It’s no secret that hurtling in a metal tube at 600 mph, 30,000 feet into Earth’s atmosphere can make hearts race. But what else makes people’s palms sweat when planning their next vacation?
The team at Your Local Security looked at the top travel fears according to 25 travel experts, then dug into Google Search Trends data to pinpoint Americans’ biggest travel woes. Take a look at some of the most common travel fears in the US, and read on for tips on how to tame those anxieties when embarking on your next adventure.
Americans’ Top Traveling Fears:
A stolen identity can wreak havoc on your finances, credit, and sense of safety. To help protect yourself against this pesky problem, make sure to guard your important personal information and documents, be wary of unsecured internet connections, and stick to Bank ATMs while abroad.
– Most feared in: Alabama, Virginia
With sometimes hours-long waits and nerve-wracking interrogations by people in uniform, it’s no surprise Customs makes the cut as one of America’s top travel fears. To minimize stress during this routine step in international travel, be sure to give yourself plenty of buffer time on both sides of the trek.
– Most feared in: Alaska
To help stymie this common travel fear, choose your destination and timing wisely. Avoid traveling to tropical climates during monsoon season, steer clear of coastal airports during threats of hurricane, and don’t risk travel during forecasted thunderstorms or tornado warnings.
– Most feared in: Arizona, Mississippi, Indiana, Iowa
With internet access key to staying connected these days, it’s no wonder a lack of Wifi is a cause for concern for many Americans—especially those from Arkansas. Check out airlines’ Wifi capabilities before you buy your ticket to ensure you’ll have access in the air if you need it.
– Most feared in: Arkansas
Many travelers can attest to the often time-consuming, stressful nature of packing for a trip. Should I pack a raincoat? Is my passport in a safe spot? What if I forget something important? Planning ahead and packing early can help ease the burden of this less-than-pleasant travel necessity.
– Most feared in: California
It can be a chore to find safe food when traveling, especially if you have food sensitivities. To keep from adding excessive hunger to your list of stresses on your journey, pack nonperishable, nutrition-dense foods with you, such as protein bars, dried fruit, and nuts.
– Most feared in: Colorado, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin
It’s bad enough to catch a cold or flu, but while you’re on vacation? That could be a trip buster. To stay as healthy as possible while traveling, maintain your exercise and diet routine in the weeks before a trip to help keep your immune system firing on all cylinders once you hop on a plane.
– Most feared in: Connecticut, Delaware, Ohio, West Virginia
Xenophobia, or the fear of the unknown, is, a natural element of exploring new places. But while there are plenty of fears you can prepare for, it’s hard to plan for things you can’t foresee. Heading into your travel plans with a flexible attitude and sense of adventure can help put this common anxiety at ease.
– Most feared in: Washington, D.C., Louisiana, South Dakota
Worried about medical issues while traveling? Take the appropriate precautions before your trip. Track down the location of the nearest doctors and instacare centers wherever you’re going, and keep a list of your emergency contacts on your phone and in your wallet for easy access in case of a medical issue.
– Most feared in: Florida
Cell Phone Service
Cell service can be spotty no matter where you’re headed, so it’s important to take the proper measures ahead of time. It may seem antiquated, but be sure to write down all of your emergency contacts in an easy-to-carry notebook and keep a few quarters on you in case you need to use a phone booth (yes, they still exist!).
– Most feared in: Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee
It’s no fun waking up exhausted when all you want to do is explore a new locale. Beat some of the worst symptoms of jet lag by timing your trip according to your natural rhythms. Naturally a night owl? Opt to arrive at your destination a bit later in the day. Ordinarily a morning person? Consider a red eye.
– Most feared in: Hawaii
Flying jitters can be powerful, but there are a few things you can do to help calm your anxieties. Consider making flying easier on yourself by giving yourself plenty of buffer time at the airport and paying a few extra bucks for early boarding, extra leg room, and an aisle or window seat to add as much comfort as possible.
– Most feared in: Idaho, Montana, Wyoming
These days, there’s no need to exchange your US dollars to the currency of your destination country before your trip. Save money and time by simply taking out money from an airport ATM once you arrive. Just keep in mind that International ATMs require a 4-digit PIN, so be sure yours is that length before you head overseas.
– Most feared in: Illinois
Navigating a new neighborhood can be difficult enough without a language barrier. To ease yourself into a foreign country, memorize a few key phrases in the local language, such as “Do you speak English?”, “How do I get to [the address where you’re staying]?,” in addition to the verbiage for greetings, how to call a taxi, where the restroom is, please, I’m sorry, and thank you.
– Most feared in: Kansas, New Jersey, South Carolina, Utah
This threat can happen anywhere, so it’s wise to embark on your travel plans with a healthy degree of caution. Consider equipping yourself with a few practical self defense skills and stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.
– Most feared in: Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Vermont
Get up to date on your destination country’s current events before you go. To stay as safe as possible, be willing to cancel a flight and adjust your travel plans if there are reports of civil unrest around the time of your trip.
– Most feared in: Maryland, Michigan, Oklahoma
When you’re eager to explore a new place, lost luggage can be a major buzzkill, especially if you’re on a tight schedule. Consider packing light and using only carry-on luggage to help prevent this time waster. If you must check luggage, be sure to label every item with your contact info to simplify.
– Most feared in: Massachusetts
This travel fear can be especially scary in places where traffic norms and regulations differ from your own. Avoid the roads by walking or using public transportation whenever possible. If you must use a car, stay alert and practice defensive driving.
Most feared in: Missouri, Oregon
This fear is as understandable as it is difficult to prep for. Since there’s not much that travelers can do to protect themselves from this travel frustration, plan your trip to include ample buffer time between flights to help minimize the impact delays have on your fun travel plans.
– Most feared in: Nevada
If this is a significant fear for you, like it is for many New Mexico residents, your first measure of defense is to avoid traveling to places with high crime rates. But any location can carry a risk of risk of violent crime, so consider choosing hotels in safe neighborhoods and refrain from wandering alone at night.
– Most feared in: New Mexico
In our digital age, it can feel almost impossible to get lost. But what if you’re traveling to a region without Wifi? The possibility of losing your way is very real in a situation like that. Plan on not being able to use the GPS on your phone and keep a physical map with you at all times.
– Most feared in: New York
On top of getting accustomed to new sights and sounds, it can take time for your body to adjust to unfamiliar foods and beverages when traveling to a new place. To help avoid food poisoning, stay away from too many new dishes and raw or undercooked meat. Ask for water bottles instead of drinking from the tap, and don’t consume anything you’re unsure about.
Most feared in: North Dakota
When you’re distracted by the sights and sounds around you, seasoned pickpockets can tell. Stay aware of the people around you as well as your new surroundings, and don’t wear all your cash or credit cards at once. Use a body-hugging money belt and keep your passport locked up whenever possible.
– Most feared in: Rhode Island
It can feel disorienting when nothing around you is familiar. Take the edge off homesickness by packing at least one familiar item to help make yourself at home. Whether it’s a favorite book, photograph, or even a comforting scent, you’ll have a portable home away from home wherever you go.
– Most feared in: Texas
Our 2018 Travel Picks
Since it’s clear that travel safety is a priority for many Americans, we researched the most secure travel destinations for 2018. We took a peek at Travel and Leisure’s guide for 50 Best Places to Travel in 2018 and compared those destinations with those listed on the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report to find our top travel picks of 2018. Consider traveling to one of these four countries this year for a safe and adventurous journey:
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Travel Safe, Stay Secure
For even more tips on how to stay safe abroad, check out our Ultimate Travel Security Guide. And while you’re staying safe traveling the world, don’t forget to consider the security of your property back home. One of the most effective ways to help prevent property crime and theft is to invest in a high-quality home security system, such as one from ADT Monitoring. For practical steps to ward off crime when you’re away, take a peek at our guide for How to Secure Your Home for Vacation. Happy traveling!
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Disclaimer: All research and data collected by Your Local Security in conjunction with Protect Your Home – ADT® Authorized Premier Provider.
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