Photo: Nhi Dinh
It’s that time of year where people start that “new me” mantra of kicking old habits to the curb, changing their lifestyle, trying new things, and trying to live better lives. What if I told you traveling could enrich your life in ways nothing else can? The people you will meet, the stories you will hear, the experiences you will have – they are going to hold a gold standard in your life. Do you think I keep traveling because I love having swollen ankles after flying for 40 hours with 3 lay overs or trying to find new ways to beat jet lag every month? Heck no. I travel because it’s something that I have become fiercely passionate about.
Almost daily I get messages from people telling me that I am lucky I get to travel. Some of it might be luck – but I can sure as shit tell you I work 10+ hours almost every day to make it a reality. I travel now as a career but it was not always that way. I had to work myself into this career by maintaining another full-time career and finishing my MBA. That is proof that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
Now that we are over the “you’re so lucky you get to travel” comments, let’s get to the real reasons why you aren’t traveling. Here are 10 excuses I hear all the time on why people don’t travel and how you can kick them to the curb.
1. I don’t have any money.
If we are being honest, a lot of us don’t have money. When I first started traveling, I had to get rid of the things in my life that were eating into my extra money. Some of those things included daily lunches at work ($10-15), coffees ($3.50), pedicures ($40), happy hours ($75 – I live in Washington, D.C. where prices are higher, I am not an alcoholic, swear), social dining with friends on weekends and during the week (upwards of $100-200 a week), gave up monthly subscription boxes for makeup, groceries, etc ($50) – are you starting to see a pattern? Most of it was on convenience food and coffee. Once I got rid of just those few things, I saw huge influx in my leftover income that I could use for whatever I wanted. Which meant travel!
2. I have 4 weeks of vacation but can’t take time off.
I know this all too well and hear it almost every day. I can barely align schedules with friends because of this. When you are in a situation like this, you need to request time off as soon as possible – last minute travel is probably not ideal when you can’t get time off. Get your time off in writing and make sure everything at work is taken care of before you leave so your boss will let you leave again. So many Americans are overworked and afraid to leave their job for time off, but why? We are literally throwing away our hard earned time. That is the equivalent of flushing a paycheck down the toilet and I doubt you would do that. Don’t give into that overworked lifestyle year round – you have time off, use it.
3. I’m afraid of terrorism.
I hate to break it to you, but all of us have that fear, big or small, nestled somewhere inside of us. You have basically the same chances of a terrorist attack at home as you do abroad, in most places. Some places are not very safe to travel at the moment and have been a hot bed of terrorism for a while. You don’t have to go there – you can go anywhere else in the world. Terrorism is designed to put fear in you but why let them win? You are going to let a coward stop you from living your best life? Eff that.
4. What will I do with my kids?
Hold up there, Miss/Mr… You don’t have to leave your kids behind to travel. A lot of airlines let kids under 2 fly free on your lap and there are many hotels that let kids stay free and even throw in perks like free meals. If you think about it, they are basically giving you peace of mind knowing that your kids won’t add a huge expense onto your travels. I see families traveling everywhere I go. Don’t let the idea that since you have kids you can’t do anything. Get out there and take advantage of those perks.
5. No one wants to travel with me.
I can tell you firsthand how rewarding solo travel is. I went to 6 countries around the globe last year alone and had the time of my life. If I waited for people to be ready to travel, I would have never gone. Don’t let other people keep you from doing something you want to do. Not everyone wants to travel (shocker, I know) and therefore, will never make it a priority. If you want to go but don’t want to go solo, you can always join group tours from many companies online that are completely structured.
6. I don’t own a passport.
I know you don’t and that makes me sad. You can literally get a passport back within 4-6 weeks. Make an appointment at your local post office, take in your required documents, get passport photos, pay with check or money order – and then WAALAAA – wait for it to come in the mail. Now that was easy.
7. I don’t have enough vacation time to go backpack through Europe.
Then shorten your trip. I did a 3 week trip to Europe a couple years ago and went to 6 countries and 13 cities and it was complete overload. I came home completely exhausted and had to fight jet lag to go back to work the next day, hated Paris (which I went back this year and I now love), I was rushed, did too much in a short period of time and I felt like I was running a marathon to get to each city. This is not ideal for travel – pick 1 or 2 places and explore those places in-depth. You can’t see all of Europe on 1 quick trip.
a. As a side note – Europe is not the only place in the world. Just because you don’t have enough time to backpack Europe doesn’t mean you shouldn’t travel at all.
8. What if I get sick or hurt? Will there be a doctor?
It turns out that doctors are a global thing, for the most part. It may be harder in some places to be seen, but you should be able to find options, unless of course you are in some remote place. Do research before you leave and know what’s available. First, I always pack basic medications that I know and am comfortable with if I get sick. Second, accidents happen. I slipped down some stairs in Paris this summer and had a doctor come to my hotel to make sure I was ok. You can’t control everything in life – purchase travel insurance and hope for the best!
9. All I have is the weekend.
Perfect! You don’t have to travel internationally to travel. When is the last time you explored 1-3 hours from your home? Took a short road trip? Went and saw old friends or family? I love exploring the surrounding towns when I am home. And if I am being honest, my first international trip was a weekend trip to the Bahamas. It was a 2.5 hour flight from the Washington, D.C. area and the perfect weekend. There is so much to see in the world that even if you went on an adventure every weekend of your life, you not run out of things to do.
10. I hate waiting for luggage at the airport, it takes too much time.
I cannot believe this is even an excuse not to travel. Earlier this year I lost my checked luggage in the middle of winter for 3 days in Ireland. From that point on – I ONLY traveled with a carry-on. How easy was that? I spent 7 weeks in Asia bouncing around in only a carry-on. It CAN be done.