If you’re obsessed with travel but you haven’t taken time out of your busy life to go off on an adventure in a long time, it’s worth asking yourself what’s stopping you from doing what you love. Many of us give up on our travel dreams when our lives become more firmly established, only to regret it later on in life.
Whether you’re dreaming of Pompeii or Positano, life can easily get in the way of your exciting plans. If you’ve let your passion for travel take a back seat to your career and other commitments, this list of the most common excuses that adults give for why they don’t travel anymore (and the arguments against them) should have you packing your bags in no time.
Travel is Dangerous
It’s understandable that many people avoid travelling to certain countries because of the things they see reported on the news. If the only thing you know about a country is that some bad things have happened there recently, this news might put you off travelling there, despite the amazing things that the country has to offer. The best antidote to this is to expand your horizons when it comes to media. Don’t just watch the news. Do your own homework, and always check out any current travel warnings that notify you which countries are safe to visit. As a rule of thumb, most of the countries you can think of to visit will be fine, but it can give you peace of mind to make sure.
Of course, there are dangers when you’re travelling. People do get mugged. Luggage and valuables are sometimes stolen. But remember, these kinds of things happen in your own country, too! It’s not travel that’s the problem, but lack of awareness on the part of travellers, and in some cases, a lack of prudence. Invest in smart luggage that is safe and secure. Conceal your valuables. Take a combination lock to use with any lockers that are provided by your accommodation. Avoid dark alleyways if you don’t know where you’re going, and don’t provoke arguments with people who seem intoxicated in any way, or give you the sense that they could lose their cool.
Travel is too Expensive
While you may associate the globe trotting lifestyle with the extravagantly wealthy, it’s important to realize that you do not have to be rich before you go gravelling. In fact, you can spend as little or as much on your overseas adventure as you want. For example, staying in expensive hotels and breaking the bank on champagne cocktails and daily room service is only one way of having a good time. (Fun, sure, but you’d probably miss out on most of the authentic travel experiences that you could get to enjoy if you stretched your budget further, and tried to live like a local in your destination city). If you put budgetary concerns first when you’re deciding where to go, and you’ll have less to worry about finances-wise when you actually get there. For example, for the price of an artisanal pastry in Milan, you could afford a three-course meal (and drinks) in a less expensive city. And remember, once you’ve embarked on your adventure, your outgoings are limited to accommodation, food, and transport, so you won’t have to shell out for your usual costs, like electricity and phone bills.
Travel Will Spell the End of My Career
When your work colleagues tell you that going travelling will spell the end of your career because of the time you’d be taking out from work, they could not be more wrong. After you’ve been travelling, once you head out into the world of work, you’ll be pleased to discover that many of the most marketable skills and experiences on your resume are thanks to your travel experiences. Travelling—solo adventures in particular—demand so much from you that conventional life does not. You have to be resourceful, flexible, and creative on a daily basis to navigate unfamiliar surrounds, new social situations, and the odd crisis on the road. Add to that the immensely broader perspective that your travel will have given you, and you might find that, far from being unemployable, you are an extremely popular candidate.
I Can’t Travel Because I Have a Mortgage
Buying your first house is a thrilling milestone to reach in life. That said, because you’re paying off a home doesn’t mean that you should be chained to that house for the entire duration of your mortgage. Consider renting your house out to friends or a well-vetted stranger while you’re away on your adventure. Depending on where in the world you’re travelling to, you might manage to cover most of your expenses with the income you get from renting your home out.
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of having tenants, consider doing a home swap. In this situation, you get to enjoy a holiday somewhere in the world by swapping homes for an agreed vacation period with a family who are dying to visit your hometown. Of course, this might seem like a daunting prospect, but community reviews and ratings make house swapping more secure.
I Don’t Want to Travel Alone
Many people find the idea of heading off to a foreign country quite exciting, but they end up putting it off endlessly because they don’t have anyone who wants to join them. Unfortunately, the result of this is that you end up never going, even though the experience would probably be even better for you if you’d had the courage to strike out on your own.
Saying that you prefer not to travel because you have no one to go with is like saying you prefer not to eat because you don’t have anyone to go out for dinner with you. Some of the most formative and exciting travel experiences come from solo adventures, which forced you to really take in what’s happening around you, and allow you to express yourself authentically, without having to constantly seek approval from your travel companion, or reaffirm your identity and social role.
Another thing you can do if you’re anxious about travelling alone is to stay at a hostel or backpacker accommodation. These cost-effective accommodation options are where great adventure—and fantastic new friendships—are made. Backpacker hostels usually boast their own unique and exciting culture, which allow you to form meaningful connections with travellers from all over the world, many of whom have also taken the plunge and decided to travel alone. Many hostels also schedule a fun calendar of daily activities that you can take advantage of (everything from communal meals to tours and hikes) so you won’t have to be too much of an extrovert to start meeting people on your own.
If you’re worried that you won’t meet like-minded people during your solo travel adventure, it’s worth planning your trip around events that you know will draw your tribe together. For example, if you adore yoga, why not head to a yoga festival? Or if you enjoy meditation, a meditation retreat could be just the place to meet people who feel similarly to you. It doesn’t matter what you choose—what matters is putting yourself in new places in which you’re sure to find likeminded people who share your values. Once you do, you’ll have no shortage of new friends waiting to be made.
Another great way to feel safer when you’re travelling is to check with the front desk of your hostel or backpacker accommodation. Simply inquire about parts of town that they recommend that you go, and whether there are parts of the city they would recommend that you stay clear of.
Travel Is Hard When You Don’t Speak the Language
Another common misconception about travelling is that you won’t be able to get around if you can’t already speak the native language. These days, travel is such a common phenomenon—in fact, many countries’ economies depend on tourism—so you’re unlikely to visit a place in which not speaking the language is a total disaster.
Of course, if you enjoy learning languages, travel is your opportunity to practice any phrases you’ve managed to pick up in the months or weeks (or plane flight) before, but even a couple of key phrases should be enough to help you get around. Duo Lingo is a great resource when you need a crash course. Otherwise, when in doubt, use Google translate. The locals will appreciate that you have taken the trouble to try to learn their language, but they probably won’t hold it against you if you haven’t. (And the fact is, you’ll probably still rely on the help of friendly locals, even if you’ve learned to communicate the basics. When it comes to travel, it’s often logistical knowledge, rather than language, that becomes the most valuable.)
When you’re younger, packing your backpack and striding off into the great unknown is somehow easier than when you’re an adult, and your life is becoming more established. If you’ve started to settle down, don’t let these commonly held misconceptions about travel stop you from heading off on your next big adventure.