Is Travel Risky?

I have a secret:

I’m not really a very brave person. At least I don’t think so.

If you travel a lot, especially alone, you hear the phrase “you’re so brave” so often the words lose all meaning. It comes from non-travelers mostly, who are under the impression that traveling especially for an extended period of time takes some sort of intense inner resources (or foolishness) that normal people don’t possess.  But is travel risky?

Run along the Edges - Is Travel Risky?
photo credit: h.koppdelaney

I don’t know though, I don’t feel like a particularly brave person. I’m scared of a lot of pretty stupid things: answering the phone for example, or squirrels (hey, don’t judge me). I’m not scared of traveling the world though because I don’t think it’s a particularly dangerous activity.

On the one hand, the risks of traveling abroad are greatly exaggerated. Thanks to ridiculous movies like Taken and Hostel, where young travelers meet grisly fates simply for having the audacity to visit Europe, there is this idea that by leaving the country you’re taking your life into your own hands. Couple that with news reports of violence around the world, and it’s not surprising people think traveling abroad is a dangerous activity.

On the other hand, it’s true that when you travel you do take on a certain amount of risk. You do any time you step outside your front door and engage with the world. When you travel you are moving around a lot, trying new things like zip-lining and street food. When you put yourself out there, there is always the risk of something going wrong. Which is of course why all good travelers try to mitigate that risk by buying backpackers insurance, being aware of their surroundings and storing their belongings safely.  So is travel risky?  Yes and no.

Ziplinning through the Trees - Is Travel Risky?

There is a difference between good risk and bad risk. It’s the line between being adventurous and being dumb, and sometimes it’s hard to know which side you’re walking on. Doing things that scare you are important, and a step to self-discovery, but sometimes fear is a real indicator that something’s wrong. It’s a fine line between living life to the fullest and doing something regrettable. It’s something that everyone has to learn and I think travel is just an accelerant for figuring that out.

What do you think: is travel risky?


Pin for Later:

Is Travel Risky?

This post was written by me, sponsored by Insure and Go

About The Author

29 thoughts on “Is Travel Risky?”

  1. I’ve gotten “you’re so brave” before when I studied abroad. Which is not as crazy as what you’re doing. But it wasn’t scary to me at all. I was more excited than scared.

    I also use traveling to get rid of fears. My bf was afraid of heights, but after enough time on ski lifts and rollercoasters, that fear is going away. People need to realize that traveling is nothing to be afraid of.

    1. Yeah I got it back when I was studying abroad too which was crazy because I was going to ENGLAND. Abroad does not equal scary!

  2. I get the same “you’re so brave” as an expat. It’s funny to me because when I moved here I had the support of my then-boyfriend as his family as well as my host family, and I’d already lived here for six months as an exchange student – I think some of my friends were far braver for moving to US cities where they knew no one! I guess it’s all just a case of what you know and thinking that the things your not familiar with are scarier.

  3. I think risk is more often than not related to your own instincts. There is a fine line between fear taking over and the feeling that something isn’t right. I usually stick to “If I don’t feel it, I’m not doing it” – it has kept me out of trouble so far 🙂

  4. I think travel is risky, but then again a lot of things are risky. Going to University is risky, some job markets are risky, buying a house is risky, getting married is risky, having kids is risky. Hell even walking across the street can be risky. Life is full of risks but if we didn’t take them we wouldn’t really be living. It’s important to know which risks you want to, and are willing to take. Some people might think I’m brave for travelling alone, I think some people are brave for having kids. If you follow the path you want I think the risks are worth it.

  5. This blog reminds me of a joke between my boyfriend and I. I talked him into doing 5 zip lines across Red River Gorge for my birthday and I enjoyed myself without any real fear to speak of. We left soon after for a road trip from Kentucky to New Mexico and I trembled every time we went over a bridge or went into a vicious thunderstorm. He said, “Your fear funds are extremely misappropriated.”

    I think some part of the fear that comes with traveling to unfamiliar places stems from not being prepared for local wildlife, weather, and political state. I am convinced I will be eaten by a bear or mountain line if I go hiking in the Pacific Northwest. Before going through the bayous of Louisiana, I thought I would be eaten by an alligator. Now that I have explored the marshes, I can mark that irrational fear off of my list.

  6. Travel has affected my emotions sometimes in more profound ways than my relationships with people have. In that way I find travel risky – to step out into the world is to risk EVERYTHING including falling in love, and heartache. But we keep on doing it – the same way we keep on searching for love and risking the heartache. Why? Because it feels so good!

    1. Interesting question. Travel can certainly be risky, depending on the choices you make. Crossing the street in Vietnam seems incredibly risky, until you see a young child walking a bicycle through a motorbike filled intersection without regard to the maze of speeding hunks of metal. My approach is to be as aware as possible of my surroundings, and not put myself in risky situations. As a former Army officer/Ranger, I had lots of training in problem solving and risk assessment. This probably removes much of the fear of foreign travel, but heightens my awareness. But, I’m very cautious and protective when my wife travels with me.

  7. I just got back from living in a country where al-Qaeda raids are happening, and visiting another where a terrorist bombing occured 5 days after I visited that same sight. Not once did I feel unsafe in those places because I didn’t take risks. I believe that a person’s actions decides the risk factor of a place, rather than the place itself.

    Back home, I travel to remote areas for work, usually piloting a much bigger vehicle than I’m used to on busy roads, often going into areas where I’m the lone stand-out female. This to me is 100X more risky than anything I’ve done travel-related, and it’s right in my backyard.

  8. I agree with you that travel doesn’t require a huge amount of bravery (hence my blog name and all). Of course, going to some places requires a bit more gumption than others (you will not see me hanging out in Afghanistan for that reason). But there are plenty of places you can visit and live in that are perfectly safe (if not safer than your home country). In fact, a lot of the people I meet in Asia are scared to go to the States because it’s a “dangerous country.”

  9. Travel is not risky – it is scary. The unknown is always scary, the more stationary you are the thoughts of moving regularly can be terrifying – on the road it is the norm. You always hear about some one who travelled the world to come back home and get hit by a car crossing the road. It is all luck – nothing you can do about it!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top