5 World Traveler “Pitfalls” and How to Avoid Them

After traveling all over the world for the past 4 decades, I would like to share some advice on 5 major pitfalls common to world travelers who wander the globe, and how to avoid them.  Perhaps you have already encountered some of them and don’t understand what you could have (should have) done to avoid them. Maybe you have experienced hesitation and inability to make well-founded decisions. Or maybe, you have experienced the failure of assessing risk and lost a lot of precious time and money in the process. In either case, you are not the only one and I believe you will find the following points thought provoking and helpful.

  1. Lack off a Sound Travel Plan

Your world travel agenda must have 2 things in play before you can even think about becoming a success.  They are a great idea, and its development.

Let’s assume you have a terrific idea for an extended trip.  How you develop that idea into a viable travel plan takes a great deal of thought and work.  This means analyzing your idea;

  • What are its weaknesses?
  • What are its strengths?
  • How can you gain satisfaction from it? (Can you really be satisfied from it?)

The answers to these questions will form the basics of your travel strategy.  Develop them into a travel plan which explains the execution of your strategy, defines the trip list potential with a timeline, explains the expertise needed to execute the strategy, the accompanying language analysis and the needed culture analysis.

  1. Inability to Overcome Self-Doubt and Fear

You must understand that obstacles are challenges which can be conquered, not mistakes which have ruined your trips.  A bit of fear is understandable (even healthy) but you cannot let it retard your ability to move ahead.

Self -doubt is especially prone to induce fear and even more so for younger travelers just getting started.  Convince yourself you are the belle of the ball, not a wallflower then swallow your fear and go for it!

  1. Absence of the Right Mentors

Having the right mentors around you (experienced people who have been there and done that) can make all the difference.  Without them, you are like the Captain of the ship without any crew.  Or with the wrong mentors, you are an accident waiting to happen.  The proper ones will give the right advice at the right time, be there to support you when you are indecisive, and fill in the gaps where your weaknesses are.

Proper mentors can include experts in languages, culture, health requirements, visas and finance among others.  Whether by a reciprocal traveler alliance or direct hire, these people will play a major role in ensuring the success of your trips.

  1. Over-commitment of Time and Resources

It is important to recognize from the outset that just because you have decided to be a world traveler, there will never be any more than 24 hours in a day.  You already have a life, perhaps a family, friends, a job, etc.  These have consumed your time thus far, and they are not going away.  So rather than over-commit your time and resources, decide in advance how many days a year you will be able to spend on your travels and still have a life.

Since you have defined your areas of expertise, concentrate your time in those areas and hire help for the others; otherwise you will either burn out and fail, or your specific trip might be a success but you will fail in your responsibilities to those who make up your life.

  1. Being Taken Advantage of

There is always an abundance of scam artists and untrustworthy persons just waiting for some unsuspecting victim to take advantage of.  As a first time traveler, there is a good chance these persons will assume you are a novice traveler and try to ply their trade on you as you travel.

You can avoid being lured into any unsavory deal by paying close attention to your travel plan, to the persons, businesses and companies you have placed your trust in.  This is a crucial point so take some time each week to review these entities to make sure your trust is well placed.  You might enlist a trusted friend to help you with this; evaluate each facet of your trip which is entrusted to another in order to ensure all is as it appears on the surface.  No need to be paranoid, but due diligence must be practiced; you must weigh the risk when dealing with any company (or person).

Now it’s your turn! What do you see as being the number one pitfall when starting to travel? Share your thoughts and how you can overcome it?

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