Travel is exotic, enriching, and full of adventure yet we make excuses that prevent us from taking that first flight. Here I break down 10 excuses not to travel that are BS and are holding you back.
1. Money: I can’t afford it
This is one of the main excuses not to travel that I hear from people who wish to travel long term. Travel can be as cheap or expensive as you want to make it. There are entire regions like SE Asia or Africa where you can travel on the cheap and expect similar comforts to home. You also cut bills like cable, electricity, gas, and car insurance since these are uneccessary. I always tell people that I pay the same bills they do, I just choose to do it in a different country every month. Your only monthly expenses will be transportation, food, and accommodations. For reference, I spend about $1,000 per month for my adventures staying in 3 star accommodations, most with amenities like pools and gyms. Additional expenses include excursions and activities, but these can be budget friendly too!
2. Home: I’d miss my family and friends
It’s normal to miss your family and friends and all the things that you consider normal. But you will put your big girl pants on and get over it too. The world is so interconnected. I feel no farther away from my loved ones than when I was 8 hours away in college. Thanks to Skype, FaceTime, and the millions of messenger apps available today the world is so small. I talk to my mom everyday and the amount of people who suddenly want to come visit will surprise you!
3. Job: I can’t quit my job
Have you ever thought maybe you don’t have to? Approach your boss and see if he’d be willing to let you work remotely. With the right tools, you can do almost any job anywhere in the world. Do some research and find the tools that would enable you to do your job from a stable internet connection and pitch your boss. If that doesn’t work, there are endless opportunities for remote work including writing, marketing, and design and coding gigs. If you want to stay in one country long term, look into teaching English or working as a volunteer at a variety of organizations including animal sanctuaries, human rights organizations, or hospitality programs. Use this time to take a hobby and turn it into a money making gig whether you’re into photography, arts and crafts, or digital design, with a little work you can make a basic income exploring your passions while on the road.
4. What about my Career?
Want to know where you’ll get the most experience, learn how to negotiate, and develop an understanding of how to work best with others? On the road. Travel is one the best ways to gain knowledge. You learn skills that wil be applicable to any position and you also have a deep understanding of how differently business needs to be conducted depending on the clientele, culture, and community. You’ll also learn your strengths and most importantly, your weaknesses, and you’ll be forced to confront them whether you want to or not.
5. I don’t speak another language
Well guess what, I speak four and while they’ve been helpful, they’ve also been totally useless at different junctures in my travel. You don’t have to speak another language to enjoy travel. English and charades are truly the languages of the world and you are bound to find someone who speaks one or the other. Plus, who doesn’t love a good game of charades?! If you’re really worried about being lost in translation, check out some language apps such as Bravolol and the always reliable Google Translate.
6. Fear of travelling solo
The beauty of travel is that you are only alone as much as you choose to be. There are so many opportunities to make friends travelling, from staying in hostels, to joining meet ups, to meeting people on activity tours. You’ll learn to draw strength for yourself, your intelligence, and your experiences by travelling solo. Plus, you get to be the boss and decide your own itinerary without having to cater to someone else’s desires.
7. Travel is dangerous
If I had a dollar for everyone who told me that going to my next destination was dangerous, I’d be a billionaire. People tell me all the time I’ll get kidnapped, murdered, robbed, run over by intense traffic, etc. Sure, that may be true, but guess what, that stuff happens EVERYWHERE. I went to Russia by myself. I went to Istanbul by myself. And guess what, nothing bad happened. In fact, some of my most amazing travel experiences have been on solo trips in some of the most “dangerous” countries. If this is the excuse holding you back, you might as well never leave your house.
8. Starting is overwhelming
You’re absolutely right, but the key is to start somewhere. Start small if you feel overwhelmed at the thought of planning. Take a short trip to a place that is tourist friendly or speaks your national language. Get a feel for the movement of travel and ask for help. I love when people reach out and ask how to get started and most of the travel community does too. Don’t be afraid to feel uncomfortable planning. I have planned 3 years of straight travel and even I am overwhelmed sometimes. That is normal, but it shouldn’t be an excuse to not go.
We make all these excuses not to travel because we are afraid of uncertainty. We are afraid of the unknown and most of all we are afraid of being uncomfortable. Sure it’s nice to drive your fancy car to your 9-5, but you’ll miss out on new adventures and challenging experiences. You can spend your whole life following routine. Drag yourself out of bed, waste hours at work on Facebook, and return home to eat dinner in front of the TV in exchange for comfort. But at the end of the day, you won’t be satisfied, challenged, or motivated. Instead be brave, throw caution to the wind and seek out adventure, new experiences, and above all challenge yourself. What do you have to lose? If you hate it, you can always go home, but if you never try you will never know the wonder this world holds for us all.
10. You’re just running away
True. You talk to me about rigid structure and routine and I’ll run as fast as possible. I do my best thinking on the move in airplanes, on bumping bus rides through the countryside, and on ferries across vast oceans. If there is anything fatal in life, it is staying still. As they say, if we were meant to stay in one place, we would have roots, not feet. Plus, why not take your morning run on the road and explore a new city on foot!
Stop making excuses to not travel. Stop holding yourself back from new experiences and new opportunities. Get out there and find yourself somewhere, even if it’s only a city away.