No excuse not to travel
There should be no excuse not to travel, but we hear them all the time. Travel or stay home? Everyone has a reason not to go traveling and usually they’re things we tell ourselves to put off stretching our comfort zone and exploring the world. Most people find the time to go on vacation – trips to the beach or relaxing in a resort – but travel is a much different beast.
Should I go traveling? When I say travel, I mean immersing in another culture including the food, language and history. Travel isn’t always easy or glamorous, and sometimes it can be a sensory overload like walking the streets of Delhi, India or navigating through the Souk Bazaar in Marrakech.
Travel, not vacation
I was a late bloomer when it came to travel. In the past, I did a week at resorts in Mexico and the Dominican Republic or went to Disney World and Niagara Falls as a kid, but I didn’t get a passport until 2 years ago. There were a lot of excuses that I let stand in my way until I made traveling a priority. I firmly believe that traveling is an important part of life. Travel has made me more humble, more empathetic and feel closer to humanity.
If more people traveled, there would be more compassion, understanding and love in the world. I want to make sure no one else puts it off the way I did for years because there is no excuse not to travel. So, here I’m going to unpack the most common reasons I’ve heard, and even used, for not traveling and I’ll provide some counterarguments to overcome these excuses why not to travel.
Why Should I go Traveling When…
1. I don’t have the money to travel
This one is easily the most common reason not to travel and can be the toughest to overcome, BUT… unless you’re really struggling to keep afloat financially, it shouldn’t hold you back. Of course, you should pay all of your bills on time before you save up to travel.
Still, you can put away money to travel by making some sacrifices. Life is about the choices that you make and if you go skip a dinner out, a manicure or your coffee – you can put that money aside and in a couple of months have enough for a plane ticket, especially with discount flight search engines like CheapoAir.
Here is some math – saving 25 bucks a week for nine months will get you $1000. That can pay for a trans-continental flight and a lodging for a week plus. It’s all about priorities, and I waited way too long to prioritize travel, but wherever you are in life, it’s not too late to make a simple change. There’s really no excuse not to travel.
2. I don’t speak any other language
This is a silly excuse for the current century. Technology makes it super easy to travel and get by without the native language skills of the country you’re visiting. There are countless apps and the old standby of Google translate to help you out of a linguistic jam. If you speak English, you have very little to worry about in most regions of the world. In the service sector of almost every tourist zone, you will find multi-lingual staff to ease your language woes.
3. I’ve never done it, I’m just not a traveller
Come on! If you’ve never traveled, then you just need to start. This doesn’t mean take a month off for a global sea cruise, but a weekend away in the region you live is a good start. Find a way to get your first travel experience – starting small is never a bad thing. By gradually building your “travel self” up, you’ll be ready for an adventure in no time.
I’m not saying your first trip should be to China, but the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzo famously said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.“
4. I can’t travel because of my job
Wow, sounds like someone needs a new work-life balance and maybe even a change of employment. Any job worth having is going to grant you the ability to have the kind of personal and home life you want. Plus, being a well-traveled and worldly employee is an asset – over 80% of employers think you’re better suited for a job if you’ve been traveling according to Business Insider and research done by HostelWorld.
Don’t let work stand in your way of seeing the world. Have a talk with your boss and make it happen. This excuse not to travel has held me back in the past, but not in my most recent positions. I won’t ever let work keep me from traveling in the future.
5. I don’t have anyone to travel with
For years I let this excuse keep me from traveling. If you can’t find anyone to travel with, there are so many alternatives to simply giving up and not leaving your hometown. For starters, traveling alone can be really rewarding and you have a much greater experience because you have less distractions and can move at your own pace tackling your own personal agenda.
If traveling alone seems too intimidating for you or maybe you’re just an extrovert and want to meet new people, try staying in hostels. Hostels are often a cheaper way to travel and have common areas and planed group activities that make solo traveling easier.
Travel somewhere to meet friends or relatives that live outside of your area. You’ll have a built in tour guide and locals to show you around.
Lastly, you can travel with a tour group. I was always resistant to tour groups because I thought they would be expensive, until I looked into G Adventures for a trip to India and realized it cost under $100 per day for transport, airfare, hotels and most of the activities. Going solo, I met some amazing people on the trip. In fact, Mike and I are using G Adventures to tour South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe this summer and my sister is doing a tour of the Mediterranean with them next week. I highly recommend G Adventures for any kind of group tour you’re after. They have options for 18-39 year old travelers, family tours and classic tours for those of any age and are always running travel deals and promotions.
6. It’s not safe to travel
**insert eye roll**
There are certainly some places in the world where travel should be limited if not completely restricted – Syria, North Korea and areas of Iraq – but most of the world is open for exploring. If you check with your country’s state department you’ll find travel warnings for every country of the world and be able to calm your nerves. Also take these warnings with a grain of salt as some small things, like a protest at the Israeli embassy in Copenhagen, can result in a state department warning for Denmark while the threat is actually low.
7. I want to pay off loans before I travel
Again, make sure that you’re paying all of your bills before you save money to travel, but you should be able to do both. Getting out of debt is always a great goal, but there are ways to save for travel without derailing your other goals, like travel. Increase your savings by doing odd jobs, getting a part time job or selling your old things online – there are plenty of ways to bank money for travel if you make it a goal just as you made paying off loans a goal.
8. I don’t know where I want to travel
Travel inspiration can come from so many places; an episode of Game of Thrones or a book you read last summer. Think of an activity you like and research the best place in the world to do it. There are so many books, videos and blogs on travel that it doesn’t take much to spark your curiosity and give you itchy feet (as avid travelers call it when they’ve been in the same place for too long).
9. I’m too young to travel
Alright kiddo, if you have the desire to travel, make it a priority. Find opportunities to travel whether it’s through your school, church or another group that you can become involved with. No one is too young to travel and even if it isn’t your dream trip yet, take the opportunities that come your way and make the most of them.
Nurture that curiosity and learn languages while you’re young (trust me, it’s easier) and study up on where you want to visit when you have even more opportunity. Start a travel bucket list for turning 30 – I’ve heard it called a “can list” because whatever you don’t check off you can “kick the can down the road” and hit by 40, or 50 or before you kick the bucket.
10. I’m too old to travel
If you’re breathing, you’re not too old. And PLEASE don’t wait for retirement to start traveling the world. There are so many destinations and tour groups for seniors, plus accommodations can be made for senior travelers with mobility issues and other needs. Age simply is not an excuse not to travel. It also makes you appreciate travel differently, and even if you slow down the pace, you don’t ever have to stop – so DON’T. You will never regret the stamps in your passport and you should never take for granted the ability to get out and see the world.
11. I’ll get lost if I travel, I’m not good at directions
There are so many apps and travel hacks designed to get your around a new city. Depending on your phone settings, when you land on a tarmac, google maps will add the subway maps of your arrival city.
If you still think you’ll have issues, I once again have to recommend a group tour. When I visited India with G Adventures, I remarked to one of my tour-mates that it felt as if we were floating around India. We were told a meeting time and the guide (they use the term CEO – “chief experience officer”) would take care of the rest. He would have transportation in front of our hotel, take us to the exact platform of the train station or to the terminal in the airport and get our bags checked for us. It was so easy to travel that way that getting lost is no excuse not to travel. Check out G Adventures if this sounds like what you need.
12. I’m in a relationship and won’t travel without my girlfriend or boyfriend
Lame! But seriously, this takes care of excuse #5 – No one to travel with. As for being its own excuse, I think someone who isn’t willing to travel with you will have to respect your desire to see other places – it doesn’t mean you want to see other people. It’s good to have other interests and hobbies that you enjoy on your own, and if you can share them – even better. Just never give up on them because of someone else.
When I was considering traveling alone because Mike was unable to take time off from work, he encouraged me to spend a month in India. I am so glad I did, because the trip stretched my comfort zone. It was a long time for us to be apart, but I appreciate our time at home and traveling together even more.
13. I have kids, I can’t travel until they’re older
Not true! You can take kids anywhere you want, they literally have no choice in the matter. Travelers are used to whiny kids or crying babies on planes, don’t worry about that. There are also a ton of resources online for family-friendly locations. G Adventures even has a selection of tours for families – I know I keep going back to them, but they’re amazing.
There’s also no reason not to go for a trip with your spouse or friends and leave the kids with grandparents, family friends or sleep-away camp. My parents used to ditch my brother and I with my grandparents in Florida and I didn’t realize they were having more fun on a Caribbean cruise until I was at least in my 20s. So you can see a lot of the world before they start to resent you for traveling without them.
14. I have pets
Put them in a kennel or with the grandparents or pay the neighbor kid to watch them. Either way, the cats won’t know you’re gone and the dogs won’t miss you much more than when you work overtime.
15. I’m afraid to fly so I can’t travel
There are plenty of ways to travel without flying, just as British adventurer Graham Hughes has proven. He traveled to 201 countries without setting foot in an airplane. That may be extreme but rail-travel is safe and easy and car rental (car hire) is an inexpensive and fun way to travel.
Air travel is extremely safe and statistically it’s safe than traveling by automobile. The fear you have is due to perceived control – you feel safer in an automobile because of the control. Catastrophic plane crashes do occur, but they are rare and spread apart which means they garner more media attention. Car crashes occur every day and are not always catastrophic, so we are desensitized to their risk.
16. It’s a hassle getting visas
Look into where your passport can take you without a visa or within your own country. Travel isn’t limited to only locations that require a visa, it just means that some countries will require more planning and preparation. Maybe you’ll miss some last minute travel deals if your country’s passport doesn’t take you everywhere – but it shouldn’t stop you from planning a trip where you want to go.
Our recent experience getting a Russian visa was difficult. The Russian visa center in Copenhagen is disorganized, the website is confusing and the lines we had to stand in were frustrating. All that considered, when we arrived in Saint Petersburg we were blown away and it was so worth it. I remember standing in line for that visa thinking “Saint Petersburg had better be amazing!” Spoiler, it is – that visa hassle was worth everything and I want to do it again to go to Moscow.
17. I don’t have time this year, maybe next year
This excuse not to travel makes me sad, because it reminds me of some personal stories from friends and family who waited too long to travel. I’ll spare the details, but I know too many people who kept saying “we’ll travel once I don’t have to worry about taking care of your grandmother” or “when the youngest finishes college we’re going to finally do that trip to Ireland” and unfortunately they never got the chance. Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us and even world affairs can make the travels of tomorrow out of reach – so please don’t take travel for granted.
I met a friend in Copenhagen who has worked in the travel field for years. I of course picked his brain about his favorite destination during his career. He thought about it and then his smile faded – “Aleppo, in Syria” he said solemnly.
18. I’m a picky eater – I can’t travel with my dietary restrictions
The good thing about globalization is that you can find Western food options everywhere in the world. Not only in having fast-food chains in every country, but menus that include local and “intercontinental” food items. This is good for me, because I am a picky eater. I used to peel the skin off of my hot dogs when I was a kid (even if they were skinless). I’m so picky that I have been to a Pizza Hut in over 15 countries. I still travel.
If you’re on a special diet like the keto diet or maybe you’re a vegan, the internet has spread your specialty diet to far away lands. My sister is a vegan, and she doesn’t let it become an excuse not to travel. When she needs to find a vegan restaurant in a foreign city she goes on Instagram and searches #WhateverCityVegan to find posts for the best vegan places in that city with posts, pictures and opinions. She also checks TripAdvisor where you enter your specific dietary restrictions and even just googles “vegan restaurants near me” for options. Also, remember to research translations for the foods you cannot have so you know what to avoid.
19. I’m not into history or culture, why travel?
I was always into history, but some aspects of culture – like art – never resonated with me. Once I started traveling I developed an immense appreciation for things like art and language that I never cared much about before. Even food, a previous struggle, has become a fun part of travel because I will now actually try the cuisine for the full experience of my destination culture.
Whatever it is that you’re lacking at home, seeing things abroad will build up your sense of wonder. Travel brings out the best in your and pulls out things you didn’t know you had inside – get in touch with that person. You never know who you’ve been missing.
20. I don’t like meeting new people or strangers
I mean, ok, then never go anywhere ever? Just joking…
I’ve heard this one before and all kidding aside, I DO understand the way that being an introvert can make travel uniquely difficult (I’m just not one so I can’t relate). The advice I have to overcome this is to find a good travel partner. This may mean more than just polling your best friends at brunch. You need to find someone who will give you space and won’t mind avoiding a group tour or letting you go back to the hotel even when they would rather hit a beach bar. You probably know this person already, or are related to them. If not, traveling alone may be good for you. Don’t let this be an excuse not to travel.
21. I can’t miss the big game (or game of thrones)
A little silly, but also understandable. I’m the guy who flew home to Philadelphia for Super Bowl LII, so no judgement. You can still travel, you just have to know that whenever you do you’ll miss out on something. It’s natural to have FOMO, but don’t let it keep you from traveling.
|Read more: Why I Flew Home for the Super Bowl
If you’re truly worried about missing something that’s broadcasted live, you can always black out your social media while you’re away. This is actually smart to do anyway and will help you be more present while you’re exploring. Just don’t let Jon Snow keep you from seeing a snow leopard in Bhutan.
22. I’m saving for a house so I can’t travel
We went over this a bit, but unless you’re absolutely struggling financially, you can and should travel. You can save for a house, or other financial goals while you travel. Find a hole in your budget where you can carve out that magic $25 per week. Also look into ways to increase your income by that amount. Regardless, you’ll land yourself with enough dough to pay for a trip abroad.
A house is a wonderful financial investment. You should be proud of one if you own a home and if not, save for one. Don’t let it become a 30-year burden and excuse not to live a full life.
23. Isn’t travel expensive?
You can travel with any kind of budget. There are a ton of online resources dedicated to budget travel as well as discount flight search engines. There’s also sites that give you chances to home-sit and earn money while you’re traveling or to couchsurf for free. Also consider placing your home on Airbnb to make money while you are seeing the world.
Travel doesn’t have to mean 5-star hotels and all-inclusive resorts. It can be done on any budget and you won’t regret the expense because the memories are worth any price. There’s just no excuse not to travel.
24. It’s too hard to travel plan
I definitely understand this one – heck – last summer, Mike and I planned a trip to Athens, Greece and then island hopping around the Aegean with friends. The hard part was that Mike, our friend, me and our friend’s mother booked different segments of the tour. Each of us booked hotel rooms, island ferries and excursions. Mike and I completed our island hopping and got back to Athens for two nights on our own. Once we landed in Athens, we checked our emails for a hotel confirmation so we could flag down a taxi. Quickly we realized that we never booked a hotel for our last two nights in Athens. Thank God for reservations.com!
There are a lot of ways to streamline the travel planning. We have since booked our trips in a more organized way, using a spreadsheet to keep track of our flights, in-country transport and lodging. We also add our excursions and dinner reservations to maintain a good record of our itinerary.
If that still sounds like too much, there’s always group tours – I think you know who I’d suggest.
25. I’m afraid of getting robbed or scammed
There are bad people everywhere – I could never argue against that. It’s no excuse not to travel though. What you can do is avoid situations that seem too good to be true. You should also do some simple things to stay safe.
- Keep your valuable locked in a safe or use a luggage lock.
- Wear your passport and cash in a passport protector around your waist or neck.
- Ask your hotel how much a taxi should cost and if they will order it and confirm the price with the driver.
- Only book excursions through reputable companies (like GetYourGuide).
- Keep the contact information of your nation’s embassy and a photo copy of your passport in your hotel room and never feel obligated to talk to a friendly stranger.
I was in Paris with my sister, her now ex-boyfriend and Mike in 2017. We were in front of the Notre Dame and two Roma women came up to us asking us to sign a bogus petition to help blind children. It was a piece of cardboard with a printout of columns for names and addresses and emails and a donation amount which they asked for. They forced it in our hands – I let it fall to the ground. Unfortunately, my sister’s ex-boyfriend took his wallet would and one of the women grabbed a 1,000 dkk Danish bill ($150 USD) out his wallet. He learned the hard way that it’s not required for you to talk to every stranger in Europe.
26. I’ve traveled enough
Look, have I been everywhere? No, but it’s on my list.
(sorry for the corny traveler’s quote)
This isn’t an excuse not to travel and it’s no excuse to stop traveling once you find a place you like. Same goes for a negative experience. There’s also a difference between going to Disney World and going to Morocco. Travel is not meant to finish, check off a list and go home, it should spark more curiosity. Travelers call it wanderlust, but whatever name you give it, don’t let it end.
27. I have a house to take care of
I get this one, but someone can grab your mail, water your plants and you can put the bills on autopay while you’re living your best life. Don’t let a house keep you home or become a mental burden. A lot of people travel with a house – Queen Elizabeth, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz (hers even killed a witch)… snails do it all the time – you’ll be fine. It’s not an excuse not to travel.
28. The movie Taken and the movie Hostel have me too freaked out
I had someone give me this excuse once. Luckily, I’m way to heavy to take, but even more important is the fact that these movies are FICTION. Hollywood magic can’t ruin the beauty of Paris or make you think that every local tip in Amsterdam will lead to your death in a Slovak city.
If A Star is Born made you think that Bradley Cooper can sing, then you need to see the rest of the world starting with a Fado singer in Portugal.
29. I love where I am now, no need to see the world
Look, I love my hometown of Philadelphia, and I love my new home in Copenhagen BUT… I never stop loving falling in love with new cities around the world. There is so much to see and do that you couldn’t possibly ignore it all for wherever you happen to be laying your head tonight.
Loving where you live should only enhance your travels. Every tapas I try in Alicante, Spain makes me love the (Philly) cheesesteak even more. When I visited Ghandi’s ashram in Ahmedabad, India I reflected on Independence Hall, a place I walked by every week in Philadelphia. I thought about what great men yearning for freedom centuries and miles apart had in common. I still reflect on what they did for their nations in their time and how it impacts the world today.
Travel should make you love and appreciate where you come from even more. Staying there in spite of the world around you only robs you of a greater understanding for what you have.
30. I get homesick
Me too. Test your limits, but don’t rock the boat. It’s natural to miss home, familiarity and the people you want to share memories with. Don’t let it keep you from traveling. I have met travelers who will do a 6 months, a year or even longer traveling – I know my limits and I stick to them. I have stretched them, but I know what I can handle and I don’t go much beyond that.
At the end of my India tour, I had 4 days on my own. This was a serious downer for me because I was missing Mike and missing Copenhagen. Also, my tour-mates who I just spent 3 weeks with were leaving for other destinations and I was suddenly alone. Extroverted me was having issues with the solitary state alone. I called Mike, I looked at my remaining itinerary and I sucked it up and boy am I glad I did. I toured the city of Varanasi by myself – it’s probably one of the most magical places on earth – and I can’t put in words the feeling I have now when I think about those days. If I bailed the moment I got down, I would have missed out on some major life experiences. I’m glad I didn’t give in, because it was no excuse not to travel to Varanasi.
I hope anyone who needed to read these arguments can overcome the excuses. They’re powerful, trust me – I have used many of them. However, travel has changed my life and the way that I look back on my experiences… everyone deserves that.
There is no excuse not to travel. You should set a travel goal. Make it attainable, reasonable and achievable.
Where do you want to go and when do you want to go there?
If it applies, which excuse not to travel is holding you back?
Please comment below and let me know. I want to watch you make these travel goals happen 🙂