You can travel, you just choose not to. It doesn’t matter how much (or little) money you make, how many responsibilities you have or what your work schedule is like, travel on some scale, is possible. Let’s take a look at the most common excuses:
“I don’t have enough money to travel”
First of all, let’s make one thing perfectly clear: I’m not talking to those of you struggling to put food on the table, who can’t afford the basic necessities due to your current circumstances. This advice is not for you. I’m talking to the people who feel like they don’t have the money to travel. If you have to choose between food and medication, between an electric bill and a bus pass, stop reading. You have other priorities right now, you take care of you, travel can come later.
However, if you are choosing between a 12th latté for the month or a new pair of boots, going out or staying in, a spa treatment or new fall makeup look: you, my friend are my target audience.
You have the money. You’re just using it for other things.
Let’s take your latté for starters. Let’s say that an average cost of a latté is $3. Let’s also say that you have one, oh…five times a week. That means that you are spending roughly $60 a month on coffee. Do you often get a pastry to go with your coffee? Let’s add that in as well at $2.
Here’s what you are spending on coffee:
Ok, so you already have enough for a plane ticket just about anywhere. Let’s see if we can’t get you some hotel money. Why don’t we look at your “entertainment” budget? Let’s say you eat lunch out 2x a week and dinner out another 2x. Lunch will run you around $15, if we are being frugal, and dinner around $25. Do you like to have a glass of wine with dinner or a nightcap afterwards? Let’s just toss two drinks in with your dinners for another $25. Let’s see where we are at:
That should cover your hotel and food and spending money. Unless you have extremely expensive tastes, in which case you probably either won’t take or don’t need this advice. I won’t even bring up the savings for smokers, if you were to give it up or cut back drastically. I’ve done it personally and let me just tell you, you can travel a whole lot on the money you save from just not buying cigarettes.
(Ok, I will go there, just for pure shock value: the average smoker smokes a pack a day. At roughly $7 per pack—depending on where you live—you’re spending $2,500+/year on smoking. Add that to your dining out money, and now you’re flying first class.)
I’m not suggesting that you never drink a cup of coffee or have a meal in a restaurant or even that you have to quit smoking to travel. You can cut back a bit in each category and still have enough to take any trip that you can dream up. It’s more about making travel a priority and adjusting your spending accordingly than it is living like a cloistered nun.
“I don’t have enough time to travel”
Second only to “I don’t have enough money,” the time excuse is a constant. It’s funny, actually, how similar time and money actually are. The only difference is that one is finite and the other is not. No matter what you do, you can never earn more time. Your twenty-four hours in a day is what you’ve got to work with. You can, however, distribute that amount of time differently. It all comes down to priorities.
As mentioned in “Travel. It’s good for you,” the size of your trip doesn’t matter. There are plenty of weekend getaways that can happen by plane, car or train. Usually, a half-day or so travel time will get you pretty far from your everyday surroundings. Some of us have demanding jobs, families and outside obligations to consider and a trip may seem completely overwhelming. When you come back, everything that you should have been doing while you were away tends to pile up. With a little pre-planning and prep work, you can minimize the pile-up effect. Tend to responsibilities that you normally reserve for the day-of a few days before. Arrange for someone to watch the kids or the pets. Or, just take them with you. What’s one or two days of missed school once a year? Again, priorities come into play here. I’m not suggesting that you drop every single ball that you have in the air at any given moment and go jet-setting every weekend, but a little trip once or twice a year can be good for everyone.
If you want to put a little more research into your travel plans, most booking sites have “last-minute” getaways that are anywhere from 2-4 days. Most of the time they are typical weekend destinations (think: Las Vegas, Washington DC, Myrtle Beach, etc.), but every once and awhile a really great opportunity can come along. One of my biggest regrets in life was not taking a $500 3-day trip to Barcelona 2 days beforehand. In the span of a long weekend, I would have been able to have a tiny taste of a completely different culture. If you are willing to do a little hunting, there are great deals on short trips to be had.
In the end, it’s easy to make an excuse not to travel. Really easy. There’s always something else that needs your attention: a family obligation, a broken washing machine, or maybe you just don’t have the energy right now to even think about packing a suitcase. I’m not suggesting that it’s for everyone, but if you have the itch, if you’ve ever even considered stepping out for a little bit and discovering somewhere new, I’m here to tell you that it’s possible. You just have to make it happen.