specific circumstances may differ, there are common problems that happen to all travelers eventually. 

We'll discuss 10 of the most common travel problems and ways to avoid them .

10 common travel problems and their solutions

1. getting lost.

Travel problems: getting lost

Some people have fantastic spatial awareness, others not so much, but most people have got lost at least once in their life. It can be a horrible feeling — your heart beating faster as the panic starts to rise. You can get lost anywhere: a supermarket, airport, town center or in the wilderness. 

With modern technology this is one of the easier travel problems to avoid. In the past you'd need a map for each country. Nowadays almost everyone has a smartphone. Before you leave, download Google Maps and then download the offline map for whichever cities you'll be visiting. The offline maps are tiny — normally between 20 to 50mb.

With the offline map on your phone you can browse even without an internet connection . 

A word of warning though, this is not a foolproof plan! If your battery dies the plan comes crashing down. A pen and paper may be ancient technology, but they don't require batteries. Write down your destination just in case.

The most important thing is to not panic. If you can, take a seat and take some slow breathes. Strangers are generally nice and helpful so, if it's safe to do so, ask for directions. If you don't speak the language you can show them the written address (it's not advisable to flash your phone around).

2. Getting mugged

Travel problems: getting mugged

In nearly 20 years I've only been mugged four times. Two of them were in my hometown, minutes from my house.

Some countries are more dangerous than others. It's important to check for any government warnings before you visit. It's also advisable to check Facebook groups and other forums for the opinions of other travelers.

A word of advice though — don't believe everything you read . 

If I'd listened to every bit of advice about South America I never would have got on the plane. I've read hundreds of horror stories about Brazil yet I lived there for over a year without a single problem.

There are lots of articles about how to stay safe when traveling , but what should you do if you actually get attacked?

Don't panic!

The first thing you need to do is report it to the police. You'll need a Crime Reference Number to claim on your insurance. If you're traveling with Worldpackers , your host will know the nearest police station and be able to help you with any translation issues.

Once that's done it's time to deal with the emotional side. After I was attacked in Chile I became quite emotional. I was attacked after leaving a bar, beaten up and robbed. For days afterwards I didn't want to leave the hostel and I was suspicious of everyone in the street. 

I questioned myself. Why me? What did I do wrong? Was it my fault?

It wasn't my fault. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It took me a while to accept it, but it wasn't my fault. It wasn't personal. They didn't know me. I was just a random tourist to target. Once I accepted that it was just business for them I felt a weight lift from my shoulders. That may seem silly, but it's an important emotional shift to make.

You're allowed to feel anger, rage and frustration, but you have to learn to let it go. They're destructive emotions. The majority of the world are awesome people. Don't let a few idiots ruin your journey.

3. Losing your phone

Travel problems: losing your phone

This may seem like a silly one to add to a list of travel problems . Why not a camera? Laptop? Bag? Because most people do everything through their phone.

I had a phone stolen recently in Argentina . Without it I couldn't:

  • tell the time
  • top up my prepay debit card
  • find the nearest police station
  • alert my family that it had been stolen
  • access my travel e-tickets
  • cancel my contract
  • tell anybody about it because my translator was on my phone

I had to use the public computer in the hostel, which then caused all kinds of security alerts with my online accounts. Logging in from a foreign computer usually requires answering additional security questions, and then they helpfully offer to text a code to your phone.

Not helpful when the phone is lost!

Make sure you:

  • know all your passwords
  • update all your account details before leaving
  • have a backup email address to receive those annoying security codes

This is one of the more common travel problems as mobile phones are big business all over the world. Your shiny new iPhone could be a year's worth of wages for a local. 

The solution is to use common sense and not wave it around in public. As with all valuables, keep them out of plain sight and, wherever possible, on your person or locked in a safe.

4. Getting sick

Travel problems: getting sick

Sickness comes in many forms when you're traveling .

  • Travel sickness

Travel sickness is caused when signals from your inner ear don't match up with your visual signals. For some people it happens every time they travel. Others only suffer on certain types of transport. I used to hate buses. The smell of the engine and the rocking motion would cause me to hold my breath. This was a problem for any trip longer than 30 seconds.

If you don't have travel sickness medication then there are a few things you can try. First I would try and limit the stimulation. Looking out the window at the passing buildings made me worse, so I would focus on the chair in front and focus on my breathing.

For other people the opposite is true. Distract yourself and take your mind off the feeling, either via conversation, music, counting things out the window, etc. Replace the sensory malfunction with another sensory input.

If you can get access to fresh air and a drink of water then hopefully you can calm the feeling and focus on other happier thoughts.

This is one of the lesser travel problems. While many people use jet lag just to mean tired, it is an actual condition. It's caused when your natural body clock gets out of sync after crossing time zones. Your body still thinks it's one time but the world is operating at a different time.

When I flew to Australia I was woken at 2am by the flight attendant with my dinner. A Thai green curry at 2 o'clock in the morning might sound great after a night of partying, but not when you're stuck on a plane. For the flight staff it was the normal dinner time, but my digestive system didn't agree.

Symptoms of jet lag can include tiredness or restlessness and an inability to sleep. There are a few different approaches to getting over it. You can either try and sleep it off, but this could mean missing time at the start of your trip. I prefer exercise. When you get to your destination try and be as active as possible.

Go out, walk a lot, get lots of fresh air. I don't recommend alcohol as this can mess with your body clock even more. If you arrive in the middle of the night and can't walk around, relax. Meditate, read a book or something which doesn't involve lots of stimulation.

  • Insect bites

While some bites can just be itchy or a slight annoyance, others can be quite dangerous. If you're going to a place where mosquitoes or other bugs are known to bite, wrap up. Better than any repellant is a layer of clothing. If you do get bitten try not to scratch. Easier said than done, but this can lead to worse problems.

I am a magnet for biting insects, from fire ants in Costa Rica to mbutu in Paraguay to mosquitoes anywhere in the world. When I step off the plane, it's insect party time. I always carry a good, non-toxic repellant plus some essential oils to treat the itching for when I do get bitten.

It's also important to know the active times for the insects. They vary around the world so get local advice, but most mosquitoes are active from dusk and dawn. Try to avoid being out at these times. If you are, make sure you're covered up or wearing a good repellant.

If you get bitten and start to feel sick, seek medical advice immediately.

Even if it's cloudy, wear protector! Check the weather conditions before you travel and especially the UV levels. A cloudy sky can still produce dangerous levels of UV, and that's what does the real damage.

Apply 30 minutes before going out and then every two hours afterwards. If you're swimming or sweating then go crazy and do it every hour. The saying "less is more" does NOT apply to suncream!

The effects of sunburn can be horrendous. I was unable to walk for two days after thinking I was safe on a cloudy day. It felt like I'd been hit by a car... it was absolute agony for 48 hours.

If you have access to aloe vera, use it! It works miracles for sunburn. If you don't have any then keep the burn cool without applying ice directly. Or even better yet, don't get sunburn! Prevention is much less painful than treatment. Sunburn is one of the travel problems with lasting effects so try and avoid it at all costs.

Now that you know how to protect yourself, here are 15 summer travel ideas .

  • Food poisoning

Food poisoning is a travel problem that can strike at any moment. Symptoms can include nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting or diarrhea. If it's bad then it can hit you within hours of eating or drinking the contaminated thing. Anti-diarrhea tablets can be a lifesaver... literally.

Before traveling anywhere I always pack toilet paper. I consider it almost as important as my passport. That may sound dramatic but I've been in some sticky situations before. If you develop food poisoning then you'll understand.

While I mentioned diarrhea tablets earlier I only use them as a last resort. This is your bodies way of clearing the contaminate from your body. Let the body clean itself. This may mean a day or two by the toilet, but at least you'll be clear afterwards.

Drink plenty of fluids but avoid dairy and alcohol. Once you start to feel a little better then start with soups or broths and build back up to solid foods.

5. Not speaking the language

Travel problems: not speaking the language

This is a travel problem I've lived with for years. 

Not being able to communicate with the people around you can lead to all kinds of emotions:

  • Loneliness (see below)
  • Frustration
  • Determination
  • Encouragement

Hopefully you noticed how that list went from negative to positive. 

While being unable to speak the local language can cause lots of negative emotions, it can also be the catalyst to greatness .

Body language, sign language, gestures and smiles. They are all powerful ways to communicate. Use every single one of them. If you're afraid of speaking new languages abroad , don't shy away from meeting new people because you don't know words. Use these other forms of communication as an ice-breaker.

Study languages as much as you can before you travel. It's an incredible form of respect that will be appreciated worldwide if you make the effort. Even if it's just a few words or phrases it will help. There are hundreds of apps, guides and language programs you can try.

The best way to learn a language while traveling ? Speak. It can be slow, painful or lead to lots of laughter. It all depends on what attitude you approach it with. While some languages are much harder to grasp than others, a lack of words is a travel problem with an easy solution.

6. Loneliness

Travel problems: loneliness

Loneliness is not one of the travel problems which affects everyone, but when it strikes it can be the worst problem imaginable.

There's no single trigger. It doesn't just affect people who suffer from depression or emotional people. 

No matter how strong or independent you are, loneliness can set in and ruin your trip .

It's important to be aware of your feelings. A sudden change in circumstances can really change your attitude to traveling. If things start going wrong and you don't address them then they can spiral out of control.

Being apart from loved ones for an extended period of time is the classic reason, but it can also be as simple as missing a birthday or having nobody to share a special moment with. These small things can add up and really weigh on your mind.

If it gets to a certain level you could be tempted to cancel your trip and go back to your previous life. Traveling asks you to step out of your out of your comfort zone and, without enough positive reinforcement, it can become overwhelming.

There's no easy cure for loneliness. Humans are sociable creatures by design so the easiest solution is to reach out. The saying " You're never alone when you're traveling " is mostly true. Unless you're way out in the wild then chances are you'll be able to speak to somebody.

Speak to your Worldpackers host or other travelers . 

I'm not saying pour your heart out or cry on their shoulder, but you can if it helps. Depending on your emotional state it may only require a smile, hug or a beer with like-minded people.

If that doesn't help then contact the Worldpackers support team . They're all experienced travelers who've lived the travel life. They've all experienced these travel problems and can offer assurance and support. When you're traveling with Worldpackers experiences , you're NEVER alone.

7. Running out of money

Travel problems: running out of money

This can be a major problem which you'll definitely want to avoid.

Unexpected things do happen though. Things break, unexpected charges come up, plans change and emergencies happen. It's impossible to account for every eventuality. 

Before you travel research the country you're visiting . You want to have an idea of the general cost of living so you can budget properly . 

Save as much money as possible, and always try and have an emergency fund which you don't touch. This can be a credit card or savings account. It should have enough money in for a return flight — that's the last resort should an emergency happen and you need to return home.

Traveling can be expensive so make sure you read about how to save money while traveling , and it's also worth thinking about making money while you travel. 

Unless you have a huge amount of money saved up or you've mastered how to travel on a budget , it can disappear quite quickly. The Worldpackers Academy  has some great material about creative ways to make money while you travel.

If you're a traveller on a budget, check out our travel hacking tips.

8. Missing a flight

Travel problems: missing a flight

This all depends on whose fault it was — yours or the airline.

If it's your fault, there's very little that can be done. 99% of the time this is one of the travel problems with a simple solution. Always arrive in plenty of time. If you think there's even a possibility you won't make it then check the rescheduling rules for your ticket. If you do miss the flight and it was all your own fault then it's time to beg.

Airlines have no obligation to help you if it was your fault . 

All you can do is explain to the staff in a calm, reasonable manner what happened. Don't shout at them. As emotional as you may be, it wasn't their fault. They're just doing their job, so don't be rude to the airline staff.

If you can get on the next flight, all good. If not, and you may not be able to fly for a while, it's time to start thinking about the additional things you've booked. Are you going straight to a Worldpackers host? If so, message them and make them aware of the situation. If you have an Airbnb, hostel or tour, do the same. Don't let the missed flight snowball and ruin everything.

If it wasn't your fault you missed the flight, now you have options . 

Different countries have different rules. Speak to the airline staff and, once again, be calm and reasonable. Some airlines will offer compensation, a free hotel or a free upgrade. It all depends on the individual situation.

I missed a flight transfer in Panama and ended up with a free stay in a 5-Star Hilton Hotel. Admittedly it was only for 5 hours, but it was a nice surprise.

A missed flight isn't the end of the world. Take it as a travel lesson to learn from.

Keep reading:   The most helpful 26 tips for first time travelers

9. Baggage not arriving

Travel problems: baggage not arriving

This is one of those infuriating surprise travel problems . You check your bags in, get the boarding pass, enjoy the flight and then your bags don't arrive with you.

This happened to me and I was devastated! Luckily it happened on the return trip so I could just go home and wait for the bags to arrive. They eventually did three days later. If it happens on the outbound flight it's a different story.

According to AirfaireWatchdog , "On average, airlines lose around two bags for every 1,000 passengers, and that includes bags that are temporarily misplaced."

That's a disturbingly high number. Certain airlines are better than others so do some research before booking your flight. Even with all the research in the world it's still possible to be the unlucky one. There's absolutely no way to predict it.

While you can't predict the future, you can be prepared . 

Take a change of clothes in your carry-on luggage. I also always carry my toiletries bag with me. This way if my big rucksack goes missing I have something to change into and a way to freshen up.

It's a huge inconvenience, but you can survive.

If your bags don't arrive be sure to speak with the airline staff and find out the procedure. You may have to phone them or they call you. 

Some airlines deliver misplaced bags to your hostel while others need you to go and collect it. Before you leave the airport make sure you know the exact procedure, they have your details and you have theirs.

10. Breaking up with a partner

Travel problems: breaking up with a partner

A  common travel problem  is the breakdown of relationships. As we mentioned before, travel takes you out of your comfort zone. This can lead to stress and frustration. If you're traveling with a partner this can be magnified.

It doesn't matter if it's a girlfriend, boyfriend, best friend or family member, disagreements happen. When you're living in each other's pockets 24/7 there are more opportunities for these disagreements to happen. 

The anticipation of traveling is an incredible time. Whoever you're going with, it's an exciting time to plan, look at photos, make bucket lists and fantasize about the incredible adventures to come. The reality can be quite different as you discover hidden personality traits and different approaches to problem-solving.

My advice for traveling with a partner is to be honest and to compromise, but don't compromise your happiness . 

If you really want to do something or go somewhere and the other doesn't, talk about it. The breakdown of most relationships occurs when there's a lack of communication. 

It may not work for all travel partners but don't be afraid to separate and meet again a few days, weeks or months later. That short break could be the spark you need to rekindle the fire. For romantic partners I recommend brutal honesty. The second a problem arises, talk about it. Don't let anything fester.

Read my guide to couple travel for more detailed information about taking your relationship on the road.

That concludes my list of the most common travel problems and ways to avoid them. 

Every problem has a solution. If you travel for long enough you'll experience all 10 of these and more. Does that mean you should avoid traveling to avoid these problems? Absolutely not!

The benefits of travel far outweigh the negatives. Once you've had these experiences you'll be better equipped to handle whatever life throws at you, either on the road or back at home.

These 'problems' will make you stronger, more resourceful and much more resilient .

Happy travels!

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Adam Fraiel

NomadicVA.com

Author, digital nomad, copywriter, virtual assistant and travel blogger - I love telling stories, sharing experiences and helping others achieve their dreams.

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Jun 08, 2022

I just read your article. I hope i can get some advice from you. I am not a travel writer. I just wrote an article about my travel experience with a popular airport and what i went thru. I don't know where to send the article and this is my 1st time writing such an article.

Jun 11, 2022

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10 Annoying Travel Problems and Their Solutions

by Raquel Thoesen - Last updated on January 18, 2022

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  • Before You Go

It’s been a glorious day exploring Thailand’s ancient temple ruins. You arrive at your hotel room with a phone full of pictures and rich stories that will live on forever. But when you finish emptying your day bag, something isn’t there.

Your passport is gone and in its place is one of a traveler’s worst nightmares and biggest travel problems.

person sliding their passport into a pocket

Don’t lose your passport. We repeat: DON’T LOSE YOUR PASSPORT.

With just a bag or two in tow and (sometimes) cultural and linguistic barriers, issues that pop up while traveling overseas can often seem magnitudes worse than if they were to happen at home. And when you travel to unwind, grow, learn, or tackle new adventures, these little snafus are the last things we want to get in our way.

As Albert Einstein once said, “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.” So in the spirit of a literal Einstein, let’s get familiar with some of the most common travel problems and how to solve them (or better yet, avoid them).

Is there a way to avoid annoying travel problems?

The unpredictability of travel lends to its charm and feeling of adventure. If a sprinkle of risk is an absolute no-go, we’d all be taking ultra-planned river cruises with our grandparents. Yet however thrilling unpredictability is, annoying travel problems are never welcome.

The best way to avoid most inconvenient headaches when out and about around the world is to overplan and prep before you even leave home. While you can’t foresee what will happen, you can at least have a backup plan or course of action lined up if you do find yourself in a pickle.

Familiarize yourself with a destination’s transportation system, the area around your accommodations, and what you’re able to buy in stores abroad—for example—all before arriving. Triple checking the ol’ packing list doesn’t hurt either .

10 common travel problems and how to deal with it

So, what kinds of bumps may pop up unexpectedly throughout your travels? Let’s dive in.

person sitting on a pink suitcase in an airport

Is there a worse headache than the one caused by lost luggage?

1. Canceled, delayed, or unreliable transportation

No matter where you travel in the world, transportation will never be perfect—except maybe in Japan where trains’ annual average delay is mere seconds. From missed transfers to routes that have temporarily changed with a note posted in a language you don’t understand, there are tons of ways transportation issues can botch your journey.

  • How to solve it: Transportation snags are largely out of your own hands, so avoiding them may not always be possible. Instead, the best way to minimize the impact is to seek out alternative routes to arrive at a destination just in case. Familiarize yourself with all possible options like a bus vs train, and what to do if your plans get altered. Knowing who to contact about a canceled train beforehand, for example, will help you act quicker and be less stressed if faced with that situation.

2. Forgotten can’t-live-without items

You’re settling into a hotel room after a whole day of flying and fighting jet lag only to find that your retainer didn’t make it into your suitcase. Now that you think of it, it’s still lying at home on the bathroom counter.

Universal items like toothbrushes or clothes are easy to replace wherever you go at the drop of a hat. However, personalized life companions like prescription meds, eyewear, or a phone charger with a specific voltage may not be readily available in your destination.

  • How to solve it: This may go without saying, yet it’s not always a rule of thumb that travelers follow: Create a packing list and double check before leaving! Yes, that means start writing down your absolute essentials days or even weeks before your departure to make sure you account for everything. Leaving it all to your memory in a last minute packing spree won’t do you any favors.

3. Currency exchange

stack of silver coins on colorful bills

Do yourself a favor and have a bit of the local currency with you before you arrive abroad.

Exchanging currency has gotten so much easier over the past few years (good riddance, traveler’s cheques!). However, each country and region still has its own process for exchanging currency, so bringing a wad of cash with you and crossing fingers that it will all work out may not be your best bet. In some areas, traveling with that much cash on hand may raise safety concerns as well.

  • How to solve it: Check in with your home bank to see what your options are for your target destination. In some cases, you can easily access an ATM with a debit card abroad for minimal fees. Some banks will also exchange money for you before you leave if you request it ahead of time, so you have a bit of cash on hand to navigate the first few days on a trip.

READ MORE: Is it Better to Travel with Cash or Card?

4. figuring out where and when to get food and water.

To be clear, you should definitely have access to drinking water and food anywhere you go! This common travel problem refers specifically to whether you can drink the tap water and what food sources you’re advised to avoid. Free drinking water also isn’t as widespread around the world as it is in the United States, especially in water-scarce regions.

  • How to solve it: If you’re participating in an organized travel program like study abroad or a language school abroad , you’ll have great resources available already to ask about safe food and water sources. Your accommodations, such as a hotel or host family, can also give the skinny on whether street food is a yay or nay and if the tap is trusted. When in doubt (say you’re super off the grid), just stick to prepackaged food and beverages.

5. Knowing local emergency protocol

Knowing to dial 911 in an emergency is a no-brainer home, but what if you find yourself in need of help abroad ? Also, who do you contact if you are victim to a crime, lost valuables, or are hurt? While traveling is usually a positive adventure for most, these annoying travel problems can happen. And the last thing you need in an emergency is to feel lost and alone.

  • How to solve it: Of course, you should definitely acquaint yourself with the local emergency phone numbers. If there is a language barrier and no one that can help translate, another great option is to know the contact for your embassy or consulate in your country of stay. Your embassy can act as a liaison between you and local authorities, as well as help you access medical care among other services.

6. Luggage weight limits

common travel problems

Don’t overpack, otherwise you might be stuck paying extra baggage fees.

Weight restrictions are a big limiting factor when traveling by air. But honestly, who can blame you for wanting to bring back an entire new wardrobe from Italy? If you’re hopping around to multiple destinations, e.g. adventure travel or a gap year , schlepping 100 lbs. of stuff around with you isn’t exactly ideal either.

  • How to solve it: Ah, the internet. It provides so many wonderfully helpful free resources for how to pack light. Versatility is the way to go with clothes, but also think of multipurpose shoes, as multiple pairs of footwear can really add on the pounds. Another great packing hack is to bring a single suitcase with an empty duffle bag inside so you are armed and ready to bring back all the new goodies you buy abroad.

7. Gaps between check-out and check-in times

You’ve got a train to catch to your next location in the afternoon, where the check-in time is hours later, but you need to check out of a short term rental by 11:00 a.m. That leaves a few hours during which you’re on your own with bulky luggage and nowhere to go. Frequent travelers are likely quite familiar with these awkward gaps between check-out and check-in times.

  • How to solve it: Accommodation hosts can be quite flexible when there isn’t another guest immediately arriving the same day, so see if you can get a check-out extension. Other great options are to ask about luggage storage at your accommodation (usually available at no additional cost) or even at bus and train stations.

READ MORE: Choosing the Right Travel Accommodations

8. packing for multiple climates.

Whether you’re staying put for a semester or year, or have multiple locations bundled up into one trip, you’ll likely face a range of climates. While keeping clothes for more than one season at a time in a single closet is already a struggle back home, this only gets all the trickier when you have to whittle that down to a few tops, bottoms, and shoes.

  • How to solve it: Start a packing list with your bare essentials that you’ll need in any season or climate zone. Then, think about how you can get the most functionality out of the items remaining. Packing gurus typically advise travelers to lean on layers, so you can get full use out of each and every item.

9. Language barriers

person using google on a laptop in a cafe

Nowadays, it can be a little easier to find your way around language barriers.

Even though technology has evolved to the point of instant translation on a phone (admittedly, the translation isn’t always perfect), language barriers are still prevalent. Walk into a restaurant and sit down to order, then WHOOSH—you’ve never wanted pictures on a menu more badly in your whole life. The server comes over to ask something and BAM—maybe you aren’t so hungry after all...

  • How to solve it: With simple Google Translate and other apps , you can overcome some of the most common travel problems with understanding signs and written text. When it comes to spoken language, having a travel program, host family, local friend, or even buddy who’s studied the local language more than you will certainly be helpful.

10. Locals who only want to speak English

On the flip side of traveling on a lonely English-speaking island, there are the language enthusiasts who have diligently studied the language of their destination for years. But, uh-oh, someone you proudly ask a question to senses an accent or maybe a grammar mistake. That’s it, they answer in English and now there’s no going back.

  • How to solve it: Practice makes perfect with learning new languages, but every so often you’ll come across the stubborn English-enthusiast who just wants to save you the trouble of speaking their native tongue. They mean well, but it’s not doing your fluency any favors by switching to English. If you do get a reply in English, stay firm and keep going in the original language. That way, the person will understand that you know more than they thought and you’re comfortable sans English.

If you’re ready to go abroad, our FREE Online Advisor will send you 5 personalized travel program matches

Don’t worry—you can learn how to handle the biggest travel problems.

For first time travelers , the possibility of meeting with common travel problems can be overwhelming. But once you become a seasoned globetrotter, you’ll know how to dodge issues and solve them like a pro. And who said you have to go at it alone?

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Independent Travel Cats

Savvy Travel Advice

12 Reasons Travel Can Be Stressful & Tips for Reducing Travel Stress

Last updated: March 26, 2019 - Written by Jessica Norah 98 Comments

Many people travel as a way to relieve stress, but for some people travel can also induce travel stress. Travel stress is a feeling of mental strain and pressure related to traveling. Although travel has a number of positive aspects and benefits, travel stress can lead to people having a negative vacation experience.

A reader on my blog recently wanted to know “Why is travel stressful?”. So I spent some time researching and thinking about this question.

In this post we present a number of common reasons that you might be finding travel to be stressful. These include feeling overwhelmed with travel planning, air travel experiences, concerns about the safety of a destination, difficulty handling unexpected events, financial strain, and having unrealistic expectations.

Then we discuss a number of ways that you might prevent or reduce travel stress for each travel stressor. Our tips for reducing travel stress are based on research, a background in psychology, and our own personal travel experiences. 

travel stress tips travel anxiety travel psychology

Table of Contents:

Is Travel Stressful? 

This depends. Research tells us that travel has both positive and negative aspects, and while most research and reports have focused on the positive, travel can also sometimes be stressful. Most people probably experience some level of stress both before and during any trip, but overall have a positive experience. 

We all know that travel can have a lot of positive aspects! We can learn new things, take time to relax, increase cultural awareness, spend more quality time with our travel partners, have new experiences, volunteer to do good for others, make positive family memories, etc.

In relation to stress and health, research has shown that travel can indeed have a number of positive benefits such as relaxation, detachment from work, perceived boosts in health and wellness, and feeling higher levels of personal control and mastery ( Chen & Petrick, 2013 ; Chen, Petrick, & Shahvali, 2016 ). Some of these benefits have also been found to lead to higher rated life satisfaction in people following a trip.  

But for some travel can be a stressful experience (e.g., Crotts & Zehrer, 2012 , Harvard Business Review article, 2014 ), and many people report that some aspects of travel are stressful to them.

Research has found that the most common stressful travel experiences  were actually related to pre-travel issues and planning such as financial concerns, packing, making travel arrangements, and developing the itinerary. But some also have stressful experiences during the trip such as coping with weather conditions, traffic jams, flight delays, conflict with travel partners, and transportation. Those who report a travel experience as stressful are much less likely to benefit from the potential positive effects from their trip.

It is unfortunate that someone may travel to get a break from a stressful situation at work or home, but then find travel to also be a stressful experience. The good news, however, is that  in many cases, there are ways to prevent or reduce the stressors. But the first step is to identify the factors that are contributing to your travel stress, and then find ways to combat them. 

travel stress travel anxiety travel psychology

12 Factors that Can Contribute to Travel Stress 

Here are 12 factors that can contribute to travel stress. We explore each travel stressor and then give some expert tips on how to prevent and reduce stress related to each factor. 

1. Financial Concerns

Financial related problems are one of the most stressful issues, and they affect our relationships, our work, and even our health. Money also plays a big role in travel as it can limit where we go, how we get there, where we stay, and what we can do once we get there.

Travel can be expensive and although there are lots of ways to save money on travel, travel is a big expense for most people. This extra spending can put a strain on a person’s finances and lead to extra stress.

Most people have worked hard to save up money for a trip and therefore feel they need to maximize every dollar which can also be stressful . Worrying about the costs associated with the vacation makes it difficult to enjoy the experience, and things are often even worse once you come home and have to pay the bills.

If you think you are alone, be assured that financial worries are a fact of life for most people. The key to reducing the financial related stress is to figure out what you feel comfortable spending and then stick to a general budget for your trip. Plan the kind of trip you want within your financial limits.

Remember the most positive aspects of travel are often the relaxation, the experiences, and the memories, not the destination or fancy hotels.

Ways to Reduce Travel Stress related to Financial Concerns:  

  • Check your finances and make a realistic budget. It doesn’t have to be complex, just something simple so you know how much you feel comfortable spending and how that might be budgeted across your trip. 
  • Book a trip you can afford! If your account balance says $500 and the trip your family wants to take to Disney World costs $2,500, think about an alternative or wait until you have the money saved. If you need to save, set up a weekly or monthly savings plan.
  • If you feel comfortable, discuss the budget and any financial pressure you feel with your travel partners. They may not be aware of the finances and if they know, they can hopefully be supportive and help keep the trip on budget.
  • Book you travel in advance (plane tickets, hotels, trains, etc.). First, this will often save you money and will help you better anticipate your travel costs. Research also finds that people feel less stressed about the cost if they book at least a month in advance (likely due to the passing of time). 
  • Do some research to make the most of your travel money. Compare prices before booking, check for discount city passes, look for deals and coupons, etc.
  • Remember travel is not a contest. Don’t feel pressured by others or caught up in social media posts. Just because your neighbors can afford to go on a private East African luxury safari trip doesn’t mean you have to keep up with them. If that is not within your budget, find fun places you can afford. 
  • Travel experiences can be priceless and are worth investing in, so while you should budget, try not to worry about how you spend every dollar. Sometimes it is OK for a little splurge here and there!

travel stress financial concerns travel costs

2. Thinking that Travel Will Solve Your Problems

Travel has lots of positives associated with it, but it won’t fix the problems in your life. For many people travel is a form of escapism, and some think that if only they can go away for a while, it will solve X problem or make X better. Unfortunately most problems can’t be fixed by travel, although it can be a good way to get a respite from them.

If you think that taking a big trip will help your psychological problems, career issues, or relationship difficulties, you’ll likely feel pretty disappointed when you return home to find that all the same issues are still there. It’s a bit like getting married to “fix” a bad relationship, you may have a brief honeymoon period, but then everything will likely be the same as it was before the wedding.

Some people travel to “find themselves”, “find a purpose”, or be changed through some mysterious process. You are unlikely to “find yourself” and come back a different person as films like Eat, Pray, Love or Under the Tuscan Sun might have us believe.

But do let us know if you do find inner peace, true love, and the answer to the universe out there! Travel can help shift our perspectives and we can learn a lot from it, but it won’t make you a different person or unlock mysterious truths.

Will traveling indefinitely fix it? What if you never returned to your house, job, or family? We haven’t tried this personally, but there are many digital nomads who have found that you simply carry the same issues with you as you go, regardless of the location. You can run from a place, but not from yourself or your thoughts.

Ways to Reduce Travel Stress related to Thinking Travel will Solve Problems:  

  • Adjust your expectations for travel. Travel can be transformative but it is not going to make you into a different person or help fix your problems. It can be a good way to get away from your daily routine to think and get clarity, but you still need to work on your problems if you want to actually change them. 
  • Enjoy the travel experience for what it can provide. It may not fix troubled marriages or empty bank accounts, but it can still have a lot of positive benefits!
  • If you find yourself planning and taking trips to escape problems at home, try reallocating some of that time and resources into identifying and working on those problems. Travel is a whole lot more enjoyable when we don’t have lots of troubles waiting for us back home!
  • Understand what problems you have in your life and what is causing them. Think about ways you might be able to change them, and the steps you need to take to make those changes.
  • Consider professional help. If you are having psychological issues or serious relationship issues, I’d consider seeking out counseling or a psychologist. For financial or legal issues, consider getting advice from a legitimate source.
  • Not all problems can be solved. An ailing elderly parent, a divorce, a death, a terminal illness. In these cases, while you can’t solve the issue, seeking additional help and support may help you find additional ways to cope.
  • Change won’t happen unless you are receptive to it and willing to change.

3. Planning Travel

The most stressful part of travel for most people actually begins before the trip, it is the trip planning stage. This includes doing travel research, making travel arrangements, making an itinerary, and packing. It is also when people often begin to have financial concerns related to the trip. 

I think most people, even veteran travelers like ourselves, have stress over the planning. It just involves so many aspects that it can feel overwhelming, from coordinating things at work to booking hotels to packing. It can be especially stressful when you are planning an independent trip where you are trying to research places and plan an itinerary for a destination you’ve never visited before.

The easiest way to make the process less stressful is to approach it in parts and stages rather than being overwhelmed by all the things you need to do at once. Make a checklist and then slowly work your way through it, starting with the most urgent and leaving the rest for later. Enlist any fellow travel companions to help so you can divide up the tasks. 

If you do not feel you have the time, knowledge, or interest in planning a big trip, considering paying a professional travel agent and/or travel planning service to help do some of it for you.

Also remember you don’t have to plan every last detail! You want to be flexible and have plenty of free time as well. More laid back people may want to just plan the big things (e.g., dates, flights, hotels for the first part of the trip) and leave the rest to decide along the way. It really depends on how you like to travel.

Ways to Reduce Travel Stress related to Travel Planning:  

  • Be organized. Set aside some dedicated time to work on travel planning. You also might want to dedicate a special notebook and/or computer folder to keep documents and notes together.
  • Make a checklist with all the things you need to do before your trip (e.g., complete a report at work, order visa photos , apply for a visa, book flights and hotels, order a guidebook, make a general itinerary, book tour to X, get someone to check on the cats, get new prescriptions, have mail held, pack, etc.). Sometimes just writing or typing it all out makes people feel less anxiety.
  • Break down what you need to do into actionable steps with a realistic timeline (e..g, Monday I am going to book the flights and start researching hotels in San Diego, Tuesday I am going to book the hotels and call the neighbor to check on the cats and plants while we are away, etc.)
  • Ask any travel partners to help you so you are not doing all the planning yourself. 
  • Start the planning process as early as you can so you have more time. Last minute planning often leads to more stress and a more negative experience. 
  • Invest in a good travel guidebook (paper or digital) as it will have all the essential information that you need in one handy place to help you plan and learn more about that destination. Get one that has been recently edited/updated. Then you can supplement that with online research, friends’ reports, and travel blog information.
  • If you find the planning really stressful and frustrating, enlist the aid of a professional travel planning service or travel agent. Find a service or person who is knowledgeable about where you want to go and have them help you book everything and/or help you plan out a suggested itinerary.
  • If you really hate travel planning and don’t want to pay for outside help, consider a vacation that requires little planning like a guided tour or a cruise. Or consider vacationing in a place you already know well. 
  • Remember you don’t have to plan out the entire trip from start to finish! If you are a more laid back person,  do the main bits and you can figure out the rest once you are on the trip. 

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4. Unrealistic Expectations

Many people daydream about their upcoming vacations, thinking about how wonderful and amazing everything will be once they get to a certain destination. This is a healthy form of escapism. The anticipation of travel can have positive benefits, perhaps even more so than the travel itself!

However, if our expectations are too high, they are going to be tough to meet. Unfortunately, few vacations or destinations can live up to the idealized experience promoted by the tourism boards, the glamorized Instagram photos, the glowing travel reports that highlight only the positive aspects of a place, or the unrealistic expectations we have in our mind.

If a place doesn’t live up to travelers’ high expectations, travelers may feel disappointed, upset, mislead, or like they “missed something”. This can lead to a stressful trip and a negative overall experience.

That is not to say that your vacation won’t be an amazing experience or that you should have low expectations, but I think like any other experience, it will likely have its flaws and negative moments. For example, a destination may not be as romantic as you imagined, your kids may not enjoy a park as much as you expected, or the hotel you booked may be less nice than pictured online. Just be prepared that these sorts of things happen and try to let the destination speak for itself.

Ways to Reduce Travel Stress related to Unrealistic Expectations:  

  • Go ahead and daydream away, but don’t expect a destination or trip to be perfect. 
  • Expect there to be negative aspects to any trip and destination. 
  • Be flexible while traveling, and don’t let any of the flaws or speed bumps get in the way of enjoying all the positive aspects of a trip. Focus on the positive experiences and enjoy them!

5. Safety Concerns

Many people worry about the safety of certain destinations, especially if that destination has experienced recent terrorist activity, tourist kidnappings, shootings, unrest, or armed conflicts. But sometimes a place just makes someone uneasy for other reasons. Feeling unsafe is definitely something that is going to cause travel anxiety.

There are always a few unstable places in the world where true danger and risk lurk, and both travel security warnings and common sense tell us not to travel there. However in some cases, people’s fears are irrational and are not proportional to the actual statistical chances of being harmed. You are much more likely to get into an automobile accident or drown than be harmed or killed in a plane crash or terrorist attack. 

Do your own research to make your decision about traveling to the destination. Check out travel advisories and recent traveler reports. Is the safety risk just limited to a city or region, or is it country wide? Have tourists been threatened, kidnapped, robbed, harassed, or harmed in the area? Are there ways to help protect yourself from these threats (e.g, avoiding certain areas, not carrying valuables)?

In the end, you’ll need to trust your judgement and your gut instinct here. No place is ever completely safe (e.g., we were in London during a terrorist attack last year), and you have to do what feels right to you. 

Note that just because a fear is exaggerated or irrational, doesn’t mean these fears should be discounted or ignored. If you and/or your travel partner(s) are genuinely concerned about a place, I would recommend choosing another destination. If you go, two things could happen: a) you end up getting there and realizing it is not as bad as you thought and feeling safe, OR b) you could spend your whole trip worried and anxious. This is your holiday, and you don’t want to risk spending you trip being worried or traveling with someone who is feeling that way.

Don’t feel pressured by others to a visit a place you feel uncomfortable going. However, at the same time, don’t let fear keep you from traveling all together! 

In the unlikely event that something does happen when you are traveling, it can be helpful to know who you should contact and also it might just make you feel better. If there is an emergency while you are traveling, get to a safe place and call your home country’s local consulate and seek their advice in what you can do.

If are the victim of a crime while traveling, get to safety, seek any needed medical treatment, and contact the local law enforcement. Call the consulate for assistance as they can help you contact law enforcement and legal services and help you navigate the local criminal justice system. If you don’t understand what is happening, request for the presence of an interpreter and for important documents to be translated into your native language.

Ways to Reduce Travel Stress related to Safety Concerns:  

  • Look up the latest travel alerts, safety warnings, and travel advice. For instance the United Stated Department of State issues regularly updated country specific advisories here , and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has regularly updated advisories and advice for each country here . 
  • Search for recent news (e.g., search headlines online) and travel reports (e.g., blogs, message boards) of people who have recently traveled in the destination. Try to evaluate how reliable the source is (e.g., a journalist based in the destination versus a blogger who visited for 3 days).
  • If a valid risk does seem to be present, find out if it covers the whole country or is isolated to one particular city or area. Is the risk of a perceived threat low or high?
  • After learning what you can, self-assess how you feel and ask how your travel partner(s) feels. Do you feel it is risky? Do you feel safe traveling there?  Be honest and let that help you decide. 
  • Make use of safety tactics like being aware of your surroundings, telling people where you are going each day, making copies of all your travel documents, keeping your money and credit cards in more than once place, keep some valuables in something like a travel belt , scarf , or travel pocket , etc.
  • If you are going somewhere considered a more high risk destination, make sure that the destination is covered by your travel insurance and know if the destination has a consulate or foreign office there if you would need assistance. Note down the contact information.
  • Know who you should contact in the unlikely event that something (e.g., terrorist act, robbery, sexual assault) does happen while you are traveling.
  • Some safety concerns are normal and healthy, but if you are feeling genuinely fearful or anxious, I’d choose an alternative destination. You don’t want to spend your vacation being weary and fearful of being robbed or shot! Also remember the destination will still be there next year if you decide to go elsewhere this year.
  • Don’t let fear keep you from traveling! It is perfectly fine to avoid some places, but don’t let it keep you at home. Even if you decide on a local trip, that’s fine, just don’t let it keep you from enjoying your hard-earned vacation time in whatever ways feels best to you.

6. Juggling the Needs & Expectations of Travel Companions

If you are traveling solo, you have only yourself to really consider when planning your trip and traveling. But if you are traveling with a spouse, romantic partner, children, parents, friends, etc., you also have to consider their needs and expectations. This can often be a stressful experience for people, especially if travelers don’t agree on everything. The more people, the more stressful it can be. 

Everyone has different needs, preferences, and expectations related to travel. The first thing to do is to get an understanding of what each person’s thoughts are about an ideal vacation.

Is it lying on a beach sipping a tropical drink? Is it exploring museums and cultural attractions in a big city? Is it completing a multi-day hiking trail? Is it riding roller coasters and sky diving? Is it just staying at home and watching a TV marathon? Imagine you were traveling with 5 other people and you got back the five above responses for the same trip, you might feel a little stressed!

To reduce stress, share the travel planning and decisions with your travel companions, it should not be left to just one person. Each person should have a voice, including kids. Take a vote on the destination and try to fit in at least one “priority” experience for each person into the itinerary.

Unless you and your travel companion(s) all share the same likes and dislikes, everyone will likely have to make some compromises. For instance, Laurence visits a historic site with me and then we go sit on top of some building to watch the sunset because that is what he wants to do. But travelers should also not be afraid to split up, I often explore museums without Laurence and he often goes hiking up mountains without me.

Ways to Reduce Travel Stress related to Juggling the Needs of Travel Companions:  

  • Ask everyone what they want most out of the vacation and how they imagine a vacation. 
  • Make sure everyone has a voice and a hand in the planning. Don’t forget the kids!
  • If there is a lot of difficulty in making trip decisions, take votes or appoint a mutually agreed upon leader. 
  • Respect everyone’s needs and ways they want to spend their holiday. If your husband’s ideal vacation is to stay in the hotel room and watch sports, let him have that chance for at least one afternoon while you do something you want to do.
  • Be willing to compromise. But also don’t be afraid to split up at times from your travel companions to seek out the things you each really want to do. 
  • If conflict comes up during the trip, try to understand why the person is upset and how they are feeling. Travel stress can definitely increase the possibility that people will become angry and irritated with each other. So they may be more irritated with the cancelled train than with you but are lashing at you anyway. Try to find a healthy way to resolve the conflict. 
  • Enjoy your time together. Travel is about the experiences and memories, not necessarily the destination. You likely won’t remember that scenic viewpoint or museum a few years from now, but you might remember that special memory you shared getting spit on by a llama, completing a challenging hike, or laughing over a bottle of wine in a bistro.

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7. Not Feeling Prepared

Some travelers may be constantly worried about whether or not they are prepared enough for their trip and second guess their decisions. Did we do enough research?   Did I book the right hotel?   Did I pack the right coat?  Should I have booked a rental car instead of a bus tour? What happens if I need medical help on the trip?

Do the research you feel you need to do before the trip to be prepared, but know that you cannot be prepared for every eventuality. Also you can’t plan a “perfect trip”. Those who enjoy their trips most, believe that they booked the best possible tour/hotel/attractions/restaurants based on their means and information. Second guessing yourself may lead to anxiety and disappointment.

Try to avoid focusing on the “what ifs”, “buts” and hypothetical comparisons. You’ll never know if X tour was better than Y tour or what would have been different if you had booked a hotel instead of an apartment. Focus your thoughts and conversations elsewhere.

It might be helpful to remind yourself that you did what you could in terms of planning and preparing, and although it may not have been perfect, you want to make the most of your time and the experience! 

Ways to Reduce Travel Stress related to Not Feeling Prepared:  

  • Do the research and travel planning you can do. Ask for professional help if you need it.
  • Find a guidebook or packing list geared towards your destination to help you make sure you pack well for your trip. If you find you forgot or lost something, you can almost always buy a replacement at the airport or at the destination.
  • Try to accept the decisions and bookings you have made for your trip. If something goes really wrong (e.g., the hotel is terrible), you can almost always make changes (e.g., book a different hotel). 
  • If you find yourself making a lot of “travel mistakes”, note them and use them to be more prepared and savvy for the next trip. We all make mistakes, and smart travelers learn from them.
  • Do you have health concerns? Many people might worry about what to do if X happens. Try to alleviate this concern by visiting your doctor before you go, stocking up on prescriptions, getting recommended travel vaccines, making sure you have travel insurance that covers medical care, having emergency numbers handy, getting any recommended medical cards or bracelets, etc.
  • If you have a specific health need or concern, research medical facilities in your travel destination that could handle your issue. For example if you are  traveling with an implanted pacemaker  and are worried about what to do in the event of complications while traveling, ask the device manufacturer or your cardiologist to help you locate medical centers that could diagnose, fix, and/or replace your pacemaker device if needed. 
  • Try to think about the big picture and focus on enjoying your time away!

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8. Air Travel Stressors

Air travel is probably one of the biggest sources of travel stress for those who travel internationally by plane. First there is the airport experience. Long lines. Crowds. Enormous airports with complicated layouts. Baggage fees. Security. Unexpected issues like reservation problems, flight delays and cancellations, and overbooked flights can really turn up the stress levels.

Then comes the experience of being in the plane. Being trapped in a metal tube. Dry recycled air. Food in boxes. No legroom. Turbulence. Difficulty sleeping. Limited number of toilets. Annoying fellow passengers. Some people may have anxiety about flying, or even a phobia of flying , and might be especially anxious during the flight. 

After the flight most people are anxious to leave the airport, but there are still a few more potential stressors. Lost luggage. Customs. Currency exchange. Figuring out how to leave the airport. Sketchy taxi drivers.

There are a lot of qualities of air travel that are pretty unappealing and can induce travel stress in just about any traveler! Just the thought of long check-in lines, airport security, and long-haul flights can make people anxious. I know we always dread long-haul flights.

In many ways the general airport and plane experience is what it is, and you can’t change that. But there are things you can to do to prepare for it and lessen the amount of stress and anxiety you feel during the experience. 

Ways to Reduce Travel Stress related to Air Travel:  

  • Pinpoint the specific parts of air travel that you find stressful (e.g., long lines, flight delays, security, lack of in-flight entertainment, unhealthy meals). 
  • Try to see if you can prevent any of the parts of air travel that you find the most stressful. For example while you can’t prevent a flight delay, you can bring your own food to eat, things to do to keep yourself entertained, and you can arrive early to minimize the stress of long lines at the airport.
  • For those things you can’t change or control, try to find ways to make them as acceptable and comfortable as possible. Consider joining a travel priority program where you can have faster access through security lines, lounge access, and/or other upgrades. Bring an air pillow, eye mask, and ear plugs to help you sleep. Wear comfortable clothing and easy to slip off shoes. Bring entertainment and use relaxation techniques to keep yourself relaxed and occupied during waits and delays.  
  • Do some research on your flights, the airports, and the plane. Find out baggage allowances, recommended arrival times (e.g., 2 hours before flights), what amenities are offered on the flight, things to do in the airport, your rights if a flight is cancelled, etc. 
  • Always pack your most valuable and needed items (e.g., medications, travel documents, money, IDs, expensive gear)  in your carry-on. That way if your luggage is delayed or lost, at least you’ll have all your essentials. 
  • I f you suffer from a fear of flying, try to identify what it is about flying that you fear. For example common fears are crashing, being confined for such a long time, germs, something happening and not being able to get help, or a terrorist attack. Once you know the fear, you can research ways to get over it. There are several cognitive-behavioral and behavioral techniques out there that work for phobias. If the fear is preventing you from being able to fly, I’d consider seeking professional help. 

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9. Concerns about Things Back at Home

Some people have a hard time letting go of worries back home. Will the neighbor remember to feed the cats everyday? Who is going to take my mom to her doctor’s appointment?   Did I unplug the kitchen appliances? What if X happens at work while I am gone? What if my daughter can’t reach me?

These are all normal concerns and thoughts to have, but if they are frequent and causing worry, then they are likely to negatively impact your travel experience. It is hard to enjoy time on the beach if all you can think about is stuff back home. To alleviate some of these concerns, make a plan and checklist to address what you can before you leave.

If concerns are about people back home, set up ways to stay in contact as needed when you are gone. But you also need to be able to disconnect and limit the amount of contact back home. Find a healthy balance.

Ways to Reduce Travel Stress related to Concerns Back Home:  

  • Make a checklist of all the things you want to do before you leave. Try to make it as realistic as possible.
  • Arrange a plan with someone at home who can check on anything you are worried about leaving such as your house/pets/mail/plants, etc.
  • If security is a concern but you don’t have a security alarm system, consider setting up a security camera like the Netgear Arlo to track your home while you are gone. Most can send a feed that you can view online or over your phone. Can also be a good way to check on pets at home. 
  • If you are worried about people at home (e.g., kids, parents), ask for a regular update and set up an easy way to communicate (here is a  guide to getting online while traveling ) to help alleviate your worry. Emails or text messages are easy ways to communicate without worries about time zones or finding a specific time. If you need to talk, set up a convenient time to talk or chat, and try to limit the conversation time to avoid spending large chunks of your vacation time on the phone or computer.
  • Arrange for someone at your job to cover anything that may need to be handled during your absence. Make it clear that you don’t expect to be contacted about work matters while on vacation.
  • Try to focus on the travel experiences and enjoy yourself. You’ll be back soon enough and in the meantime, enjoy the trip and try to limit the time you spend focused on things back home.

10. Navigating Unfamiliar Experiences and Situations

If you are traveling to a new place, you will likely experience a lot of new things such as new foods, customs, currency, styles of dress, and modes of transportation. While these can be exciting, they can also feel overwhelming or confusing at times. Language barriers can add to feelings of culture shock and may lead people to feel isolated or overwhelmed in a new place.

Whereas you can’t prepare for all the cultural differences, language barriers, and new situations you might encounter, you can do a lot to prepare. There are lots of books and online resources out there about every destination and culture, and reading up about a place can really make you feel more comfortable once you get there. Also the more you know, the more you can make the most of your trip. 

If you are traveling to a place with a different language, it is always a good idea to learn at least a few words and phrases so you can greet people, thank people, understand numbers, make purchases, and ask basic questions. Similarly, learning some of the local customs, gestures, and taboos can go a long way. 

Differences and changes can be scary or confusing, but in most cases they are just different from the things you are used to back home. One great thing about travel is that it gives you the opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and try new things. 

However, if something feels more unsafe than just different, leave the situation. Unfortunately, tourists are sometimes targeted for scams and theft, especially in large cities, so do be aware, use your common sense, and trust your gut. Scammers often prey on the fact that you don’t know the destination or customs.

Ways to Reduce Travel Stress related to Navigating Unfamiliar Situations:  

  • Read about the destination beforehand. Learn a little about the history, culture, customs, food, common modes of transportation, etc. The more you know, the more you’ll get out of your travel experience.
  • Learn about the local currency and  the best and safest way to obtain it. Also understand the currency exchange rates so that you can look at local prices to know what they roughly translate to in your own currency (e.g., multiply by 1.5 or divide by 5). Also check a guidebook or blog posts to understand the common costs for things like meals, drinks, tours, taxi cabs, etc. Too often people spend more than they should because they don’t understand the local currency or don’t take the time to do simple math.
  • Learn at least a few words and phrases of the local language. A travel language guide or translator app can help you out along the way. Locals often respond more positively when you show at least some attempt to use the language (even if you butcher it!).
  • Look up common scams at the destination, like the Marrakesh tannery scam and Paris friendship bracelet scam, so you can avoid them. Taxis can also be common place for scams to take place, either with fake meters or drivers giving the wrong change. Learn how you can avoid them.
  • If a situation or place feels unsafe, leave and go somewhere you feel safe.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new foods and activities! You won’t know if you like something until you try it.

Alexandria Egypt travel stress cultural differences

11. Unexpected Changes, Events, & Obstacles

A big source of stress for many travelers comes from unexpected problems and issues that arise during travel, especially when traveling to or from a destination.These are things like traffic jams, flight delays or cancellations, severe weather, natural disasters, lost luggage, or misbooked reservations.

These might also include problems like unexpected closures of an attraction, getting scammed, losing an important travel document, becoming ill, or finding that the hotel you booked doesn’t have your reservations. 

You do of course have some control over some of these circumstances; however, you can’t 100% prevent any of these things from happening as they are not completely within your control. In fact, many of these you have little or no control over such as a delayed flight, a labor strike, the weather, or a natural disaster. Who can forget the travel nightmares people all over the world endured following the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland ?

For those things you do have some control over, take some precautions and do some planning to try to prevent them. Reconfirm your reservations before you travel so you are unlikely to get surprised by finding a tour company or hotel can’t find your reservation. Leave plenty of extra time in your plans to avoid missing a scheduled tours, trains, or flights. Take recommended preventative health measures to try to avoid illness (e.g., getting recommended health vaccinations, taking antimalarials, not drinking unsafe water).

You can’t 100% prevent any of these, but you can reduce their likelihood of happening.

You can also protect yourself from financial losses due to these unforeseen issues.  Before your trip, we recommend purchasing travel insurance or trip protection to protect yourself from financial losses that may result from unexpected events on your travels. If your flight is cancelled, you break a leg, or a flood leaves you stranded, there can be some expensive consequences for you. If you have good travel insurance, this will help alleviate the financial stressors and allow you to focus on more important things.

For those things over which you have little or no control, there are still ways to manage your stress associated with them. The first is to accept that they may happen and to be flexible. If your flight is delayed by 3 hours, worrying and complaining is unlikely to help. Do what you need to do in terms of planning (e.g., calling a friend to let them know, reschedule your connecting flight) and find something relaxing to do in the meantime (e.g., read, chat with your travel partner, grab dinner). Try to make the most out of your time and to not let it ruin your entire trip.

We also recommend using  relaxation techniques . Stress often makes you tense up, and the basic goal of relaxation techniques is that they get you to relax your muscles. You muscles can’t be both relaxed and tense at the same time, so they put you into a state of relaxation and can reduce your stress. These include techniques like deep breathing, visualization techniques, and progressive muscle relaxation. What works for one person, won’t necessarily work well for another.

If you don’t have a relaxation technique of choice, look up and start practicing some techniques to see which work best for you. They generally take a little practice to master, but once you do you can easily do them in the moment. Most can be used anywhere in just about any situation.

Ways to Reduce Travel Stress related to Unexpected Changes:  

  • Buy travel insurance. Be sure to check the policy and read the fine print to make sure it covers the things you want it to cover (e.g., flight delays, covers your destination, trekking, winter activities, medical expensive, gear coverage). You may be able to purchase it from your existing insurance company in your home country or consider a company like World Nomads . 
  • If an unexpected issue arises, try to stay calm, find out what you can, and focus on the things you can change. Try to accept the things you cannot change and find ways to make the most out of the situation.
  • Learn a relaxation technique that you can do anywhere that works for you. Practice it so you can use it when it is needed.
  • Don’t let one or two negative or unplanned experiences ruin your entire trip!

travel stress tips travel anxiety travel psychology

12. Worries about the Post-Travel Experience

Another thing that often causes stress for people during a trip is worries about things that will happen after the trip. How much work will be piled up? How am I going to pay the X bill? Will the kids have missed too much in school?   This types of concern can make it difficult to relax and enjoy a trip. For many people, it is these type of worries they wanted a break from in the first place. 

Do what you can to keep your mind on the present and your trip. Enjoy your travel experiences as they are happening and try to not dwell on the things that need to be done when you return home. There is nothing that you can do now and you’ll be able to handle them when you get home.

Remember research has found that the more relaxing the trip, the more post-trip benefits it can have for you. Try to immerse yourself into the trip and relax. Seek out relaxing experiences and consider relaxation techniques to help.  

Some people are able to enjoy a trip until the end and then are hit with a sense of dread about returning and what that will need to do once their vacation is over. Some end of trip and post trip blues are perfectly normal, after all something that you were excited about is now ending.

But if you find yourself really dreading returning home after every trip and feeling depressed once you are back, then you might want to further examine those feelings. They suggest that things may not be so well at home or work and might be signs of a deeper issue such as depression or anxiety.

Ways to Reduce Travel Stress related to Worries about the Post-Trip Experience:  

  • Remind yourself of the goals of your trip and all the things you wanted to do and see.
  • Realize that you can’t predict the future and there is nothing you can do about things that are going to happen when you get home. Worrying about things won’t make them better.
  • Try to stay in the present during your trip, and try not to let your mind dwell on post-trip problems. If you are having difficulty being present, mindfulness techniques and practices, such as meditation , can be helpful in focusing one’s mind on the present.
  • Seek support from your travel partner(s). A chat about your worries might help you see the worries in a different light. Your travel companion might also be able to help keep you distracted.
  • Try to relax. If you are having difficulty relaxing after a day or so into your trip, try doing some relaxation techniques or seek out an experience that you normally find relaxing (e.g., go to a spa, have a massage, do yoga, relax with a magazine at a coffee shop).
  • If you are really stressed during and/or after a trip and continue to feel depressed or anxious when you get home, try to do some self-assessment of those feelings. What are they connected to? What do you dread at home? What is specifically making you anxious? Consider seeking professional counseling if they don’t subside.

BONUS Travel Stressor: Traveling with Children

If you traveling with children, especially younger children, they tend to come with some added stress! Although we don’t have much personal experience on this, we hear all the time that traveling with kids can be more stressful. This bonus was added because of a reader comment which made me think, oh yes, this is one we missed since it is not something that normally comes up for us.

There are loads of things about travel with children that may be more stressful. There’s more luggage to pack (why do babies need so much stuff!). There’s handling the kids’ disrupted sleep and feeding schedules. There are the kids shouting from the backseat “are we there yet?”  every 10 minutes.

There are also safety concerns and needing to watch out for them. There’s balancing doing things the children want to do versus what the adults want to do. There’s also illnesses, tantrums, and handling tired kids. Someone was recently telling us a story how both her kids managed to vomit on a flight…so yeah, kids can definitely amp up the travel stress levels!

But there are also loads of joys of traveling together as a family, and most people probably have some wonderful family vacation memories. Similarly, most parents probably have some wonderful memories of traveling with their kids. These are often some of people’s most cherished memories. Seeing the excitement and wonder in a child’s eyes is priceless and can easily make you forget all the struggles. Even thought it might be more challenging to travel with children, it can also be more rewarding!

  • Be organized. Make a checklist and packing list for the kids. Try to plan for the things that will help your kids travel comfortably. 
  • If you have never traveled with your kids before, it might not be the best idea to start with a 2 week long international trip. Try doing a smaller trip first (perhaps a long weekend) to get them used to travel and for you to learn how to best help them travel better and more comfortably.
  • Include the children in the vacation planning process. Make sure they get to do at least one or two things that they helped choose. 
  • If they are old enough, give them small responsibilities they can handle, so they can feel more part of the process. This might include having them help you pack their suitcase, helping you put together part of the itinerary, or choosing the restaurant for lunch. This will help them gain the skills and confidence they need to travel independently themselves when they are older.
  • We are NOT experts on family travel! For more family travel tips, I highly recommend checking out family travel blogs such as y Travel Blog run by Australian couple Caz & Craig who have been traveling around the world with their 2 young daughters and blogging about it since 2010! We have no idea how they do it, but they do it well!
  • Take photos to capture the memories so you can share them as a family after the trip. But don’t get too focused on taking photos and videos! It is about the moments together, and getting too focused on technology and photos can really take away from that.
  • When things are not going so well, remind yourself of the reasons you want to travel with your family and try to focus on the positive things about the trip. 

Arc de Triomphe travel stress financial concerns travel psychology

So that covers the big contributors to travel stress! We hope that these tips will help you better understand your own travel stress and find ways to prevent or reduce it.

Travel stress is a feeling of mental strain and pressure related to traveling. We discuss a number of common reasons that you might be finding travel to be stressful, which might include feeling overwhelmed with travel planning, air travel, safety concerns, difficulty handling unexpected events, and financial issues. Then we provide a number of helpful tips to help you prevent or reduce travel stress and travel anxiety. #travelstress #travelanxiety #traveltips #travelplanning

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anu bhambri Post author

October 22, 2023 at 11:06 pm

your tips in the part “Traveling with Children” were very informative as i have to travel sometimes with my lil niece so it is very useful for that time thank you for giving such an informative article

Jessica & Laurence Norah Post author

October 25, 2023 at 8:44 am

You’re very welcome, and wishing you and your niece some wonderful travels in the future!

Best, Jessica

Akshat Gupta Post author

October 21, 2023 at 11:37 pm

I liked the article “Tips for Reducing Travel Stress” very much. It was helpful. Traveling can be stressful, but the tips in this article can help you manage stress and enjoy your trip.

October 22, 2023 at 6:51 am

Glad you enjoyed our article and found it useful!

Charan Post author

September 2, 2023 at 1:43 pm

Hello Jessica and Laurence Norah ,

I found the article “Tips for Reducing Travel Stress” to be very insightful. Travelling can be a very stressful experience, but the tips in this article are really helpful in managing stress and making the most of my travel experiences.

Thank you for the valuable information.

September 2, 2023 at 4:16 pm

Thanks for taking the time to comment and letting us know that our article has helped you! If you have any tips of your own or things that you help you most to reduce anxiety or stress when traveling, feel free to share!

CH Post author

August 13, 2023 at 11:10 am

Great posts, great tips for helping to prevent or eliminate travel stress!

A couple of my extra thoughts from my own experiences and dealing with this issue:

One is the art of “slow travel.” Rather than racing through a whirlwind of destinations, embrace the philosophy of immersive exploration. Choose fewer destinations and allow yourself to delve deep into each one, savoring every nuance and creating meaningful connections. This approach not only reduces the logistical strain of constant movement but also encourages a profound engagement with the local culture and environment. By immersing yourself in the rhythm of a place, you not only alleviate the anxiety of tight schedules but also embark on a transformative journey of understanding and self-discovery.

Additionally, harness the power of mindfulness as an antidote to travel stress. Integrate mindful practices into your travel routine, whether it’s through meditation in serene settings or simply taking purposeful moments to breathe deeply and observe your surroundings. These mindful pauses can anchor you in the present moment, helping you navigate unexpected challenges with a calmer perspective. Cultivating gratitude for the experiences you encounter along the way also serves as a powerful stress-reduction tool, fostering a positive mindset that shifts the focus from stressors to the abundant blessings that travel offers. By embracing the principles of slow travel and mindfulness, you can transform your journey into an opportunity for rejuvenation and enrichment, ultimately making stress a distant companion on your adventures.

August 15, 2023 at 8:51 am

Glad you found our tips helpful, and thanks so much for addng some of your own tips for reducing travel stress when traveling. We definitely love to engage in slow travel when we can, spending a lot of time in one place is almost always a great idea rather than rushing through in a couple of days. And so many people benefit from mindfulness techniques and practices.

Emma Post author

May 11, 2023 at 10:42 pm

Thank you for sharing your valuable insights on Travel Stress. Your article provided excellent tips and strategies that are practical and easy to implement. As an international student who frequently travels for academic and personal purposes, I have often struggled to balance my health with my travels. However, after reading your post, I have gained new insights into how I can optimize my time and energy to study effectively while on the move. I appreciate the time and effort you put into creating such a valuable resource for international students like me.

May 16, 2023 at 8:55 am

Thanks for taking the time to comment and share you experiences as an international student. I am sure that being an international student can be more stress for international students. I am glad that you have found this article helpful.

Wishing you happy & stress-free future travels! Jessica

Eli Richardson Post author

September 8, 2022 at 11:28 am

Next month, we want to go on vacation, so my wife and I are interested in planning it with anticipation. It’s great that you suggested we compare booking prices before choosing our accommodation and transport, so we’ll definitely keep this in mind. Thanks for explaining how we’d get the most out of our next vacations without breaking the bank.

September 9, 2022 at 8:10 am

You are very welcome, and glad you found some of our tips helpful in planning your upcoming vacation. Wishing you a wonderful trip with your wife!

Julie Post author

June 7, 2022 at 10:48 pm

Money problems always make me feel stressful when I’m traveling. Another bigger problem for me is that I have a little kid and I will have to keep an eye on her no matter when. Thank you for sharing these tips to relieve stress so I can feel more relaxed next time.

June 10, 2022 at 3:52 am

Yes, money and keeping an eye on children can definitely add stress to a trip for sure! But hopefully you can take steps to prevent and reduce stress and still enjoy your travels!

Henry Killingsworth Post author

April 20, 2022 at 9:28 am

I like how you explained that it is a good idea to approach traveling by taking it in stages and parts. In addition to that, I would think that it could be a good idea to depend on a professional’s knowledge of an area rather than your own. For example, you could take some kind of tour one day so that you don’t have to stress yourself out about getting lost.

April 21, 2022 at 5:05 am

Yes, I agree, tours can be very helpful for people who don’t like the stress of planning and exploring on their own. Guided tours can make it very easy to plan a trip, especially those that include most of your transport, activities, accommodation, etc. But even a walking tour or day tour at a destination can make it easier to do sightseeing in a particular place for those traveling independently.

Dawn Sanchez Post author

November 17, 2021 at 4:12 am

Travel anxiety can be triggered just by leaving one’s home and familiar surroundings, especially if one suffers from panic episodes. Meeting new people or trying new foods can make you feel uneasy, and worrying about how you’ll react emotionally can make you feel anxious.

November 19, 2021 at 1:46 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on travel anxiety, and yes it can be different for different people. It sounds like what you are describing may be someone with an anxiety disorder. And certainly people with anxiety disorders may experience more anxiety when traveling than someone without an anxiety disorder, but they can certainly take measures to try to prevent it and handle it when it happens.

It is recommended that those with disorders should talk to a doctor or therapist to work on ways to prevent and manage their anxiety.

Wishing you safe & fun future travels, Jessica

Shammy Peterson Post author

June 18, 2021 at 9:40 pm

It sure was nice when you pointed out that you could get the aid of a professional travel planning service if you find the planning really stressful and frustrating. This would be a good tip for me because I would like to plan a tour for me and my husband before the month ends. As much as I would like to have the bourbon tour set up by me, I am not knowledgeable about the place, and I could not find time to do it because of my work. I will consider a guided tour, instead.

June 20, 2021 at 5:54 am

Thanks for taking the time to comment and I hope you enjoy the bourbon focused tour you’ll be taking!!

Wishing you safe & happy travels, Jessica

Claire Masters Post author

June 17, 2021 at 1:43 pm

I liked your tip about not second-guessing myself when it comes to my trip itinerary since this may lead to anxiety. I’ve been thinking about taking a trip with my family this summer to a beach. I think it will best if I get a tour so we can enjoy the vacation without stressing over the itinerary.

June 18, 2021 at 7:21 am

Glad you found some of our tips helpful and taking a tour can definitely help relieve stress as it requires much less planning. I’d just pick a tour that includes all the places you want to go with an itinerary and activities that sound good to you and your family. Then you can let someone else take care of all the little details like transportation, attraction entry, and food.

Wishing you a wonderful summer trip! Jessica

Alice Post author

June 15, 2021 at 7:43 am

Thank You so much for sharing information about how to reduce travel stress. Keep Sharing

June 15, 2021 at 8:49 am

Thanks Alice, glad you found it helpful!

Wishing you stress-free & happy travels, Jessica

Lana Murpy Post author

April 19, 2021 at 5:36 am

Very useful tips! Thank you so much

April 19, 2021 at 5:52 am

Thanks Lana, glad you found it helpful!

Wishing you safe and happy future travels, Jessica

Mike Honeycutt Post author

September 10, 2020 at 5:42 pm

Excellent tips! One of the main reasons why many people travel is that they want to explore new things – new cultures, cuisines, activities, and more. Indeed, traveling often opens doors for exploration. It lets you discover new things and try out activities that you have not done before.

September 11, 2020 at 3:35 am

Yes, that is indeed true! Travel often brings a mix of excitement, anticipation, and anxiety as travelers are learning and trying so many new things.

January 8, 2021 at 2:56 pm

Hi Jessica, Not only that, forget about stress while traveling. If you want to learn more about yourself, then traveling is definitely something that you must do. Traveling is one of the best ways to learn about yourself and enhance your personal growth. Thank you.

January 9, 2021 at 6:51 am

I am not sure you can just “forget” about stress or anxiety, but travel does of course have many positive aspects and can lead to personal growth! I definitely think the benefits outweigh any negatives in most situations.

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Jessica

Troy Abraham Post author

April 8, 2020 at 6:35 am

I like Your post! I love the ideas that try to think about the big picture and focus on enjoying your time away!

April 8, 2020 at 1:31 pm

Hi Troy, Yes, sometimes focusing on the big picture rather than the minor things can definitely helpe when feeling stressed or anxious! Wishing you safe travels (when traveling is safe and possible to do again!). Best, Jessica

Karan Joshi Post author

March 31, 2020 at 12:05 am

I have a marketing job.so I have to travel every day. sometimes I am in stress about my work tension while traveling. Thanks for the awesome information to relieve travel stress. Nice article!!

March 31, 2020 at 6:17 am

Hi Karan, So glad that you found the article helpful, and yes traveling for work can definitely be more stressful than traveling for leisure. Glad you found some tips that have been helpful to relieve some of your travel stress. Best, Jessica

Derek McDoogle Post author

December 16, 2019 at 7:19 am

I like how you suggest that when going on vacation to check your finances and make a realistic budget. My wife and I would like to go on vacation but we haven’t decided where to go. I will ask her to help me look online for travel destinations so that we can start planning our trip as soon as possible.

December 19, 2019 at 6:14 am

Hi Derek, Yes, I think starting off with a realistic budget can then help you can better shape your trip when choosing a destination, type of transport, length of trip, type of accommodation, etc. You can still do lots with a small budget, but it is good to know your budget in advance to help plan so you don’t overspend. Good luck on your trip planning process 😉 Best, Jessica

Jerry Woods Post author

November 19, 2019 at 4:15 pm

I liked your tip of finding a travel agent that is knowledgeable about where you want to go. My wife and I are wanting to go on vacation soon and we were wondering how we could get some help with the destination we are picking. I’ll be sure to tell her that we should hire a travel agent to help us plan out our trip.

November 21, 2019 at 8:31 am

Hi Jerry, Yes, planning a trip can be time consuming and stressful, especially if it is not something you enjoy doing and you don’t have a lot of time. If you are looking for some assistance, finding a local travel agent might be a good idea. I’d start locally to see if you have any local agents as it is always good to have someone you can go talk to in person but you can also do it via phone or online. It is good to look for one that regularly helps with trips to the types of the destination you have in mind. Most travel agents do not charge a fee for their services, but they earn commissions on bookings. If you have friends or family who have used a travel agent, I’d ask to see if they have any recommendations. Best, Jessica

dave Post author

November 12, 2019 at 6:56 pm

Thanks for such a good article! I’ve had many unusual experiences travelling. Some of them really sad and tragic. Some really good. Some ho hum and could take or leave it. I live in Canada and my family in the U.K. and 3 times I’ve flown back there under tragic circumstances, 2 of my brothers died young and the other was my mum had cancer and died a few days after I got there. A couple more trips that come to mind are one I took after my mum died and went to S.E. Asia just a couple of months after she had died. I was still in a spin about my mum passing and my brother passing away 2 years before that. I’d been to Thailand for a month after my brother died and before my mum got sick and had a great time! It was if the dice had been rolled and come up 6’s… so after mum died I figured I’d go there again and I guess hope to lift my sad feelings… of course it didn’t and I felt awful being so far from home and travelling alone, I just ended up drinking a lot to try to numb out that excruciating pain I felt, and I was there for a month.. really I should have just come back early. That was 10 years ago and I’ve been on a couple of month long trips since then. They were OK, sometimes unless the trip is really good I find it hard to weigh up if it was worth all that had to go into the trip. The flight, the jet lag, flying anxiety, the amount of hours work to do in order to get the money to cover the costs… and on top of that I seem to have developed a sort of feeling of what I’d describe as ‘dread’ at the thought of leaving my home. I think at a pretty deep level part of me associates all that flying to places away from home etc.. with some dread. So I have to really sort of wrestle with these 2 opposing thoughts…. the one that wants to go on holiday! (the happy one) -v- the one that’s like.. hey no f’ that! Stay at home, it’s a certainty at home ( the cautious protecting one) And seeing as it takes some momentum to get the ‘go on a holiday’ train going with enough steam to actually go! I don’t go much and then the happy holiday part of me is pissed off, and round and around it goes.

November 13, 2019 at 4:30 am

I am really sorry to hear about your losses. It is very understandable how travel has become associated with negative feelings for you. Although difficult, it sounds like you do really enjoy travel. I would maybe consider starting off by planning a shorter holiday within Canada or maybe the U.S. Places that are not so foreign to you and that you’ve always wanted to do. Plan some things you enjoy doing that will keep you busy for your trip (e.g., food tour, walking tour, museum visit, etc.).

If loneliness is an issue, as it can be for many solo travelers, you might consider doing a trip with a friend. Or consider joining a group tour that goes somewhere you want to go.

I’d start taking small steps to get out of your house more and do things you enjoy. Maybe start with an overnight trip or weekend trip, one that requires minimal planning. Start to break the cycle of staying home all the time and just take it one step at a time. The longer you don’t travel, the harder it can become to leave your house.

Hope that helps! Jessica

Scott Post author

August 14, 2019 at 11:04 am

I definitely agree it’s important to be aware of the stress that often comes with taking time off from work. You’ve identified so many ways in which stress can enter the picture – your article is impressive! It’s easy to see how flying or visiting a foreign destination can bring out stress, but it may be surprising to many that planning a trip itinerary can also cause stress! Breaking down the causes and stages of stress is the first step to reducing it and truly enjoying taking memorable vacations every year.

On the financial side, booking hotels and rental cars and tours that can be cancelled is a smart way to reduce the stress of spending money on a big trip. Unfortunately most airline tickets are non-refundable, but it is possible to seek out fares that can be changed for a reasonable fee. Plus as you mentioned buying travel insurance to cover cancellation for stressful reasons like getting sick or injured or if you lose your bags for example.

Buying a printed travel guidebook is advice that I also give to people visiting a place for the first time. While you can’t anticipate everything in advance of leaving home, reading about where you are going can make you feel more confident and in control. In addition I recommend browsing travel forums such as on TripAdvisor or FlyerTalk or Fodors. They are immensely helpful for gathering advice from travelers who’ve been there and have had the same questions as we all do.

The one thing I disagree with is about not trying to plan the perfect trip. I think the perfect trip is the one you plan yourself for you and your family. It’s perfect because you took the time to decide where to go and what to do on vacation and didn’t let the stress of travel stop you 🙂

Thanks for covering this important travel topic. -Scott, Work-Life-Vacation Balance Blogger @ VacationCounts

August 14, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Glad you enjoyed our post on travel stress and anxiety. While travel is amazing, it can be stressful for some people and it is always good to be prepared.

Yes, the word “perfect” can be a problem for people and in my days as a psychologist, I was often helping people realize that no one or no experience is indeed “perfect” and accepting this. When you stop thinking about things needing to be perfect, things become a bit easier I think 😉

Brendan Shelton Post author

August 2, 2019 at 7:06 am

I appreciate you talking about the fact that most people have a more positive outlook on life after returning from a vacation trip. My wife and I are planning on a trip to Europe next summer because we have been working extremely hard for the last 10 months and can use a break. We will certainly reflect on the information in this article as we move forward in the planning of our trip.

August 3, 2019 at 5:44 am

Hi Brendan, Thanks for taking the time to comment, and wishing you and your wife a wonderful vacation next summer in Europe. It sounds like a very well-deserved break! Best, Jessica

Rajesh Sharma Post author

July 1, 2019 at 10:21 pm

It’s true that sometimes travelling may be stressful for many reasons like buying air tickets, sorting out hotels, bad weather, travel companions, and so on. You have shared some great tips to tackle these stress. I really like your tips as they are practical and can help almost anyone become a better and more organized traveller and reduce stress. Thank you for sharing this great information.

Tyler Johnson Post author

April 30, 2019 at 10:10 am

That’s a good idea to book everything in advance. I wouldn’t want to be stuck without transportation and then not be able to get to my event. Plus that way you could be sure to be able to have a spot in everything you would want to do.

April 30, 2019 at 11:35 am

Hi Tyler, Yes, booking transport in advance is always a good idea if you know your times in advance. Can help prevent later stress of not being able to get an ideal time or date for a bus, train, flight, etc. Of course, not all types of transport are possible to book ahead, but many are. Best, Jessica

Yoshiko Flora Post author

March 29, 2019 at 6:42 pm

I find it insightful how you mentioned that traveling with kids can make parents feel more stressed because they need to carry extra luggage. In my opinion, one way to handle this, especially when bringing other families with children in a spring break or summer vacation, is to rent a charter bus. That way, everyone can have extra space to store all their luggage while keeping them all in one safe place and protecting them while traveling at the same time.

March 29, 2019 at 8:13 pm

Hi Yoshiko, Yes, carrying all the extra luggage and gear that kids need can definitely make it more difficult and stressful for parents to travel. Chartering a bus or van definitely sounds like it could be a good idea for larger families or those traveling in a group. Thanks for sharing your experience and suggestion. Best, Jessica

Vijay Patel Post author

March 28, 2019 at 3:10 am

Hey! Such a great post. Really lots of helpful tips about reducing stress while traveling. This post will really help those who are planning for travel. Very informative and very unique blog. I really liked the 2 main solutions of the problem while traveling i.e. Financial Concerns and Safety Concerns. Thank you for sharing such wonderful tips. Keep Posting.

March 28, 2019 at 4:28 am

Hi Vijay, Thanks for taking the time to comment and glad you enjoyed the article. Do let us know if you have any questions related to traveling or travel stress. Happy travels, Jessica

rohit aggarwal Post author

February 10, 2019 at 10:12 pm

thanks for the helpful travel information

February 11, 2019 at 1:49 am

Hi Rohit, You’re very welcome. Happy travels, Jessica

Dominic Post author

January 22, 2019 at 2:18 am

For proper planning there are few things which you need to be follow to keep the stress free environment during the travelling you should always create a checklist of those which you need to keep during the travelling as this will help you a lot in making you travelling easily and stress free.

January 22, 2019 at 3:08 am

Thanks for those tips Dominic. A checklist may indeed be helpful for some people! Best, Jessica

John Post author

January 16, 2019 at 9:41 pm

Thanks for sharing this useful information with us. Travel stress is of different types and you discussed above so many of them. Stress can harm you properly without taking time.

January 16, 2019 at 11:17 pm

Hi John, Yes, indeed, stress can take many forms and affect everyone a bit differently! Glad you found our post useful. Best, Jessica

Tasha Post author

December 29, 2018 at 5:59 am

Oh well, Such a great post on preventing stress while travelling you have shared. I really enjoyed it as you have covered so much in this article. I am always finding the ways to get rid of stress. Meditation is one of my favorites.

December 29, 2018 at 6:30 am

Hi Tasha, Glad you enjoyed it and yes meditation is a great strategy for travel anxiety or stress as you can do it almost anywhere! Happy travels, Jessica

Zane Post author

December 7, 2018 at 4:42 pm

Great post! I can almost feel your love just by reading your post. This post has been written with love and passion. You really covered all the major things that most people tend to worry about when they travel. Thanks for sharing your amazing and honest tips!

December 7, 2018 at 5:33 pm

Hi Zane, Thanks for the kind words, we did try to be throughout on all the things worry about when they travel. Hope that you have found the article helpful 😉 Best, Jessica

Kit Hannigan Post author

November 30, 2018 at 4:15 pm

I like what you said about coming up with a realistic budget that you can feel comfortable spending across your trip. My son has been working really hard with his friends to launch their tech startup. I know he is in so much pressure already, so I will be sure to advise him to save enough money so that he can be really comfortable traveling abroad.

December 1, 2018 at 6:25 am

Hi Kit, Yes, I think setting a budget up front that you can afford and is realistic for where you are traveling (e.g., Iceland or NYC are much more expensive destination than Thailand or Ecuador) and what he wants to do (e.g., budget motels versus 5-star hotels). Wishing your son the best of luck on his trip abroad! Best, Jessica

Allison Post author

November 29, 2018 at 9:06 pm

Great post and you covered all the significant things that I tend to worry about when I travel. Recently I faced a new problem in my travel time. I am a new mom with my first baby, and I am not comfortable to move anywhere with my baby. Especially when I am traveling for a long time. Thanks for such an amazing write up! It gave me a few of insights.

Regards, Allison N.

November 30, 2018 at 12:52 am

Hi Allison, Thanks for taking the time to comment, and glad you found our article helpful. There are a lot of potential things that can be stressful when traveling, but I imagine traveling with a baby has to be one of the more stressful! A lot of families are probably faced with this very same issue around the holidays when a large number of people are traveling. Wishing you many happy travels. Best, Jessica

rakhi Post author

November 13, 2018 at 11:07 pm

This post is filled with love! I can feel it, traveling as a couple is based on romance. No man is an island a couple is way better than being a solo or group traveler. Solo is too much ‘alone’ and groups are high maintenance. You really enjoy being together and it seems everyday is a honeymoon. How better life can be? ????

November 14, 2018 at 2:41 am

Hi Rakhi, Thanks for your kind thoughts. Laurence and I do really enjoy traveling as a couple together but we know some people prefer to travel solo, with a group, or as a larger family. I think people just need to find the situation that fits their travel style best. Of course, sometimes it is good to try out different ways to travel. Best, Jessica

Sydney Post author

October 28, 2018 at 9:40 pm

I suffer from a lot of travel anxiety before I go on a trip. This is very helpful post for me! Thanks a lot for sharing this.

October 29, 2018 at 7:22 am

Hi Sydney, Thanks for taking the time to comment, and so happy you found this post helpful. I hope you are able to find ways to lower your travel anxiety before your next trip. Best, Jessica

Sariah Meagle Post author

September 5, 2018 at 4:28 pm

We will be attending my sister’s wedding in another state and my mom is usually stressed out when traveling. It was to explained her that to lessen the stress in traveling, she should lower her expectations. Furthermore, it’s recommended to see health professionals for an effective stress reduction program.

September 6, 2018 at 1:13 pm

I think that seeking professional help can definitely be a good idea, especially if your mother is particularly stressed out. However, there are lots of other ways she might try to reduce stress, sometimes it is just planning ahead, changing expectations, learning to do some breathing or relaxation exercises, or learning more about the travels.

I’d talk to your mother about her specific concerns (what specifically about the trip is making her anxious? what is she afraid will happen?) and then figure out what might be the best path to go!

Hope you and your family enjoy your trip to your sister’s wedding!

bernadette lance Post author

August 29, 2018 at 9:20 am

What do you think about coloring books while traveling? Mucklow says she sees the coloring craze as a wholesome way for confused-out multitaskers to tune out the larger world.

August 29, 2018 at 3:11 pm

Hi Bernadette, I am not sure coloring will solve problems, but I do think they can help someone let out some stress and also a good prevention against boredom. I think they are a great thing to do while waiting and traveling on planes, trains, sitting in airports, etc. I imagine they would serve a similar function as doing crossword puzzles, drawing, reading, knitting, or doing soduku and definitely something to try if they sound like a good option to you.

There are a lot of adult coloring books out there now (including travel themed and travel sized) and you can take a look at some options here !

Nadine Johnson Post author

August 13, 2018 at 10:56 pm

Hi, Great post and you covered all the significant things that I tend to worry about when I travel. Recently I faced a new problem in my travel time. I am a new mom with my first baby, and I am not comfortable to move anywhere with my baby. Especially when I am traveling for a long time. If you give me some advice how can I reduce this stress then it will be helpful for me. Thanks in advance for your suggestion.

Elizabeth Post author

June 20, 2018 at 8:05 am

This is a great post – the only thing I didn’t see that I stress about (which is probably a really odd thing to stress about) is how to handle the luggage situation, especially if going for a longer, multi-city trip. I’m always weirdly stressed out about how much luggage, and how best to handle it! Of all the things to be stressed about, it’s probably pretty silly, but the rest of them I tend to have nailed down pretty well.

June 20, 2018 at 10:30 am

Hi Elizabeth, I don’t think that is silly at all and probably fits under the travel planning category which is probably the most stressful part of traveling. Packing well is difficult and I always want to bring along more things than will fit in my suitcase!

I think one piece of advice is to get a luggage or backpack set that is a good size for you to handle, is durable, and fits well on planes. Then pack only what will fit in those. If you forget or run out of disposable things (e.g., shampoo, sunscreen), these are things you can buy in the airport or almost anywhere you are traveling. On long trips, we generally pack enough clothes for 1 to 2 weeks and do laundry on the road if we are traveling for a longer period of time and also rewear things more. Hope that helps! Jessica

Shama Perveen Post author

May 15, 2018 at 2:10 am

Oh my gosh, Great post and you really covered all the major things that i tend to worry about when I travel. In my experience sometimes you just have to let go and try to enjoy the trip. It’s hard for me as a control freak but whenever I manage to do it my travel adventures are awesome! Thanks for sharing your tips. I always end up getting stressed before travel and after travelling going back to your boring life is also a challenge. I always daydream about places that i have visited like – i was skiing at this time on that day of my vacation

May 15, 2018 at 11:28 am

Hi Shama, Thanks for taking the time to comment. Glad you enjoyed our post about travel stress and it can be difficult to let go when we all want to have control over our situations. I hope that you find some our tips helpful in reducing your own travel stress on your next vacation! Best, Jessica

Monica Post author

April 20, 2018 at 3:54 am

keeping the kids engaged is one of my biggest stress when our family is on a vacation, will be sure to remember these tips for the next big trip. thanks

April 22, 2018 at 12:21 am

Hi Monica, Glad you enjoyed the tips and best of luck on your next family trip! Best, Jessica

Schiro Ackermann Post author

April 13, 2018 at 9:22 pm

It sure was nice when you said that when it comes to traveling, it is best to set a specific budget so that the person does not overspend during their touring. I will be sure to mention this to my sister since we are to travel together to the grand canyon. This tip got my attention since she loves buying a lot of souvenirs. Thank you for sharing this tip.

April 15, 2018 at 6:04 am

Hi Schiro, Glad you found the budgeting tips helpful and yes it is easy to forget to account for the little extras (snacks, toiletries, drinks, souvenirs) in a travel budget. Wishing you and your family a wonderful trip to the Grand Canyon! Best, Jessica

darik hoffman Post author

April 12, 2018 at 3:52 am

Great tips. Will be sure to keep them in mind for the next trip with the family. thanks.

April 13, 2018 at 8:58 am

Hi Darik, Thanks for taking the time to comment. Glad you enjoyed our tips and hopefully they are helpful on your next family vacation! Best, Jessica

Stephanie Raffaele Post author

April 2, 2018 at 2:59 pm

Wow, great post on travel stress and ways to combat it! I’m not on the road that much anymore, but I wish I will be soon enough. Thanks for the tips, they will surely come in handy for many people!

April 3, 2018 at 11:02 am

Hi Stephanie, Thanks for taking the time to comment. Glad you enjoyed the post and hopefully it will be helpful in managing any travel stress you may have about your upcoming travels! Best, Jessica

David Hoyt Post author

March 20, 2018 at 9:35 am

Great post! I’ve definitely found that solo travel is the way to avoid the stress of dealing with others’ needs, but it can get lonely. A mix of both is probably best.

March 20, 2018 at 10:51 am

Hi David, Yes, traveling with others as well as traveling solo can both have their drawbacks and lead to travel stress. I think you just have to travel the way that fits best with your travel style and also it is great to mix it up. Even if you mainly enjoy solo travel, traveling with friends, family, or a partner can be a nice change. Best, Jessica

Mary Wiley Post author

March 20, 2018 at 6:51 am

Great post and you really covered all the major things that most people tend to worry about when they travel. In my experience sometimes you just have to let go and try to enjoy the trip. It’s hard for me as a control freak but whenever I manage to do it my travel adventures are awesome! Thanks for sharing your tips.

March 20, 2018 at 6:57 am

Hi Mary, Glad you found it helpful. Yes, I think travel stress can be a big issue for those who like to have a lot of control, but as you say, sometimes you just have to let go and enjoy a trip. You can’t control everything and if you try too hard, it can keep you from having a good experience. It is definitely a balance!! Best, Jessica

Kristin Post author

March 12, 2018 at 9:09 pm

Story of my life planning my last two big non-work trips—one wound up with us losing $10K (thanks to the Istanbul airport bombing, a failed coup and Expedia refusing to refund our money/let us reroute) and the other probably consumed 100 hours of my life. It’s funny you spend all this time stressing out over something that’s supposed to de-stress you, right?

March 13, 2018 at 4:00 am

Hi Kristin, It certainly is ironic, isn’t it! But, wow, sounds like in terms of unexpected events and financial stressors, you’ve had some really big ones recently! It is really hard to plan again a bombing or military coup, especially if the destination was considered stable when you booked your trip. It is a bit sad that the company would not reroute you or allow you to change your itinerary. I guess the only thing you could have done differently is to have good travel insurance coverage which would have covered the lost expenses and parts of your trip you weren’t able to take. Wishing you much smoother and less eventful travels this year! 😉 Best, Jessica

Amanda Post author

March 8, 2018 at 5:40 am

You’ve definitely covered all the major travel stressors here and offered lots of great tips! Sometimes you also just have to let go and make peace with the fact that you’ll never feel totally prepared but that things always seem to have a way of working themselves out. 🙂

March 8, 2018 at 7:41 am

Hi Amanda, Yes, indeed, like most things in life you just have to be prepared as you can and then go into the situation! Things generally have a way of working themselves out. I think the mindset is important, if you think things will work out OK, they normally do. Jessica

Jan Post author

March 6, 2018 at 8:30 pm

#6 and #9 are the stress points for me. I travel with my partner and we have similar ideas about travel so that is not an issue for me. I shy away from travelling with other people because the very thought of it is scary. We once went on a trip to Sydney to see a play with an extended group of friends and it took us forever to decide on what to do. In the future I would either go with insisting on a fully pre-planned itinerary or agree to just go our own way apart from the actual event we have come to do together.

#9 is a worry because I have an aged parent. While he is being cared for in a home I worry about him feeling abandoned or getting ill while i’m gone. This is just a personal issue that has no right or wrong solution. I love the thorough way you have addressed all the issues and offered solutions.

March 7, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Yes, I don’t travel well with bigger groups either. It can be hard enough if you just have two people who don’t agree or have a difficult time making decisions. Decision making time can really eat up time, especially if there are a lot of people involved. I think for group travel you need to decide on a plan head of time like you say, travel together but then do things on your own, or just accept that things will take awhile to decide and “go along with the flow”.

Some things you can’t change like an aging parent. There are things you can do to try to help alleviate worries and find ways to refocus or relax in these cases, but there is nothing you can do to change the circumstances. And chances are it will still be on your mind time to time throughout your trip.

Thanks for taking the time to comment and share a bit about your own travel stressors and thoughts!! Jessica

Seana Turner Post author

March 6, 2018 at 6:08 am

#8 and #9 are the biggest for me. Air travel just always seems to be difficult these days, especially because we have to fly out of LaGuardia, which is frankly a mess. You have to get there so early, and then flights are delayed. I always laugh when they say, “Call your carrier” when there is bad weather. Rarely does a carrier say, “You will be delayed, so come in 3 hours.” #9 is tough because I am the family member responsible for the home. My husband travels all the time, but I’m here to to take care of things. If anything happens while I’m traveling (e.g. a tree falls on the house), it will be up to me to fix it when I get back. Your tips are helpful… I do think some people travel more easily than others. Not to mention, if you are traveling with small children, pretty much everything is harder.

March 6, 2018 at 2:33 pm

I think air travel in particular is stressful just because there is almost always some unpleasant part of that we have little control over, whether it is the lines, the security, the tight places, the delays, etc. I used to have to fly through O’Hare fairly often, and at least then, you could almost always count on a 1 to 2 hour delay on any flight, sounds like you have a similar experience there.

Yes, that can be hard if you are responsible for everything at home. Do you have a trusted neighbor, friend, or family member who can help check on and manage home stuff for you while you are traveling?

Yep, I agree traveling with children, especially young children, can be challenging! We mention kids but not very much. I am going to go add that as a bonus travel stressor as I think you raise a really good point!!

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Help! It’s Almost 2024 and Travelers Keep Making the Same Mistakes.

Our columnist begs you to avoid middlemen, get promises in writing and stop expecting perfection in an imperfect world.

An illustrated triptych of airplane cutouts with pinball flippers on the left, an envelope with a red wax seal in the middle and a pink suitcase sitting on top of four oval shaped boulders.

By Seth Kugel

Dear Travelers,

Seth here — writing to you to gripe this time, rather than the other way around. The Tripped Up column helps travelers with problems they encounter (and sometimes even wrangles refunds), but no matter how much great advice I give, readers keep making the same mistakes! It’s almost as if you prioritize your families, jobs and health over memorizing my suggestions.

So instead of using my last column of the year to get one specific traveler out of a jam, I’ve decided to rehash the crucial lessons I’ve learned — and hopefully help a few travelers along the way.

Based on nearly 2,000 reader submissions (so far) in 2023, here are my top six guidelines for minimizing travel trouble in 2024. Seth, Queens, N.Y.

Avoid online travel agencies (mostly)

I get so many complaints about huge O.T.A.’s like Expedia and Booking.com that I’ll have to spin the wheel to find someone to help. OK, let’s take John of New Port Richey, Fla. Last February, he found a British Airways flight for four passengers from Tampa, Fla., to Venice, Italy, on Priceline. He tried to book twice, with different credit cards, but both times was told his purchase was unsuccessful.

Surprise! He was charged twice anyway, for a total of $15,153, and never got even one reservation code from either Priceline or the airline.

He went to Priceline, as he should have, but after what he said were hours of phone calls and several emails, he gave up and contacted British Airways directly. They responded as most companies would: He had to go through the company from which he had made the purchase.

Finally, Priceline said it would refund his cards, but over two billing cycles. Not willing to trust the company, he requested chargebacks from his credit card issuers. That worked for a week, but British Airways recharged him $1,894. It was only when he spotted one of those six-character locator codes on that document that he realized there had indeed been a reservation.

When I contacted Christina Bennett, a spokeswoman for Priceline, she apologized and wrote that the company was “disappointed” to hear about the customer’s experience and issued a refund. It has also identified and corrected a technical issue that “improperly rejected the reservation but processed the charge.”

All it took was 10 months!

“This is clearly not the experience we would want for anyone using our platform,” she continued.

But as my inbox shows, dealing with one travel company’s customer service is hard — and having multiple companies interact is harder. My advice: Use the big middlemen (Expedia and Booking.com, but also Hotels.com, TripAdvisor and the like) to find your deal. But unless you have an excellent reason to do otherwise — significant savings on package deals, one-click booking of complex itineraries, your wife is C.E.O. — take a few extra minutes to open a new tab and book direct with the actual service provider.

Beware other intermediaries, too

Large O.T.A.s are not the only middlemen to avoid, when you can. Generally speaking, the fewer companies involved in your travel planning, the better off you’ll be when something goes awry. Those include smaller agencies like consolidators (who often sell airfares not openly available on the internet), vacation rental agencies like Vrbo and Airbnb, credit card platforms like Chase Travel and even code share flights when you book with one airline and fly on another.

Andrea of Morgantown, W. Va., bought three tickets to Dublin on Aer Lingus for July through a consolidator called Skywithclass , which offers unlisted business class deals. Her family had to cancel when her husband broke some ribs in May. Thanks to an add-on trip cancellation plan that covered injuries, she was owed a refund of $11,364. Months of efforts to get Skywithclass to get Aer Lingus to return her money had hit a dead end. (And, predictably, when she contacted the airline directly, they sent her back to Skywithclass.)

The product director of Skywithclass, Anna Maxim, wrote in an email that the company was “terribly sorry” for the lack of reimbursement, but noted Aer Lingus had made it very difficult, claiming it is “not the most responsive airline.” I agree — they have ignored me in the past, too. But in this situation, they did respond, saying “we fell short on this occasion,” and then approved the refund, which they sent — through the agency — back to Andrea.

Jennifer of Irvine, Calif., wrote in when her American Airlines-operated, British Airways-issued flight between Boston and New York was canceled, forcing her to take a $219 train to catch her connecting flight to Paris. At one point, American told her to go to British Airways; at another exchange, British Airways said to go to American.

Spokeswomen for both British Airways and American confirmed to me that the issuer is responsible in such a case, and noted that Jennifer had received an $18 refund, the value their system applied to that leg of the four-leg, $1,159 itinerary. But she hadn’t even noticed — and when she saw it, was unsatisfied with the amount, which on a good day might get you from Boston to New York on a bus that stops in Hartford. (A spokeswoman for American Airlines noted that more than half the $1,159 was for taxes, which are not refundable.)

Give yourself a time cushion

Alex of Los Angeles wrote about the time he was to fly from Nairobi, Kenya, to Boston, with a nearly 18-hour layover in London, during which he scheduled business meetings. In Nairobi, Alex arrived at the airport only to find Kenya Airways had no record of his reservation, which was booked through Delta using the Chase Travel platform. Uh-oh, middlemen. But those companies reacted admirably to the error, booking him on a different route that got him to Boston only about an hour late. But he has repeatedly requested “compensatory ‘good will’ points for missing the meetings.”

A spokeswoman from Chase said the flight was booked correctly on their end, but is still considering his request for compensation. (Neither of the two airlines responded to me.)

I’d be just fine if they declined. Scheduling anything of even middling importance so tightly in today’s air travel environment is folly.

You really need to leave a 24-hour cushion for anything important, and make it 48 for a once-in-a-lifetime event like a big wedding or cruise departure or Super Bowl kickoff. In the United States alone, 88,419 flights were canceled in the first three quarters of 2023. And no airline will reimburse you for football tickets you couldn’t use or the emotional damage from missing your sister’s wedding, no matter how outraged a message you send to them.

If you suspect airlines secretly don’t feel bad about changing or canceling your reservation, you’re wrong: It’s no secret. Qantas caused a stir in October when, in a filing in Australian federal court, it argued a reservation is not for “a particular flight.”

“To the contrary,” the filing said, “the ‘service’ that Qantas relevantly offers is a bundle of contractual rights, which are consistent with Qantas’ promise to do its best to get consumers where they want to be on time.”

Write an email

When I fall behind on the Tripped Up inbox and respond to someone who wrote in a month or two earlier, they often no longer need my help, having solved the problem by pushing to speak to supervisors or simply waiting for the creaky system to work.

Their best method for success, it seems, is to communicate via polite, concise email queries rather than phone calls or online chat or web forms. Those customer service email addresses are sometimes harder to find, but that means they may receive faster attention or better service. Plus, they make for a clean, written record you can forward two weeks later if you don’t hear back.

And if you don’t, aim higher. When Amy from St. Paul, Minn., wrote to me asking for help with a $1,172 credit from United Airlines that was proving impossible to use, I suggested she use elliott.org/company-contacts , a site run by Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit that does Tripped Up-like work and provides contact information for travel providers. She told me she wrote to a customer care executive at United and heard back the same day with a solution. “Magic!” she said.

If emails sent directly to your service provider fail, what could work are complaints to your credit card issuer, the Better Business Bureau, your state’s attorney general (or department of insurance for insurance-related cases) and the federal Transportation Department (for flights).

Be sure you are right

Passengers often write to me outraged, with complaints that an airline canceled their entire itinerary just because they missed one leg. Yet, that’s a widespread, well-documented rule. No fair? I absolutely agree, but can do nothing except tell you to (please) write to your member of Congress.

People also often decline to get travel insurance because they think that if they get sick they can just submit a doctor’s note and the airline or cruise line or hotel will refund them. But this is not grade school, and although companies do sometimes make exceptions, you can’t count on it. Tong of Sebastopol, Calif., wrote to me that when his wife, Elizabeth, fell ill with Covid-19 during a trip to Italy in October, easyJet would not refund them $390 for an unused Naples to Palermo flight. At peak pandemic, that might have worked. Not anymore.

Finally, maybe you just screwed up. When a retired professor tried to check in for a return trip in London back to his home to Austin, Texas, the airline told him he hadn’t flown the outbound portion to London. He was at wits’ end trying to convince the airline he had indeed flown — they had even checked his bag on the first flight and he had the receipt.

But it turns out he had somehow booked two round-trip flights with similar itineraries, used one for the outbound flight, and then tried to use the other for his return flight, which the airline had rightfully canceled. So he did have a valid ticket to get home — just two days later on a different flight. In theory, a top-notch customer service agent might have figured this out, but in this case the second reservation was booked via code-share on a partner airline. Middlemen!

Pack patience

Travelers often write to me with complaints that smack of self-centeredness at best, privilege at worst. One memorable note came from a couple who was in Marrakech, Morocco, during the September earthquake that killed nearly 2,900. They had booked a tour package through a middleman and were disappointed that the local tour guides didn’t do more to restructure their itinerary accordingly. Someone else was outraged they could not get a refund from their vacation rental in Maui after the fires in August. Did they consider that the homeowner — the one who really had their money, which was long gone from Vrbo — could be in far worse shape than they were? These cases are decided by the small print, and the only way to avoid that is to purchase travel insurance.

So a final note as you plan for 2024: Vacations are not automobiles, mass-produced in factories with some form of quality control, and returnable for a refund or replacement if they arrive in less than perfect condition. Vacations are complex, emotional adventures that take place in the real world, with its unpredictable weather, chaotic geopolitics and cultural complexities.

Anyone looking for a perfect, stress-free experience should skip the river cruise or backpacking trip or destination wedding and simply book your couch for a day of naps and streaming services. Just be sure to reserve directly with your family.

If you need advice about a best-laid travel plan that went awry, send an email to [email protected] .

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram , Twitter and Facebook . And sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to receive expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation.

Seth Kugel is the columnist for “ Tripped Up ,” an advice column that helps readers navigate the often confusing world of travel. More about Seth Kugel

Open Up Your World

Considering a trip, or just some armchair traveling here are some ideas..

Italy :  Spend 36 hours in Florence , seeking out its lesser-known pockets.

Southern California :  Skip the freeways to explore the back roads between Los Angeles and Los Olivos , a 100-mile route that meanders through mountains, canyons and star-studded enclaves.

Mongolia : Some young people, searching for less curated travel experiences, are flocking to the open spaces of this East Asian nation .

Romania :  Timisoara  may be the most noteworthy city you’ve probably never heard of , offering just enough for visitors to fill two or three days.

India: A writer fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting Darjeeling, in the Himalayan foothills , taking in the tea gardens and riding a train through the hills.

52 Places:  Why do we travel? For food, culture, adventure, natural beauty? Our 2024 list has all those elements, and more .

The Psychology of Why You Feel Empty Traveling (and How to Change It)

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[email protected]

10 Min Read

difficulty of travelling

Have you ever been on a long travel vacation having the time of your life and in the flick of a switch feel home-sick and ready to leave? It turns out, you’re not alone.

Whether we are traveling alone sipping a latte in Paris, France or with some friends on the beach touching our toes to the turquoise waters of Thailand, we have all felt this unexplained and slow moving feeling of crumminess.

What makes it so strange is that we’re happy and having fun but… something is just off. After traveling abroad and speaking to hundreds of others who have experienced these exact feelings, I’ve come to call this phenomenon “the mid-trip crisis.”

Why do we feel “the mid-trip crisis?”

A mid-trip crisis arises because the fundamental design of travel does not support a sense of belonging or a sense of purpose, which studies have shown are the two most impactful factors when measuring a meaningful life.

In the book, The Power of Meaning  by University of Pennsylvania Professor Emily Smith, evidence is shown that people who rate their lives with the most satisfaction are people with intense feelings of belonging and purpose: two things that are fundamentally missing in 95% of travel excursions.

Why Does Traveling Lack Belonging and Purpose?

As Smith describes belonging she says; “we need to feel understood, recognized and affirmed, ” and really, we just need to feel heard, by someone.

It’s no secret that traveling can be isolating.

A stereotypical getaway lasts one or two weeks and is jam packed with activities even up until the last hour. Not only does our vacation turn from relaxing to stressful but the transient nature of our vacation gives us no sense of belonging.

We stay in new places and make friendships that last for no more than a dinner or a day until we off to our next, pre-planned activity. Traveling like this guarantees our vacation to be full of surface level relationships, which subconsciously starts to eat at us.

Worse off, we likely can’t keep in touch with anyone back home be it timezone or data troubles. So there we are. Living the life on our travels until day five our brain is like, “Hey bud I want to talk to someone.”

Why hostels don’t fulfill our desire for belonging

The absence of belonging within travel isn’t anything new. This is why hostels exist, this why group travel programs exist, this is why people travel with friends. These alternatives help a lot. But, there are still fundamental flaws to all of these approaches that leave us wanting something else.

Smith’s findings cite that the greatest driver of belonging for humans is when we experience ‘close relationships. ’ Supported by world-class psychologist Roy Baumeister, Smith explains that close relationships are fulfilled through consistent and non-negative interactions.

This is where hostels just do not deliver.

In a hostel, nine out of ten people we meet will be gone in five days giving no hope for consistent intimacy. While hostels are a great place to have some connection, our mind desires consistency and something deeper.

Travel programs are one of the best alternatives but not ideal for many people. Traveling in a group will help fulfill our sense of belonging through close relationships, it makes traveling extremely limited. The fundamental flaw with traveling in groups is it generally contradicts one of the greatest desires of the modern day traveler: to wander.

The definition of wander is “to walk or move in a casual or aimless way.” There is nothing about having your itinerary pre-planned for the next four weeks that fulfills a person’s desire to “wander.”

This is also why traveling with a significant other is called the marriage test … because it’s really freakin’ hard when you both want to aimlessly wander, but in different directions.

In travel, we want the freedom to wander alone, but we also need to experience close relationships to make it past day five.

What do we do?

Let’s first investigate the lack of purpose in traveling, then we’ll tackle solutions for both.

Lacking a sense of purpose while traveling won’t be a surprise to many people, either. While the loss of belonging may be mitigated by sacrificing freedom to travel in a group or staying in a hostel, finding a sense of purpose is much more difficult.

Americans know travel lacks a sense of purpose. This is why we have a travel deficiency . A week in the islands without time spent on our career? Sounds terrifying and purposeless, so we don’t do it.

The problem begins because traveling, at its core, is just an extended weekend. Yes, even if you’re ‘growing your mind’ in southeast Asia. While travel is more socially accepted, it’s basically the same as watching television.

When broken down, travel is just a long period without any sort of work and lots of time spent as the most egregious of consumers. At the end of the day, we are in a tensionless state where all of our time and effort is spent being selfish.

I don’t say selfish in a bad way. But travel and consumption are usually about our fun, our needs, and our wants. And deep down we crave impact and service.

As Smith describes, when others count on us, we feel purposeful. Smith cites research that shows when people begin engaging in lifestyles where no one is counting on us, be it family, co-workers or strangers, our quality of life starts to drop. 

And this is exactly what happens when we travel. We consume and slowly, just as with belonging, our subconscious mind starts to say, “Hey, dude, I am over these temples here in Asia.”

Belonging & Purpose together

As discussed earlier, studies show belonging and purpose are the most influential factors when measuring quality of life. And ironically, when we go on vacation in pursuit of living a life of high quality, we lose those things.

It takes a few days or whole week but our mind picks up on the absence of these things and that’s when the mid-trip crisis will hit and suddenly you start thinking, “okay… I am ready to go home.”

How Do We Solve the Mid-Trip Crisis?

First off, I am not hating on travel. Traveling, or just taking vacation days is well-documented to be beneficial and pretty necessary to a healthy life .

But here’s the thing. The type of travel I just described above is incredibly lopsided and it is massively weighted towards self-indulgence and consumption. Which is also fine.

One of the studies Smith cites in her work actually shows that self-indulgence is critical to enjoying a life of the highest quality. However, they also found people who invest strictly into self-indulgence rated themselves as really happy… for about five days, then their quality of life dropped to the lowest of anyone in the study.

Consider this when we think about “the mid-trip crisis.” When we travel and 90% of our energy is spent self-indulging, life is great, but then after a week or so we start to feel really crappy.

So what’s missing?

In this cited study, the people who ended up having the highest quality of life were those who had both self-indulgence and some sort of purpose in their day.

If you’ve ever heard the term “work hard, play hard,” you now have evidence to support your claim.

Applying this to traveling means: have a ton of fun and do something you care about.

Let’s see what that actually looks like in practice. Below, we have put together a few sample ideas on how you can weave both purpose and belonging into your trip.

Solutions to “the Mid-Trip Crisis”

To solve the issue of the mid-trip crisis and to ensure your travels are infinitely awesome, a few things need to happen. 

First, make sure your trip allows for consistent time for building relationships (belonging). Second, make sure you schedule time for one or two activities that feel purposeful and third, have lots of fun.

As long as you deliver on these three things, you will have an unbeatable travel experience every time, whether it is two weeks or six months.

Having lots of fun while traveling isn’t hard, so I won’t really cover that. Let’s focus on belonging and purpose.

Below, I have accumulated some solutions to both purpose and belonging. Mix and match some of the ideas. Some of them can work together. Each solution delivers on purpose or belonging in a different way, it is your choice on how you want to approach this.

The Solutions:

When traveling in a group, have a defined experience planned:

Traveling in a group helps create a sense of belonging with consistent interaction. However, we lose our sense of freedom. It is shown that a lot of happiness and life satisfaction is based on our expectation of experiences. If you are traveling in a group, book a defined and controlled experience like a safari. This clearly places the expectation for traveling wandering isn’t going to happen.

Do your normal morning routine:

Having our normal morning run, breakfast or reading gives us a sense of normalcy that enables a sense of productivity and purpose for the entire day.

Work remote:

Working remote is a good way to support purpose and maybe belonging. A remote job is going to have limited interaction with coworkers, being in a new country and talking TPS Sheets with Sharon from accounting isn’t going to drive a sense of belonging. However, if you work for a company who lets you work remote for an infinite runway, this can help as you immerse into your travel locations and make friends with locals.

Volunteering is a special type of travel. It can be done on a long-term basis or short-term basis. Volunteering is going to be done in a group so a sense of belonging will arise. Putting in the elbow-grease towards a cause will also support a sense of purpose. And your volunteering doesn’t have to be something altruistic. Volunteer at a winery, restaurant or bar. Putting in hours on anything will help.

Travel for five days only:

Traveling for a shorter amount of time doesn’t really solve a sense of belonging or purpose, but completely avoids needing one. 5-day travel allows you to self-indulge like crazy and come back home before your body realizes it was missing either of the two. 

Travel for six months in 2-3 locations:

Conversely to the above solution, by traveling for long periods of time, we are able to fulfill both belonging and purpose. Traveling long-periods of time helps us feel a sense of belonging as we are able to make friends with locals. Delivering on purpose here is very doable as you will have to adopt some sort of a normal life. Having a routine, picking up a side job, volunteering or working remote will help you feel productive, impactful and purposeful.

The mid-trip crisis won’t apply to everyone. But for a lot of us, it’s a thing and hopefully today these writings are able to supply you with an understanding of why, giving you the power to create travel that fits your needs.

The solutions above are samples and suggestions, there are probably infinite ways to create the travel you want and the travel you need.

Get creative. We’d love to hear what you came up with.

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  • The Big Idea

Why travel should be considered an essential human activity

Travel is not rational, but it’s in our genes. Here’s why you should start planning a trip now.

In 1961, legendary National Geographic photographer Volkmar Wentzel captured two women gazing at the surf off Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia. This and all the other images in this story come from the National Geographic image collection.

I’ve been putting my passport to good use lately. I use it as a coaster and to level wobbly table legs. It makes an excellent cat toy.

Welcome to the pandemic of disappointments. Canceled trips, or ones never planned lest they be canceled. Family reunions, study-abroad years, lazy beach vacations. Poof. Gone. Obliterated by a tiny virus, and the long list of countries where United States passports are not welcome.

Only a third of Americans say they have traveled overnight for leisure since March, and only slightly more, 38 percent, say they are likely to do so by the end of the year, according to one report. Only a quarter of us plan on leaving home for Thanksgiving, typically the busiest travel time. The numbers paint a grim picture of our stilled lives.

It is not natural for us to be this sedentary. Travel is in our genes. For most of the time our species has existed, “we’ve lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers moving about in small bands of 150 or fewer people,” writes Christopher Ryan in Civilized to Death . This nomadic life was no accident. It was useful. “Moving to a neighboring band is always an option to avoid brewing conflict or just for a change in social scenery,” says Ryan. Robert Louis Stevenson put it more succinctly: “The great affair is to move.”

What if we can’t move, though? What if we’re unable to hunt or gather? What’s a traveler to do? There are many ways to answer that question. “Despair,” though, is not one of them.

We are an adaptive species. We can tolerate brief periods of forced sedentariness. A dash of self-delusion helps. We’re not grounded, we tell ourselves. We’re merely between trips, like the unemployed salesman in between opportunities. We pass the days thumbing though old travel journals and Instagram feeds. We gaze at souvenirs. All this helps. For a while.

We put on brave faces. “Staycation Nation,” the cover of the current issue of Canadian Traveller magazine declares cheerfully, as if it were a choice, not a consolation.

Today, the U.S. Travel Association, the industry trade organization, is launching a national recovery campaign called “ Let’s Go There .” Backed by a coalition of businesses related to tourism—hotels, convention and visitor bureaus, airlines—the initiative’s goal is to encourage Americans to turn idle wanderlust into actual itineraries.

The travel industry is hurting. So are travelers. “I dwelled so much on my disappointment that it almost physically hurt,” Paris -based journalist Joelle Diderich told me recently, after canceling five trips last spring.

(Related: How hard has the coronavirus hit the travel industry? These charts tell us.)

My friend James Hopkins is a Buddhist living in Kathmandu . You’d think he’d thrive during the lockdown, a sort-of mandatory meditation retreat. For a while he did.

But during a recent Skype call, James looked haggard and dejected. He was growing restless, he confessed, and longed “for the old 10-countries-a-year schedule.” Nothing seemed to help, he told me. “No matter how many candles I lit, or how much incense I burned, and in spite of living in one of the most sacred places in South Asia, I just couldn’t change my habits.”

When we ended our call, I felt relieved, my grumpiness validated. It’s not me; it’s the pandemic. But I also worried. If a Buddhist in Kathmandu is going nuts, what hope do the rest of us stilled souls have?

I think hope lies in the very nature of travel. Travel entails wishful thinking. It demands a leap of faith, and of imagination, to board a plane for some faraway land, hoping, wishing, for a taste of the ineffable. Travel is one of the few activities we engage in not knowing the outcome and reveling in that uncertainty. Nothing is more forgettable than the trip that goes exactly as planned.

Brownsville, Texas: 1938

Women in period dress greet travelers arriving on a Pan Am flight.

Travel is not a rational activity. It makes no sense to squeeze yourself into an alleged seat only to be hurled at frightening speed to a distant place where you don’t speak the language or know the customs. All at great expense. If we stopped to do the cost-benefit analysis, we’d never go anywhere. Yet we do.

That’s one reason why I’m bullish on travel’s future. In fact, I’d argue travel is an essential industry, an essential activity. It’s not essential the way hospitals and grocery stores are essential. Travel is essential the way books and hugs are essential. Food for the soul. Right now, we’re between courses, savoring where we’ve been, anticipating where we’ll go. Maybe it’s Zanzibar and maybe it’s the campground down the road that you’ve always wanted to visit.

(Related: Going camping this fall? Here’s how to get started.)

James Oglethorpe, a seasoned traveler, is happy to sit still for a while, and gaze at “the slow change of light and clouds on the Blue Ridge Mountains” in Virginia, where he lives. “My mind can take me the rest of the way around this world and beyond it.”

It’s not the place that is special but what we bring to it and, crucially, how we interact with it. Travel is not about the destination, or the journey. It is about stumbling across “a new way of looking at things,” as writer Henry Miller observed. We need not travel far to gain a fresh perspective.

No one knew this better than Henry David Thoreau , who lived nearly all of his too-short life in Concord, Massachusetts. There he observed Walden Pond from every conceivable vantage point: from a hilltop, on its shores, underwater. Sometimes he’d even bend over and peer through his legs, marveling at the inverted world. “From the right point of view, every storm and every drop in it is a rainbow,” he wrote.

Thoreau never tired of gazing at his beloved pond, nor have we outgrown the quiet beauty of our frumpy, analog world. If anything, the pandemic has rekindled our affection for it. We’ve seen what an atomized, digital existence looks like, and we (most of us anyway) don’t care for it. The bleachers at Chicago ’s Wrigley Field; the orchestra section at New York City ’s Lincoln Center; the alleyways of Tokyo . We miss these places. We are creatures of place, and always will be.

After the attacks of September 11, many predicted the end of air travel, or at least a dramatic reduction. Yet the airlines rebounded steadily and by 2017 flew a record four billion passengers. Briefly deprived of the miracle of flight, we appreciated it more and today tolerate the inconvenience of body scans and pat-downs for the privilege of transporting our flesh-and-bone selves to far-flung locations, where we break bread with other incarnate beings.

In our rush to return to the world, we should be mindful of the impact of mass tourism on the planet. Now is the time to embrace the fundamental values of sustainable tourism and let them guide your future journeys. Go off the beaten path. Linger longer in destinations. Travel in the off-season. Connect with communities and spend your money in ways that support locals. Consider purchasing carbon offsets. And remember that the whole point of getting out there is to embrace the differences that make the world so colorful.

“One of the great benefits of travel is meeting new people and coming into contact with different points of view,” says Pauline Frommer, travel expert and radio host.

So go ahead and plan that trip. It’s good for you, scientists say . Plotting a trip is nearly as enjoyable as actually taking one. Merely thinking about a pleasurable experience is itself pleasurable. Anticipation is its own reward.

I’ve witnessed first-hand the frisson of anticipatory travel. My wife, not usually a fan of travel photography, now spends hours on Instagram, gazing longingly at photos of Alpine lodges and Balinese rice fields. “What’s going on?” I asked one day. “They’re just absolutely captivating,” she replied. “They make me remember that there is a big, beautiful world out there.”

Many of us, myself included, have taken travel for granted. We grew lazy and entitled, and that is never good. Tom Swick, a friend and travel writer, tells me he used to view travel as a given. Now, he says, “I look forward to experiencing it as a gift.”

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TravelAwaits

Our mission is to serve the 50+ traveler who's ready to cross a few items off their bucket list.

7 Fears Of International Travel And How To Overcome Them

difficulty of travelling

Barry Evans

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Traveling seems to be in my bones. Not only was I born in a car, but my father worked for the U.S. State Department, so my family moved from country to country every few years. I met Barry, my husband, in my 20s, and 40 years later, we’re still traveling.

But we’re unusual among Americans. Many people we know traveled abroad briefly after college, and then, around age 22, stopped, except for an occasional tour or cruise in their retirement years.

This isn’t the case in other Western countries. While 42 percent of Americans hold passports, 66 percent of Canadians had a passport in 2016, and 76 percent of people in England and Wales have one.

Based on my experience and observations, here are seven fears that hold people back.

1. Fear Of Being Robbed

Barry has a philosophy that you should be prepared to lose $100 your first 48 hours in a new place, due to disorientation, jet lag, and confusion. And I’m afraid he bases that on firsthand experience! It’s happened to us more than once, especially during the first hours after arrival.

A few years ago, on the commuter train from the Charles de Gaulle airport to Paris, a couple of young guys asked us to sign a petition. As we were distracted, explaining that we weren’t French, their partner was rummaging through our bike panniers behind our backs, running off with a camera. Boy, did we feel stupid!

Here are some simple but often overlooked tips for keeping your valuables safe:

Pack Lightly

The less you carry, the more you can focus on your valuables.

Aim To Look Like A Local

Avoid wearing flashy jewelry or expensive clothes, which could make you a target. Keep your phone safely within a pocket or bag, out of sight. Don’t call attention to yourself by speaking English loudly.

Carry Limited Cash

You can always get more at an ATM. (I prefer using cash abroad, just in case my credit card is stolen. To make sure your card is accepted, call the company before you leave the U.S. to let them know where you’ll be traveling).

Leave Your Passport At Your Hotel

Make a copy of the page in your passport with your photo and ID and keep it in a separate place.

Pay Special Attention When You’re In Transition And Motion

Do as we say, not as we do! When you’re getting on a bus or train — arriving or departing — is when you’re distracted by logistics and are most susceptible to being robbed.

2. Fear Of Being Attacked

It doesn’t matter where we go, people inevitably ask, “Will you be safe?” Sad to say, I’m safer in many countries than I am on a lot of streets in the U.S. In all our years of travel, neither Barry nor I have ever been mugged or attacked. Nor have we met anyone who has been.

You can gauge the safety of a country by doing research before you leave. Check the U.S. State Department advisories , which alert you to areas of a country that are unsafe to visit. These can be helpful, but in my opinion, they err on the side of caution. Well, of course. That’s their job — to protect U.S. citizens. We have visited countries like Colombia , Turkey , and of course, Mexico , which from time to time the advisories warn against. I’d bear them in mind, but also browse the web for expat chat groups or local English-language Facebook groups where you can ask people on the ground — the real experts — for current information.

3. Fear Of Getting Sick From Food

While it’s no fun getting sick, it’s usually avoidable. Educate yourself about where you’re going. Is it safe to drink the water? Are there certain foods to avoid?

Street food can be delicious, but if you’re not sure about it, ask the hotel staff and watch where locals go. Long lines not only attest to the quality but often to the safety of the food, too.

4. Fear Of An Injury Or A Serious Health Issue

You can always buy international health insurance; several options are reviewed here . But even without it, your costs for health care in another country will probably be much less than you expect.

After Barry fell on a slippery rocky path when we were hiking in England, he had his wounds stitched at the local hospital. Cost: Zero.

A few years later, I fell off my bike in France and fractured my finger. I went to the local clinic twice to have it treated. Cost: 100 euros, about $125.

A friend needed pins removed after elbow surgery. She had heard of Medical Tourism, a site that connects users with surgeons and other healthcare providers in international destinations. Their services are a fraction of the cost they would be in the States. She ended up going to Baja, getting excellent care, and meanwhile renting a cabana and enjoying a beach vacation with her beloved.

Where I live in Mexico, expats routinely get cataract surgery, colonoscopies, and root canals. The reality is you can get affordable, excellent health care in most parts of the world. In terms of cost, the U.S. is an outlier, not the norm.

5. Fear Of Not Being Understood

A friendly attitude is more important than language skills, in my opinion. After spending years struggling with Spanish, Barry finally decided that the anxiety he felt trying to master the language was not worth the results. He enjoys our life in Mexico much more now. The funny thing is, Mexicans love him and can often understand him because he’s more relaxed.

A little goes a long way. Even learning to say “Good morning,” “Good evening,” “Please,” and “Thank you” in the language of the country you’re visiting will engender a sense of appreciation in your listener. I am embarrassed when I hear English-language speakers in a Mexican restaurant who won’t even say gracias.

If you speak a foreign language somewhat, one trick I’ve found is to look for other people for whom it is also a second language. One day during the economic crisis of 2008, for example, Barry and I were bicycling along the Spain-Portugal border, where we dipped into Portugal for a few hours. In a park, we met a Portuguese guy who told us all about his experience of la crisis in Spanish. Because he spoke slowly, it was much easier to understand him than it was to understand the native Spanish speakers just over the border!

6. Fear Of Getting Lost

If you’re afraid of getting lost, buy a local map, or use GPS. Or try my method of walking two square blocks in each direction of where you’re staying so you become familiar with the local landmarks.

Not knowing where you are is an ideal time to ask for help. Just be sure to first say “Good morning” or “Excuse me?” It sounds obvious, but in many cultures, simple courtesies are very important, and you don’t want to come across as brusque.

7. Fear Of Loneliness

I find loneliness to be a normal part of travel, just as it is of life. A good book or a compelling film are great distractions.

It helps to be comfortable enjoying your own company. Years ago a friend and I, both exchange students at the University of Wales, were all set to go to a movie after eating fish and chips. At the last moment, she changed her mind. “But what about me?” I said.

“Go anyway,” she said. “It’s no big deal.” So, reluctantly, I did. And she was right — I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and realized I didn’t need a companion to have a good time.

While travel fears are real and shouldn’t be ignored, the benefits far outweigh them. Mark Twain put it best: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” When we meet people from other cultures, when we eat, laugh, and enjoy life together, we form lasting friendships and make the world a better place.

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Louisa writes articles and essays about travel, expat life, physical and psychological health, spirituality, and food. In 2022, four of her articles were among Travel Awaits' 25 most-read pieces.

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4 COMMON TRAVEL DISORDERS AND HOW TO MANAGE THEM

A practical guide to travel-related disorders.

While travel can be fun, it can expose you to obvious as well as hidden hazards, possibly causing illness or exacerbating existing health issues. Lack of sleep combined with stress, dehydration, increased exertion levels, musculoskeletal stresses and a change in medical-care delivery systems could have an impact on the traveler.

A few disorders, however, are actually caused by the process of getting from one place to another around the globe.

  •   Jet Lag
  •   Motion Sickness
  •   Deep Vein Thrombosis
  •   High Altitude Illness

The following sections of this guide provide a summary of the causes and symptoms of each condition as well as tips for prevention and instructions for treatment.

— Contributors — James M. Chimiak, MD Petar Denoble, MD

Download this guide

See more Travel Health and Safety guides >>

What is Jet Lag?

Long-distance travel in which humans cross several time zones in a short time can cause what is commonly known as jet lag, also called rapid time zone change syndrome or desynchronosis. This condition results from your circadian rhythm — your internal clock, which is attuned to the day-night cycle at your departure location — being out of sync with the day-night cycle at your destination with little or no time to adjust.

Jet lag primarily affects air travelers because of the greater distances and time zones covered in a relatively short time. Boaters may have some difficulty with this condition if they do not make regular accommodations as they travel across the globe.

Symptoms of Jet Lag

Feeling sleepy, hungry and alert at the wrong times are common symptoms of jet lag, which may affect your social life and your ability to work, exercise or sleep. Fortunately, your internal clock will synchronize with your new environment within a few days. The more times zones you cross, the more intense your symptoms are likely to be and the longer they will take to diminish.

woman sleeping next to an alarm clock

Prevention and Treatment of Jet Lag

A few days to a week before your departure, try to gradually move your bedtime to what it will be at your destination — i.e., if you are traveling east, where night comes sooner than at your departure location, go to bed one hour earlier than you usually would for as many days as the number of time zones you will travel through. To make it easier to fall asleep early, avoid coffee, tea, chocolate, alcohol, and exercise for three to four hours before your new bedtime. Then wake up earlier in the morning and try to catch some sunshine to help your body's internal rhythm adjust. If you are traveling west, you should do the reverse routine — gradually go to bed and wake up later in the days leading up to your departure.

Jet lag may be exacerbated by poor sleep during an overnight flight. Falling asleep on a plane can be difficult for several reasons. During sleep, your body temperature falls, and the activity of some hormones changes. This process usually occurs at a similar time every day, prompted by changes in surrounding light and noise. With the onset of darkness, the pineal gland in the brain starts to secrete melatonin, known as the "hormone of darkness." Melatonin helps the body fall asleep and stay asleep, but it is not strong enough to do so on its own.

man drinking coffee outdoors in the sunshine

To sleep well during a flight, it is important to avoid excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine may prevent you from falling asleep, and alcohol will prevent you from staying asleep and experiencing normal restorative stages of sleep. The use of earplugs and an eye mask to reduce noise and mimic darkness may also help.

man exercising at the gym

Upon arrival at your destination, stay active during daylight hours, and go to bed in the evening at your usual time. You might also consider taking melatonin before your bedtime for the first few days at your destination. In the morning, going out in the sunlight will help your circadian rhythm adjust. If weather prohibits exposure to sunshine or if you are traveling from a summer climate to a winter one, try to start your morning with exercise at a gym or swimming pool.

If these measures are not sufficient, try taking between 0.3 mg and 1.0 mg of melatonin 30 minutes before your bedtime.

About Melatonin

Classified as a food supplement, melatonin is available without a prescription and is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The amount of active hormone in one dose may vary slightly from what is declared on the box, and response to melatonin varies individually. Excessive melatonin may interfere with your sleep. Avoid taking more than 3.0 mg at once, as too much melatonin can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness or irritability.

Considered nonaddictive and safe for short-term use, melatonin can interact with certain medications, however, including anticoagulants, immune suppressants, diabetes medications, and birth-control pills. If you have any health conditions, check with your doctor before using melatonin.

Refrain from activities that require alertness — such as driving, boating or diving — for four to five hours after taking melatonin.

Tips For Boaters About Jet Lag

Observe members of a boat crew for evidence of drowsiness and jet lag, as its effects will be cumulative if not addressed. Just one crew member's impairment can result in increased burdens and fatigue on a small crew. If the conditions are left undetected, an impaired watchstander can have catastrophic consequences for the boat.

For advice on getting enough sleep while onboard, read Importance of Sleep While Boating (and How to Do It Safely) .

MOTION SICKNESS

What is motion sickness.

Kinetosis — commonly known as motion sickness — is any disorder caused by motion, such as seasickness, airsickness or carsickness, as defined by Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. It is a common complaint of travelers on boats or planes, in motor vehicles, and even while riding animals such as horses.

Most people, including experienced boaters and frequent air travelers, have experienced motion sickness at some time. All that is needed is a strong enough stimulus, which can vary widely from one person to another. Most people acclimate — or "get their sea legs" — with time, but the process can take up to two or three days.

boat crew working a yacht windlass

Symptoms of Motion Sickness

The most distressing symptoms of motion sickness are nausea and vomiting, generally caused by an overstimulation of your inner ear's vestibular balance organs and/or by a discrepancy between the sensory inputs from your eyes and inner ears. Other symptoms include excessive sweating, pallor (pale skin), a mild headache and malaise.

Motion sickness is not a serious medical problem, but it may lead to more significant health issues or incidents because affected individuals can develop an almost desperate inattentiveness and a reduced ability to perform simple tasks. Assume that any tasks assigned to those affected by motion sickness require supervision. Reassign critical tasks to others who are less impaired.

Prevention and Treatment of Motion Sickness

It is best to plan ahead to reduce the risk of motion sickness . Prepare by being well-rested, nourished and adequately hydrated. If you feel anxious or uneasy, avoid consuming food for two hours before you embark for a short sail, as you will likely be more comfortable with an empty stomach than with a full one. For boaters, stow and prepare your gear before the boat leaves the dock to limit the time spent below decks.

While underway, position yourself on the boat where the motion is least, such as midline on the boat, low and close to the waterline or on the stern (if minimal or no exhaust is present). Avoid areas where the vertical motion is more pronounced, such as the bow or upper decks. Closing your eyes or sitting where the rocking motion of a boat is clearly visible can help prevent motion sickness. Gazing at the horizon rather than at objects in your immediate vicinity is widely accepted as helpful. Staying away from areas with strong fumes, particularly fuel or exhaust, is also a good idea. Avoid reading, looking at electronic devices or moving your head continuously back and forth because this can worsen symptoms.

woman on a boat looking at the horizon at sunset

Advertisements promote numerous medications, herbs, foods and devices to prevent or treat motion sickness. Although many of these aids have proved to be successful, none are known to be completely effective. Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine such as meclizine, dimenhydrinate or cyclizine before you feel sick can be helpful, but it may cause some degree of drowsiness. Antihistamines interact with many drugs, so if you have chronic health issues and are taking other medications, consult your physician before you travel so there is enough time to make any necessary adjustments. As always, it is wise to test new medications or supplements days to weeks before using them away from home. Motion-sickness medications typically are most effective when taken before symptoms begin and are less effective after symptom onset.

woman experiencing motion sickness on a train

If necessary, motion sickness can be treated with either oral drugs or a transdermal patch, which delivers medication through the skin. On the rare occasion when nausea and vomiting are severe and not improving after several days and other problems begin to appear, the person may need to be returned to shore for medical attention.

Drugs used to prevent and treat motion sickness vary in their effectiveness and side effects from one individual to another, so it is not possible to make a generalized recommendation. Use such medications with caution during certain activities, as most of these drugs cause mild drowsiness and inhibit mucous secretions.

Motion sickness usually subsides as the body adapts or when the motion stops. Fortunately, the more frequently one travels, the easier it becomes to adjust to being in motion.

About Prescription Scopolamine

For many people, transdermal delivery of the prescription drug scopolamine can be effective. The patch, which goes by the brand name Transderm Scop®, contains 1.5 mg of scopolamine. When placed on the skin (typically just behind the ear), the patch delivers the drug at a constant rate for three days. Remove the patch after that period. Those who are still in an environment where motion sickness could be a problem can apply another patch. Wear only one patch at a time, even if you think one patch is depleted, to avoid too much medication entering the bloodstream and causing undesirable side effects.

Possible side effects of scopolamine include dry mouth, drowsiness, and blurred vision. Disorientation, memory disturbances, dizziness, and restlessness may occur but are less common. Scopolamine should be used with caution in patients with narrow-angle glaucoma, a pyloric obstruction or a urinary bladder neck obstruction (such as from an enlarged prostate). Rare side effects include hallucinations, confusion, difficulty urinating, skin rashes, and eye pain.

It is impossible to know in advance who scopolamine will affect and how. Therefore, before using a patch to prevent motion sickness, it is recommended to wear one on dry land for at least 24 hours to test its effects. Once you open the foil wrapper, avoid touching the patch under the plastic strip. If some of the medication gets on your finger and inadvertently contaminates your eye, the drug will produce unilateral pupil dilation, which has caused confusion with a number of serious medical emergencies by those who are unaware of this association. Do not consume alcohol while wearing a scopolamine patch.

If side effects occur, remove the patch. If you experience severe allergic reactions, difficulty urinating, pain in the eyes or dilated pupils, seek immediate medical attention.

If a patch is worn for more than three days, withdrawal symptoms can occur after removal. These symptoms, which generally do not occur until 24 hours after removal, include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headache and balance disturbances.

Why Boaters Need a "Plan B" for Motion Sickness

Whether you are planning an ocean crossing, a leisurely sail to the islands for a few weeks, or a day or two of deep-sea fishing, under certain circumstances motion sickness can be a potential hazard to recreational boaters.

Consider, for example, getting seasick while traveling offshore with your small children or your first bareboat charter vacation. In both cases, the severity of your symptoms could negatively affect your reaction times and your ability to concentrate. You may not be able to keep as close a watch on your kids' safety as you normally would. You may be too distracted to notice weather changes or objects lurking below the waterline. You may be unable to provide timely or appropriate assistance if someone falls overboard or gets injured. Many people with motion sickness will express that during the first few days of travel they experience apathy and a decreased attention to detail even if they never experience nausea or vomiting.

You cannot always anticipate the onset or severity of motion sickness, but with a bit of preparation, you can develop a plan to help manage the situation in case it occurs. Your "Plan B" could be as simple as ensuring that someone else on board has the ability to take over or help when needed. If you are new to boating or if you are planning an expensive trip, consider taking a short, inexpensive day trip prior to your excursion, especially if it is one in which your best efforts are required for the safety of the trip. That way you have time to consider other options if you are susceptible to motion sickness.

The possibility of disordered sleep, watchstanding, inexperienced or rusty sailors, medications, and seasickness should require everyone to be vigilant and double-check themselves and each other.

DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS (DVT)

What is deep vein thrombosis.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is an acute condition in which a blood clot (also known as a thrombus) forms in one or more of the body's deep veins, usually in the legs. These blood clots can then break free, travel through the bloodstream and cause life-threatening conditions such as a pulmonary embolism — a blood clot that lodges in the lungs. The blockage can be great enough to reduce the heart's ability to circulate blood to the lungs, impairing vital functions such as the elimination of carbon dioxide and the delivery of oxygen.

deep vein thrombosis (DVT) process

Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis

  • swelling of the affected leg, ankle, and foot
  • pain in the calf that spreads to the ankle and foot
  • warmth across the affected area
  • change in skin color to pale, red or blue

These symptoms are not exclusive to DVT, and at least half of people with similar symptoms may have conditions other than DVT.

DVT often reoccurs and in many cases causes long-term complications such as postthrombotic syndrome (PTS) or pulmonary hypertension after a pulmonary embolism. PTS includes leg swelling, pain, skin discoloration and sometimes skin ulceration due to abnormal local circulation. It is caused by inflammation of veins and incomplete resolution of thrombi, which make veins less efficient at circulating blood out of the affected leg.

These complications can occur without a previous diagnosis of a DVT, which may be asymptomatic. Indeed, even when a DVT is suspected, its diagnosis is quite uncertain.

Travel is thought to increase the likelihood of a DVT. Most DVTs related to air travel occur within the first two weeks after a flight and resolve within eight weeks. In about 25 percent of cases, an untreated DVT of the calf can spread upward into the veins of the thigh and pelvis. If a DVT of the thigh or pelvis is left untreated, there is a risk of a blood clot that originated as a lower-extremity DVT moving centrally and lodging in a pulmonary vessel, resulting in pulmonary embolism. A massive pulmonary embolism is usually fatal.

About Pulmonary Embolism

patent foramen ovale (PFO) diagram

  • sudden shortness of breath
  • chest pain or discomfort that worsens with a deep breath or cough
  • lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting
  • rapid pulse
  • coughing up blood
  • anxiety or nervousness

Pulmonary embolism is an emergency that requires immediate medical care. In remote locations, an emergency medical evacuation may be needed. In scuba diving situations, the diagnosis may be confused with dive-related injuries.

Another complication of a DVT is a condition called paradoxical embolism — in which a traveling blood clot passes directly into the arterial circulation instead of lodging in or being filtered through the pulmonary circulatory system.

illustration of pulmonary embolism mechanism

Paradoxical embolism may occur in individuals who have a congenital condition such as patent foramen ovale (PFO) or atrial septal defect (ASD), in which a hole is in the wall separating the heart's right and left upper chambers — this enables venous blood to bypass the lung and pass directly to the arterial system. A clot that may have traveled from the calf to the heart through an atrial wall opening, for example, and into the arterial circulation is a paradoxical embolism. A paradoxical embolism that enters the brain may cause a stroke.

Prevention and Treatment of DVT

airline passengers often endure cramped seating

The risk of DVT in healthy, active people is small. Most cases of DVT occur in people with preexisting risk factors who are forced to sit still for a long time (such as travelers who take long plane, car, boat or train journeys), bedridden patients and office workers who sit at their desks for many hours. Immobility slows down the blood flow in the veins (a condition known as venous stasis), and pressure exerted on the calf by poorly designed seats can injure the vein walls. After sitting for 90 minutes, the blood flow in the calf drops by half, which doubles the chance of developing a clot. In individuals with preexisting risk factors, for every hour spent sitting, the risk of a blood clot increases by 10 percent.

The incidence of DVT in the general population is only 0.1 percent, but it is higher in high-risk subpopulations. Long-distance air travel — for which this condition is well studied — is thought to increase the risk of DVT two- to four-fold. The incidence for travelers on flights lasting more than four hours is between 1 per 4,650 flights and 1 per 6,000 flights. This risk is lower than for the general population because people who take long trips generally are healthier on average since very sick individuals tend to avoid long-distance travel.

After a trip of more than eight hours, the incidence of DVT among travelers with a low to intermediate preexisting risk for a DVT was found to be 0.3 percent for symptomatic cases and 0.5 percent when including asymptomatic cases. Again, remaining sedentary while traveling on a boat can share some of the same risks as those for air or motor vehicle travel.

DVT Risk Factors

infographic of DVT Risk Factors

  • age (risk rises after age 40)
  • obesity (risk rises in individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30 kg/m2)
  • estrogen use (either with hormonal contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy)
  • pregnancy or recent childbirth (within two to three months)
  • thrombophilia (an abnormally increased tendency to develop clots)
  • previous DVT or a family history of DVT
  • active cancer
  • serious medical illness
  • recent surgery, hospitalization or trauma
  • limited mobility
  • central venous catheterization

Airline passengers who are shorter than 5 feet, 3 inches (1.6 meters) or taller than 6 feet, 3 inches (1.9 meters) are at an increased risk of DVT because plane seats cannot be adjusted to their height. In addition to immobility, shorter passengers may experience seat-edge pressure on the backs of their knees, and taller passengers may be cramped due to insufficient legroom, increasing the likelihood of vein-wall injury, venous stasis, and activation of the blood's natural clotting mechanisms.

People with a predisposition to blood clots should wear compression socks (knee high) or stockings (thigh-high) when traveling and should consult their physician regarding the use of an anticoagulant medication such as aspirin.

woman putting on compression stockings

Compression footwear reduces the chance that your blood will pool and clot, and anticoagulants inhibit your blood's ability to clot. Regular use of compression socks or stockings can also help prevent the swelling associated with DVT. It is usually advisable to wear compression footwear for at least a year after experiencing a DVT.

Anticoagulants (blood thinners) are drugs that inhibit your blood's ability to clot, thus reducing your risk of developing a clot. They range from over-the-counter medications such as aspirin to much stronger drugs such as warfarin (brand name Coumadin®) as well as newer direct oral anticoagulants. There is no evidence, however, that healthy people without preexisting risks for DVT benefit from compression footwear or anticoagulants.

People who cannot take anticoagulants, who have a DVT recurrence despite taking anticoagulants or who have repeated pulmonary embolisms can have a filter inserted in their inferior vena cava — the vessel that returns venous blood from the lower body to the heart. This filter, which is sometimes referred to as an umbrella because of its appearance, prevents clots that break loose from lodging in the lungs. Individuals with vena cava filters may return to a normal day-to-day life.

Everyone should avoid long periods of immobility — it is good practice to periodically get up and walk around while traveling. Exercising or flexing your feet and calf muscles while you are seated and staying well hydrated can also be helpful.

DVT is a serious medical condition that can result in death or major disability due to pulmonary embolism or PTS. Thus, it is an emergency that requires appropriate diagnosis and treatment to improve the chances of healing and to prevent life- and limb-threatening complications. In the hospital environment, early thrombus clearance rapidly resolves symptoms, preserves veins and restores their normal function.

Tips for Boaters on DVT

Most boat crews will be actively moving about the boat, completing their tasks for a successful voyage and minimizing such stasis. Some crew members may be immobile for prolonged periods due to physical condition or status, but this practice should be discouraged to mitigate the risk of DVT.

This information is applicable to a companion who remains seated next to a boat captain, who is standing at the helm, while the companion may be relatively dehydrated, sedentary, sitting with feet dangling and with pressure on the back of the thighs — a setup for a DVT.

On a boat, getting up and "making rounds" not only may help prevent a DVT but also may help detect a problem with the boat early.

HIGH ALTITUDE ILLNESS

What is high altitude illness.

Traveling to high altitudes exposes people to increasingly rarefied air and progressively decreasing amounts of oxygen, resulting in declining levels of oxygen in the blood, which can lead to impaired physical and mental performance. Responses to high altitudes vary, but most people can function normally at heights up to 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) above sea level. At altitudes greater than that, the oxygen deficit can begin to cause a condition known as acute mountain sickness (AMS). At elevations higher than 10,000 feet (3,048 meters), 75 percent of people will experience at least mild AMS symptoms.

infographic/diagram of the effects of increasing altitude

Symptoms of High Altitude Illness

The onset of AMS symptoms varies according to the altitude, the rate of ascent and the individual's susceptibility to the disease. A slow ascent may allow the body to acclimate by establishing a more rapid spontaneous breathing rate to make up for the decreased oxygen in the atmosphere. Symptoms usually start 12 to 24 hours after arrival at altitude and begin to decrease in severity around the third day at a given elevation.

AMS causes travelers to feel generally unwell. They may also experience a loss of appetite, headaches, lightheadedness, fatigue, breathlessness, rapid heartbeat, nausea or difficulty sleeping. Symptoms tend to be worse at night. Mild AMS does not interfere with normal activities, and symptoms generally subside within two to four days as the body acclimates.

Severe HAI manifests as serious conditions known as high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) or high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE), caused by the accumulation of excess fluid in the lungs or brain. Symptoms of HAPE and HACE include a gray or pale complexion, a blue tinge to the skin (cyanosis), chest tightness or congestion, cough, coughing up blood, difficulty walking, shortness of breath when at rest, withdrawal from social interaction, confusion or decreased consciousness. These conditions can be fatal if not treated or if the victim is not returned to a lower altitude.

AMS Prevention and Treatment

  • severe breathing problems
  • altered level of alertness

If you cannot count on EMS aid, move the affected individual to a lower altitude as quickly and as safely as possible, and administer oxygen if it is available. Keep victims warm, and be sure they stay well hydrated if they are conscious.

To avoid high altitude illness, it is important to ascend slowly enough to allow time for your body to acclimate. Some people also find it beneficial to take prophylactic medication to help with the acclimatization process or to prevent some ill effects. If you plan to travel to a high-altitude location, visit your doctor or a travel clinic before your trip to evaluate your risk of HAI and to obtain prophylactic medication that may prevent or alleviate AMS.

trail sign warns hikers to walk slowly at high elevation

Risk Factors for Acute Mountain Sickness

  • You live at or near sea level and travel to a high altitude.
  • You have had AMS before.
  • You have preexisting medical conditions.
  • You ascend quickly to a high elevation.

Consult your doctor before traveling to a high-altitude location if you have a heart, lung or blood disorder. You may need to travel with supplemental oxygen.

high altitude climber using oxygen oximeter in his test

  • Ascend slowly above 8,000 feet.
  • If you travel to high altitudes, choose a slow transportation method or walk.
  • If you get there by flying, do not overexert yourself or travel still higher for the first 24 hours.
  • If you travel above 10,000 feet (3,048 meters), increase your altitude by no more than 1,000 feet (305 meters) per day.
  • After every 3,000 feet (914 meters) of elevation gained, take a rest day.
  • After daily excursions, return to a lower altitude for the night, if possible.
  • Do not go higher if you experience any AMS symptoms; wait for the symptoms to decrease before ascending.
  • If your symptoms worsen, go to a lower altitude.
  • Stay properly hydrated. Drink at least three to four quarts of fluids per day, and be sure to quench your thirst. Make sure to urinate regularly.
  • Engaging in light activity during the day is better than sleeping, because respiration decreases during sleep, exacerbating AMS symptoms.
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol and depressant drugs (such as barbiturates, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills), all of which worsen AMS symptoms.
  • Eat a high-carbohydrate diet while at altitude, but do not overeat.
  • Boating and diving are not recommended.

HAI can affect those engaging in mountain climbing, mountaineering, rock climbing and hiking at higher elevations. Often these locations make medical evacuation difficult and delayed. Moving the victim to lower elevations becomes a priority for those who are accompanying the victim.

LEARN MORE ABOUT TRAVEL-RELATED DISORDERS

  •   Jet Lag (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC)
  •   What is Circadian Rhythm? (National Sleep Foundation)
  •   Melatonin (Mayo Clinic)
  •   Motion Sickness (CDC)
  •   Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism (CDC)
  •   Travel to High Altitudes (CDC)
  •   Altitude Illness (CDC)

woman traveling on a cruise ship

ABOUT DAN BOATER

Since its inception in 1980, DAN® has spent more than 300,000 medical resource hours on duty, fielding more than 100,000 emergency calls and coordinating more than 10,000 emergency evacuations worldwide, making it one of the world’s most trusted resources for traveler safety.

As a natural evolution of DAN’s successful 35+ years of service to the diving community, our new DAN Boater membership program is committed to helping recreational boaters in need of emergency assistance while traveling the globe, and to promoting smart travel health and safety practices through research and education.

  • 24/7 Emergency hotline
  • Medical information line
  • Worldwide medical evacuation and repatriation services
  • Search and rescue expense coverage
  • Travel health and safety guides
  • Global medical referrals, prescription assistance, and more

Learn how an affordable annual DAN Boater membership is helping thousands of travelers just like you every day.

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Travel Patterns of American Adults with Disabilities

December 11, 2018: Updated Figure 10 to reflect correct percentages

Key Findings

Travel-limiting disabilities.

  • 25.5 million Americans age 5 and older have self-reported travel-limiting disabilities. 13.4 million are age 18 to 64 and 11.2 million are age 65 and older. [1]
  • 3.6 million Americans with travel-limiting disabilities do not leave their homes because they are disabled or housebound.

Household Demographics and Vehicle Ownership

  • Only one-fifth of people age 18 to 64 work full- or part-time if they have travel-limiting disabilities. This percentage declined from previous years. In contrast, over three-quarters of people without disabilities age 18 to 64 work.
  • Slightly over half of people age 18 to 64 with disabilities live in households with annual household incomes under $25,000 versus 15 percent of people without disabilities.
  • Over one-fifth of non-workers and 12 percent of workers age 18 to 64 with disabilities live in zero-vehicle households.

Trip Frequency

  • Regardless of age, people with disabilities make fewer trips per day on average than people without disabilities. The daily trip rates for people with disabilities and without disabilities has declined over time.
  • Workers with disabilities age 18 to 64 make fewer trips compared for workers without disabilities. This pattern is consistent for non-workers with disabilities compared to non-workers without disabilities.
  • 7 out of 10 respondents with disabilities reduce their day-to-day travel because of their disabilities.
  • Regardless of age, people with disabilities travel by personal vehicles—as drivers or as passengers—for a smaller share of trips than people without disabilities.
  • People with disabilities age 18 to 64 travel as passengers for a greater share of personal vehicle trips.
  • Several groups of technologies might help people with disability-related transportation limitations, but people with disabilities use them less.

Introduction

An estimated 25.5 million Americans have disabilities that make traveling outside the home difficult. They accounted for 8.5 percent of the population age 5 and older in 2017. An estimated 13.4 million of these Americans—more than half—are adults age 18 to 64, the age group with typically high labor force participation. How do disabilities affect their travel for work, errands, socializing, and other activities?

This report uses data from the 2017 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) to examine the daily travel patterns of American adults with travel-limiting disabilities and data from the 2001 and 2009 NHTS to illustrate trends over time. The NHTS asks individuals to self-report if they have a travel-limiting disability. While the report focuses on adults age 18 to 64, it also includes analysis for workers and non-workers, rural- and non-rural residents, and people age 65 and older.

The statistics in this report are based on weighted percentages and means. The comparisons in this report are statistically significant at the p < 0.05 level.

What Is the National Household Travel Survey and How Does it Cover Disability?

The NHTS, conducted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is the primary source of data on household travel behavior in the United States. FHWA conducted the latest version in 2017 and earlier versions in 2001 and 2009.

The NHTS asks respondents if they have “a temporary or permanent condition or handicap that makes it difficult to travel outside of the home.” If they respond yes, the NHTS asks follow-up questions about the mobility devices they use, such as canes or wheelchairs. It also asks follow-up questions about how the condition affects their travel—for example, by limiting their driving to daytime.

Some respondents have disabilities that might not limit travel, but the NHTS asks only about “travel-limiting disabilities.” The estimates in this report will therefore differ from disability-related estimates from other sources, such as the Current Population Survey or the National Health Interview Survey. For the rest of this report, “people with disabilities” refers to people who report having travel-limiting disabilities. The NHTS also does not include people living in nursing homes or other group quarters.

Who Reports Having Travel-Limiting Disabilities?

An estimated 25.5 million people have travel-limiting disabilities, accounting for 8.5 percent of the population age 5 and older in 2017. People with travel-limiting disabilities accounted for 8.5 percent of the population in 2001 and 10.2 percent in 2009. An estimated 13.4 million Americans age 18 to 64 have travel-limiting disabilities, accounting for slightly more than half of people with disabilities (52.7 percent) in 2017 and 6.7 percent of their age group. An estimated 11.2 million Americans age 65 and older also have travel-limiting disabilities; they accounted for 43.9 percent of people with disabilities in 2017 and 23.5 percent of their age group.

The percentage of people reporting travel-limiting disabilities increases with age (figure 1). Before age 50, the percentage is less than 10. It increases to 18.4 percent by age 70 and to more than 31.9 percent by age 80. Most of these disabilities are long-term: 79.1 percent report having a disability for more than 6 months and another 13.8 percent report having a life-long disability.

Figure 1: Disability Reporting Rate by Age (all ages), 2017

Figure 1: Disability Reporting Rate by Age (all ages), 2017

SOURCE : U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, 2017 National Household Travel Survey.

Over half (57.8 percent) of all respondents with disabilities use one or more medical devices:

  • Walking canes (36.7 percent)
  • Walkers (22.9 percent)
  • Wheelchairs (11.6 percent)
  • Motorized scooters (4.4 percent)
  • Motorized wheelchairs (3.9 percent)
  • Crutches (2.6 percent)
  • White canes for visual impairments (1.3 percent)
  • Seeing-eye dogs (1.1 percent)

How Do Employment and Household Income Differ for People with Disabilities?

Travel is often essential to employment, and people with travel-limiting disabilities are less likely to have jobs. Only one-fifth (20.2 percent) of respondents age 18 to 64 work full- or part-time if they report having disabilities. In contrast, over three-quarters (76.6 percent) of people in this age group without disabilities work. A greater percentage of workers with disabilities work part-time—46.8 versus 19.1 percent of workers without disabilities (figure 2). A smaller percentage of workers with disabilities have jobs that allow them to work from home than do people without disabilities (7.5 v. 14.3 percent). The employment rate for people age 18 to 64 with disabilities (20.2 percent) was lower in 2017 than in earlier years surveyed (39.1 percent in 2001, 30.9 percent in 2009).

Figure 2: Full- and Part-Time Employment Status for Workers by Disability Status (age 18–64), 2017

Figure 2: Full- and Part-Time Employment Status for Workers by Disability Status (age 18–64), 2017

Household income is another major determinant of travel behavior. In 2017, over one fifth (22.2 percent) of people age 18 to 64 with travel-limiting disabilities live in households with annual household incomes under $10,000 (figure 3). Slightly over half (51.4 percent) live in households with incomes under $25,000. In contrast, only 5.1 percent of people without disabilities live in households with incomes under $10,000 and 15.7 percent live in households with incomes under $25,000.

Figure 3: Annual Household Income for Individuals by Disability Status (age 18–64), 2017

Figure 3: Annual Household Income for Individuals by Disability Status (age 18–64), 2017

How Do Vehicle Ownership and Vehicle Access Differ for People with Disabilities?

People age 18 to 64 with disabilities are less likely to own or have access to vehicles than people without disabilities (figure 4). Over one-fifth (22.5 percent) of non-workers with disabilities and 12.2 percent of workers with disabilities live in zero-vehicle households. In comparison, 9.5 percent of non-workers without disabilities and 3.9 percent of workers without disabilities live in zero-vehicle households.

People with disabilities, age 18 to 64, are also less likely to drive even if they have vehicles. Over nine-tenths (91.7 percent) of respondents drive vehicles if they do not have disabilities, but only 60.4 percent drive if they do.

Figure 4: People Living in Zero-Vehicle Households by Disability and Worker Status (age 18–64), 2017

Figure 4: People Living in Zero-Vehicle Households by Disability and Worker Status (age 18–64), 2017

How Do People With Disabilities Travel Differently from People Without Disabilities?

Overall, people age 18 to 64 with disabilities make fewer trips per day on average than people without disabilities (2.6 v. 3.6 trips). Workers with disabilities make an average of 3.3 trips per day, while workers without disabilities make an average of 3.8 trips per day. The disparity is greater for non-workers: non-workers with disabilities make an average of 2.4 trips per day versus 3.2 trips per day for non-workers without disabilities.

People age 65 and older have different travel patterns from younger people, in part because they are more likely to be retired. At the same time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of people age 65 or older in the labor force will increase from 9.3 million in 2016 to 14.6 million in 2026. This increase reflects growth in the population age 65 and older as well as growth in labor force participation rates. [2] People age 65 and older with disabilities make an average of 2.1 trips per day versus 3.5 trips for people without disabilities.

How Has Daily Trip Making Changed Over Time?

People age 18 to 64 made fewer trips per day in 2017 than in 2001 or 2009 regardless of disability status. People age 18 to 64 with disabilities made an average of 2.6 trips per day in 2017, a lower amount than in 2001 (3.4 trips) or 2009 (3.2 trips). Those without disabilities made an average of 3.6 trips per day in 2017, a lower amount than in 2001 (4.5 trips) or 2009 (4.2 trips).

For people age 65 and older with disabilities, daily trip rates varied slightly from 2.0 trips in 2001 and 2009 to 2.1 trips in 2017. For people without disabilities, daily trip rates decreased from 3.9 trips in 2001 and 3.6 trips in 2009 to 3.5 trips in 2017.

How Does Travel Vary by Trip Purpose?

People age 18 to 64 with disabilities take fewer trips than people without disabilities for work trips and social and recreational trips, but not for shopping and errand trips and medical and dental trips (figure 5). This is also true for people age 65 or older with disabilities (figure 6). Workers age 18 to 64 with disabilities, who are more likely to work part-time than workers without disabilities, take fewer work trips than workers without disabilities (0.9 v. 1.2 trips per day). Those workers also make slightly fewer social, recreational, and school trips (0.9 v. 1.1 trips per day).

The differences in trip rates for people with disabilities are larger for non-workers than for workers. Non-workers with disabilities make fewer social, recreational, and school trips than non-workers without disabilities (0.8 v. 1.4 trips per day). They also make fewer shopping and errand trips (1.2 v. 1.6 trips per day). As described later, people with disabilities do not engage in more online activity as a potential substitute for trips.

Figure 5: Travel by Trip Purpose, Disability Status, and Worker Status (age 18–64), 2017

Figure 6: travel by trip purpose and disability status (age 65 and older), 2017, who does not travel and why.

The NHTS asks people to record their travel for a single day. Over one-third (34.1 percent) of people age 18 to 64 with disabilities made zero trips on the survey day versus 13.4 percent of people without disabilities. The percentage increases to 37.3 percent for rural residents with disabilities versus 16.0 percent for rural residents without disabilities.

People may choose not to travel on a survey day for many reasons, but some stay home because they have no choice. Over one-third (36.5 percent) of people with disabilities who made zero trips say that they stayed home because they have disabilities or are housebound. [3] That percentage translates to an estimated 1.7 million Americans age 18 to 64 with disabilities who do not leave their homes. They account for 46.1 percent of the 3.6 million Americans with disabilities who do not leave their homes.

How Does Mode Choice Differ?

People use personal vehicles—as drivers or as passengers—for most trips regardless of disability status, but people without disabilities use them more often. People age 18 to 64 with disabilities use personal vehicles for 74.8 percent of trips; people without disabilities use them for 83.9 percent. People with disabilities travel as passengers for a greater share of personal vehicle trips than people without disabilities (38.9 v. 16.1 percent).

Figure 7 shows how mode share varies by worker status and disability status for people age 18 to 64. Workers without disabilities drive for more of their trips (73.6 percent) than workers with disabilities (54.5 percent). Similarly, non-workers without disabilities drive for more of their trips (58.3 percent) than non-workers without disabilities (42.6 percent).

Figure 7: Mode Share by Worker and Disability Status (age 18–64), 2017

Figure 7: Mode Share by Worker and Disability Status (age 18–64), 2017

NOTE: “Other modes” includes bicycles, golf carts, recreational vehicles, school buses, private or charter buses, city-to-city buses, taxis and limos (including Uber and Lyft), rental cars, airplanes, boats, and ferries.

Walking is the second most common mode after personal vehicles. Workers age 18 to 64 with disabilities walk for a slightly greater share of trips than workers without disabilities (14.6 v. 13.0 percent). This finding may seem counterintuitive. One possible explanation is that workers with disabilities are more likely to live in zero-vehicle households than workers without disabilities (12.2 v. 3.9 percent).

People age 18 to 64 with disabilities use local transit (buses, subways, and commuter rail) for a higher share of trips than people without disabilities—4.3 versus 2.7 percent for workers and 5.9 versus 3.3 percent for non-workers. Transit agencies in the United States have been adapting vehicles and stations to make it easier for people with disabilities to use public transportation, as required by the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Progress varies by mode. Overall, while most transit vehicles are ADA-compliant, a smaller percentage of stations are ADA-compliant. [4]

Finally, paratransit and ride-hailing are two examples of demand-responsive transportation services . These services offer flexible routes and schedules and can fill gaps in regular transit service. Workers age 18 to 64 with disabilities use paratransit for 1.2 percent of their trips; non-workers with disabilities use it for 1.6 percent.

People age 65 and older use personal vehicles for 84.0 percent of their trips if they have disabilities (versus 74.8 percent for people age 18 to 64 with disabilities) and 86.1 percent if they do not (figure 8). Compared to people age 18 to 64, people age 65 and older are less likely to walk or take public transit regardless of disability status.

Figure 8: Mode Share by Disability Status (age 65 and older), 2017

Figure 8: Mode Share by Disability Status (age 65 and older), 2017

How Do Trip Distance and Travel Times Differ?

People age 18 to 64 with disabilities take shorter trips on average than people without disabilities (figure 9). Workers with disabilities travel an average of 9.4 versus 12.0 miles for workers without disabilities. Non-workers with disabilities travel an average of 7.5 versus 9.5 miles for non-workers without disabilities. Despite taking shorter trips, non-workers with disabilities have slightly longer travel times, traveling an average of 23.3 minutes per trip versus 21.0 minutes per trip for non-workers without disabilities.

An estimated 2.5 million rural residents age 18 to 64 have travel-limiting disabilities, accounting for 7.2 percent of rural residents in that age group. Rural residents with disabilities travel shorter distances than rural residents without disabilities (10.9 v. 14.7 miles), as do urban residents with disabilities also travel shorter distances (7.4 v. 10.9 miles). The variation between these two differences is not statistically significant. Similarly, the differences in travel times between people with and without disabilities are not statistically significant for rural or urban residents.

Figure 9: Average Trip Distance and Trip Time by Disability, Worker, and Rural Status (age 18–64), 2017

Figure 9: Average Trip Distance and Trip Time by Disability, Worker, and Rural Status (age 18–64), 2017

How Do People with Disabilities Compensate for Transportation Limitations?

People age 18 to 64 with disabilities report using a range of strategies to compensate—at least in part—for transportation limitations (figure 10). These strategies include:

  • Asking others for rides (44.3 percent)
  • Limiting travel to daytime (22.6 percent)
  • Using special transportation services such as Dial-a-Ride or reduced-fare taxis (12.3 percent)

In many cases, however, people with disabilities simply travel less often:

  • Reducing day-to-day travel (70.6 percent)
  • Giving up driving (21.6 percent)
  • Using public transit less often (14.4 percent)

Figure 10: Compensating Strategies for People with Travel-Limiting Disabilities (age 18–64)

In what ways might technology help people with disability-related transportation limitations.

Technology may help people with disability-related transportation limitations in three ways:

  • Technology can offer substitutes for trips—for example, by allowing people to work remotely or shop online.
  • Technology can connect people to paratransit and ride-hailing services.
  • Autonomous vehicle (AV) and other assistive technologies may someday help people travel who previously could not drive.

The NHTS does not ask about using technology to compensate for transportation issues. It does, however, have data showing that people with disabilities use related technologies less often than people without disabilities.

Trip Substitutes

Some people may use the internet as a substitute for daily travel, including people without travel-limiting disabilities. For example, they may buy goods online instead of traveling to a store or may work online instead of commuting to an office.

People with disabilities use the internet for these purposes less often, however, than people without disabilities. People with disabilities made an average of 1.9 online purchases in the last month, while people without disabilities made an average of 2.9 purchases. In addition, a smaller percentage of workers with disabilities have jobs that allow them to work from home—7.5 versus 14.3 percent. Finally, 82.1 percent of persons, age 18 to 64, with a medical condition live in a household where the internet is used daily versus 95.2 percent of persons in the same age range without disabilities. 

Ride-Hailing Services

People age 18 to 64 with disabilities are less likely to use ride-hailing services than people without disabilities, despite using paratransit and taxis for a greater share of travel. While 12.4 percent of people age 18 to 64 without disabilities report using ride-hailing services at least once in the last 30 days, only 4.6 percent of people with disabilities report doing so. Some organizations, including transit agencies and healthcare providers, have begun subsidizing ride-hailing services for people with disabilities.

Most ride-hailing services use applications on smartphones or tablets. People with disabilities use these devices less often than people without disabilities. Over four-fifths (86.5) of people, age 18 to 64, without disabilities live in a household where a smartphone is used daily versus 66.5 percent for people in the same age range with disabilities. The gap narrows for tablets: 37.2 percent of people, age 18 to 64, without disabilities live in a household where one is used daily versus 30.2 percent of people in the same age range with disabilities.

Autonomous Vehicle Technologies

Existing vehicle technologies like wheelchair lifts or hand controls make driving possible for some people with disabilities; emerging AV technologies may make traveling possible for others as well. Two examples of existing AV technologies that help people with disabilities—and all drivers—are blind spot detection and rearview video systems.

At the same time, advanced technologies can also increase the cost of vehicles. In 2017 slightly over half (51.4 percent) of people age 18 to 64 with travel-limiting disabilities live in households with annual household incomes under $25,000. In contrast, 15.4 percent of people without disabilities live in households with incomes under $25,000.

American adults with disabilities, like most Americans, use private vehicles for most of their daily travel, albeit to a lesser extent. They face additional mobility challenges because they have lower levels of vehicle ownership and vehicle access and live in low-income households. They often travel as passengers and thus rely on others for mobility. These challenges translate to lower levels of trip-making and shorter trip distances.

Technology might help address some of these transportation limitations, and emerging AV technologies might increase mobility for people with disabilities by making on-demand transportation and door-to-door service even more available. At the same time, people with disabilities use existing technologies less often.

The NHTS is a general travel behavior survey, and therefore focuses on the trips that people take. While the NHTS offers useful data for examining the travel patterns of people with disabilities, it does not cover some important topics. For example, it does not ask respondents about trips they are unable to take, difficulties they experience while traveling, or vehicles modified with adaptive devices or equipment. The 2002 National Transportation Availability and Use Survey conducted by BTS, which focused on transportation-related issues for people with disabilities, asked these questions. Additional data collections and analysis will likely yield further insights into the travel behavior of people with disabilities.

About This Report

For more information, contact: Stephanie Lawrence, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation Email: [email protected]  

[1] Numbers in this report may not add up exactly to their totals due to rounding.

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Labor Force Projections Tables 3.2, 3.3, and 3.4. https://www.bls.gov/emp/data/labor-force.htm

[3] A small percentage (1.2 percent) of people without travel-limiting disabilities who made zero trips also report having disabilities or being housebound. This finding seems contradictory, but respondents may have been unsure if their disabilities are “travel-limiting.”

[4] Transportation Statistics Annual Report 2017 , published by BTS at www.bts.gov/TSAR , has detailed statistics on ADA compliance for transit vehicles and stations.

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Investigations

Despite calls to improve, air travel is still a nightmare for many with disabilities.

Joe Shapiro

Joseph Shapiro

Allison Mollenkamp

difficulty of travelling

A man using a wheelchair hands his ID to an officer at a security screening checkpoint at Orlando International Airport in 2020. Paul Henness/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images hide caption

A man using a wheelchair hands his ID to an officer at a security screening checkpoint at Orlando International Airport in 2020.

Anxiety, dread, humiliation — even potential injury. For many people with disabilities, these are part of the routine of airline travel, from getting to the airport gate to getting on and off the plane.

In 2018, Congress demanded that airlines and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) make flying better for people with disabilities — but three years later, NPR has found, passengers report that the same problems keep happening over and over.

On a trip last year, Heather Leiterman, who is blind, was told by a TSA agent to take the harness, collar and leash off her guide dog, a black Labrador named Coastie. She explained to the agent that to do so would mean she'd lose control of the animal.

"That's how they know they're working. When the harness is on, they're working. When the harness is off, that's when they're just a dog."

But the agent insisted — even though the TSA's own procedures say those items "do not require removal" for screening. "He was very hostile," Leiterman says, and threatened not to let her on the plane if she didn't comply.

difficulty of travelling

Heather Leiterman walks with her guide dog. When she was at an airport, an agent with the Transportation Security Administration insisted she take off the dog's leash, harness and collar, even though that would mean she would lose control of the service animal. Brennan Crawford hide caption

Heather Leiterman walks with her guide dog. When she was at an airport, an agent with the Transportation Security Administration insisted she take off the dog's leash, harness and collar, even though that would mean she would lose control of the service animal.

When she called the TSA customer service line the next day, she says, the officer on the phone refused to take her complaint. "He said, 'If the officer told you, you need to take this off your dog, you needed to take it off your dog.'"

"Stepping into an airport, I feel a sense of anxiety wash over me," says college student Nathaniel Ross. "Not about making my flight or finding my gate, but for my inevitable interaction with the TSA that will leave me feeling dehumanized and criminalized because of my disability."

Ross explains that he has "several physical disabilities" that require him to have implanted medical devices, including a feeding tube in his stomach and an intravenous line inserted under his chest wall.

Ross says the devices and the intravenous fluids he travels with often confuse agents. In 2019, when he was 18, he made multiple trips to and from Arizona and an Ohio children's hospital for treatment. The bags of liquid — which need to be kept sterile and at a controlled temperature in a special container with ice packs — were X-rayed, opened and given an extended examination, he says.

Then, instead of putting each bag back into the cooling bag, the agent on one trip left them out, and Ross says when he and his mother asked the agent to please put them back, she refused and "we were scolded," Ross says.

Ross was then subjected to a pat-down "of the two open holes in my chest and stomach" — in front of other passengers. Then, in private, he got a second more intrusive and "humiliating" pat-down "in all areas" of his body.

His story and Heather Leiterman's experience are just two of the more than 225 responses NPR received to a social media call-out. We asked people with disabilities to share their experiences at airports; almost everyone responded with horror stories. Among them: wheelchairs broken in transit, airport escorts who never show up, children with autism separated from their parents at security gates and pat-downs that felt like sexual assaults.

Congress, in the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act , told the airlines and the TSA to fix air-travel problems like these and demanded more training, better and faster service and taking better care of equipment, such as wheelchairs.

The act required the TSA to add training for how to handle the different needs of passengers with disabilities. One in four U.S. adults has a disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and to understand various disabilities requires comprehensive and repeated training.

The TSA extended all training of newly hired TSA agents from two weeks to three weeks. That includes 5 1/2 hours of instruction on screening people with disabilities and medical conditions, according to a TSA official. Then, at work, agents and supervisors talk about how to respond to specific situations, including dealing with disability issues.

Still, most of the complaints that NPR heard from passengers were the result of agents not following that training.

One Laid Groundwork For The ADA; The Other Grew Up Under Its Promises

One Laid Groundwork For The ADA; The Other Grew Up Under Its Promises

American Airlines Reverses Policy That Imposed Weight Limit On Wheelchairs

American Airlines Reverses Policy That Imposed Weight Limit On Wheelchairs

Amtrak Reverses Course On $25,000 Bill

Amtrak Reverses Course On $25,000 Bill

In June, when Michelle Haag flew out of her Montana airport, she says agents were confused by what showed up in her body scan. "It's my colostomy bag and my urostomy bag," she explained. "I have cancer." TSA agents pulled her aside for a pat-down in front of other passengers that left her crying and feeling humiliated.

Juniper Zayente, a college student with diabetes, was ordered to take off the pump that sends a steady flow of insulin into her body and put it through the X-ray machine — even though she told them radiation could damage the expensive device. The agent complained: "She said I looked too young to be using an insulin pump."

One obstacle to better training: the high turnover of TSA agents, who, according to officials from the union that represents them, the American Federation of Government Employees, complain of low pay and lesser workplace protections than other federal agents.

And the agents' primary focus is guaranteeing air security. There are stories of smugglers caught hiding drugs in wheelchairs .

"Our front-line officers have a very difficult job, period," says Jose Bonilla, executive director of the TSA's Traveler Engagement Division. Protecting "physical security" comes first, but he notes there's a growing demand on agents to create a "culture of dignity and respect. And that's something that we've been driving very hard."

Congress also wanted more data collection to show how travelers with disabilities are treated. One key measurement: Congress told the TSA to count how long it takes passengers with disabilities to get assistance through screening procedures.

But three years later, the TSA has failed to comply with that part of the law.

Bonilla told NPR that the agency can't do such a count because it hasn't figured out a way to spot all passengers with disabilities — since many disabilities are invisible. But that shouldn't stop agents from counting how long it takes someone in a wheelchair or with a visible disability who asks for help to get through.

"A gauntlet of everything horrible"

The TSA does measure the growing popularity of its TSA Cares program . People can call in advance and be met by a trained airport agent who will escort people with disabilities through security. There were 14,674 requests for assistance in the program's first year — fiscal year 2015 — and 27,711 requests in 2019.

Some people, like Jeff Stanford, said TSA Cares makes his family's travel, notably a recent family trip to Disney World with his young disabled son, go "so wonderfully smooth."

But as the use of the program grows, others have questioned whether the TSA can keep up, particularly at larger airports. Erin Mestas says she spent nearly two hours on the phone making an appointment, but when she and her 6-year-old daughter with Down syndrome arrived at the Denver airport in July, there was no one to meet them.

The TSA says the largest number of requests came for people with autism — who can find the noise and chaos of an airport difficult to handle.

Sarah Maxfield says that for her autistic son, going through airport security is "like a gauntlet of everything horrible for him." TSA agents, strangers to him, yell orders, rush him, take his things from him to be screened and separate him from his family. TSA agents, she says, "are not exactly calm, kind, gentle or patient."

difficulty of travelling

Airplane passengers line up for TSA security screenings at Denver International Airport. Robert Alexander/Getty Images hide caption

Airplane passengers line up for TSA security screenings at Denver International Airport.

There was one exception: an agent who took the time to learn the child's "superhero name" — the name he prefers to be called — "and it made a huge difference."

Sandra Zeigler, an autistic adult, explained that her audio-processing delays can make her slower to respond to spoken instructions from TSA agents. At airports, she's repeatedly "yelled at" and "scolded in embarrassing manners" by agents and sometimes as a result, she believes, is pulled out for additional bag screening.

Now, she wears T-shirts to signal to agents that she's autistic. "Autistic and Proud" says one. Another says "Autistic and Vaccinated" in bold letters and then, underneath, "No Relation."

"The sad thing is that we have to 'out' ourselves to get that sort of understanding in stressful and overwhelming situations," Zeigler says.

Check your wheelchair at the gate

Congress also ordered airlines to start measuring one of the most common problems — how often a wheelchair or motorized scooter is lost, damaged or destroyed in transit. The idea was that public accounting would put pressure on airlines to start doing a better job.

The numbers fell during the pandemic, as fewer people flew, but now they're rising. In July and August, the last two months counted, about 26 wheelchairs and scooters a day were lost, damaged or destroyed — about the same as the monthly numbers in 2019.

"They don't understand when they damage our chair, they're basically stealing our car," says Dan Formento, an Army veteran from Florida. "They're taking our legs away from us."

The loss of a wheelchair can even be dangerous. People close to Engracia Figueroa link her death to a series of events that unfolded after her wheelchair was damaged.

In July, she flew home to California from Washington, D.C., where the disability activist spoke at a rally to promote the expansion of home-care services. For people with spinal cord injuries, like Figueroa, wheelchairs are customized with special seating and other features to help prevent skin ulcers, which can grow rapidly and painfully and become infected. Figueroa spent weeks without her wheelchair as she and the airline clashed over whether United Airlines was responsible for simply making fixes to the $30,000 chair or replacing it — as it eventually agreed to do.

According to a doctor's note reviewed by NPR, after a few weeks of being "forced to sit in a loaner chair" without proper cushioning, a previous bed sore that "was healing well" opened again. Hand in Hand, a group that advocates for domestic workers, announced that Figueroa died on Oct. 31 after multiple hospitalizations for the wound.

"We were saddened to hear about Ms. Figueroa's passing," a spokesperson for United Airlines said, "and we offer our condolences to her friends and family."

Many people with disabilities told us about how air travel, for them, requires different strategies and more planning . For people who use wheelchairs, like Charles Brown, that includes calling airlines and the TSA in advance to get assistance.

difficulty of travelling

For Charles Brown, the president of Paralyzed Veterans of America, flying can be difficult — and even dangerous. He has had his wheelchair smashed, and once, airline employees lifting him from his wheelchair dropped him. He broke his tailbone and was hospitalized for three months. Paralyzed Veterans of America hide caption

For Charles Brown, the president of Paralyzed Veterans of America, flying can be difficult — and even dangerous. He has had his wheelchair smashed, and once, airline employees lifting him from his wheelchair dropped him. He broke his tailbone and was hospitalized for three months.

Wheelchairs don't fit on most planes or in jet bathrooms, so Brown, the president of Paralyzed Veterans of America, fasts and doesn't drink before flying.

He doesn't fly direct on long flights. He'll schedule a stopover in another city in between so he can use the airport bathroom. He also makes sure he has a long layover to give plenty of time: for his wheelchair to be brought up from the plane's baggage compartment, for him to get help being transferred into the chair and, finally, for him to have enough time to check it in for the next part of his flight journey.

Because the aisle of a jet is narrow, people like Brown need help from airline employees or contractors to lift them from their own wheelchair and into a smaller chair that can fit through the aircraft.

On a trip from his home in Florida to California in 2019, the men lifting Brown dropped him — onto the jet bridge.

"I'm a Marine. I'm stubborn," Brown says. "I'll fight through anything to take care of stuff." But when he got off at his stopover in Dallas, he noticed the blood.

Days later, in pain from the fall, he went to the VA medical center. Doctors diagnosed a broken tailbone, and, worse, the wound had become infected. He stayed in the hospital for three months. There was surgery. He says he almost died.

But Brown, by law, couldn't sue the airline. He could only file a complaint. He tried, after he got out of the hospital. But he says the airline told him he had waited too long to file.

"When you think about air travel, it's still 1986"

For people with disabilities, airline travel is regulated by an old — and people like Brown say — outdated law. The Air Carrier Access Act was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1986.

In March, members of Congress introduced the Air Carrier Access Amendments Act of 2021 , which would strengthen federal action against airlines that violate the rights of passengers with disabilities and would give those passengers a right to sue. It would also require aircraft to be redesigned to include safer storage of wheelchairs and to provide better access on the plane.

"When you think about air travel, it's still 1986," says Heather Ansley, Paralyzed Veterans of America's associate executive director of government relations. "We haven't really made any advances in accommodating people with disabilities."

Other forms of transit are covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, which passed four years after the law that regulates air travel. Ansley says there has been more improvement in access to those other means of travel, like buses. The ADA required them to be redesigned to include wheelchair lifts.

But on a plane, Ansley says, "there's no place to bring on your wheelchair." A September study by the National Academy of Sciences says most airplanes could be redesigned so that people could sit in their own wheelchairs and avoid the danger of being lifted in and out. The Transportation Department is working on a rule that could require larger lavatories on many planes.

At an October celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Air Carrier Access Act, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said there was a "moral imperative and an economic imperative" to make flying a more welcoming experience for passengers with disabilities.

Still, there's a lot of work to make flying more dignified.

"People with disabilities are subject to inhumane treatment at every turn," says attorney Katherine Macfarlane, who complained of "rough pat-downs," TSA agents who tried to open medications that needed to be closed and sterile, and being forced to stand for long periods of time, which is hard for her to do because of her rheumatoid arthritis. "I'm dreading my next flight. I'm a lawyer and law professor who literally teaches and writes about disability law and have not figured out how to make it through TSA and fly safely."

What Are the Pros and Cons of Traveling Abroad?

Find Out Whether International Travel Is Right for You

difficulty of travelling

Visiting another country can reward you in many ways, but you will also encounter issues you would not face at home. Here are some points to consider as you think about traveling abroad.

What's in It for Me?

  • History - There is something special about standing where history happened. Whether you want to take a photo from Catherine the Great’s doorstep at St. Petersburg’s Winter Palace or walk along the Great Wall of China, there is an unmistakable thrill that comes from being where history was made.
  • World Cultures - Some travelers want to immerse themselves in another culture, trying everything from local foods to traditional sports. If you would like to travel like a local, choose a “home base” and rent an apartment or cottage where you can buy groceries, take walks, experience festivals and hang out with the neighborhood denizens. You will come away feeling you have really learned about your chosen city or region.
  • Food Adventures - For some vacationers, it’s all about the food. You might want to taste all the dishes you have seen on an episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern or learn how to make veal marsala. If culinary adventures appeal to you, consider combining your trip abroad with cooking lessons or a wine tasting tour.
  • Sense of Accomplishment - Travel can be challenging if you are unfamiliar with the language, customs and cuisine of your destination country. For some travelers, that’s part of the fun. When you unscramble the dinner menu or finally board the right bus, you will feel an adrenaline rush and a sense of pride.
  • Dream Destinations - Perhaps your grandfather told you stories about Lake Como or played Hawaiian traditional music for you, and those experiences inspired you to consider traveling abroad. If you can supply an answer to “I’ve always wanted to visit (blank) because..." in five seconds or less, consider crossing a border or two during your next trip.
  • Learning Experiences - According to the American Society on Aging, your brain continues to make new cells and establish nerve connections throughout life. For this to happen, you must exercise your brain. Combining travel with learning experiences can keep your brain as healthy as the rest of your body.
  • Wonders of the World - Some travelers like to make lists of related destinations – such as the New 7 Wonders Of the World – and visit each place on their list. If you are looking for a worldwide travel project and climbing the Seven Summits isn’t your thing, a visit to each of the New 7 Wonders of the World could be just the project you’re looking for.
  • Family Connections - Many travelers decide to visit their ancestors’ homeland on their first trip abroad. Genealogy is an extremely popular hobby, and there is nothing quite like doing your research on-scene . You might see the buildings your ancestors lived in or meet a distant cousin. Finding new information about your ancestors and immersing yourself in their culture will add new dimensions to your family history research.

What Problems Could I Encounter While Traveling Abroad?

  • Language Difficulties - Learning a few words in another language can be a daunting experience. If language barriers bother you, but you would still like to visit another country, consider traveling with a tour group.
  • Increased Cost - Transportation costs add up quickly. If you want to travel to another country, you may discover that transportation costs use up a large portion of your budget. Save money by booking a tour or cruise through a travel agent who has access to promotions and discounts.
  • Poor Accessibility - Some destinations are not wheelchair-friendly. Elevators are narrow, important places do not have elevators or wheelchair ramps and curbs lack cuts. Subway travel might prove difficult – long staircases are a hallmark of subway stations – so you will need to check on elevator availability and learn how to request assistance before you travel. Check with a travel agent who specializes in accessible travel to find the best destinations for persons with your particular disability.
  • Dietary Issues - If you like to eat certain types of food – meat and potatoes, for example – expect to pay a premium for the meals you prefer when you travel abroad. Dietary restrictions and food allergies may present special problems. Wherever you travel, bring along a menu translation card or dictionary so you can discuss dining options with the wait staff.
  • Safety - While you can avoid most travel-related crimes by wearing a money belt, securing your valuables in hotel safes and staying away from high-crime areas, safety is still an important concern. You will need to identify safe places to stay and learn how to avoid scams and pickpockets .
  • Passport Problems - If you are traveling on the spur of the moment, you might not have time to get a passport. As soon as you think you might want to travel abroad, find out how to apply for a passport and start the application process.

How Can I Minimize Problems and Still Travel Abroad?

If you do not want to plan every detail of your trip, consider an escorted tour or international cruise. An independent tour, where the tour operator handles travel logistics but does not hold you to a set itinerary, might help you deal with details while giving you more schedule flexibility. Traveling with an experienced companion could be a cost-conscious way to see the world with a readily available helper.

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10 Disadvantages of Travelling (Shocking, I Know)

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If you had told me when I was 21-years old and setting off on my first solo trip abroad that there are a number of disadvantages of travelling, I wouldn’t have believed you.

I thought travel was all rainbows and sunshine.

You’re living the dream and seeing the world. How could there be any disadvantages of travelling?!

Well, I was in for a bit of a reality check.

Don’t get me wrong. I love travel, and the advantages of travel certainly outweigh the disadvantages of travelling.

But, now that I’ve travelled for years, I want to share with you some of the disadvantages of travelling, so you can have a more realistic view of what travel is actually like.

That way you won’t be surprised if you encounter some of the less glamorous sides of solo travel.

You can take the good with the less good and still have an amazing trip.

There is always a rainbow at the end of a rain shower!

So, I’m sharing the top ten disadvantages of travelling I’ve discovered in my years of travel.

You may not encounter all of the disadvantages on this list. You may experience other disadvantages.

This is based on my experience and what other travellers have echoed in my conversations with them.

This should hopefully help you be more prepared for travel and result in you having an even better trip than you ever imagined possible!

Tips for planning your first solo trip

Table of Contents

1. It Costs a Lot of Money

I bet you’re not surprised that travel costs money, and money doesn’t grow on trees.

How we all wish we were trust fund babies or won the lottery, so we could travel without worrying about money!

There are a number of ways money is one of the biggest disadvantages of travelling.

  • You have to be disciplined enough to save enough money for your trip.
  • You have to stick to a budget while you’re on your trip.
  • The money you spend on your trip can’t be used anywhere else. So, you have to sacrifice other things you may want to buy in order to travel.

I, obviously, knew that travelling costs money when I took my first big trip. The other two aspects of money and travel were a little bit more difficult for me to come to terms with.

It can be hard to forego travel experiences because it isn’t part of your budget, but it is a reality that every traveller faces.

It can be hard to say no and to figure out what is and isn’t worth shelling over your hard-earned money for.

Travel doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does cost a pretty penny.

Especially if you’re taking short trips rather than long trips.

Flights are expensive, but once you get to a geographical area (especially if you can rely on trains and buses to get around), your monthly living costs may actually be less than your normal living costs.

It is those short, week long trips halfway around the world that kill your budget!

But those are the trips most people can take based on their work schedule.

It is a cruel world!

Eating alone

2. You Have to Consider Opportunity Cost

You don’t only have to think about the cost of your actual trip but the opportunity cost of travelling.

You’re potentially giving up job growth, a promotion, or other opportunities that will allow you to make more money in the future.

More money to fund your future travels. 😉

Even the income you miss making while you’re on the trip is part of the opportunity cost of travel you have to consider.

This is one of the disadvantages of travelling that impacts long-term travellers more than short-term travellers.

If you take a one-week vacation, there isn’t much opportunity cost to that trip.

However, if you’re like me and travel for months at a time, there is a lot of opportunity cost.

There were plenty of years where I didn’t have a blog and was relying solely on earning income from my job back home.

I would make less than $15,000 in a year and spend it all on travel!

Obviously that isn’t sustainable throughout your entire life.

On the flip side, there is also an opportunity cost to not travelling and working full-time instead. You don’t get to experience everything the world has to offer.

There is a give and take when it comes to opportunity cost and travel.

You have to find the balance that works for you and run with it!

But without a doubt it is one of the biggest disadvantages of travelling.

Digital nomad jobs for beginners

3. Your Personal Information is More at Risk

I know this one sounds odd but hear me out!

When you’re at home living your normal life, you’re most likely using your home internet more often than not.

Your home internet is very safe because you’re the only person who knows the password to access it.

You can sleep tight at night knowing that there is only a slim possibility that a hacker can access your home internet and steal your personal data.

That’s not the case when you’re travelling.

You are reliant on public wifi networks when you travel.

Whether it be at your hotel , a restaurant or café, or at the airport, there are lots of opportunities for your online information to be stolen.

And I know what you’re thinking.

Most public wifi networks have a password, so they are safe.

Even if there is a password on a public wifi network, your online information is still at risk of being stolen.

Anybody can get the password and gain access to the wifi network!

The only way you can protect your online data when using a public wifi network (even when you’re at home) is to install a VPN on all your devices.

A VPN essentially puts up a forcefield around your devices that keeps prying eyes out.

Even when using a public wifi network!

A VPN essentially makes using public wifi just as safe as using your home internet.

difficulty of travelling

My Favourite VPN

I’ve used a lot of different VPNs over my years of travel, and pretty much hated them all.

VPNs have a reputation of slowing down your devices, and my phone and laptop were often so slow that I ended up turning off my VPN and putting my data at risk just to be able to use the internet without wanting to bang my head against the wall.

That all changed when I discovered NordVPN .

I’ve been using their VPN for years and have no plans of ever switching!

NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market, and that’s why I recommend it to all my fellow travel lovers.

You don’t even notice there is a VPN protecting your devices. You can stream away, check socials, and do whatever you want to do on the internet without feeling held back.

While still being protected!

I truly, truly believe that everybody should have a VPN on their devices. It is silly to leave yourself and your personal information exposed.

You can protect up to 6 devices with on NordVPN account, so you can easily protect all of your devices at once.

A two-year subscription costs less than the price of a Starbucks latte per month, so there are no excuses!

My philosophy is that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect your online information!

You do not want to have the hassel of having to cancel your bank cards while on holiday because you were too cheap to protect your online information.

That’s just no fun! And 100% preventable.

4. Travel is Exhausting

I was not prepared for how exhausting travel is before I started travelling on a regular basis.

You have an image that travel is the ultimate escape, and it kind of feels like the rules of the real world don’t apply.

But they do!

It doesn’t matter whether you’re on a short trip or a long trip. The days are long, and you expend a lot of energy.

This may not technically be one of the disadvantages of travelling, but it was sure a shock to me!

I was going non-stop for two and a half months before I finally burnt out and decided to take a few days to rest.

Taking time to relax and enjoy your holiday is alright. In fact, I often tell my friends and family who ask me for advise to plan a few extra days in any given city.

This gives you time to see everything you want to see without rushing. You can spend a few hours people watching in a café and not feel guilty for not doing enough on your vacation.

Whatever that means. It is your trip! Make it exactly how you want it.

But be prepared to be tired when you travel!

Your feet will be sore from all the walking. Your body will be tired from all the excitement.

You may even come back more exhausted from your vacation than when you left!

Even beach vacations can be deceptively exhausting. So make sure you leave some wiggle room in case you need a breather.

Disadvantages of Travelling

5. Planning a Trip Takes a Lot of Effort

If you’re anything like me, you hate planning your trips. It just sucks the energy out of me!

One of the biggest disadvantages of travelling (and one not many people talk about) is all the prep work required before you even start your vacation!

It can be stressful to research where to go, where to stay, what to do, and try to find the best deals.

Some people love the planning process. It gets them excited for the trip and makes them feel prepared.

Others (like me) dread it.

No matter what side of the debate you fall on, there is no getting around the fact that planning a trip eats up a lot of time and effort.

It is one of the less glamorous sides of travel you rarely get to see!

There isn’t really a way around the planning process either. Sure you can use a travel agent, but you still need to be active in the planning process.

You have to tell them where you want to go, what area you want to stay in, and what your budget it.

Then you have to review and approve their suggestions.

It is a lot of work, but it is so worth it!

You get to go on an amazing trip, and the hard work you put into planning it more than pays off!

Just be prepared to put in the work before you leave in order to have your dream trip.

Travel Planning

6. Relationships at Home Suffer

This is one of the biggest disadvantages of travelling.

Unfortunately, some of your relationships back home may suffer or die altogether. This is especially true if you’re a long-term traveller.

A lot of people don’t understand the desire to travel. They may even be jealous that you can afford to travel and they can’t.

Or you being away for a little while might bring to light some cracks in the foundation of your friendship or relationship.

I don’t think I’ve met a single solo traveller who hasn’t had at least one friendship end because of their travels. Whether directly or indirectly.

I’m definitely not saying you will have friendships and relationships end if you travel!

I’m just saying it is a possibility and one of the biggest disadvantages of travelling and something I wish I was more prepared for before I took my first trip abroad.

7. You Miss Out on Important Moments at Home

Even if all your relationships stay peachy-keen while you’re away (and I truly hope they do!), you’re likely going to miss out on some important moments while you’re away.

I can’t even count the number of engagements, housewarming parties, and baby showers I’ve missed because I’ve been on the road rather than at home.

Granted, most people don’t travel as extensively as I do and don’t miss as much time away from home.

But, there is still the chance you’ll miss out on events going on at home while you’re on the road.

Even if it is just a birthday party or a ladies’ night out where a new inside joke comes to life.

Missing out on things back home is one of the biggest and toughest disadvantages of travelling.

It is probably the one I wish could disappear!

Unfortunately, though, it is one of the trade offs that comes with being a travel addict!

Digital Nomad

8. Earning Money while Travelling Isn’t Always Easy

This is a very niche disadvantage of travelling, but it an important one to many people.

As we discussed earlier, there is an opportunity cost to travel, and it most often comes in the form of lost wages.

Many long-term travellers try to make money on the road, but it isn’t always easy!

There really isn’t a way to make quick, easy money while travelling. No matter what other bloggers are telling you!

Most digital nomad jobs require you to put in a lot of up-front work before you see any results.

So, if starting your own website isn’t as easy as bloggers make it out to be, what other options do you have?

Most countries have immigration rules. You can’t just go out and find a bartending job anywhere in the world and make quick money.

Well, you technically could, but it wouldn’t be legal, and there are consequences if you get caught. I know a lady who is never allowed to visit Ireland again because she worked there illegally while travelling.

Working at a hostel is always an option.

The downside to that is most of the time you trade your labour for a free stay in the hostel. Not actual money.

It is better than nothing though!

So, if you’re on the road and strapped for cash, you probably need to get creative if you need money ASAP and can’t build up your own business.

I 100% recommend everybody start an online business. It can be life changing and give you the freedom to travel as much as you want without having to beg your employer for time off.

But, if we’re being honest, properly creating and sticking to a budget is probably the better choice than blowing through your money and scrambling to try to make a few bucks, so you can eat that night.

Best jobs for digital nomads

Digital Nomad

9. Your Travel Companion May Annoy You

I may have found this out the hard way when I was younger.

Just because you get along great with someone when you’re at home doesn’t mean you’re compatible travel companions.

This is without a doubt on of the biggest disadvantages of travelling with someone for the first time.

You won’t figure out whether or not you’re compatible travel companions until you’re already on your trip.

And once you’re on your trip, there is no going back.

You have to finish the trip with the person you started it with.

Hopefully you can find a way to become more compatible with your travel buddy, but that is easier said than done at times.

On the other hand, you may learn that the person you travel with is the best travel companion possible!

Those are the best trips!

You don’t know until you try! So, take the leap of faith and travel with people you think you’ll be compatible with. If you’re more interested in group travel than solo travel that is.

You’ll learn so much from each travel experience.

Even if you’re not compatible travel mates, you’ll have a better idea of who may be more compatible on your next trip!

How to conquer your fear of solo travel

Disadvantages of Travelling

10. You May Discover You Hate Travelling

Travel is romanticized.

It seems like the best part of life and that people who have the privilege to travel are living the best life.

That’s true for a lot of people, but it may not be true for you.

I know quite a few people who hate travelling.

Would rather sit at home and watch tv rather than travel, and that’s 100% alright!

We all have different interests, and you may figure out after you take your first trip that travel just isn’t for you.

At least you tried it and know rather than dreaming of travelling and regretting that you didn’t travel later in life.

But, I will admit from the perspective of a travel lover, finding out you hate travel is one of the biggest disadvantages of travelling.

Once you know you don’t love travel, you need to figure out where to go from there.

You may still want to see the world but hate travelling. Those are two things that are hard to balance!

The solution may be booking tours where everything is planned for you, and all you have to do is show up and admire the beauty of the place.

It may mean you suck it up and deal with the aspects of travel you dislike.

We all have aspects of travel we hate. Trust me!

It may also mean you fulfill your wanderlust by watching YouTube videos and travel documentaries.

If you discover you don’t enjoy travel but still want to experience the beauty of the world, you need to figure out a solution that works best for you.

It isn’t always easy, but it is worth the effort!

Flying Alone

I hope you don’t think I’m a Debbie Downer!

There are far more benefits of travel than there are disadvantages of travelling! Trust me!

I wanted to write this post to help you get a more realistic sense of what comes with travelling.

Especially if you travel for long periods of time!

Knowing that there are disadvantages of travelling helps you prepare for your first trip. You know that not everything is rainbows and sunshine.

And this helps to enhance your travel experience!

If you go into travel without your rose coloured glasses on, I truly believe your trip will be amazing.

You’ll be more willing to roll with the punches and potentially be more willing to step outside your comfort zone and experience the culture you’re visiting.

Travel is a beautiful things, but just like anything in life, it comes with its hardships.

You won’t love every aspect of travel.

I promise you that!

But travel is still worth it (as long as you enjoy it). Disadvantages and all!

10 Disadvantages of Travelling (Shocking, I Know)

Related Posts

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Third Eye Traveller

6 Annoying Solo Travel Problems & How to Avoid Them!

By: Author Sophie Pearce

Posted on Last updated: August 17, 2023

Categories SOLO TRAVEL , TRAVEL TIPS

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

Although there can be solo travel problems, there is no doubt that travelling on your own can be the most amazing, liberating and powerful experience you can ever have in your life.

It’s scary, new and makes you grow. You become a stronger person from it. 

But, it doesn’t come without its challenges. It’s a big learning curve.

The first time that I travelled abroad alone, I was sick to my stomach. There were so many thoughts going through my head.

  • “Will I get bored?”
  • “what if I don’t like it and want to come home?”
  • “will I be safe?”

My mind was spinning. But, when I finally took the plunge, I realised that it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

I had a revelation; I can travel the world without having to rely on anyone else! What a feeling.

I’ve travelled solo to many countries now. Even some which people would deem ‘dangerous’ and every single time, I look back with a sense of pride.

I’ve overcome my anxieties, limiting beliefs and what society expects of me and lived to tell the tale. If little old me can do it, you can do it too!

Travelling solo is a little different than travelling with people so, having learnt from them the hard way, I’ve thought of 6 solo travel problems and how to avoid them.

serenity beach pondicherry | solo travel problems

6 Solo travel problems and how to avoid them

1. you have to pay for everything.

The problem:  Everything comes out of your budget.

Hotels, meals, drinks all come from you. The biggest dent will be hotel bills, there’s no one to split the cost.

Although this may not seem a lot of money at first, it can get quite pricey and you’ll feel like you’re burning a hole in your wallet.

The solution: One of the biggest tips I can give anyone when travelling solo is to double your budget and half your luggage load!

Try to save up as much money as you can. A lot of hotels do single traveller room rates, so you’re not paying double for sleeping alone.

You could also stay in hostels which are the perfect place for singletons. Hostels also do some really good deals on meals so you’re money will stretch further.

As I’m getting older, I just cannot deal with the lack of sleep I get in hostels anymore.

But, if you’re a deep sleeper, it’s the perfect cost-effective option. To see the secret of travelling the world cheaply, click here. 

platinum heritage desert safari | solo travel problems

2. Travelling alone on transport can be daunting

The problem:  If you’re travelling on planes, buses or trains, it can be daunting to not know who you’re going to be sat next to. Especially if you’re travelling overnight.

Also, if you need to get up to go to the loo, you don’t know if someone will nick your seat and even worse, steal your stuff. So, this can be a bit complicated to work around.

The solution:  Personally, if I’m travelling solo, I choose to travel during the day. It’s just not worth getting stressed about travelling overnight with people I don’t know.

Locals, tourists or backpackers; it’s the luck of the draw.

Usually, if I’m travelling I try to make friends to chat to and have some company.

Most of the time when you’re following a popular bus route through a country, you’ll meet other people travelling that way who’ll be happy for the company too.

I always make sure I put luggage locks on my bags and suitcase just for that added sense of security and peace of mind.

See my guide for surviving night buses while travelling.

THIRD EYE-7

3. You have to navigate yourself

The problem: I don’t really see this one as a problem but more of a challenge. It’s like a puzzle you have to solve.

You’re in charge of the map and you have to navigate yourself. You have to research where you want to go and how to get there.

You have to make sure you make it to the airport on time. There’s no fresh pair of eyes to check you’re going the right way or a second opinion.

It can give an awesome sense of achievement but also can present some mistakes. Luckily, you only have yourself to blame and you can learn from it.

The solution: Belief in yourself.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Use Tripadvisor, read travel blogs, pin some travel lust to Pinterest, or use google maps!

Did you know that the current location pin on google maps doesn’t require data or wifi? Your smartphone has GPS and so you can plan your route in the hotel on the free wifi, then follow the pin without!

Life-saving tip. You can plan a whole itinerary before you leave to ensure you’re occupied.

Do your research, so you know where to go. Most cities have a great public transport system and it’s one of my favourite past times to work it out.

Or, simply walk around and explore off the beaten track places by foot!

Click here to see the 5 best apps to use when you travel. 

John Lennon Wall Prague | solo travel problems

4. You don’t have anyone to take pictures for you

The problem:  Ah, solo travel photos. It can be a problem if you want to get photos taken when you’re on your own.

When I first went travelling solo I didn’t even think about taking photos. I was more concentrating on staying alive (lol). But, as I travel solo more often now and I’ve created my travel blog this was a challenge I had to overcome.

I could ask people to take my photos all the time but

a) I feel bad about asking and taking up someones time,

b) it’s not how I imagine it’s going to look in my head or

c) the person taking it completely misses out some of the attraction (not that I’m not grateful but how can you miss out the top of the Eiffel tower?! Lol)

The solution:  As I knew I wanted to get solo travel photos I bought an Olympus Pen DSLR camera with wifi capability and a tripod.

I then use a remote shutter off my iPhone so I know what the picture looks like. There isn’t any magic pixie following me around.

Most of the pictures on my blog and Instagram are taken solely by me.

It was a complete game changer and meant I could take travel photos alone easier. Sure, people laugh and stare, but I’ve gone past the point of caring. I have as much right to get a photo as the next person.

If you’re not ready to take the plunge into remote shutter when you’re asking for a photo just communicate with the person taking it.

What do you want in it? How do you want it? The person taking it won’t know unless you say!

Click here to read my ULTIMATE Guide on how to take photos of yourself while travelling solo

Taj Lake Palace Udaipur | solo travel problems

5. You can get lonely

The problem: Travelling solo can be novel for the first day or two but after a while you need some human interaction!

There have been many times when I’m travelling solo when I’ve thought “oh, it would be good if x was here”, “if x was here, we’d have such a laugh”. Not talking to anyone for a whole day can feel like a lifetime if you’re used to having people around.

The solution: Be open, confident and talk to people. The amount of times I’ve made friends in India by just talking to people is crazy.

Go to hostels or traveller bars and cafes to make friends.

Hire a tour guide to know more about the place and have a chat. It can be difficult in the cities but there will always be people and a thousand possibilities!

If you really don’t want to, arrange a video call back home.

It’s so easy to keep in touch nowadays. Technology has come a long way from landline phones or posts! Although sending postcards is fun too :).

Click here to see the 21 things that only travelling can teach you. 

FullSizeRender-428

6. You have to eat alone

The problem:  This used to be my biggest worry when travelling solo. I’d hate it when I walked into a restaurant and have the stares.

The pitiful eyes, the confused looks. I’d also feel bad about taking a table solo by the window. It can be scary eating alone, especially in a new country you don’t know!

The solution:  Own it and be confident. No one cares at the end of the day. You’re never going to see these people again so just enjoy it.

Order the meal platter, eat a desert and toast your damn self!

If you did want some more tips to dining solo see; ‘Eating at restaurants while travelling solo…Like a Boss!’

eating alone while travelling solo

You can overcome these solo travel problems

Sure, travelling solo comes with a few extra challenges that you will need to iron out but once you’ve mastered it and know what to expect, it is truly liberating.

You don’t have to answer to anyone, you can do what you want, when you want to and it’s incredible!

I wouldn’t give up my solo travel experiences for the world as I feel it’s made me a stronger person and it’s forced me to get over some of the fears I never even knew I had.

So, get out there and see this beautiful planet we live on, even if it’s alone.

Take a leap of faith and trust; the universe has your back!

Read more solo travel guides

75 Inspiring Solo Travel Quotes

How to boss eating by yourself in restaurants

Why you need to travel solo this year!

How to take epic travel photos of yourself

GRAND MOSQUE ABU DHABI

Sunday 30th of July 2023

Hi Sophie, I came here via your photos of THE VENNEL Edinburgh. I live in Edinburgh and am also a Solo female traveller a lot of the time. I love your posts and can identify with a lot of what you say. Inspiring!

Sophie Pearce

Monday 31st of July 2023

Hi Marion, amazing and thanks for reading! Wow, I'm jealous you live in Edinburgh. I would love to live there :) Sophie x

brahim zakaria

Thursday 19th of September 2019

that's cool, thanks for sharing

Hi Brahim, thanks for reading! Glad you liked the post. Sophie x

Bharat Taxi

Saturday 17th of August 2019

Thank you for sharing the pictures here along with the blog. I really like your wonderful post. I loved to read such kind of article and i happy to be here, thanks for sharing this amazing post.

Wednesday 14th of August 2019

Hi Sophie I’m so glad to know that you are a solo traveler. I hope more women get encouraged by your blogs.

Hi Shelly, Thanks so much for stopping by. My wish is to encourage women to travel more, even if it is solo! Sophie x

Judith Fein

Is Traveling With Friends a Good Idea?

Should you travel with friends.

Posted February 26, 2013

You are friends. You have time off. You can travel together, right? It's a great idea, correct? Hmmmm. Maybe not.

Traveling with someone is almost like a marriage and, like a marriage, it can end in renewed vows, extreme intimacy , or divorce .

difficulty of travelling

I know of numerous friendships that have broken up after a trip. Even though they knew each other well, they didn’t know each other THAT well. In one case, a woman turned out to be extremely vain, and she lingered in front of a mirror for hours every day. Her friend was furious that she had to watch hairdressing and makeup application instead of visiting sites.

Two men who went on a trip together ended up dropping their friendship and I have heard that they glare at each other at the gym and no longer speak. What was the blowup about? One of the guys is handsome and the other is buff, but not very attractive. Whenever the latter spoke to a woman, the former moved in and took over. Buff boy was left in the dust. So he added notches to his conquest belt, but lost his buddy.

In another case, two women went to Mexico together. One is adventurous, interested in culture, and loves engaging with people. The other is fearful, can’t handle seeing poverty, and loves to shop. It was a setup for disaster.

In my own checkered past, I once traveled with a boss. She always joked that she was a nasty bitch, and I laughed. When we were on the road together, it wasn’t funny. She really WAS a nasty bitch, and dishonest to boot. End of relationship. End of job.

In the interest of preserving friendships, here are a few things to check out before you check your bags at the airport or take along problems in your carry-on. You may have other suggestions, and I’d love to hear them. The idea is to avoid misunderstandings, disappointments, and feelings of rejection, abandonment or anger by talking things out in advance and being searingly honest with each other. What’s true for friends is also true for couples. You probably don’t know each other as well as you think you do…unless you have already traveled together.

1. Talk Before You Walk.

Sit down with your friend and discuss what your preferences are when you hit the road. Do you like to get up early or sleep in? Do you want to splurge on meals, or travel on the cheap? Are you interested in culture or shopping for clothes? Spell it out in advance so you eliminate at least a few surprises.

2. Too Much of a Good Thing?

Discuss in advance if you both want a lot of togetherness, or if it’s okay for you each to do things on your own. Do you want to have all your meals together? Some of them? Is nighttime the right time to go out together, and is there more flexibility during the day?

3. Overnights.

What if one of you meets a person of interest? Is it okay to go off and spend the night with him or her?

4. Museum Burnout .

Some people want to spend all day in a museum, and they leave reluctantly when the guards turn out the lights. Others have a two or one-hour limit. Find this out in advance, so one of you can search for alternative things to do instead of fulminating in front of a Dubuffet or Daumier.

5. To Plan or Not to Plan.

Is your style to plot out all your days, and know what you are doing from dawn to dusk? Or do you like to set out and discover things along the way? There is a middle ground between being the Plan Man and Spontaneous Suzie. Can you find it together?

6. Hand Signals

Establish a code sign or word to indicate that it’s time to split. One of you may want to stay at a bar until the customers roll out the door, and the other has had enough after one glass of wine. If you don’t know your buddy has had it, how can you act on it?

7. Quiet Time

Some friends want to indulge in wall-to-wall chatter, and others like quiet. Don’t be afraid to ask, “Do you want some quiet time?” or to request a little down time to regenerate. If it’s done with sensitivity, you stand a chance of getting your needs met.

8. Show Interest

If your friend is interested in something, and you find it completely boring , have a little patience. Show some interest, even if you have to fake it. Hopefully, your friend will do the same for you.

difficulty of travelling

9. Don’t Lose Your Sense of Humor

You may experience friction, hurt or anger no matter how much you discuss in advance. Sometimes it can be diffused by saying, “We’re both ridiculous,” or “I can’t believe we are arguing over the type of pasta to buy.” Loosen up. You’re on vacation. Laugh at yourself, and you can laugh together. Laugh mockingly at your friend, and you laugh alone.

If you are traveling with a group of friends, the same issues apply, only multiplied by the number of friends. Talk it out so you can work it out…before departure day.

Good luck. Bon voyage. Don’t forget to write about your experiences and what we can learn from them.

Photo by Paul Ross.

Judith Fein is an award-winning travel writer, speaker, teacher, and tripaholic. She is the author of THE SPOON FROM MINKOWITZ and LIFE IS A TRIP:The Transformative Magic of Travel. Her website is www.GlobalAdventure.us

Judith Fein

Judith Fein is an award-winning international travel journalist who has contributed to 130 publications, the author of three books about transformative travel, an inspirational speaker, and an opera librettist.

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Your Travelling Mentor

Disadvantages Of Travelling

The Disadvantages Of Travelling: Things You Need To Know Before Going Abroad!

Traveling is often seen as an exciting and enriching experience, allowing one to explore new cultures, broaden one’s perspective, and create lifelong memories.

It is a popular choice for leisure and has become increasingly accessible with the rise of budget airlines and travel websites. However, amidst the allure and glamour of traveling, it is important also to acknowledge its drawbacks.

From financial burdens to health concerns, several disadvantages come with embarking on a journey. We will delve into the disadvantages of travelling. While it is undeniable that traveling can bring about positive changes, it is equally crucial to be aware of its darker sides and approach it with caution.

Disadvantages Of Travelling

Table of Contents

The 13 Disadvantages of Travelling Abroad In 2024

The 13 Disadvantages of Travelling Abroad In 2024

Understanding the disadvantages of travelling is crucial for individuals who plan to embark on journeys, as it allows them to make informed decisions and prepare adequately for any potential challenges they may encounter. While traveling is often associated with excitement, adventure, and personal growth, it is not without its drawbacks.

1.Traveling Abroad Can be Very Expensive

Traveling Abroad Can be Very Expensive

Traveling abroad can be an incredibly enriching experience, but it does come with its fair share of disadvantages. One major drawback is the cost associated with international travel.

From flights to accommodations, the expenses can add up quickly. Additionally, there are periods when popular travel destinations are overcrowded with tourists, making it difficult to fully enjoy the experience.

However, despite these drawbacks, with the help of travel destination guides and inspiring travel stories, one can plan cost-effective trips and find hidden gems off the beaten path. Whether it’s a backpacking trip or visiting a new country a couple of times, exploring the world is a priceless adventure.

2.Tourism May Disturb the Ecological Balance

Tourism May Disturb the Ecological Balance

Traveling, while offering numerous benefits, also has its fair share of disadvantages. One such drawback is the potential disturbance it may cause to the ecological balance.

As tourists flock to different destinations, the everyday life of local communities may be disrupted, putting their way of life into perspective. Furthermore, the demand for exotic foods and food items may contribute to the exploitation of natural resources and the endangerment of certain species.

Despite these concerns, travelers need to be mindful of their impact and engage in sustainable practices to minimize any negative effects. It is also worth noting that tourism can foster cultural exchange, promote understanding, and encourage common hobbies among people from different backgrounds. By being responsible travelers, we can strive to strike a balance between experiencing the wonders of the world and preserving its delicate ecosystems.

3.Having Long Flights

Having Long Flights

Traveling to foreign lands can be an exciting and enriching experience, but it does come with its fair share of disadvantages. One major challenge is dealing with long flights, which can be physically and mentally exhausting.

Another issue to consider is dietary restrictions, as some destinations may not cater to specific dietary requirements. Additionally, managing a daily budget becomes crucial, especially when traveling for an extended period.

It is also important to stay informed about any potential natural disasters in the area, as this can disrupt travel plans and pose safety risks. Despite these drawbacks, the opportunity to gain international experience and explore new cultures makes the journey worthwhile.

4.Cultural Shock And Adaptation To Foreign Customs

Traveling to foreign lands can be an exhilarating experience, but it also comes with its fair share of disadvantages. One of the challenges is managing a daily budget, especially when planning an extended period abroad.

Additionally, adapting to different customs and cultures can be overwhelming, leading to cultural shock. Moreover, encountering a natural disaster can be frightening and disruptive to one’s international experience.

Another concern is dealing with dietary requirements, as finding suitable food options can be challenging. Lastly, the risk of food poisoning is always a possibility, which can quickly turn a memorable trip into a nightmare.

Nonetheless, despite these disadvantages, embracing the unknown and pushing through these hurdles can lead to personal growth and a deeper understanding of the world.

5.Different Food And Water Quality

Different Food And Water Quality

One of the disadvantages of travelling is dealing with different food and water quality, especially for those with food allergies. Finding suitable options and ensuring meals’ safety can be challenging.

It can also be difficult to maintain a healthy diet while on the road. Another disadvantage is the impact it can have on family life. Constantly being away from loved ones can strain relationships and create feelings of homesickness.

Moreover, travel expenses can quickly add up, and sticking to a travel budget can be a challenge. Finding a reliable travel buddy can help alleviate some of the financial burden and make the experience more enjoyable. However, even with a travel buddy, road trips can be exhausting, with long hours spent driving and the lack of comfortable accommodations.

6.Different Time Zones And Being Jet-lagged

One of the disadvantages of travelling is dealing with different time zones and the effects of jet lag. Adjusting to a new sleep schedule can be challenging, especially when crossing multiple time zones.

Jet lag can leave you feeling exhausted and disoriented, making it difficult to fully enjoy your travel experiences. Additionally, if you have food allergies, navigating unfamiliar cuisines can be a concern. It’s important to communicate your dietary restrictions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Another aspect to consider is the impact on family life. Being away from loved ones for extended periods can be tough, especially for those with young children. Balancing travel plans with maintaining a stable family life can be a juggling act. Moreover, the financial aspect of travel cannot be ignored.

Sticking to a travel budget is essential to avoid overspending and potential financial stress. Finding a travel buddy can help alleviate some costs by splitting expenses and creating shared memories.

7.Unexpected Costs And Emergencies

One of the main disadvantages of travel is the potential for unexpected costs and emergencies. No matter how well you plan and budget, there are always unforeseen expenses that can arise.

Whether it’s a missed flight, lost luggage , or a sudden illness, these situations can quickly drain your finances. Additionally, emergencies can occur in unfamiliar destinations, making navigating healthcare systems challenging or finding the necessary assistance.

This is where travel destination guides and stories can be invaluable resources, providing insights and advice on handling unexpected situations. Despite these disadvantages, travel’s enriching experiences and personal growth outweigh the periods dealing with setbacks. It’s important to remember that even though travel may have drawbacks, the rewards far exceed any couple of times you encounter disadvantages.

8.Health Risks

Embarking on a backpacking trip offers a thrilling escape from the monotony of everyday life. It allows us to explore new cultures, taste exotic foods, and gain a fresh perspective on life. However, being aware of the potential health risks of trying unfamiliar food items is crucial.

These risks can pose serious threats to our well-being, from food poisoning to allergies. Researching and taking necessary precautions is important to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.

While the average person may not encounter such risks in their daily routine, a backpacking adventure requires us to be extra cautious regarding our health. It is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional and carry the necessary medications or vaccines before embarking on such an adventure.

9.Not Being Able To Exercise Regularly

Not Being Able To Exercise Regularly

Other disadvantage of travelling is the difficulty in maintaining regular exercise routines. Being away from home means leaving behind familiar fitness habits, resulting in declining fitness levels. Additionally, navigating unfamiliar environments can be physically and mentally exhausting, leaving little time or energy for exercise.

Another downside is the increased risk of encountering natural disasters, which harm personal safety. Managing dietary requirements while traveling can also be challenging, limiting food choices for those with specific dietary needs.

10.Safety Risks

When traveling, it is important to be aware of safety risks and take precautions. Natural disasters can be a threat, such as earthquakes and hurricanes. Dietary restrictions and allergies should also be considered to avoid food poisoning or allergic reactions.

Communicating these needs to restaurants and accommodations is crucial. Family safety is a priority, so parents should take measures to protect their children. Planning family-friendly activities and choosing safe destinations is essential for an enjoyable trip.

11.Leaving Your Confort Zone And Friends

Embarking on a backpacking trip allows you to escape from the routine of everyday life and gain a fresh perspective on the world. However, there are also disadvantages to consider. Leaving behind the comfort of familiar surroundings and friends can be challenging.

It means stepping into the unknown, facing potential risks, and navigating unfamiliar territories. Trying exotic foods and food items can be exciting, but it also comes with the risk of encountering unfamiliar ingredients or foodborne illnesses. Nevertheless, the valuable experiences and personal growth from pushing your boundaries and exploring new horizons make the disadvantages worth overcoming.

12.Language Barrier

Language Barrier

One of the disadvantages of travelling is the language barrier, which can pose challenges and hinder communication. However, with proper planning and research, this obstacle can be overcome. Considering this aspect when making travel plans is important, especially if family life and budget are involved.

Having a travel buddy can also be beneficial as they can help navigate unfamiliar languages and cultures. Despite the language barrier, road trips offer unique immersive travel experiences, allowing us to explore different destinations and connect with locals more authentically.

So, while the language barrier may present some difficulties, it should not deter us from embarking on new adventures and creating lasting travel memories.

13.It Will Push You Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally

The disadvantage of travelling is that it will push you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Exploring new travel destinations may involve long periods spent in transit, experiencing jet lag and exhaustion.

Navigating unfamiliar places can be mentally challenging, requiring adaptability and problem-solving skills. Additionally, being away from home and loved ones can bring about emotional challenges.

However, these travel obstacles can also be opportunities for personal growth and self-discovery. Through travel, you can develop resilience, broaden your perspective, and create unforgettable travel stories that will last a lifetime.

It is very important to know the disadvantages of travelling. While travelling may seem like a glamorous and exciting activity, it is important to acknowledge the potential disadvantages that come with it.

From the cost and time commitment to the physical and mental toll, traveling has challenges. It is important to carefully consider these factors and plan accordingly to ensure a positive and enjoyable experience. From the financial burden to the physical and mental toll, traveling can be challenging and taxing.

It is important to carefully consider these drawbacks and plan accordingly to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Ultimately, traveling can still be a rewarding experience, but it is crucial to be aware of and prepared for its potential downsides.

What Is The Negative Of Travelling?

The negative aspects of traveling include homesickness, jet lag, travel fatigue, language barriers, cultural misunderstandings, and the risk of encountering unsafe or uncomfortable situations.

What Is The Weakness Of Travelling?

The weakness of traveling can be the potential for experiencing discomfort or inconvenience, such as jet lag, fatigue from long journeys, unfamiliar accommodations, language barriers, and being away from the comforts of home.

Is Traveling Good Or Bad?

Traveling can be good and bad, depending on individual preferences and experiences. On the one hand, traveling allows us to explore new places, learn about different cultures, and broaden our horizons. It can be an opportunity for personal growth, self-discovery, and creating lasting memories.

What Is The Biggest Problem With Time Travel?

One of the biggest disadvantages problems with time travel is the potential for altering or disrupting the timeline. Even small changes in the past can have significant ripple effects on the future, potentially leading to paradoxes or unintended consequences.

Does Traveling Affect Your Body?

Yes, traveling can affect your body. Long flights or car rides can lead to muscle stiffness and fatigue. Jet lag from crossing multiple time zones can disrupt sleep patterns and cause fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and digestive issues.

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30 Honest Advantages and Disadvantages of Travelling Alone

Some say solo travel is lonely and sad. Some say it is unsafe or expensive. And others say it is the best thing they’ve ever done. So, exactly what are the advantages and disadvantages of travelling alone?

The benefits of travelling alone include setting your own budget, making more friends, meeting more locals, finding romance, and freedom over your itinerary. The disadvantages of travelling alone include expensive private accommodation, safety risks, loneliness, and difficulty taking photos of yourself.

In this article, I will list 30 pros and cons of travelling alone, so that you can decide whether solo travel is right for you.

Nomadic Yak has 100s of solo travel tips if it’s your first time travelling solo !

Practical Advantages of Travelling Alone

Social benefits of travelling alone, psychological benefits of travelling alone, practical disadvantages of travelling alone, social disadvantages of travelling alone, psychological disadvantages of travelling alone.

  • More solo travel tips

Advantages & Benefits of Travelling Alone

Benefits and advantages of travelling alone, including; flexible itinerary, saving money, making more friends, meeting more locals and finding romance.

What are the advantages of travelling alone? 

In short, the benefits of solo travel include saving money, making more friends, finding romance, enjoying freedom and flexibility, gaining self-confidence and social skills, becoming more mindful, gathering interesting stories, interacting with locals and creating awesome social media content.

Let’s delve further into the pros of solo travel:

+ Freedom and flexibility over your itinerary

A woman plans her solo travel on a map.

Solo travel provides you with the flexibility to do what you want, where you want and when you want. There’s no need to do what other people want to do. 

When you travel alone, you get to enjoy total control over:

  • Which activities you do and when;
  • Which accommodation you stay at;
  • Which transport you take;
  • Which restaurants you eat at;
  • When you wake up and go to bed;
  • When you take breaks during the day;
  • Whether you go out or stay in;
  • Which route you take;
  • Where you travel to (see my list of the 193 best places to travel solo ).

The whole trip is based around you and you alone!

+ Set your own budget and save money

Solo travel can be up to 75% cheaper than travelling with a partner, family or friends. This is because you do not have to cover the costs of other people’s travel expenses. Instead, you can just look for the best deals for yourself.

You also get to set your own budget when you travel alone. You do not have to think about others when choosing how much you spend on accommodation, transport, dining, activities and other expenses.

With the money you save, you can travel for longer and enjoy yourself more.

+ Eat whatever you want

One of the main concerns that people face when travelling alone for the first time is eating alone – they think that they’ll look weird or feel lonesome. 

But you’ll soon realise that eating alone is one of the benefits of travelling alone. You have total freedom over what you eat, when you eat and which restaurant you eat at.

This is particularly great for people who are focused on their diet or have food allergies. It’s also helpful if you’re trying to stick to a travel budget.

+ Choose accommodation based on your needs

A man lies in a hammock at a hostel. The text reads, 'Solo travellers can enjoy the social atmosphere of a hostel or the comfort of a hotel.'

One benefit of solo travel is that you get to choose your accommodation. There’s no need to think about your travel companions, their budget and their wants. 

Most of the time, your budget and style of solo travel will determine where you stay:

  • Backpackers: Mostly stay in hostels and motels because they are affordable and a great way to meet people.
  • Standard solo travellers: Stay in a combination of hostels and hotels so that they can enjoy a mix of socialising, affordability and comfort.
  • Luxurious solo travellers: Mostly stay in hotels and private rentals so that they enjoy the utmost comfort and privacy.

+ More time to read, watch and listen

Most people never find the time to finish that book they’ve been reading or watch that film they’ve been wanting to see. 

An advantage of travelling alone is that you don’t have to fuss over others – you can use your downtime to enjoy some reading, a show or a podcast.

+ Learn a new language

When you travel alone, you can’t rely on your fellow travellers to help you translate the local language. Whilst this may sound like a disadvantage to some, the benefit is that it forces you to learn more of the local language. 

With the help of language learning apps such as Duolingo , it is easy to pick up the basics that you need when travelling to a foreign country. The first few levels of learning include greetings, pronouns, food items and common travel phrases.

+ Be as selfish as you like

People ask, is travelling alone fun ? But what could be more fun than doing whatever you want?!

One of the problems with travelling with friends and family is that you have to worry about what they want to do and when they want to do it.

When you travel solo, you’re free to indulge in whatever you want – whether that’s an extra drink at the bar, heading back to your accommodation early or trying some exotic street food. The benefit of travelling alone is that it’s a rare opportunity to be as selfish as you like!

+ You make more friends when travelling alone

Female solo travellers and friends sitting in a valley.

This is perhaps the biggest benefit of travelling alone – it is much easier to meet people and make friends. Even though I’m an introvert, I make 1 or 2 new friends almost every day on my solo trips!

When you travel alone, you naturally socialise with other travellers and discuss the things you have in common: your destination, your travel plans and your interests. 

Other travellers are more likely to befriend you when you travel alone. It is less antagonising for them to approach an individual than a group of people.

Blossom into a social butterfly with my Ultimate 9-Step Guide to Making Friends When Travelling Alone !

+ Gain more social media followers and engagement

All your friends and family at home will be keen to see your solo travel adventures. And you’ll add lots of other travellers and friends on social media along the way, growing your following. 

When travelling alone, use your downtime to edit your photos and videos so that you can create unique and exciting social media content.

Struggling for captions? See my list of the 100 best solo travel Instagram captions !

+ Gather interesting stories

Ever sit around at a party and wish you had more interesting stories to share? A benefit of travelling alone is the amazing stories you gather.

You’ll keep your friends and family entertained for hours when you return from your solo travel with a bag full of funny, fascinating and frightful memories!

+ More romance and sex

A female and male traveller sit together overlooking Sri Lanka. The text reads, 'Many singles find love when travelling alone.'

Most solo travellers are single, so travelling alone can be a great way to meet romantic partners. You never know – one of your fellow travellers may just be your soul mate!

Backpackers have sex more frequently and have more sexual partners than the average person.

Any man travelling alone should include condoms on their male solo travel packing list . Women should also include contraception on their female solo travel packing list .

+ More interaction with locals

When you travel with other people, you rely on them to help you navigate the city, learn the language, order food, learn local history and much more.

But one of the advantages of travelling alone is that you have to rely on the local people more and get to enjoy more authentic interactions. 

Many times throughout my solo travels, I have had to ask a local for help. And often, it results in them kindly inviting me for tea or a meal and the opportunity to learn about their way of life.

+ Build your social skills

Because you are forced to socialise and make friends when you travel alone, you quickly build social skills and become more outgoing. 

Even if you’re a shy or introverted solo traveller , you’ll soon find that you can make friends with almost anyone. Just break the ice by discussing your common interest – travel. After that, the conversation will flow naturally.

+ Become more self-confident

A female traveller smiles in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. The text reads, 'Overcoming the challenges of solo travel makes you more self-confident.'

You’ll face all sorts of fears and anxieties when you travel alone – you’ll get lost in unknown streets, fumble around a foreign language, struggle with scam artists, make friends with strangers, and more.

Whilst such challenges can be scary, you feel a massive sense of pride (and relief) when you overcome them by yourself. When you step outside the comforts of day-to-day life, you realise that you are capable of more than you thought possible (without the help of others).

+ Solo travel broadens the mind and soul

When you travel alone, you learn a lot about how other people live; what they do for work, what their history is, how their relationships and families function, what their struggles are and what they’re grateful for.

Learning about the lives of others helps you put your own life into perspective. You think about what is important to you and what is unimportant – your purpose, priorities, problems and blessings.

This is one of the main reasons why you should travel alone in your 20s !

+ Find clarity with moments of mindfulness

Try to enjoy one moment of mindfulness each day of your solo trip.

Make the most of quiet moments when you are alone with your thoughts. Reflect on your purpose, career, relationships, worries, blessings and more.

Mindfulness is particularly important if you are suffering from loneliness, homesickness or solo travel depression .

I remember a few of my most moving moments when travelling alone – sleeping under the stars in the Sahara, watching water buffalo cross a river in Laos, and walking the battlefields of Gallipoli.

Small moments can lead to big revelations in your thinking.

+ You challenge yourself to try new experiences

When you travel alone, there are no naysayers looking over your shoulder and saying “don’t do this” or “don’t do that.”

One of the advantages of solo travel is that you are free to try all the experiences that you’ve always wanted to try – adventure activities, exotic foods, partying, relationships and much more!

Disadvantages of Travelling Alone

The disadvantages of travelling alone, including; expensive private accommodation, safety risks, loneliness, difficulty taking photos, anxiety and worry.

What are the disadvantages of solo travel? The disadvantages of travelling alone include more expensive accommodation, increased risk of theft and susceptibility to scams, having no one to take care of you when drunk or sick, feeling lonely or anxious, and finding it harder to take photos of yourself.

Let’s delve deeper into the cons of travelling alone:

– Accommodation, car rental and dining can be more expensive

A pile of international currencies in cash.

There are hidden costs involved with travelling alone . If you’re not careful, solo travel can become more expensive than group travel because you have to:

  • Pay a single’s surcharge when booking private accommodation
  • Cover the entire cost of private transport (taxis and Ubers)
  • Cover the entire cost of meals (no split bills)
  • Pay full price for tickets to attractions (no group discounts)
  • Pay more for travel insurance

The best way to save costs when travelling alone is to stay in shared accommodation. You can also save money by catching public transport rather than hiring a vehicle.

Don’t only rely on comparison sites to find the best price on accommodation and transport. Sometimes, suppliers offer better prices if you book directly through their website.

Solo travellers concerned about their budget can also join a group tour. Some tours provide great bang for your buck because the organisers receive a discount when booking bulk accommodation and transport – meaning bigger savings for you.

– Travelling alone can be less safe

One of the most common questions amongst both men and women is: is solo travel safe ? 

No form of travel is totally safe. But some safety issues are more prevalent when you travel alone:

  • Scams: You may not have someone else to alert you to street scams.
  • Theft and assault: You may not have someone else to protect you from theft and assault when travelling alone.
  • Getting lost: You may not have someone to help you navigate if you get lost or your phone battery dies.
  • Drunkenness and intoxication: You will have to find trustworthy friends to take care of you when drunk.
  • Illness and disease: You may not have someone else to take care of you when sick.
  • Language and cultural differences: You may not have someone else to help you translate the local language or make you aware of cultural practices.

To reduce your susceptibility to the dangers of travelling alone, see these solo travel safety tips . There are many things you can do to keep yourself safe, including using padlocks, sharing your GPS location with family and friends, and setting up fraud alerts on your bank account.

I still join tours as a solo traveller if I’m visiting a particularly dangerous or difficult destination. I share my tour experiences in my article on  solo travel vs group travel .

– Difficulty taking photos

One of the biggest disadvantages of travelling alone is not having friends and family around to take photos of you. However, this problem is easily overcome. 

Simply ask your fellow travellers to take photos of you or get good at taking selfies (this is where a selfie stick comes in handy).

Alternatively, if you are serious about photography, carry a tripod and use the timer feature on your camera to capture the perfect shot.

– Sitting next to strangers on transport

The aisle of a plane full of passengers. The text reads, 'Fellow passengers can invade your personal space when travelling alone.'

A disadvantage of solo travel is that you don’t get to sit next to people that you know and are comfortable with. Instead, you’ll be sat next to strangers on flights, trains and coaches. 

Whilst this isn’t an issue most of the time, sometimes fellow passengers can be a hindrance. For example, they may take up your personal space, stink of body odour or chew loudly.

I’ll never forget the time I was on an overnight sleeper coach in Vietnam, mistakenly thinking I had the single bed to myself for the entirety of the journey. You can imagine my surprise when another man jumped on at 2 am and snuggled up beside me.

It is best to include a set of noise-cancelling earphones and an eye mask on your solo travel packing list. And if you and a travel buddy are heading in the same direction, try to book your seats together.

My guide to flying alone for the first time has 10 more tips to make your trip more comfortable.

– Taking care of yourself when ill

At some stage during your solo travel, you will likely get sick with food poisoning, a cold or some other ailment. 

The disadvantage of travelling alone is that you won’t have family or friends there to take care of you, make your food and buy you medicine. The best option is to find some private accommodation for a few days and rest until you’ve mended.

– You can’t share your luggage space

Solo travel gear. The text reads 'You will have to ship items home if you buy too much whilst travelling alone.'

Sometimes when you travel with a partner who packs light, you can put some of your luggage in their bags. You don’t have this luxury when travelling alone.

If you buy items overseas and run out of luggage space during your solo travel, your best option is to head to the post office and ship it home.

– It’s sad saying goodbye to new friends

Whilst you’ll make a lot of friends (and maybe even a few lovers) whilst travelling alone, one of the biggest disadvantages of solo travel is having to say goodbye to all your new buddies!

When it comes time to go your separate ways, make sure that you’ve added your travel buddies on social media and make plans to catch up with them again in the future. 

Despite living in Australia , solo travel has allowed me to make friends from all over the world. On my travels, I regularly catch up with pals from Germany, Sweden, Cambodia, Morocco, Turkey and many other countries.

– Friends and family at home won’t share in your stories

I remember when I got home after my first solo trip to Southeast Asia. I was buzzing and expected all my family and friends to be equally excited about my travel stories. Whilst they were happy to have me home and hear about my adventures, the truth is that they didn’t care as much about my stories as I did.

Sadly, your travel stories won’t mean as much to your family and friends as they do to you. Whilst the story may be entertaining, your audience wasn’t there to witness it. For a memory to be truly special, you have to partake in it. 

However, this can also be a nice thing – to know that you have had special experiences that your friends, family and acquaintances haven’t. That is part of what makes solo travel unique.

– Family will worry about you

If you’ve never travelled solo before, you tend to worry more than is necessary. What’s worse is that your family tends to worry even more. 

It can be difficult to calm worried parents and siblings. At times, I didn’t reveal to my family what I was doing overseas until I returned because I knew that it would stress them out (e.g. riding a scooter through Vietnam and Thailand).

However, this secretive approach isn’t always best. Generally, you should share your itinerary with your family and keep them updated with regular video calls to quash their worries.

– Solo travel can get lonely at times

A female traveller takes a deep breath with her eyes closed. The text reads, 'Use lonely moments for personal reflection.'

First-time solo travellers often ask, is travelling alone lonely ?

There will be moments during your solo trip when you are eating alone or admiring the view and wish that you could share it with someone. But these moments serve as great opportunities for mindfulness and reflection. 

Further, you will meet so many people and make so many friends during your solo travels, that you will spend the majority of your time exploring your destination with other travellers.

In those moments that you do feel lonely, you may want to call home and speak to family or friends. Alternatively, head back to your hostel or a local bar and strum up some conversation with other solo travellers. Or you could even join a day tour and keep active to take your mind off of things.

– Homesickness can hit a little harder

One of the cons of travelling alone is that you have no friends or family with you to remind you of home. This can mean that homesickness hits a little harder when you travel solo.

To keep homesickness at bay, make sure to video chat with friends and family regularly. It might also help to carry a little memento from home and set the wallpaper on your phone to include photos of family and friends. 

Most importantly, socialise with other travellers and keep active to take your mind off of negative emotions!

– Sticky situations

When you travel with a trusted partner, you have someone else there to speak some sense into you – whether that’s not getting too drunk on a night out, not trusting the scam artist on the street or not eating the dodgy-looking street food. 

You’ll get better at avoiding these sticky situations as you gain more solo travel experience. And if you’re new to solo travel, do your best to be vigilant but accept that almost everyone falls victim to tourist traps at some stage.

– Solo travel anxiety

Many people who have never travelled alone before suffer from solo travel anxiety – a fear that they will be overcome by the emotions and practicalities that come with travelling alone.

It is natural to have questions before your first solo trip, such as is it weird to travel alone ?

These worries are one of the disadvantages of solo travel. But once you hit the road and start seeing amazing places, making great friends and trying new experiences, you will wonder what you ever worried about. 

Throwing yourself into the deep end is the best and only way to overcome solo travel anxiety.

Summary: Advantages and Disadvantages of Travelling Alone

Solo female traveller in a hammock by a waterfall.

Hopefully, I have dispelled the myths as to what are the advantages and disadvantages of travelling alone.

Travelling alone is best for people who aren’t afraid to face disadvantages such as safety risks and difficult emotions of loneliness, anxiety and homesickness. 

If you are adventurous and curious about the world, you can make the most of the advantages of travelling alone. You will return from your solo trip with more friends, a better understanding of the world and a better understanding of yourself.

Are you cut out for solo travel? Take the 15-question quiz: should I travel alone ?

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Nomadic Yak helps solo travellers to plan journeys that are adventurous and authentic.

Every article is written by me, Harry . I’ve travelled to 40+ countries over the last 5 years – alone.

I’ve shared everything you need to know about travelling alone for the first time .

You’ll also find 100s of solo travel tips on how to save money, make more friends, build a social media following and much more.

Plus, you can use my solo travel destination guides to discover international sights and attractions that few other travellers get to witness.

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Creator of Nomadic Yak

At age 22, I had never travelled overseas. Six years later, I have travelled alone through 35 countries and work wherever I like as a freelance writer.

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What Are the Challenges of Traveling While Disabled?

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Whenever you are traveling abroad or within country, the essential thing you must do is to look for a place with an appropriate accommodation where you can be at ease and free from any worries. However, if you are a person with a disability, there might be some challenges you might face during your trip. 

Some problems might arise during your journey; that’s why travel industries are providing the individual needs of people with disabilities. E.g., the doors are wide enough for you to enter and if you can go up and down the stairs. You should know this information before deciding on the place where you will stay. If you fail to clarify these, here are the problems you might encounter during your trip.

  • Inconvenience

Many factors will significantly affect your accessibility needs if you are a person with a disability and off on your trip. 

  • Also, some hotels are not wheelchair friendly as they have a narrow hallway leading to the bathroom. 
  • Double-deckers are also not the best options for travelers with inability because it is difficult to climb to the top bunk.
  •  In airplanes, you are required to use isle chairs, and you should use it in narrow aisles, but there are times that it is not available onboard. 
  • Public transport is the most challenging issue because some places don’t prioritize or think of travelers with a disability. Thus, it is difficult for you to move from one place to another, you will have to deal with pushing your wheelchair on a busy street and doing that is troublesome.

For you to have a more comfortable trip, fortunately, some wheelchairs can transport you without hassle, such as the Rolstoel electric wheelchairs . These portable folding wheelchairs can easily fit storage for a more relaxed, pleasant, and convenient journey, even if you’re alone.

  • Bringing Your Medical Supplies

Carrying your medical supplies can cause inconvenience, but you don’t have any choice because this equipment is necessary. It would be best if you took it with you in case you have an allergy or any incident that can risk your health and safety. 

Additionally, there are also some apparatus that is needed for a disability. For example, some people with disabilities need special equipment for them to shower thoroughly in the hotel. 

Although you need to pack your luggage lightly , you still should have more space for your hand sanitation, catheters, and more. Some necessities are hard to find in a foreign land, so it is better to be sure and pack enough.

  • Other People’s Treatment and Mindset to People with Disabilities

Other people’s attitudes towards your disability can also be a big challenge while you are traveling. Some people don’t embrace acceptance and often look down on people with disabilities. Few countries don’t have the same way when accepting them. 

Although it is a bit frustrating and disappointing, you still must understand that there are places where there are ignorant people. They don’t understand other’s disabilities and how these people continue to strive and live their lives.

On the other hand, some countries don’t discriminate against a person with a disability. These people don’t just have a broad understanding, but they are also compassionate and hospitable, helping others in need the way they could.

  • Prohibiting You from Strenuous Activities

There are activities where some people treat you as a kid because they are afraid that you will injure yourself, and you will sue them. They will treat you as if you need extra help during the activity, which will make you uncomfortable. Some areas are also not wheelchair accessible because they want to prevent any accidents. Thus, you will not have experience with a specific tour you want. 

To prevent this, you can ask and clarify these things to ensure you are able to do activities freely while being safe. Thus, they can adjust the events based on your capabilities.

  • Dealing with Airline

Entering your destination and finding out that your wheelchair is already useless is one of the nightmares when you’re traveling. Hearing other people’s stories where their wheelchairs were broken due to poor handling by the luggage staff is horrifying story and may cause much trouble. 

Although the airline will compensate you, this is still a cause of inconvenience. As you are stranded in another country and unfamiliar items add to the anxiety. 

There are also some issues that the staff are not ready to guide you, and you might have to wait for a long time. 

However, there is also assistance provided to people with disabilities, to assist you at the boarding gate and transfer you from your wheelchair to your seat. Your wheelchair will be in the luggage and will be marked so that handlers will know who owns it and deliver it back to you. 

Although this process is helpful and smooth, it is a difficulty to others, and that will make you feel that you’re a disturbance. Thus, allowing you to remain in your wheelchair inside the plane is the best option. Some campaigns are promoting this idea for travelers with disability to move freely and without inconvenience.

Bottom Line

Here are some of the challenges you might face if you’re a person with disability and want to travel. Always keep in mind to clarify things and ensure you’ll have a convenient place and all your necessities. As you’re traveling to unwind and de-stress, so don’t let minor problems ruin your goal. Have a safe and entertaining trip!!!

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Get ready New York and Boston. It’s happening!!!

New island-hopping vacations are around every corner: Royal Caribbean International has revealed the next in its lineup of 2025-2026 adventures. For the summer and winter, seven favorites will cruise from seven U.S. cities in Florida, Northeast, Puerto Rico, and Texas on 5- to 12-night vacations. Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members can be the first to book on Royal Caribbean’s website starting today, ahead of the official opening on Thursday, Feb. 15.

The highlights in store for every type of family and adventurer include Odyssey of the Seas’ second consecutive winter season in the New York area and game-changing Oasis Class vacations to the eastern and western Caribbean with Allure of the Seas from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Galveston, Texas, as well as Symphony of the Seas from Bayonne, New Jersey, and Miami. Plus, travelers looking for more time in the picturesque northern Atlantic coast can have their pick from Brilliance, Jewel, Liberty and Vision of the Seas across a combination of Boston; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Bayonne; and Baltimore, Maryland.

From the pristine shorelines to turquoise waters and vibrant cultures in the southern, eastern and western Caribbean, and The Bahamas, the tropical destinations on the horizon have adventures of all kinds. Vacationers can island hop to spots like Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis; Cozumel, Mexico; Castries, St. Lucia; St. Johns, Antigua; St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Royal Caribbean’s marquee private destinations, Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas and Labadee, Haiti. With thrill and chill at Perfect Day at CocoCay’s two towers of adrenaline-pumping waterslides and the island’s first adults-only oasis, Hideaway Beach, plus Labadee’s five stunning shorelines, a vibrant local artisan’s market and the world’s longest overwater zip line, everyone can make memories in more ways than one. And for adventurers looking to venture up the East Coast, there are memorable destinations to explore in New England and Canada, including Portland, Maine; Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada; and more.

More ways to see and explore the Caribbean will be revealed. Vacationers can book the new and upcoming adventures by visiting Royal Caribbean’s website .

Cover art by Dariusz Sankowski on Unsplash

Top 5 Airlines Offering Direct Flights from Guwahati to Delhi

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The expanding field of air transport highly values connectivity, where uninterrupted flights between large city centres are a crucial part of ensuring smooth travel. Numerous airlines distinguish themselves for their unwavering commitment to efficiency, comfort and reliability – an attractive proposition for those seeking the best Guwahati to Delhi flight . Let’s have a look at the top airlines to consider to travel from Guwahati to Delhi:

1. IndiGo: Pioneering the Skies with Precision

IndiGo, holding the foremost position among Indian airlines concerning market share, assumes the forefront in establishing direct air links from Guwahati to Delhi. Recognized for its timely operations and budget-friendly travel selections, IndiGo’s contemporary aircraft fleet guarantees a seamless and pleasant voyage. With a well-established network and frequent departure schedules, IndiGo emerges as a prime selection for those in pursuit of dependable and economical travel options.

2. Airasia India: Redefining Budget Travel

AirAsia India, with its unique red livery adorning the skies, prioritises affordability in non-stop flights from Guwahati to Delhi. This emphasis on economic travel presents a novel outlook. The airline, dedicated to providing budget-friendly options without sacrificing safety or comfort, has significantly impacted the route connecting Guwahati and Delhi, positioning itself as an appealing option for economically mindful travellers.

3. Vistara: Elevating the Travel Experience

Vistara introduces an air of elegance into the aerial domain. Prioritising customer service and delivering a superior flying encounter, Vistara has established a unique position within the aviation sector. Those traversing the Guwahati-Delhi route have the opportunity to luxuriate in the well-designed cabins of Vistara and experience tailored assistance, transforming every voyage into an unforgettable memory.

4. SpiceJet: Adding Spice to the Skyline

SpiceJet, a notable participant in India’s aviation sector, establishes a link between Guwahati and Delhi, combining cost-effectiveness with operational proficiency. Renowned for its planes adorned in vibrant orange, SpiceJet serves a varied passenger demographic. The airline’s non-stop flights present a convenient alternative for individuals seeking equilibrium between expenses and service quality, positioning it as a favoured selection for those journeying along this route.

5. Air India: National Carrier, Global Standards

Air India assumes a vital role in fostering connectivity across the country. Through non-stop flights linking Guwahati to Delhi, Air India showcases its established service legacy and dependability. Passengers have the opportunity to encounter the graciousness and proficiency associated with flying the national airline, rendering it an attractive choice for those who prioritise a conventional touch and reliability in their air journeys.

Cleartrip serves as a valuable companion for contemporary travellers navigating the intricacies of trip planning. With its intuitive interface and extensive search capabilities, Cleartrip simplifies the reservation process for flights, accommodations, and activities. The platform’s dedication to clarity and efficiency resonates with individuals seeking an uncomplicated travel experience. Cleartrip’s inventive features, combined with its dependable customer support, position it as a preferred option for those prioritising convenience. In a world where seamless travel arrangements are crucial, Cleartrip distinguishes itself as a reliable partner, streamlining the journey from exploration to reservation effortlessly.

The Hotel Edison Opulent and Convenient with History

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George Burns and Gracie Allen lived on the 9th floor of The Edison Hotel . Their friend Jack Benny lived on the 4th floor. Moss Hart lived there after his  Once in a Lifetime  was a Broadway hit. He then moved his parents there until he found them an apartment. The Edison Hotel is featured in the movies “The Godfather” and “Bullets Over Broadway”, so history abounds.

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The rooms are well designed with great features, such as a Keurig coffee maker and coffee, black-out drapes, windows that opened, and a full-marble bathroom. In the bathroom fluffy towels, designer toiletries and a hair dryer awaited me. The spacious shower also had a relaxing rain shower. In the closet a safe, iron, ironing board and fluffy robes.

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There were also two flat-screen high-definition smart TVs, Bluetooth-enabled audio, high-speed Wi-Fi which made my life so much easier, and an alarm clock.

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The room was ultra clean and to get to it you need a room key, which you also need for the elevator, so you feel incredibly safe.

Another fun fact…when you arrive you will have a personalized note waiting just for you and some lovely snacks, which were highly appreciated considering I had been running all day and needed a pick me up.

Amenities to the hotel are a gym, two fabulous restaurants, a piano bar, complimentary wine and cheese receptions (Tuesday & Friday), with entertainment, as well as complimentary walking tours of the neighborhood.

You would think for this much pampering and convivence this hotel would be overpriced but it is not. There are rooms are the best offer and prices in town.

If you are looking for history, comfort, boutique, friendliness and luxury, this is the perfect place to stay.

The Edison Hotel: 228 West 47 th  Street

Royal Caribbean Creates Regal Travel Moments to 2024 with Icon of the Seas

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This is what it means to have a dream come true. January 2024 kicked off with a bang with the epic launch of the all-new Icon of the Seas . Royal Caribbean dazzled the travel industry when they started things off with the enchanting naming celebration led by the regal and legendary sports star Lionel Messi.

The official debut in Miami saw host Mario Lopez introduce the most decorated player in history as guests were thrilled by the most exciting celebration to date. Bestowing safekeeping onto the world’s best family vacation, the dedicated crew and the millions of families who will set in years to come the super player was joined at the milestone event by President and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group Jason Liberty, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International Michael Bayley and Icon’s captain, Henrik Loy.

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Courtesy Royal Caribbean

“Family is everything to me, and it was exciting to take part in welcoming what is the world’s best family vacation to Miami,” said Messi, who now bears the official title of Royal Caribbean’s Icon of Icon. “Everything I’ve seen on Icon of the Seas is next level. There are experiences for the whole family to make memories that they’ll remember forever.”

The beautiful sentiment on the joy and wonder of the ship that is divine and offers a special feeling for everyone who steps on board was further expressed.

“We did it! After seven years of pursuing the bold vision to create a one-of-a-kind vacation for every type of family and adventurer, Icon of the Seas has become a reality,” said Bayley enthusiastically during the ceremony. “Officially naming Icon marks more than the introduction of a new ship; it is the start of a new era of vacations, and we’re excited to see tens of millions of families and friends make their mark with memories they create together and on their own adventures without compromise.”

After the ceremony in the AquaDome and Messi’s presiding over the ship’s naming, the splendid cultural experience of being on Icon of the Seas took full formation in every glorious way one can imagine.

“Icon of the Seas is the culmination of more than 50 years of dreaming, innovating and living our mission – to deliver the world’s best vacation experiences responsibly. She is the ultimate multi-generational family vacation, forever changing the status quo in family travel and fulfilling vacation dreams for all ages on board,” stated Liberty.

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More than just a statement, it was part of the realization that this big dream was now a massively wonderful reality. On board, it takes a few days to fully absorb this masterful ingenuity. Across eight neighborhoods  are firsts and next-level favorites for every traveler including more than 40 restaurants, bars and lounges including those found in the popular Central Park; six record-breaking water slides at Category 6 and the Crown’s Edge experience at 154 feet above the ocean. There are also such mind-blowing aspects as an unheard of seven pools and the first suspended infinity pool at sea.

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It is astonishing to witness these things that give equal joy to all ages. From perfectly blended family experiences with the coolest kid pool areas with plenty of room for parents to watch and relax from an incorporated bar and restaurant scene to a remarkable set-up for the traveler looking for an adults-only experience in other designated areas, Icon of the Seas is a playground for the young just as much as the young at heart.

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Top this all with earth shattering entertainment that touches your soul. From the musical stage interpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” to the magical ice skating extravaganza “Starburst: Elemental Beauty,” there is never a dull moment. The night gets especially swept away the remarkable “Aqua Action!” The beloved Aquadome signature show on Icon of the Seas has truly been taken to a new height, especially with one duet of a flying love story over water that gives a whole new prolific meaning to romance.

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The love can only be equally expressed when it comes to the fantastic emotions you will have when you are on Icon of the Seas. Yes, it is the biggest and best cruise ship in the world. It lives up to the hype in the most spectacular way. Every detail from innovative design elements that are luxurious and full of grand gestures to the impeccable service of the Royal Caribbean is what makes your time aboard the most radical vacation itinerary to date. It is not just another cruise. This is a moment in your life that will always create a sweet and special memory. It will forever be your iconic moment.

Vacationers can now get away on the new vacation for the first time and island hop in the tropics. Each 7-night Eastern or Western Caribbean adventure from Miami features idyllic destinations in the Caribbean and an unmatched day of thrill and chill at Royal Caribbean’s award-winning private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas. Plus, dialing up the perfect on Perfect Day in January 2024 is the private island’s first adults-only escape, Hideaway Beach, an all-day experience complete with a private beach and pools, new dedicated spots for drinks and bites, exclusive cabanas, live music and more.

For more information and to book your dream vacation today, please visit HERE .

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Cover Art Courtesy Royal Caribbean International

Amazing Adventures for Adults on Icon of the Seas

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Royal Caribbean gets so much rightfully deserved credit for being a perfect family cruise. But, it is worthy of noting the truly amazing adventures that adults can find on Icon of the Seas.

The felicitous features found on this cruise elevate the travel experience to soaring heights. From the moment you are on board you see there is a distinct difference for the grown-up. There are several areas that are designated for adults-only that rival the biggest five-star hotels and resorts around the globe in the category. The party scene is hot with wonderful music and delicious cocktails at whirlpools and pools with sweeping ocean views all around. Hideaway Pool & Bar takes you mid-air eight stories up at this glorious club that becomes a haven on the cruise.

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The retreat connects you to the sea even as the chill mood turns to thrills. It makes the unique environment of Icon of the Seas for the adult traveling alone or with friends. Get your heart racing with daring moments on the most epic water slides that are meant for the big kids and you. Storm Surge which showcases a mid-air hoover before a massive drop that literally makes you scream with bliss. Take the day even further as you do the Pressure Drop , which is the the first open free-fall slide at se a. It stimulates your senses in a grand fashion.

For the real daredevil, the newest Royal Caribbean highlight is the Crown’s Edge.  Put yourself on the walkway for a fear-inducing challenge that’s part skywalk and part obstacle course. Your courage level is heightened as you find yourself  strapped into what can only be described as a crazy turn of a zip-line designed for the brave. Step out above the sea and watch the floor beneath your feet disappear. You dangle high over the ocean and feel as if your status has been labeled as the new Indian Jones. As you swing back around onto the ship the whirl and the wind drive you to an intense level of euphoria. It is not to be missed.

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Even an excursion at CocoCay in the Bahamas becomes a day made for the adult memory books. The perfect day got exquisitely fantastic with the newest offering is the private island’s first adults-only escape called Hideaway Beach. The beachfront paradise is divine and you will feel as if you have the privilege of being brought here.

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The charming view in the stunning cove is like that of an image on a romantic postcard. Ticketed guests at the all-day experience have access to the private beach and infinity plunge pool, scrumptious spots for out of this world cocktails and bites, exclusive cabanas, live music and DJ sets that will have you dancing from sun up until call back to the ship.

Design elements on Icon of the Seas were all done with careful consideration for the adult traveler. Great applause is deeply rewarded for the elements are so equally balanced for the ideal family experience directly alongside the perfect adult excursion. It is so unique to find this quality in the travel industry. When Royal Caribbean boasts that they have something for everyone they mean it. You never feel like the worlds collide as you do many times when other cruise ships try to accomplish this vibe. Yet, the accomplishment of a well-tuned and lavish Icon of the Seas is something that rings of the wave of the future. All find bliss. All find joy on this phenomenal vacation experience.

For more information and to book your perfect adults-only experience today, please visit HERE .

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The Glorious Corner

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Huff Breathes Abusive Pain in Deep at the Grand Theatre, London

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FIVE: The Parody Musical Meets The Press

Wedding

Romantic and Meaningful Love Quotes For Her To Help Win Her Heart

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Entre Institute Review – Is Jeff Lerner’s Program a Scam?

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How to Take Advantage of Virtual Numbers for SMS

Illinois’ financial crisis could bring the state to a halt, the final 6 ‘game of thrones’ episodes might feel like a full season, new season 8 walking dead trailer flashes forward in time.

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Valentine’s Day Playlist From T2C

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OMG Could Actor’s Equity Go on Strike

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Al Sapienza & Deborah Rennard Sing The Soundtrack Of Our Lives

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Live From The Edison Hotel Times Square Chronicles Presents Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley

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My View: Cast Party Celebrates Billy Stritch’s Birthday ( Also Other People)

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Can’t Wait For New York Pops 2024-2025 Season With Adrienne Warren, Max von Essen, Jessica Vosk, Tony DeSare and More

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Thomas J. Henry Makes Corporate Touchdown for Team at Super Bowl

NY weather: Snow in the Hudson Valley Tuesday? Winter storm warning issued

Time to break out the ice scrapers and snow shovels again.

A winter storm is expected to bring significant accumulating snowfall to the Hudson Valley — possibly up to 12 inches in certain locations.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service say heavy snow with snow accumulations of 7-10 inches are likely in Westchester and Rockland counties and 9-12 inches further north.

On Sunday, the NWS issued a winter storm watch in anticipation of significant accumulating snowfall beginning early Tuesday morning. The watch was upgraded to a winter storm warning Sunday afternoon.

Heavy snow could impact travel, potentially making the Tuesday morning commute difficult, according to the NWS.

How many inches of snow?

Parts of the area could see accumulations of 10 inches during Tuesday's winter storm.

Follow along with the latest snowfall count below according to the National Weather Service.

Westchester County: Dobbs Ferry: 5 inchesMount Kisco: 8 inches New Rochelle: 2 inchesOssining: 6 inchesPeekskill: 9 inches Port Chester: 3 inches Rye: 3 inchesTarrytown: 5 inchesWhite Plains: 3 inches Yonkers: 3 inches Rockland County: Haverstraw: 9 inches Monsey: 7 inches Nanuet: 8 inches New City: 8 inches Nyack: 5 inches Suffern: 8 inches Tappan: 6 inches Putnam County:Brewster: 9 inchesCarmel: 10 inchesCold Spring: 10 inchesMahopac: 9 inches

Northeast braces for heavy snow but forecasters nudge amounts downward

New york and boston could see at least 4 inches, but the storm isn’t expected to be as intense or as far north as earlier forecasts..

Winter storm warnings are in effect for much of the Northeast ahead of a nor’easter that should bring heavy snow, strong winds and coastal flooding late Monday night and Tuesday. The National Weather Service is warning that snowfall rates could reach 2 inches per hour between Tuesday morning and afternoon, making for difficult and dangerous travel conditions in the hardest-hit locations.

The agency is also cautioning that the heft of the snow combined with strong winds could damage trees and knock out power. But the forecast for what areas will see the heaviest snow is proving to be difficult.

“This fast-moving Nor’easter is still forecast to produce a swath of snow exceeding 6″, though for areas a little farther south than the previous forecast in the central Appalachians, northern Mid-Atlantic, and southern New England,” the Weather Service wrote Monday evening.

As Monday progressed, meteorologists expressed astonishment at the significant shift south in the storm track simulated in computer models, which reduced the snowfall forecast around Boston but increased it just north and west of Philadelphia.

Boston’s projected snowfall dropped from 7 to 13 inches to 4 to 8 inches. But in Philadelphia’s north and west suburbs, previously predicted to see just an inch or so, the forecast increased to 3 to 5 inches. In downtown Philadelphia, temperatures may be too mild for much more than an inch.

Farther south, mostly rain is expected around Washington and Baltimore, but a possible brief period of snow is possible before the storm pulls away; the Weather Service said a slushy accumulation is possible in the north and west suburbs of the two cities.

The sweet spot for accumulating snow, previously expected from around Scranton, Pa., to Boston, has shifted to between Allentown, Pa., and Providence, R.I., where 5 to 10 inches could fall between Monday night and Tuesday. While heavy, these maximum totals are decreases from previous projections of at least 8 to 12 inches as model forecasts on Monday afternoon not only simulated a more southern storm track but also a somewhat less intense storm.

Overall, more than 45 million people are under winter weather alerts from the panhandle of West Virginia to northern Massachusetts.

The storm follows an unusually mild weekend in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, where temperatures reached the 50s and 60s. Snow cover is well below normal for this time of year across the contiguous United States due to a recent nationwide warm spell.

Forecast for the I-95 corridor

New York City

Rain should arrive from the south Monday night around midnight. As the precipitation becomes heavier and temperatures cool to the lower 30s, it should change to snow from north to south around 3 to 6 a.m., perhaps mixing with sleet during the transition. Snow could be moderate to heavy at times during the morning commute before leaving from west to east in the early afternoon. Long Island, especially eastern sections, could get a mix of snow, sleet and rain later into the morning.

The Weather Service is predicting around 4 to 8 inches in the city and Long Island, but amounts could be lower than that if temperatures don’t cool enough. The forecast increases to 6 to 9 inches in the Lower Hudson Valley.

Small shifts in the storm track could bump these forecast totals higher or lower.

Winds on Tuesday and Tuesday night could gust 30 to 40 mph around the city and 40 to 50 mph on Long Island.

Latest update on the winter storm impacting the northern Mid-Atlantic into southern New England later tonight into Tuesday. There has been a notable southward shift in the expected axis of heaviest snow compared to previous forecasts. pic.twitter.com/HrNG85fiAH — NWS Weather Prediction Center (@NWSWPC) February 12, 2024

A mix of rain and snow should arrive early Tuesday around 4 to 7 a.m., then change to all snow around 7 to 9 a.m. as temperatures drop to near or below freezing, making deteriorating conditions during the morning commute. The snow should be moderate to heavy at times before moving out by early Tuesday evening.

Snow totals are predicted to range from 4 to 8 inches, according to the Weather Service, a decrease in earlier forecasts of up to 7 to 13 inches.

Small shifts in the storm track could move these forecast totals higher or lower. The entire area is under a winter storm warning.

Winds could gust 30 mph to 45 mph Tuesday around Boston, and 40 mph to 55 mph on Cape Cod. Moderate coastal flooding is possible in eastern Massachusetts, where the Weather Service is predicting a surge as high as 3.5 feet at the time of Tuesday afternoon’s high tide.

Philadelphia

Scattered rain showers should develop Monday by 6 p.m., becoming steadier during the evening and heavy at times overnight into Tuesday morning. The rain could mix with or change to snow around 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., perhaps mixing with sleet, before moving out from west to east by around noon.

It looks like temperatures will remain above freezing, which should limit snow potential in the city to around 1 inch. But amounts could quickly increase to several inches just north and west of the city, where winter weather advisories are in effect. Small shifts in the storm track could change the forecast to a snowier one.

Winds on Tuesday could gust 25 mph to 35 mph.

Washington and Baltimore

Scattered rain showers could develop Monday afternoon around 2 to 5 p.m. The rain should become steadier during the evening and should be heavy at times overnight. It may mix with or change to snow around 6 to 9 a.m. Tuesday, especially north and northwest of the cities, before the precipitation leaves the area from west to east around 10 a.m. to noon.

Temperatures should remain above freezing throughout the storm, with only a chance of a light snow accumulation, mainly north and northwest of Washington and Baltimore. Winter weather advisories are in effect for Baltimore as well as Washington’s far north and west suburbs.

Winds could gust 30 mph to 40 mph on Tuesday afternoon.

Interior and mountain snow

Interior snowfall could reach 5 to 10 inches across much of east central Pennsylvania, the Hudson Valley, Connecticut, parts of Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts. Much of this region is under a winter storm warning.

Lesser amounts, around 3 to 6 inches, are probable for Western Maryland, northwest Virginia and northeast West Virginia. Shifts in the storm track could cause those totals to fluctuate up or down a few inches.

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IMAGES

  1. 10 common travel problems and how to deal with them

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  2. 24 Travel Problems and How to Avoid Them

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  3. How to Troubleshoot 7 Common Travel Problems

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  4. 6 Common Travel Problems and How to Avoid Them

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  5. Best 17 Disadvantages Of Travelling

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  6. 5 Traveling Problems And How To Deal With It

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VIDEO

  1. Andrew Holness

  2. "Travelling. Types of travelling" Iskakova K. A

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  4. Travelling the Underdark Continued

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  6. 3 Tips When Traveling Abroad ✈️ #travel #traveltips #travelabroad #solotravel #worldtravel

COMMENTS

  1. Why is travel so hard, and what could make it better?

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  2. 10 common travel problems and how to deal with them

    1. Getting lost Some people have fantastic spatial awareness, others not so much, but most people have got lost at least once in their life. It can be a horrible feeling — your heart beating faster as the panic starts to rise. You can get lost anywhere: a supermarket, airport, town center or in the wilderness.

  3. 10 Common Travel Problems (and How to Solve Them)

    1. Canceled, delayed, or unreliable transportation No matter where you travel in the world, transportation will never be perfect—except maybe in Japan where trains' annual average delay is mere seconds.

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  5. 10 common travel problems and how to deal with them

    1. Being unprepared Photo credit: Lonely Planet Before you head off abroad, you'll need to check what jabs are required. You'll be fine for most of Europe and North America, but for Asia, Africa and South and Central America you'll want to speak to your GP first.

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    The daughter of diplomats, she grew up living in different countries and considers her early adolescence in the Washington, D.C. suburbs her most difficult "posting." Today, she hikes, bicycles, and paddleboards internationally. Louisa writes articles and essays about travel, expat life, physical and psychological health, spirituality, and food.

  12. 10 Biggest Travel Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

    10 Biggest Travel Mistakes & How to Avoid Them. 1. Overpacking. It's tempting to bring outfits for every possible occasion, but it makes it difficult to haul your luggage around, and you may get stuck with high baggage fees for accidentally exceeding the weight limit. Instead, pack your bag as usual, then take out half the clothes you ...

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    Travel-related disorders are conditions caused by the process of traveling itself. You may be familiar with some of them: jet lag, motion sickness, DVT, and high altitude illness. ... If you experience severe allergic reactions, difficulty urinating, pain in the eyes or dilated pupils, seek immediate medical attention.

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    Symptoms of travel fatigue include exhaustion, headaches, sleep loss, and other types of discomfort. Numerous aspects of a trip can contribute to travel fatigue: Fear of flying or other types of travel. Anxiety about problems arising during a trip. Stress associated with packing, arriving on time, and other logistics. Motion sickness.

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    Introduction An estimated 25.5 million Americans have disabilities that make traveling outside the home difficult. They accounted for 8.5 percent of the population age 5 and older in 2017. An estimated 13.4 million of these Americans—more than half—are adults age 18 to 64, the age group with typically high labor force participation.

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  22. 30 Honest Advantages and Disadvantages of Travelling Alone

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  27. Zoo, Arch, others close early as snow makes travel difficult

    Friday marked the first Friday of Lent, meaning the opening day for many fish fries. A number of fish fries, including the events scheduled at Tower Grove Church and St. Peter Church in St. Charles.

  28. Winter storm warnings in Northeast for nor'easter bringing snow, wind

    The National Weather Service is warning that snowfall rates could reach 2 inches per hour between Tuesday morning and afternoon, making for difficult and dangerous travel conditions in the hardest ...