These power women in the trade reveal their innermost secret travel fears and how they have conquered them.
Tan Shin Hui, executive director, Park Hotel Group, Singapore
Airplane turbulence makes me feel very uneasy. I try not to travel to typhoon-prone cities during the monsoon season. Still, turbulence is unpredictable so when it hits, I try to distract myself by watching a movie and talking to someone. Oddly, sometimes I find lifting up the windows and looking outside the aircraft rather calming. – Raini Hamdi
(Right: Tan Shin Hui (centre) in a relaxed moment celebrating last New Year’s Eve with friends)
Saraid Carey, hotel manager, Grand Hyatt Erawan, Thailand
For me, it will be disastrous if my credit card isn’t working and disrupts my shopping pattern when I travel. On a recent trip to New York City, I realised while at the checkout that the card had expired in 2015, so it was back in the cab for me to the hotel to get another card from my safe.
Fear is not a word I that I associate with travel; yes, I am mindful of laneways, time of day and certain cities, but I see myself as a very fortunate individual who works to experience life – travel is my escape, which includes for me the bliss of longhaul flights with no interruptions to catch up on all that needs my attention and leave little time for me. – Raini Hamdi
Angeline Ondaatjie, managing director, Tangerine Tours, Sri Lanka
The most obvious fear is the risk of being raped or physically harmed. There are certain destinations I wouldn’t visit on my own as I feel the safety fears will overshadow the travel experience. Having said that, I’ve travelled alone to places like Ukraine, Seoul, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, etc. And to Armenia and Azerbaijan, I’ve travelled with a female guide.
When travelling alone, I pick a hotel in a safe area, pre-arrange the ride from the airport to the hotel and book tours or guides from reputed agencies ahead of time so I don’t have to rely on ad-hoc plans. As for the destination, I usually do some research and learn of common local scams and risks from TripAdvisor and other review sites. – Feizal Samath
Sujata Raman, managing director, Abercrombie & Kent Australia
Having to queue and share the experience with a large crowd is my greatest travel fear. You can overcome this by actively sourcing a reputable travel company that can arrange fast-track entry and/or VIP access to the must-see sights and special attractions.
After-hours visits are also possible in many places when the crowds have left. It’s amazing what someone with the right connections can do. – Rebecca Elliott
Neelu Singh, CEO & director, Ezeego1, India
While I love exploring new places around the world, the pre-departure fear of leaving my city and my loved ones behind is always at the back of my mind, especially when I am travelling alone to far-flung destinations. The fear of flying off and not able to come back to my family and friends bothers me most times.
There is a lot of comfort when I travel with someone. But when I travel solo, I try my best to distract myself from this fear by reading books or researching various destinations. – Rohit Kaul
Ha Lam, co-founder, Triip.me, Vietnam
My innermost secret fear is loneliness. I know the media is reporting crazy things but I strongly believe that I can still find kindness in people and that for me is the weapon to overcome my fear.
My team and I do our best to create a better world for our next generation to live safely in and to be proud of. – Raini Hamdi
Pornthip Hirunkate, managing director – Thailand, Destination Asia
I fear losing my luggage during connecting flights, so I pack an overnight bag with all the necessary items including work clothes and toiletries so I can still conduct my business meetings the next day without any hassle.
And to avoid losing my travel documents, I always keep soft and printed copies of them. I also make copies of all my credit cards and store emergency numbers on my smartphone.
As well, I never travel without medical cover – I have annual international health insurance coverage, as you never know if you might get sick in a foreign country. – Xinyi Liang-Pholsena
Julia Maeda, marketing manager, Walk Japan
The fear of not experiencing the ‘real’ place, eating authentic local food, buying genuine local products and properly understanding what I am seeing is probably my greatest fear when travelling. I want to leave a place feeling that I have gained a better understanding of its people and culture.
To overcome this, whenever possible, I will seek insider tips and recommendations from friends and contacts who know the place well, spend time researching the place and read avidly about ‘authentic’ travel experiences and travel blogs. – Kathryn Wortley
Gracie V Geikie, director/principal consultant, Place Borneo Group of Companies, Malaysia
My innermost fear when travelling is to not have a backup in case I lose my phone. My phone stores all the necessary information and key contacts to call when I need urgent help. – S Puvaneswary
Maricon B Ebron, deputy COO, international promotions department, Philippine Tourism Promotions Board
I have no fear when it comes to travelling. I’m so adventurous that I’ve been to North Korea and even wanted to take the train to Russia. But I’m always cautious and avoid places that are too risky to visit. – Rosa Ocampo