Is there a place you don’t want to visit? Here’s why you should re-consider…

photo by CC user Justin Vidamo on Flickr

Afraid to travel somewhere because you think you might get robbed, ill, or end up giving your country a bad name inadvertently by not knowing about a cultural norm?

Don’t let fear run your travel life … here’s what you can do to overcome your apprehension of spots you don’t want to visit so you can see places you wouldn’t have dared to consider before…

1) Brazil … it just seems so dangerous

Whenever you’ve read media items on Brazil, it hasn’t been a pleasant experience. Express robberies, kidnapping, civil unrest … it seems like anytime you walk outside in places like Rio or Sao Paulo, you risk your life.

If you believe everything the media tells you, that is…

TV news, websites and newspapers are all businesses that need to grab your attention in order to sell space to advertisers.

To do this, they lead with whatever bleeds, as our brains are wired to respond to negativity at a much higher rate than to positive news.

As long as you follow common sense safety protocols (being self-aware at all times, taking care after dark, not flashing your cash/valuable possessions) and communicate with the locals on the current security situation wherever it is you’re staying, you’ll very likely have an incident-free visit to Brazil (just as 99% of your fellow tourists do).

2) India … won’t I get sick the second I have a meal there?

There’s no getting around it … India isn’t like home in almost any aspect of comparison. While the same can be said regarding its health and safety regulations, a few rules of thumb will give you a much better chance to avoid falling ill like some unaware travelers.

If a crowd of locals is happily partaking of the food a vendor is selling, chances are you’ll be fine as well.

If there aren’t many customers, and flies crawling all over the uncooked ingredients, stay away. Avoid unpeeled fruits, and don’t drink the tap water … stick to the bottled kind for drinking and teeth brushing.

3) The United Arab Emirates … I’m afraid of terrorists, and that I might end up offending the locals

These are common fears of many Westerners thinking about going on a trip to the UAE, or elsewhere in the Muslim world.

The first point is generally not a big concern, as the United Arab Emirates is an economically stable country with a robust security apparatus in place (police, military and secret service). Both of these points combine to make a rare event even less likely to happen to you on your vacation there.

The second fear is a more common faux pas, but it is easy to address: cover your shoulders, knees and cleavage unless you’re at the beach or poolside, don’t consume alcohol outside hotels, restaurants and bars, and be discreet eating food around locals if you happen to visiting during Ramadan.

If you do happen to transgress an aspect of Islam, most residents are understanding that you might not know the finer points of their culture … simply apologize and vow to do better going forward.

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