I hear a lot of people talk about traveling as though it’s some far off goal. “Once I have more money, then I’ll travel.” Or “Once the kids are bigger..” or “It’s too far to go there!” I’m not exempted from these excuses and have had all of them and more at some point in my life. If you’re reading this blog though, there is likely something inside of you that wants to travel, to see more. Let’s unpack these excuses and see how we can overcome them, shall we?
EXCUSE #1 — I DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY
OK, no cash on hand is a legitimate excuse for not traveling… like a baller. We all know you need to pay off those college loans and not rack up more debt, but this is still not an excuse. Instead of seeing your lack of funds as an excuse, see it as a challenge for how to live like a king on a pauper’s budget. Try being a tourist in your own city. Find local and day-trip excursions that are free or very low cost. Many cities offer free museum nights once a month, or have a downtown Art Walk. Check out a farmer’s market, a local hiking trail. Go to a different part of town. Check out a local lake or river and bring a romantic picnic. You would be shocked at how much your city offers without the high price tag. Additionally, try an app out like Hotels Tonight for last minute hotel offers. We’ve stayed at some amazing places for less than half the normal price. Something else to look into is a Home Exchange site. For a very low yearly rate you can exchange your home for other people’s around the world.
EXCUSE #2 I HAVE SMALL KIDS AND TRAVELING IS A NIGHTMARE
I have been here, trust me. My daughter once screamed for a 6-hour stretch in the car and my husband and I just about took a no-travel vow until she was out of the house. Luckily when she turned two things turned around. I understand the pull of staying home. But I also know that getting out is good for the soul. So while the kids are really little, if longer trips seem too daunting, try to focus on short local and day trips. When our kids were really small we did a lot of beach days, short hikes, park days and of course the zoo. We also did some camping, and cabin time. It was definitely low key, but we still got out and experienced things. I also think these short trips are a great way to get your children ready at a young age for traveling. Also, just throwing this out there but for parents of kids under 2 – just remember that once they turn 2 they are no longer free on flights. That 18-month old is starting to look a lot more attractive as a travel buddy huh?
EXCUSE #3 TRAVELING IS SCARY
Let’s face it, there is a lot about traveling that can be terrifying. Some people are afraid of flying while others are afraid of being in a country where people don’t speak their language. Some people are afraid for security reasons. My suggestion is to start small and build your way up. If going out of the country is too much for you, plan some trips within the U.S. or within a few hours driving difference. Then when you start to feel more comfortable pick a location that’s out of the country but an easy flight, such as Quebec City, or Toronto, or the Bahamas. OR, more like ripping a bandaid off, throw caution to the wind and book that safari in Africa that you have been dreaming about. For so many of us, facing our fears is the BEST way to overcome them. Everyone is different, but for most people, once you catch the travel bug it does something to you. It fills you with a sense of adventure you didn’t have before, it also fills you with a hunger to see more. So beware; once you start its hard to stop.
EXCUSE #4 I DON’T HAVE ANYONE TO TRAVEL WITH
I actually ran up against this one when I was single in my 20’s and wanting to travel but I didn’t want to travel alone. I ended up finding a friend who is now my husband to travel with me (that was convenient 🙂 But I get the anxiety of not wanting to travel by yourself. The interesting thing is that when I traveled through Europe and Central America, I ran into a huge number of solo travelers. There are lots of opportunities for meeting up with other single travelers in hostels. If you do some quick searching online, there are a lot of opportunities with specialized groups such as women’s travel groups. Many larger churches and non-profits do volunteer tourism where part of the trip is volunteering and part touring. One friend a few years ago went with a group who swam island to island in Croatia and loved it. Traveling by yourself can be a bit daunting, but its also an awesome way to meet new friends around the world. Check out this e-book about how to travel safely and confidently as a solo female traveler.
EXCUSE #5 I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO GO
Narrowing down a location in this big wide world can be challenging and frankly can cause some paralysis for some people in making a decision. The best way to overcome this is to figure out your passions, your goals, your budget and any other restrictions (such as time of year). For example, recently we were feeling stuck when we realized that we had a large amount of airline miles that we needed to use. We have two small kids who have school schedules, but they have a two week break in October. Given the amount of time we had, along with the time of year, we looked for a place where we could surf, travel easily, and get to on a direct flight without using up all our airline miles. Costa Rica! Using the Passions, Goals, Budget, Restrictions guide will help you narrow down your location. If you love wine but you’re on a shoestring budget, its a great opportunity to research wine regions near you.