“I can’t afford to travel! It’s too expensive!” – PhilaTravelGirl (Pinterest|Twitter|Instagram)
“I can’t afford to travel”, “travel is expensive”, and “I can’t save money to travel” are phrases I’ve heard from folks that prompted me to reply with my My Travel Savings Strategy – Simple, Silly and Smart post showing all the ways I can afford to travel. I dump change from my purse into a jar which netted over $1,000! I budget what I need vs. what I want – goodbye HBO and Game of Thrones! I became a conservative travel hacker. I’ve used Airbnb to save money. I prioritized travel experiences over stuff and that is the heart of the issue. Do I need more stuff or do I need more experiences? For me, the answer is easy as travel resets my mind, body and spirit – it makes me happy.
Travel is like any other priority in your life – if you covet electronics, you will have the biggest television with the latest technology while I have a television that is good enough. If you love fashion and trends, you will have more than handbags than I do (I own two). These are your priorities and you are able to save and afford them because you value them. Travel won’t give you something to show to friends and family outside of the social media selfie. Travel will be an experience, one that changes you from the inside by providing a new perspective on the world. We all can afford to travel, the question is “do you really want to travel”? I generally find that it’s not about the money, the easy excuse, it’s about finding out who we are in the face of the unknown outside of our comfortable daily bubbles.
Editor’s Note: Giving up Game of Thrones!? Madness! Utter madness!
“I’m too shy to travel” – Boracay Compass (Facebook|Twitter)
I used to be shy – socially anxious shy…
Was that an excuse for me not to travel? No. I always had this nagging wish to overcome my fear of people – and traveling was just one of the ways I could use to attempt to crush this fear. Not to mention it’s fun – even if you’re shy – it beats sitting at home by a thousand miles.
So, how did traveling help me beat my social anxiety to bits? I’m glad you asked, that is a great question…
I used to sit at home too much when I was still living in my home country, the Netherlands. The area I was living in was not very existing to me, which really played into me staying at home too much (I realized later)…
This all changed when I started living in Boracay Island, Philippines. When you stay in Boracay and step outside your door, you’re right in the middle of it all. A vibrant and friendly local culture, and 9 beatiful beaches within very close proximity of each other. Not to mention a great nightlife.
This helped me tremendously, but… Not at first. You see, I was in the right environment now, but I was still stuck in old habits (avoiding uncomfortable situations). It actually took me 2 years to learn that that was the key: “uncomfortable situations”. Seeking them. On purpose. And trying to have fun with them – not taking anything too seriously.
Editor’s Note: A lot of people don’t believe me when I tell them that I consider myself quite shy, but it’s true. The most terrifying element of travel for me has always been trying to meet people and make friends. What makes travel great is that it forces you to step outside of your comfort zone, and I have made some fantastic friends over the years as a result.
“My ‘limited’ and powerless passport can’t get me anywhere. Besides, visas are too expensive/difficult!” – I Am Aileen (Facebook|Twitter|Instagram)
As someone who was born in a third world country, I know this excuse all too well. I hear it from my friends, my family, my readers, and basically just about anyone who holds a similar powerless passport. Truth be told, this used to be my mindset before I started this traveling lifestyle at 21. But surely, as I am now, I am telling you that this excuse is invalid because you CAN travel despite holding a restricted passport – and I am living proof of that.
For starters, take advantage of the visa-free countries that are applicable to your passport. Example: my Philippine passport gives me the chance to explore 60 countries visa-free. With that number, I can definitely keep traveling for years! Most of those countries are located in Asia and South America like Thailand, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, among many others. Now these destinations are unquestionably amazing so don’t you ever think that your passport can’t get you to anywhere good since it’s NOT only the tourism mammoths like US and Europe that have interesting places to see!
When it’s time to deal with visas though, of course we can’t take away the fact that the application procedures are a pain in the ass; but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for you to go on your adventure. This is for the reason that there ARE various ways to make it a hassle-free and successful process, simply by properly planning for it beforehand. I have traveled to Europe numerous times already and all I’ve been doing was: saving, researching, planning, and executing. As it is, as long as travel is really your priority and that you do everything in your power to really look for the facts, you will know how easy it can be to get over such hurdles.
“I love my job too much to give it up” – Anywhere At Home (Facebook|Instagram|YouTube)
When my boyfriend suggested we quit our jobs to travel, I immediately said no. My reason was simple; “But I love my job.” And it’s true. I was lucky to get a good, well paying job that I truly enjoyed right out of college. I put my all into it, and I rose quickly throughout my years there. But relationships are all about compromise, so we agreed; we would focus on saving money for a year or two, then try long term travel.
A few days after my five-year work anniversary, I gave my two weeks notice. At three and a half years, I hadn’t been ready to leave my job. At five years, I was anxious to try something new.
And the fact is, there are plenty of ways to travel and enjoy a job you love. If you don’t intend to quit, take your two weeks vacation to go somewhere absolutely spectacular. Play the situation—if you think you can get away with it—and ask for unpaid time off. Weekends are great to adventure close to home, and even micro adventures can put a spring back into your step.
If you do chose to leave your job to travel, freelancing is great option for travelers. If your career isn’t freelance friendly, figure out what you really love about that job, and find a similar job on the road.
Editor’s Note: My best friend, Anthony does a lot of travelling while still maintaining his career as a high up in one of the largest Australian banks. While he may not travel for as long as I do, he’s been to a lot of fascinating places and manages to cram a lot into the time he spends in them. He’s been to some places I am dying to go.
“I get motion sickness” – Indecisive Traveler (Facebook|Twitter|Instagram)
While it’s not the most popular excuse for not traveling, it’s certainly something I have heard from many people, including my own mother. In fact, once upon a time, I used it myself.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve suffered from motion sickness. It didn’t matter if I was in a car, train, plane, or boat – the likelihood of me feeling sick was very high. But I wanted to travel, and I wanted it bad enough to battle through the nausea.
I’m not saying you should feel miserably sick on every trip, but there are certainly ways to deal with it. First and foremost – take some medicine. For my first couple years of travel I would pop a drowsy Dramamine or two before getting into any moving vehicle for more than 30 minutes. My best defense was falling asleep, and I have to say, it’s a pretty great one.
Eventually, I worked my way up to being able to stay awake while in motion, but I made sure to always have awesome music and podcasts to entertain me because focusing my eyes on screens and books was sure to set the nausea in motion. However, little by little, when the ride wasn’t bumpy, I would read for 5 minutes, then 10, then 20. At the slightest hint of turbulence, choppy water, or bumpy roads, I immediately put the book away, drank some water, and breathed deeply. Now that I’m 5 years into my travel-centric life I can say that I have read many books and watched a lot of movies on planes. I still struggle with buses and boats, but I know how to prepare myself to make them tolerable. Just start small with short trips and work your way up. Get to know your nausea triggers and figure out how to prevent and/or deal with them.
Once in Mexico, the heat of a bus was accelerating my motion sickness, so I told the bus driver he could either turn on the AC or risk me vomiting on his bus. I find that the threat of vomit tends to get people more invested in helping you, should you get desperate. The more you travel, the more your body will adapt to being in motion. While I can’t say that every trip I take is nausea free, I can tell you that every single trip as been worth it, so don’t let motion sickness hold you back.
“It’s too dangerous!” – Without a Path (Facebook|Twitter|Instagram)
I’m always hearing travelers dismiss entire swaths of the world because “it’s too dangerous.” They saw something on the news or maybe the sentiment is left over from the Cold War era. Whatever the culprit for their misplaced fear, it’s bullshit. I don’t mean to be entirely dismissive. Sure, danger is out there and we have to be smart anywhere we travel. But the idea that the entire Middle East, Africa, or parts of Latin America and Asia have some kind of blood thirsty desire to take out wholesome Americans is, quite frankly, crap. It’s a fear of people who don’t look like us and who seem to act differently than us. But once you travel, you realize we’re all far more alike than is ever given credit.
This all particularly hit home for me with El Salvador. I had been living in Costa Rica with my wife and a good flight came up to capital San Salvador. We admittedly had no screaming desire to go to El Salvador at the time. We didn’t know much about it. But we were living in Central America and an absurdly affordable flight came up. I couldn’t call myself a travel writer if I dismised a place solely on reputation. Besides, I come from an American city that routinely gets dumped on out of reputation — though that’s thankfully beginning to change.
So we were off to El Salvador for one week. Long story short, that week ended up being one of our fondest travel experiences in the world and I’ve since become a self-proclaimed ambassador of sorts for travel to El Salvador. I want everyone who can to visit El Salvador. It’s a good microcosm of how U.S. policies have negatively impacted Latin America. And whatever country you’re from, I think it’s important to know what role — good and bad — your country plays in the world. From a pure travel perspective, it’s just a fun place to be that isn’t overrun with tourists. Prior to El Salvador, nearly everyone I shared our plans with questioned why we would go, many of whom I’d venture to guess consider themselves “open-minded” people. Yet apparently not open-minded enough to consider that millions of people in these so-called “scary” countries live their respective lives peacefully and enjoyably each and every day.
Scary stuff happens everywhere. Safest best is to stay at home, locked in a basement. But human nature is to move. We’re nomads at heart. We want to explore and broaden our horizons. I love western Europe and you can certainly get a lot out of that, but for most Americans it’s like visiting our second-cousins house. We’re all pretty much related. Getting outside your comfort zone, while of course taking steps to ensure your safety, will lead to more fulfilling and enriching experiences. 99 times out of 100, people aren’t looking to harm you. Are there places I wouldn’t travel? Absolutely. But more often than not, saying a place is too dangerous to travel is a lazy excuse.
Editor’s Note: I got this a lot last year when I announced that I was planning to travel to Tanzania. With Ebola fears still high, it didn’t matter how many times I pointed to a map and showed them that Ebola was on the opposite side of the country. You can read more about my experiences with Ebola in Tanzania.
Next: Why you shouldn’t let having kids, age, or terrorism deter you from chasing your travel dreams