Those who travel often know that stress-free travel exists only on TV. The farther you go, the longer you stay, and the cheaper you are, the more of a job it becomes. But oh, what a reward awaits those who put in the time and effort to go! If you’ve found yourself not traveling for any of the six reasons below, be honest with yourself and call them what they are — excuses!
I can’t afford it
Travel doesn’t have to break the bank. If you’re holding out for a dream vacation, consider scaling down your expectations. Take a weekend road trip or go to a cheap destination (South America, Indonesia, the Philippines). Skip costly tours, dining, and shopping and simply stroll the streets of a place you’ve never been.
If you’re having trouble saving for travel, follow my 8 Easy Steps to Save Money for Travel. And if you’re not using miles to book travel and credit cards to earn miles, you’re missing huge opportunities to save money. Read 5 Ways to Earn Miles You Probably Haven’t Thought Of and 8 Ways to Get Free Travel.
I don’t have anyone to travel with
I recommend that everyone — young or old, introvert or extrovert, male or female — travel alone at least once. I enjoy both solo and group travel, but there are actually advantages to traveling alone. For one, you can see and do whatever you want, whenever you want! Secondly, solo travel allows you to be fully immersed in the moment with no interruptions. You can soak up all the sensory elements of a place when you’re alone. And if you’re a photographer, traveling alone is a pure joy — take as long as you want to compose the shot, no one will wonder why you’re lingering in one spot for an hour!
Third, solo travel allows for quiet reflection. Our minds are always cluttered with people, things, and media. I’ve find alone time to be essential to my mental health, as it allows me to process my own thoughts, feelings, goals, and even fears.
And fourth, you will probably meet more people traveling solo. I took my first solo trip to Jamaica when I was 25. I ended up meeting three young Brits on the beach and spent the next week touring the island with them. It took some moxie to introduce myself but it was well worth it!
I might not enjoy it
If your biggest excuse not to travel is that you might not enjoy it, you have a good life. Not all trips are created equal. Some are more fun than others, but what you get out of travel depends a lot on what you put into it. In a lot of ways, travel is a metaphor for life. There are parts of travel that are just plain mundane. Unless your POTUS, you’re probably going to be standing in long lines at airports. I have a knack for choosing the slowest moving lines at security screening and the slowest moving agents at the check-in counter. Despite the frustrations, I won’t stop traveling because the payoff is worth it for me. In that way, travel is like life and (excuse the cliché), you know what they say about life giving you lemons…
I’m too busy
Travel takes time, from the research to the booking to the actual being gone from home. However, I view it as a requirement for mental health, so I make time for travel. Despite all my responsibilities, I fit travel in to my schedule. When I’m tied up with work and deadlines, I take shorter trips, closer to home. Longer trips require me to clear my schedule in advance. I also work while I travel, which means I rarely just disconnect from technology and the outside world. One day, I’d like to be offline for an entire week just to see how it feels!
I don’t like flying
Not to minimize real anxieties, I simply ask, What have you done to face your fear of flying? If the answer is “nothing,” then I recommend you read my 6 Ways to Overcome Travel Anxiety. If you have attempted to conquer your fear, but have failed, I say keep trying! If you’re simply tired of trying, then take a road trip.
The truth is I don’t enjoy flying like I used to. I flew a lot as a child, often alone, because my parents lived in different states. It seemed really fun back then. When I moved to Guam and started making 24-hour trips back to the States, the thrill was gone. I sometimes get sick on the plane and I can rarely sleep without getting a neck ache, but how else am I going to get to Borneo to see wild apes? Certainly not by boat!
It’s not safe
There’s no truly safe place in the world, I admit that, but is your home safer than the safest destination? Probably not. Do your homework on tourist-safe places, take precautions, and use common sense when traveling. In all my years of travel, I have never been mugged. I credit that to my demeanour. I make it a point not to look scared and defenceless. I walk quickly with my shoulders back and looking straight ahead. If someone makes me uncomfortable, I look them in the eye or simply move away. I can’t count the number of times my roommate and I got hit on in France, so when saying “no” didn’t work, we just ran for it!
In my experience, the safest destinations have been Japan, New Zealand, and Australia and I recommend visiting all three!