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6 Valid Reasons Why You Don't Travel (and What You Can Do about Them)

6 Valid Reasons Why You Don't Travel (and What You Can Do About Them) | CosmosMariners.com


For someone who talks about traveling all of the time, I end up having conversations about why people can't travel more than you'd think. These conversations usually leave me a little sad, since the people with whom I'm discussing want to travel. They just think they can't for one reason or another.

I, too, find myself coming up with these same reasons from time to time: we can't go because we have student loans, we need to save money in case our cars break down, we can't go because one of our family members might get sick.

There's always a reason.

Today, I'm doing something a little different, a little more self-help-y than I usually do. But I hope it will inspire you to consider what places you want to see and why exactly you're holding off on seeing them.

Time. 
This is the number one concern that I hear from people: they just don't have time to travel. They have jobs, they have families, they have school, they have houses, they have social lives.

We're only given so much time on this planet, and it's tough to fit in everything that you want to do. But with a little determination (and perhaps a healthy dose of stubbornness), you can make time work to your advantage.

Solution: Make time. Unless you're being held captive in a cell in North Korea (under which circumstance you have much larger issues than the amount of traveling you want to do), you have time in your schedule to travel.

"Pish, posh," you say (you apparently have a British accent, too). "I am a very busy person with lots of busy things to attend to. I have zero time for anything other than what I'm currently doing."

To which I would say: you can get time off from work if you work. You have summers and breaks if you're in college or grad school. If you're a stay at home parent, you simultaneously have all the time in the world and no time off ever.

Instead of sleeping in on Saturday after a long week at work, pack your bags and head somewhere. You'd be surprised how far you can make it in just a weekend. If you're in college, don't head home for break--get a job in another town, another state, or another country (if you're feeling really ambitious). If you're a stay at home parent, head out with the kids in tow to show them a local attraction or take a day trip.

Americans, in particular, seem to hate the idea that they actually do have time off from work, as our collective vacation day usage is at a 40 year low...meaning that the nation as a whole gave away 169 million vacation days in 2013. You have time--use it!

I'm not saying to leave work or school, or abandon your family duties. I am encouraging you to get out and see a small part of our world, even if it's only in the next town over.

6 Valid Reasons Why You Don't Travel (and What You Can Do About Them) | CosmosMariners.com
Andros Island, Bahamas. To earn enough money to go on this trip as a broke college student, I had to work three jobs. It was worth every penny.

Money.
Right up there next to a perceived lack of time is the idea that travel has to cost a fortune. Many of my readers have, at one time or another, remarked that they just don't have the money to travel to the places that I've gone.

I get this concern. I am not a trust fund kid. I am not a part of the 1%. I would love to travel all of the time to anywhere I please at a moment's notice. Realistically, though, I have a mortgage, student loans (oh, how I loathe thee), and a child who's getting ready to go into preschool. I know that money doesn't grow on trees.

Solution: Make travel a priority. 

When Landon and I got married, I had traveled since I was a child while he'd never been out of the country. My parents made our travels a focal point of our family, so I never knew a time when it wasn't normal to sacrifice and save for trips. Landon, however, had always looked at travel as something extravagant, a notion that he's slowly learning is false, thanks to my frugal ways of trip planning and penny-pinching.

Making travel a priority means funneling all of those extras into a travel fund. So long, weekly dinner, drinks and movies--hello, Netflix or Redbox! So long, shopping sprees--hello, old clothes! So long, newest electronic gadget--hello, old phone from three years ago!

We made the conscious decision to pay off our student loans and travel more. To accomplish these goals, we don't go on extravagant dates, we don't buy new stuff often, and we do a lot of meal planning. We've even made goals with rewards that included travel, such as the time we decided to focus on cutting our student loans in half--and when we did that, we put the money we usually spent on loans into a Scotland travel fund. Our UK Extravaganza trip in 2011 was a huge celebration for us for that reason.

If you looked at all of your extras (and by this, I mean anything beyond food, water, basic clothing, housing, and school), you'd be surprised how much you're spending on Starbucks, dining out, manicures, movies, date nights, cell phone bills, and e-books. Put all of this into a travel fund, and you'll be off on a trip in no time!

Plus, you can travel frugally by going in the off-season, staying at less-than-five-star places, and eating locally. It's absolutely possible to have a cheap trip--even if you're heading out of the country.

6 Valid Reasons Why You Don't Travel (and What You Can Do About Them) | CosmosMariners.com
Walt Disney World, December 2014. We might all drive each other crazy, but we still love going on a family trip!

Family concerns. 
We're not all twenty-five and single, and we all can't jet off to be nomadic. Some of us have spouses, partners, children, and parents that are a part of our equation.

Solution: Find ways to travel with your loved ones. While this isn't always possible, especially if you have a homebound elderly parent or a family member with medical concerns, the vast majority of the time, you can discover ways to travel with the people you love. If you've got grown kids, get everyone together on a tropical getaway instead of doing the same thing during the holiday season. Take your parents on a river cruise, or plan a siblings-only hiking trip. Do a multi-generational trip and get those grandparents bonding with the grandkids.

And if you've got wee ones, take them with you! Babies might keep you up at night, but power through and they're great sightseeing buddies.

Travel often seems as if it divides families, but, when done correctly, it can bring you closer together.

Interest.
My grandfather, despite the rest of the family's love of traveling, would always insist on staying at his house because he couldn't imagine anything could be more interesting than what he'd find on television or in his garden. What do you do when you have a spouse or close family member who won't travel because it's not interesting enough?

Solution: Find ways to include their interests. Travel is nothing BUT interesting if done the right way. If your potential travel partner is interested in the military (as was my grandfather), include a battlefield, war museum, or re-enactment in your trip.

No matter if you love history, adventure, automobiles, nature, or fairy tales, there's sure to be something to peak your interest.

Health.
Yes, there's always the chance that you'll catch the flu mere hours before boarding a plane to Australia. There's always a chance that your child will try to climb onto the roof and break her arm the week you'd planned to see Niagara Falls.

Solution: Buy travel insurance. If you have hypochondriac tendencies or you're extra clumsy, the money for travel insurance will be well spent. Having it will ensure that--no matter what issues befall you--you won't lose every dime of your vacation money.

6 Valid Reasons Why You Don't Travel (and What You Can Do About Them) | CosmosMariners.com
Don't let the smile fool you. When I took this picture just two days after the London bombings, I was terrified on the inside. 

Fear. 
You're worried about losing your passport or your hotel being a dump. You're worried that the money you're spending will be wasted. You're worried about getting lost, being mugged, or not being able to communicate. There are many, many ways to be scared, worried, and terrified while traveling, and this fear stops many people from ever leaving their houses.

Solution: Just do it. That Nike knew what they were talking about. Yes, you could get hurt in a plethora of creative ways while traveling. But, statistically, you're far more likely to get killed by falling down (1-in-500 chance) than dying in an aircraft accident (1-in-20,000). Don't those stairs in your house look a lot more menacing now?

I've always said that I wouldn't ever let being afraid stop me from doing something (well, except my fear of shellfish, but that's tied to a very nasty allergic reaction, so give me a pass there). It wasn't until I lived through the 2005 terrorist bombings in London that such a statement was truly challenged. But, even after seeing the aftereffects of such an event and being more scared than pretty much any other time in my life, I stand by it.

Life is scary. We can't control what happens to us. But we can try and go after our dreams as much as possible. So, if traveling is your dream, don't let your fear stand in your way.

What is your big hurdle to traveling? How do you try and offset these hurdles?