A Worrier's Guide to 4 Common Travel Fears, Plus How to Dress (and Prep!) For Them

Be prepared for ANYTHING.
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Be prepared for ANYTHING.

I would love to be a chill person. I regularly try to incorporate meditation and yoga into my daily activities. I journal at night and drink green tea. And yet, I worry significantly about things like whether octopi are getting TOO smart. What if we are watching evolution in progress? Will we be replaced as the dominant species?

If you're a worrier like me, I'm sure you have a few travel worries. Travel is a common source of worry and anxiety for many since the entire point is expanding your comfort zone. 

So here are some of the most common worries and how to prep, served with some humor on the side!

1. Accident / Stranded on an Island à la Lost

I do want to reiterate here that flying is extremely safe. Plane crashes are extremely rare, and a pilot must have at least seven certificates (and thousands of hours of experience) to even operate a plane. I spent some time working on my private pilot's license (the first certificate in that lineup) and it took me nine months to get 2/3 of the way - so they're pretty well trained. 

However, if you still worry, here are some steps (and an outfit!) to prepare.

Jacket, striped shirt, jean pants, and combat boots

Products: Jacket - Charlotte Russe, Shirt - Old Navy, Jeans - H&M, Boots - JCPenney, Hair bands - Target

The most important part of being ready for your "Lost"-esque adventure is wearing close-toed shoes. If you're going to be picking through wreckage or creating your own society, you don't want to have to be doing so in sandals. These boots will allow you to walk over sharp rocks while protecting your toes and ankles

Rock a pair of comfy jeans (with five full sized pockets!) with a striped long-sleeve shirt to keep warm. Throw an olive-colored jacket over it to camoflauge with bushes and grass. The hair bands (to keep your hair in a practical ponytail!) are also large and soft enough to wear around your wrist.

In a more practical step, if you're concerned and want to do something concrete, count the number of rows between you and the nearest emergency exit. Should you need to exit and it is hard to see through smoke/fog/etc, you can get there without vision by remember the number of rows. And pay attention during the safety demonstration; ebooks can wait.

2. Missing your flight

This is always my biggest travel worry. Since security is always the slowest part of an airport, here's an outfit you can use to get through quickly.

Green oversized sweater, black barrette and tank top, black jeans, black boots

Products: Tank top - Old Navy, Sweater - Asos, Bralette- H&M, Jeans - American Eagle, Boots - Charlotte Russe, Eyeliner - L'Oreal (Ulta)

Getting through security quickly requires disregarding every other rule you've ever heard for dressing. The most important step: forego layers.

Next, stay away also from any shoes with laces as they'll take time to take off and to put on again. A close-toed zip-up shoe will keep you feeling comfortable and quickly able to move through security.

A big sweater will keep you warm on the always-cold airplane but doesn't have any zippers or metal studs to set off the machines. Wear a tank top underneath so you can remove the sweater without startling those around you or adjust if you're too hot. To stay comfortable and away from any metal studs, wear a bralette rather than a traditional wired bra. 

Lastly, traveling is thirsty work. You're going to be talking, buying airport Starbucks, and reapplying chapstick. You don't want to have to worry about your lip color. Go dramatic on eyeliner and simply reapply chapstick throughout your flight. 

3. Losing Your Baggage

The first step is: don't store any emergency papers in checked luggage. I cannot stress that enough. 

In a similarly important but less sexy piece of advice, do not store all your tampons in your checked luggage. This one I can tell you from personal experience.

blanket scarf, long sleeve shirt, purple pants, flats

Products: Toiletries kit - Target, Overnight bag - Target, Blanket scarf - Modcloth, Shirt - Charlotte Russe, Pants - Charlotte Russe, Flats - Asos

The easiest way to make sure you don't lose your important items is to keep them at hand. Keep your toiletries in an unfolding Dopp kit so it can pass easily through security. Similarly, this weekend bag can be used to store a series of outfits as a carry-on rather than using a large suitcase you have to check.

However, if you do end up checking a bag (as I always do!) here is an outfit that can hopefully work for a series of situations. The strappy long-sleeve shirt can work for a variety of formal occasions, while the high waisted pants are kept slightly more formal than normal jeans while still staying on-trend and comfortable. Flats can be worn at any event from a baseball game to a wedding, so stick with this glittery pair here.

The blanket scarf can be used to dress up or down your outfit, as well as being a possible blanket or pillow if bundled up. 

4. Losing Important Paperwork

This one isn't an outfit, but I think it's still worth going over. What do you do if you are in a foreign country and you lose your passport? Or your wallet? 

The embassy information will be USA specific, but the other information can be helpful for anyone.

  1. Before you go on your trip, take a photo of your important documents, including the first two pages of your passport and drivers license. Similarly, you can take pictures of your credit cards (front/back). In fact, go do this now! Stop reading and take a picture!
  2. Store these pictures in a password-protected fashion. I personally like Evernote, because it can be password protected and I can reach it from any computer across the world. 
  3. Look up where the nearest American (or other if you're not from the USA) embassy will be to where you're traveling. That way if any emergency comes up, you'll know where to go. See: US Embassies by country.

What to do if your passport is stolen:

  1. Report it to the police of that country first.
  2. Schedule an appointment at the nearest US embassy. Most embassies do not take walk-ins and they are open Monday-Friday. Bring an American friend or two to help verify your identity if needed, and your photos of your passport and other identification. If you can, bring in any other ways to identify you that you can. Government IDs, Work IDs, birth certificates, pay stubs, health insurance cards, etc.
  3. Either fill out online and submit these online forms OR Fill out and bring in BOTH: New Passport Form and Lost Passport Form
  4. Bring money. Unfortunately, both replacing a passport and expediting it takes $$$$

Note: a couple of online services advertise their help smoothing the process. I have not personally used any of them, but ItsEasy came up a couple times during my research. It might be worth checking out. 

Traveling doesn't have to be scary!

Any additional fears? Did these address some of the ones you had? Was the end "practical advice" useful or something you'd like to see more of? Let us know!

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