Life is scary. Traveling is scarier. At home, you are a super hero that can combat a few tough moments here and there. But when packing your bags, your super hero costume doesn’t fit, so it gets left behind.
Now that you’re in a foreign place without the safety net of “home” or your trusty cape to fly away with, things that never scared you before are daunting. Mundane tasks like doing laundry or taking out money from the bank (OK, those might scare a mama’s boy or starving artist anywhere) send you running for the hills, wherever they are.
The first step in facing these fears is acknowledging them and being prepared for their arrival. Here are nine seemingly innocent terrors that await you on the other side of the world.
1. Calls From Your Parents
On an average day at home, your mom is probably calling to remind you to get a flu shot. You hit ignore and move on with your day. But when you’re thousands of miles away, you think it must be important if they are calling when they know you are in another country, roaming charges and all. Our tip? Pick up the phone. Hearing your mom’s voice asking if you checked for bedbugs at the hotel never sounded so good.
2. Getting Lost
If you get lost in your own neighborhood, you whip out Google Maps and are back en route in no time. If you try to do this within the winding streets of a new locale, you will be met with the message, “No Network Connection.” Cue the freakout. Will you ever get out of this maze? You may as well find a cozy corner now because it’s not looking good. Note to self: Paper maps are your friends and knowing directional phrases in foreign languages is key.
3. Getting Sick
Getting sick sucks no matter where you are but when you can crawl into your own bed and order soup via Seamless, it doesn’t seem all that detrimental. On the road, a stubbed toe has you scared you will not only have to see the sights via wheelchair, but that you will never be able to walk again. And what if you have to go to the doctor? Do they speak English? Do they take your insurance? Don’t get us started on filling prescriptions. Did you know picking up bacitracin requires a prescription in some countries? Forget the scraped knee, you’re about to have a full-blown panic attack.
4.Taking Public Transportation
You know your city’s public transportation system like the back of your hand, but don’t assume that means you’re fluent in public transport worldwide. Cost, ticket collection, validation and eating restrictions vary from city to city. But if you ever figure out where to get the damn ticket stamped in Italy, please let us know.
To tip, or not to tip? And if so, how much? Those are the everlasting questions. No answer will ever be the same, and again, we promise the guidelines don’t mimic those in your hometown. Our scariest travel moment to date? Being chased down the street by an insulted French waiter. Be careful out there.
6. Using an ATM
Did that machine just swallow your card? Is it ever coming back? If you take out $20 will it come out in euros or dollars? Why is the ATM in a little hut? Can you go in there with other people? Boy, do we miss traveler’s checks.
7. Grocery Shopping
You learned your fruits and vegetables in pre-school, but it seems your teacher left out a few. Like that prickly one over there. Or the furry one that man is rubbing on his face. Is it edible? If you think that’s scary, wait until you get to the cereal aisle. And why are people yelling at you in gibberish while shoving olives in your face? Should you take them? Did you do something wrong? You may never eat again.
8. Car Trouble
If we scared you out of taking the metro and you’ve decided to rent a car, you’re not out of the woods yet. English user manuals are foreign enough as it is, try deciphering one in another language. Need fuel? Good luck finding the gas tank in this strange automobile. Once you do, don’t be surprised if someone screams at you for trying to pump the gas yourself.
9. Walks of Shame
Ah … the good ol’ walk of shame. It’s embarrassing no matter where you are, but navigating a city on ten percent of phone battery, heels and no friends nearby to pick you up is particularly intimidating. Let’s just hope no one mistakes you for an early morning hooker, those are common in some parts of the world.