I don’t know about you guys, but more often than not when I announce to my friends and family that I am planning to move overseas or go travel the world, especially alone, I am met with negativity.
And you know what? That freaking sucks!
I wish that we lived in a more positive world, where women, especially solo travelers like me, are encouraged instead of discouraged.
But until things change, I think it’s necessary to learn how to deal with negativity when traveling.
When I first hit the road in 2007, I was shy and scared, and it took several years and many adventures around the world to find my confidence.
I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years about how to cope with travel negativity.
1. Do your research
Personally I think the majority of people’s fears come from not being aware of the current situation of a destination or lack of information.
Let’s be honest, many people around the world are afraid of other places and cultures, even if they pretend they aren’t.
The first time I went to the Middle East, my family went beserk even though where I was going was considered very safe, and even last month when I was in South Africa, I heard over and over again about Ebola, even though there hasn’t been a single case there.
I find the best way to combat this xenophobia, for lack of a better word, is to be armed with all the facts.
In a nice and friendly way, I’ve found it’s better to point out the truth and use it as an opportunity to educated than to just ignore it and remain frustrated.
2. Show that you take safety seriously when traveling
Another way I have been able to deal with negativity, especially from my family who worries about me, is to demonstrate to them over the years that I know what I am doing on the road and I don’t take dangerous risks and am a very safe traveler.
I think each time that I come back safe and sound, they worry less.
3. Stay connected when traveling
I think for the most part that friends and family can be negative about other people’s travels because they are worried.
Maybe they don’t travel themselves much or just care about you a lot, which is something very special. I take that very seriously, and that means when I am on the road I stay in as much contact as possible with my family especially.
I send them my itineraries in advance, let them know when my plane lands, and send updates and messages while on the road. I know that means a lot, especially to my mom.
4. Be open about how you make your travels happen
Another cause for negativity from people might be the fact that they can’t afford to go on the same trip or don’t even know how to go about it.
I know I agonized for a year before I took my first big solo trip and that was way before the days of travel blogs and online personas encouraging everyone to hit the road.
I can’t stand it when people say they can’t travel, which means I’m very open about how I make my travels happen.
Whether that’s explaining on my blog now how I earn money on the road or 5 years ago when I would casually tell friends about how I saved for certain trips, I’ve always been very open about how I was able to make trips happen in the hopes that it might be helpful to other people too.
5. Decide to be positive
Finally I think the most important thing to remember when dealing with haters or negative people about traveling is that at the end of the day it’s your life and your journey, and if you decide to not listen to them and be positive, you are going to have a great time.