We’ve all either said it or heard it a million times:
“I’d love to travel but ___________________”.
The answers can vary wildly, but in the end, they are all the same thing: an excuse.
So why is it that some people “can” travel and others “can’t”?
To get to the bottom of this mystery, I’ve asked 71 of the world’s greatest travel experts one simple question:
What’s the most common excuse you hear for why people can’t travel, and why is it bull#$&%?
And experts they are. New York Times bestselling authors, travel television stars, people who were writing travel websites before most of us knew the internet existed, and even the youngest American ever to visit every country in the world.
The wealth of knowledge and travel experience these people possess is unparalleled, and now they’ve all answered this question for one reason: to inspire you to forget about your excuse and to get up and travel.
Are you really going to tell a person who took 13 years to walk, rollerblade, and pedal the entire globe that you can’t travel because you don’t have time?
- Chris Guillebeau
- Well, I think it’s fair to say that not everyone wants to travel. But among those who do want to travel, yet say they “can’t”, most of them tend to point to some combination of costs (“I don’t have the money”) and uncertainty (“I don’t know how to see the world”). In many cases the first problem is simply a matter of priorities—they’ve chosen to spend on other things. The second problem may be a stalling tactic, or it may just be a lack of awareness of what’s possible. Hopefully as more and more people overcome their concerns and find their way out the door, others will be inspired to overcome whatever they perceive to be difficult… even if it’s simply a perception not based in reality.
- Gary Arndt
- The #1 excuse I hear people give is money. What few people realize is that traveling can be done much cheaper than most people think. Depending on where you visit and how you chose to travel, it can be done much more affordably than they assume.
- Matt Kepnes
- Money. People think they need a lot of money to travel due to great marketing by travel companies but as I and countless other people are examples of, you don’t need a lot of money when you travel. Between discount cards, work programs, frequent flier miles, and sites like couchsurfing, you can travel the world for pretty cheap if you really want to.
- Rick Steves
The things that hold people back from traveling but really shouldn’t are language barrier and the feeling that they don’t have the time. Language barrier is a very small obstacle to overcome, especially for those of us lucky people whose first language is English. So much of the world now speaks enough English for us to get by and in many cases (Holland, for example) they speak English about as well as we do!
A few simple phrases in foreign languages (hello, thank you, do you speak English) are enough to get by. Any issues that arise can usually be solved with hand gestures, facial expressions or pointing at a phrase book. It’s a fun challenge overcoming those obstacles and more people should embrace that challenge rather than let the unwarranted fear paralyze them.
The second excuse people tend to use is they just don’t have time. Americans are known around the world as workaholics who never use their vacation time. If these people truly put their mind to it, they could find the time to travel. You really just have to make the decision to book a trip and go for it and you’ll realize how refreshing travel can be, not to mention the ways it changes your world view on other cultures and people, helps you grow as a person and makes you appreciate what you have at home.
- Heather O’Brien
- One of the top reasons people give for why they can’t travel is that they can’t afford it. There are lots of services out there to help relieve the financial burden (and CouchSurfers often save money by staying with hosts) but the real benefit of CouchSurfing is something a little less black and white.
That is, I think a lot of people don’t travel because it’s overwhelming, or maybe a little scary, to strike out in a new place on your own. How will you know what to do? How will you stay safe and avoid being taken advantage of? Will you get lonely?
With CouchSurfing, you not only have a place to stay, but you have a friend where you are going–someone who can show you the cool, off-the-beaten-path local sites, help you avoid paying too much for a taxi, introduce you to local customs,. etc. The connections you can make, and the experiences you have with these new friends are priceless.
- Rolf Potts
- The most common reason people give for why they can’t undertake long-term journeys is that they don’t have enough money to travel. This is a natural reaction in a society where money is seen as the solution to all of one’s problems.
The thing is, one only needs a modest amount of money (less, often, than one spends on day-to-day living at home) to travel the world for weeks or months or even years at a time. Money isn’t our truest form of wealth in life; time is — and it doesn’t take all that much money to allow oneself to spend one’s time in a rich way.
- Colin Wright
- The most common excuse is that they don’t have the money for travel. This is true in some circumstances, but in most cases I think people are limited by thinking travel has to be a pre-planned tourist package or the like — if you travel and avoid the touristy stuff, however, it’s actually quite cheap. Pay for the plane ticket and then stay where the local stay, eat what the locals eat, and hang out with the locals. Pay local prices and keep the cost down.
- Benny Lewis
- Usually people will latch on to what seems like a totally logical reason to not travel, such as lack of money, no time, unable to get off work, family responsibilities and so on. At times these are legitimate, but many times the true reason they are not following this passion is fear, and the reason they give you when you ask is founded in nothing but this fear.
They can repeat the mantra of “I have no money” all they like, ignoring stark evidence about how they should embrace minimalism and stop buying so much crap, or perhaps they think that learning a language is a rare genetic gift even though over half the population of the planet is multilingual. It’s time they stepped outside of their self-fulfilling prophecies.
- Michael Hodson
- I think the main reasons for most are the exact same ones I had before I started my solo international traveling: fear of not meeting people and not being able to speak the language. The two go hand-in-hand.
If you haven’t done much international travel, you think you won’t be able to communicate basic needs and that you also are just going to be wandering around by yourself, lonely and pathetic.
My advice to everyone is to do what I did eight or nine years ago — head anywhere to Europe by yourself for about a ten day trip. Cures both those fears immediately — you’ll make more friends than you could ever imagine and you will have absolutely no problem communicating, since almost everyone you run into in any of the areas of need (food, lodging, transportation) speaks English… sometimes better than you do.
- Lee Abbamonte
- The two most common reasons people give me is money and time off. They are BS because if you have had any type of job in your life, you should have at least a little money saved and can work around the rest when you travel. You can travel cheaply, work your way around your travels and go from there.
As far as time goes, make the time-if you have a job you can’t get any time off; perhaps it’s time to change jobs! Those are the two biggest reasons I get and they are both BS, you don’t have to be rich to travel and sure you need time but you can make that happen if you really want to!
- Sean Keener
- The reasons I hear most often from folks about why they can’t do independent travel are lack of time, lack of money, and other made up barriers in the mind.
My answer after working with hundreds of thousands of travelers the past 15 years of why these reasons are not true is that they are truly myths. As humans, we have freedom of choice and everyday we make hundreds of decisions on how to think and what to do with our time. The reason folks don’t travel is a choice that they make, not the reasons listed above. Go Indie Travel, it’s the best way to get an education(better than college and a better investment in yourself”).
- Wes Nations
- It’s a good question. I wouldn’t say the reasons why not are bullshit — I’d say they fall in two areas: fear or lack of desire. I have people tell me all the time that they’d “love to have my job”. And that’s a bit of a white lie because if they *really* wanted to do it, they’d find a way.
If we’re just talking about a week or two abroad, then it usually comes down to money or fear of the unknown. If we’re talking about long-term travel, they have to be willing to make certain sacrifices to do it and that’s where things get tricky.
“How bad do you want it? Are you willing to give up your TV, your home, fast food, and holidays with the family? Are you willing to hop on a bus, sit next to a goat and hope that you’re on the right bus?”
That’s a large step for the majority of us and I think that’s what really holds people back from extended travel. Doing what I do is a lot easier when you don’t have a mortgage and children. And you’re not terribly bright ;)
- Jodi Ettenberg
- I think there are often very valid reasons preventing people who would like to travel from doing so. That said, for some the obstacles are surmountable but the mental and physical efforts to doing so are seemingly impossible to overcome.
The most common response is being away from family, but I usually explain that I have seen more of my family since I quit to travel than whilst I was working.
Money is the second, and some people validly cannot leave. For those who can, the obstacle is the in-depth rearrangement of how they live their lives and how they spend their money. That’s what life takes in the end; it’s all calculus, prioritizing spending money on the things that matter most to you.
If travel is one of those priorities, you can make it happen. It doesn’t make the process any less terrifying, but that fear comes with a beautiful reward that keeps giving: seeing the rest of the world.
- Simon Fairbarn & Erin McNeaney
- The biggest reason people give for why they can’t travel is money. They think it’s expensive but it really doesn’t have to be. There are so many ways to save money while traveling such as working in exchange for accommodation and board (WWOOF or HelpX) or getting free accommodation by couchsurfing or housesitting.
It takes sacrifices but by cutting down all unnecessary expenses at home: drinking, meals out, coffees, buying new things, then it’s easier than people think to save for travel. You just have to prioritize travel above everything else—by doing this we saved 75% of our income for our travel fund.
- Sean Ogle
- The most common response I hear for not traveling is “I don’t have the money.” I’m sorry, it’s not that you don’t have the money, it’s that you have other priorities – or perhaps have had a lifetime of other priorities and are now feeling the consequences. You can travel, but it might require some really uncomfortable changes. I had to sell my car and quit my job – but my desire to travel made it all worth it.
- John DiScala
- Usually people say they don’t have the money to travel. What’s funny is that they are usually the ones that buy daily Starbucks drinks that cost around $4. If they cut that out of their daily routine they would have more than enough money to travel. People can also swap houses/apartments or couchsurf so lodging can be next to nothing so I don’t buy the money excuse. If you really want to travel you will find a way.
- Earl Baron
- Reason: Fear of traveling alone
Why it’s BS: Once you start traveling you will meet new people everywhere you go, at hostels and hotels, while participating in activities, in cafes and restaurants, and this will include both locals and other travelers from around the world.
In fact, it’s quite difficult to be alone while traveling because of all the people you’ll meet every day and usually, after just a couple of days, all of the fears that solo travelers have before leaving for their trip, disappear completely.
- Nora Dunn
- “Oh I wish I could travel like you do, but I know I never could!” is the most often heard response on learning about my full-time travel lifestyle.
When I push them for reasons, I usually get vague muttered answers like “I like my stuff” or “I can’t afford it”. Well, if you really (really truly) love your stuff, then there’s not much you can do shy of cramming it in a bag or storing it (at which point you’ll probably discover that “stuff” isn’t all that important).
But if you don’t travel because you think you can’t afford it, think again. I’ve been traveling full-time in a financially sustainable way, and in the last two years my expenses were only about $17,000 – LESS than what you’d pay to live in one place!
- Melvin Bocher
- I’ve heard maaaany times that people would love to travel the world as I do. Important, that’s what they also said before I started with Traveldudes!
I encourage people to do so every time. When we then meet up again and I asked them where they went, they always tell me that they had no money or no time.
That’s fine, but that means they weren’t serious when they said they wanted to travel. It’s that many just have other priorities in life. They prefer to drive fancy cars, have huge TVs or any other materialistic stuff. That’s all good, as it’s their decision, but then there is no need to be envious about my travels, as I’m also not envious on their cars. If you really want to travel, you can do so. It’s all up to you.
- Kent Foster
- I’d say the most common reason people say they can’t travel is that it is too expensive, though I don’t necessarily blame them for that perception. Many people associate travel with 4-star hotels, fine dining, and guided tours and aren’t aware that there are other options. The other options may be less comfortable and have a less refined ambiance, but they make up for it by having a more authentic experience, something that they will remember better than a mint on the pillow.
- Dalene and Peter Heck
- The most common thing we hear is: “Oh, I wish we could travel full-time like you do! But we can’t afford it!”
What people don’t realize, however, is that traveling can actually be cheaper than staying in one place! We have no house thus no mortgage, no car thus no car payments. We live only on what we have in our backpack, which precludes doing much shopping at all! Instead, we spend our money on experiencing new lands and cultures, and essentially just living out our dreams.
- Jason Lewis
- I reckon the most common reason for why people can’t or don’t travel extensively (not just a short holiday vacation) is the thought of having to break all the commitments we have in our daily lives. Only when you actually try to leave a place do you realize how many ties there are to it: family, money, bills to pay, mortgages to keep up, relationships, and so on. So if you really do want to travel, there is a point when you have to just start. If you don’t, there will always be a thousand reasons not to go.
- Chris Richardson
- Everyone’s got an excuse as to why they can’t travel the world or take off for an extended trip away. Not enough money, I don’t speak the language, my mum won’t let me…the list goes on and on. In the end most of the time these are just excuses for the real reason which is fear.
Of course its going to be scary your breaking out of your comfort zone and pushing your own boundaries. But as soon as you step foot abroad and experience the food, people and culture you quickly learn that there was nothing to be afraid of to begin with. I was scared out of my mind leaving home but now the decision to travel has left me feeling stronger, more confident and afraid of nothing.
- Steve Kamb
- By far, the most common excuse for not traveling is “I can’t afford it.” What it really comes down to is that people can’t afford to travel because traveling isn’t a priority for them. Instead, they chose to spend their money on other tasks (expensive monthly cable bill, memberships, eating out most nights, partying on weekends, buying useless gadgets, etc.)
If they REALLY wanted to take a trip, they would do the research, figure out the cost, find ways to travel cheaply (using frequent flyer miles, staying in hostels), and then analyzing where they can save money (less nights out) or make more money (side jobs) to be able to afford a trip. It all comes down to priorities!
- Deb & Dave Bouskill
- We think the most common reason people give for why they can’t travel is money. Most people put every other expense ahead of travel. They’ll buy yet another big screen tv or the latest smart phone to come on the market when they already have a perfectly fine phone in their pocket. They’ll finance a new car that they can’t afford, and pay too much on eating out every weekend.
If they could drop one of these things from their life, they could have a trip of a lifetime. When you travel independently, you can travel for cheap. Stop looking at the package vacations and all inclusive resorts and stay at local guest houses, eat at local restaurants and hire local guides. Instead of a week-long vacation at a 5 star resort, make your own trip for a fraction of the price and have a life changing experience that will enrich you for years to come.
- Audrey Scott & David Noll
- The most common answer people give for why they can’t travel is money. People look at us and think we’re millionaires when that is sooo far from the truth. There are two sides of this coin – the ability to save money and how much it really costs to travel (hint: it might be much less than you think).
Now, for some people money is a very real and valid reason. They are scraping by with very little while living very simply. Or, they have obligations to take care of loved ones. There’s no room to budge.
But for many people, it’s a matter of how they spend their money. Sometimes the money goes into upgrading cars, houses, appliances clothes. Other times it goes into heavy smartphone or Cable TV plans. Or perhaps eating or drinking out all the time.
Take a look at monthly expenses and see where it all goes. Within a few months of adjusting behaviors you might realize you can take that trip to Thailand after all…
- Chris Christensen
- Surprisingly the most common reason I hear from people who want to travel but don’t is fear. They are afraid that foreign cities are scary. People here in the U.S. are afraid people will hate Americans. They are afraid that they will not be able to speak the language, and therefore can’t get around. It would often take only one trip, even an escorted small group trip, to change their minds.
- Nicole and Cam Wears
- Most people that we speak with say they can’t travel because of work and personal obligations. They think that just because they have a full-time job, a baby and a pet that travel has to be put on hold. The timing is never going to be perfect, with or without a job and family.
But life isn’t supposed to be perfect, it’s supposed to be enjoyed. Use your vacation days, take a leave of absence, or quit if you have to (we did, and everything worked out fine – in fact, better than fine!). If travel is important to you, then make it a priority and change the way you approach life. You’ll be thankful you did!
- Kate McCulley
- People often say that they don’t have rich parents who will pay for them to backpack the world!
That couldn’t be less true. Of all the people I met traveling the world, about 98% of them did so by saving money for a long time and using that money to travel. It’s something that anyone can do but not a lot of people actually do because they prioritize nights out with friends, or decorating their home, or buying lots of movies. If you prioritize travel and save your money, you can actually afford to do this!
- David Lee
- Money and time are two of the biggest reasons I hear, and I understand them both well having not traveled much in my 20′s.
People have a misconception that travel has to be costly, however there are ways to save money at every step along the way, from booking your own airfare on discount airlines to staying on people’s couches for free (through Couchsurfing.org).
Time is a bit more difficult. Americans, for example, typically have just 2-3 weeks of vacation per year. That’s why I chose to take a career break and give myself 12+ months to explore the world. Other good times include before or after college, summer breaks, and before starting a new job.
- Caz and Craig Makepeace
- The most common reason they answer no to travel is because they believe they don’t have the money. Travel is not as expensive as people think. You can travel in some countries for $20 a day and when you travel you have no other expenses like loans, bills, and heavy living costs.
The real reason people say this as an excuse is because they are not willing to make the sacrifice. Finding out how to travel on a budget takes time and sacrifice. It means giving up luxury items and spending a little more time working out how to get cheap accommodation and travel. This is what most people really don’t want to do
- Ayngelina Brogan
- Traveling is too expensive. Taking a big luxury trip to the other side of the world can be expensive but there are plenty of weekend road trips that are completely affordable.
- Barbara Weibel
- The question I am most often asked, especially by single women, is “Aren’t you afraid to travel alone?” Somehow, in the United States we have come to believe that overseas travel is dangerous. Nothing could be farther than the truth. I have traveled solo all over the world, including Africa and Asia, and have never felt afraid.
I take every opportunity to strike up conversations with locals and before I know it, I’m having dinner with their family or being given advice about something to see that I might not have otherwise known about. If you have the least little bit of adventurous spirit, a love of people, the ability to be flexible, and a good sense of humor, you are the perfect candidate to travel the world. Just go for it!
- Kash Bhattacharya
- I most often hear “I don’t want to leave home and leave my friends and family behind when going traveling.” I tell them that it’s a shame because your country will never leave you and nor will your family or friends. The best way to love your country is by leaving it. Only by visiting other places do you appreciate the true beauty of home.
- Jenny Leonard
- Everybody has some excuse really. The main ones I get are A. Money B. Responsibilities like mortgage, family, kids, and C. career implications for taking a break. They are all bullshit because in reality, if you really want something, you’ll go get it.
What they are really saying is… My [enter excuse here] is more important than following my heart/passion/dream. Change your priorities, change your life. Every person has a different obstacle to overcome. I may be single and young, but I have serious medical conditions that I have to overcome in order to do what I do.
- Francis Tapon
- The most common reason people give for why they can’t travel for long periods is that they’re tied down with obligations like kids, mortgage, and a job. First, kids show us every summer that they can take three months off – so it’s BS that they’re holding us back.
Second, rental or mortgage obligations can be handled by subletting or renting your place; often you can cover your costs. Getting your employer to give you a few months off is the hardest part, but if you negotiate well and are sensitive to their needs, you can often get unpaid time off.
- Travis Sherry
- You’re halfway there! Go grab yourself a drink and come right back for even more inspiration!
- Anthony Bianco
- The most common reason I’ve heard is that ‘I don’t have time’. That reason is crap because if you never plan to travel, then you plan to fail and not ever travel.
All you have to do is pick the time and place, and work everything else around that time to make sure it happens. It’s best to plan your work around your leave and not your leave around your work because something else will always comes up to take away the focus from traveling. Anyway, travel is something most people would rather be doing in the first place!
- Sofia Von Porat & Nathan Schacherer
- The most common excuse people give to why they can’t travel is that
they can’t afford it.
8 years ago Nathan left New Zealand with a one way plane ticket to
Switzerland and €100 in his pocket – that was all he had, and he made
In 2008 we left to travel the world for 8 months with $6000
each, and made it work.
If you really want something, you will find a way to make it work, any
other reason is just an excuse to cover up all the fears and
uncertainty you have about traveling – have faith that life always
works out and go travel!
- Linda & Craig Martin
- The one that springs to mind is “I don’t have enough time or money.” For most people on a living wage, these aren’t the real reasons: the issue is prioritizing. Using house-swaps, Couchsurfing, ride shares and promotional tickets, you can travel extensively on a low budget…if you want to. And if you want to, start to plan. We have several books and resources available to get you started at IndieTravelPodcast.
- James Clark
- The most common reason I hear is that they can’t afford it. I call bull#@$% on that as there are many daily living expenses that can be trimmed back or avoided if you want to save for travel. And if you are living in the US, Australia or Western Europe and haven’t traveled before you will be surprised how inexpensive travel can be in some parts of the world, especially if you avoid chain hotels and tours.
- Samuel Jeffery
- In my experience the biggest reason people don’t take the trip of their lifetime is because of fear. This type of fear manifests in a number of different ways.
Firstly, it’s in the form of excuses, such as I can’t afford to go or it’ll ruin my career. I think many people are afraid of traveling outside of their comfort zone and giving up the material creature comforts that society dictates are important.
The reason this is bull&*^& is that fear is not very different from the emotion of feeling excited; for those who can breakthrough this fear there is a world out there waiting for them to explore.
- Michael Tieso
- The most common reason people tell me why they can’t travel is because they don’t have money. It’s a legitimate reason but one that could be resolved easily by setting different priorities. Get rid of bills and pay off as much debt as possible. Live simply and start saving. Easier said than done at first but once you get in the groove, it becomes easier.
- Randy Petersen
- Because they can’t leave their dog—That’s bull#@$%. I have two Shih-Tzu’s (Frosty and Teddy) and they are the loves of my life, but I still leave them and yet still love them.
If you have dogs in your life, you should also have many friends and I’ve found an “Aunt” for my boys when I travel and they love her as much as they love me.
I’ve seen the world and still see the happiness I am to them when I return and also, the happiness they bring to me when I’m away. Every dog I see reminds me of my boys back home. They seem to understand because time and time again, they are the happiest guys ever when I unlock the door late at night returning from some adventure that has enriched my life.
- Marcello Arrambide
- That they can’t afford it. Most people think that it costs a fortune to travel but if you choose your locations wisely and also watch what you spend your money on it doesn’t have to be expensive at all. If you don’t have money then all you need is time. With time, everything can essentially be free.
- Anil Polat
- It really depends. While the excuses are often practical concerns, generally for most people (not living in poverty) they can be reasonably overcome. It just takes a good plan, schedule, and strategy to prevent indefinitely procrastination.
- Jeanne Dee, Da Vinci & Mozart
- “Travel is too expensive and impossible with kids in school” is what we hear a lot, but we have proven that is simply not true. We’ve traveled the world non-stop for 7 years to 45 countries on 5 continents on just $23/day per person with a school age child, living a very rich life for much less than we ever lived at home.
We travel the world slowly primarily for the educational value for our child, as we are monolingual parents raising a fluent-as-a-native trilingual/triliterate in Mandarin/Spanish/English child who also plays piano and violin.
In our shrinking world, international travel is the best possible educational tool that one can give to a 21st century kid…not to mention the freedom, fun and bonding benefits for the whole family as well as the amazing global friends one meets along the way!
- Anna Starostinetskaya
- The most common excuse I hear is “I don’t have time to travel.” Your parents may think that traveling is a huge waste of time- all about getting drunk and partying (and some of it should be)- but it has real value that your lame day-to-day life at home just can’t match.
Add up your morning commute, time on Facebook, and those days you’re just too bored with life to get out of bed. What’s that equal? A whole bunch of empty time. Every minute of travel is a change and an opportunity to learn something new.
- Diana Edelman
- The most common reason I get for why people can’t travel (aside from fear) is money. It’s bullshit because if you want it bad enough, you can make it happen. Get another job. Get roommates. Don’t eat out/drink/buy things you don’t need. Save those pennies in a special account. Then, go, go, go! It may take time, but if you REALLY want it, you can make it happen.
- Adela & Cole Burmester
- Our personal pet peeve is when people say they don’t have the money to travel. Aaaahhh it drives us nuts. Especially when they say it to you while you are out having a beer with them or eating out at a restaurant.
Here they are spending their money that they apparently don’t have! It is all about priorities. If you want to travel then start saving. It is amazing how much you can save just by cutting out a few things like that coffee at work or movie night out. For the price of a cappuccino you can live in Southeast Asia for a day!
- Benjamin Jenks
- Reason: No money.
Why this is bullshit: You don’t need money to travel (or at least not much). Couchsurf, frequent flyer miles, hitchhiking, rideshares… go walk through a forest you have never been in before…
And you are traveling. :)
Travel is about exploring a new place and you can do that for free.
- Maneesh Sethi
- The two most common reasons are normally 1) lack of funds and 2) my family will get mad.
This is BS because it costs less than ever today to travel. Hell, you can fly business class to Medellin Colombia for just $77. And once you get there, everything will be cheaper than in the US. Food, living, drinks—you’ll spend far less than in the USA.
Your family will get mad? You can assert some independence. Parents come from a different generation, and even if they don’t approve, they will get over it. In 40 years, will you regret going? Or not going? Because your parents’ anger will fade, but your regrets won’t.
- Matt Long
- Well, the most common reason given and the real reason are two different things. People will cite everything from lack of time to money, but the real reason is fear. Fear of the unknown, the unfamiliar. Once they take that great leap though there’s no turning back because travel is the best antidote to fear and distrust.
- Gary Leff
- When folks put up their walls on travel, I usually turn off. All the reasons are more or less the same to me, so it’s hard to tell you the most common reason why.
As I think on it, and this is probably an age thing, but what I hear most is “young children” and I think “infant fares aren’t THAT expensive” plus “don’t the kids have grandparents?”
It’s often cheaper to travel to Asia than to a major US city. Even if the airfare is higher the lodging and amount of money you’ll spend while you’re there is less. Europe and South America don’t take much longer to get to than flying between US coasts. And was the laundry REALLY that important last weekend?
- Beth Whitman
- No money. Yes, lack of funds can be a deterrent to travel but this excuse usually comes from people who are spending $8/day for their lunch and going out to dinner and drinks several nights a week. And don’t get me started on $6 Starbucks coffee!
Saving your money from meals and coffees out can really add up. And with all the sites today that help people connect and stay with other travelers (Couchsurfing, GlobalFreeloaders, Servas), you don’t have to spend a bundle on hotels.
- Andy Peck
- The most common reason for people saying they can’t travel in my experience is fear.
I think too many people worry about whether locations are dangerous through generalized media reports (meaning just use a bit of common sense) and I also think many worry about traveling alone – but I believe traveling is one of the most sociable things you can do, and often brings life long friends. Many also worry about whether to take that ‘big step’ – you can always go back.
(BTW – Both my great grandmothers coincidentally went traveling on their own in 1901 and 1907 – one to India, and one to China. (How about that without a Lonely Planet and banana pancakes))!
The thing that bugs me the most is when people ask “When are you going to get over the traveling thing?” or “How is it to be back in the real world?”.
Both comments I struggle with as traveling is in my blood and an adventure – we are so lucky to be able to travel. As for the real world- it’s what you make it, and from what I hear, according to the cynics of traveling, it usually has to include an element of mundane to make it ‘real’.
- Daraius Dubash
- The most common reason is because they don’t have the time or the money. But that is just an excuse. If you *really* wanted to do something, you’d find a way to do it. Lots of folks travel with very little money and make time to travel. You don’t need to be rich to travel.
- Keith Savage
- The reason why people can’t travel that I hear most often is simply that they can’t afford it. I call bullshit. Have they tracked their monthly expenses at a granular level? Do they know where the money goes? How much are they saving?
The truth is that people aren’t prioritizing travel so the money flows elsewhere. If you seriously want to travel, get serious about tracking your expenses, make strategic changes, and you’ll find your excuses for not traveling no longer hold weight.
- Scott Mackenzie
- Most people complain that travel is too expensive, too inconvenient, or too uncomfortable. It might be, but that’s the price for new experiences instead of staying at home like everyone else.
I like NASA’s unofficial motto, which also applies to travel: Faster, Better, Cheaper–Pick Two. Remember that you can’t have everything you want, but if you’re flexible on one thing, you can usually find a solution that works.
- Becky Padmore
- I think lack of money is the most common reason people give when asked why they can’t travel. Obviously you do need some money but if you’re clever about planning your trip you probably don’t need as much as you think. Shop around for good deals, stay out of the main tourist drags and look into working while you travel.
Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is still a popular option and WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) has taken off in the past few years thanks to the organic and slow food movements. And the rise of house swapping and of course couchsurfing means this excuse has never looked so flimsy!”
- Amar Hussain
- The most common reason I hear is “now isn’t the right time”. I have to wait until I get that promotion, there’s a wedding I should really attend, what if I miss out on x, y, z etc. The list of excuses is endless.
You will never find a good time to go traveling. There will always be that next step you feel you are supposed to take. But let me ask you this: Would you rather live the life you want rather than one others expect you to have?
If travel is something you think about every day and yet you aren’t doing it, you’re not being true to yourself and what you really want. Quit the excuses and just know that the invisible step is going to be there when you set off traveling. Trust me, it is.
- Rick Ingersoll
- I think people are basically lazy and don’t realize the value of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. When one considers that a little time well spent can easily generate $20,000 of free travel year after year after year, I think frequent flyer miles is the most misunderstood of hobbies there is. There is a learning curve, yes for sure, but there are plenty of free sources to help the newbie along.
- Jason Demant
- I would say the number one reason people give is money. I don’t think it’s necessarily bullshit but I think what it really boils down to is people’s priorities. If you truly want to travel you can find a way to save some money by skipping happy hour, not eating out, or doing some extra freelance work after hours. At the end, most people don’t want to make those sacrifices. It’s a shame.
- Daniel Nahabedian
- There are many excuses people give to avoid travelling, from obligations, to finances, to jobs, etc.. But behind all these excuses there’s one real culprit: Fear.
People are afraid of change, afraid of the unknown and what they cannot control. What if something bad happens? What if I run out of money?
I was in the same situation until I took a month off to walk on the Camino de Santiago and asked myself: “What’s the worst that can happen?”. With a minimum of planning and common sense, you can avoid most stressful situations.
The world is not a dangerous place and there’s much to be seen. So get over your fear, find a friend to travel with and go discover what the world is about.
- Noah Lederman
- There are many excuses for why people can’t travel–money, time, commitments–but my grandfather’s reason for why you shouldn’t travel is my favorite.
“Why would I travel? I can just learn about that place on a television program.” It’s not worth arguing with him because, like most nonagenarians, he’s pretty set in his ways.
But just the other day, he was telling me about being a hobo, hopping trains from Milwaukee to California in the 1930s. After he told the story, he was very quiet. There was a big smile on his face as he reflected upon his adventures. I didn’t need to tell him that television will never truly replace experience.
- Michael Powell
- Travel is avoided by many …
Because it is said the world’s too dangerous, that people are bad, that you need more money, that I will do it next year or the next. Or dumb-arse concepts like: I’ve seen it on TV.
Talk is easy, talk is safe, talk is forgotten; only action is true.
Ignorance is NOT bliss – it’s simply a straight-jacket reality.
Open your eyes: Travel is a journey called Life.
- Justin Morris
- Most people cite that they don’t have the time or money to travel, which is ridiculous. You can plan adventurous, fun, exciting, inexpensive, short breaks away from home multiple times a year easily.
The way I do it is by using weekends and my holiday days craftily and planning just a few weeks in advance. You can get cheap flights to many destinations within a 2-3 hour flight time and the short time away means it’s less of an impact on your life.
- Geoff Whitmore
- People always tell me “I don’t have enough money to travel.” Waaaaa. This answer is bull#@$%, because if you have good credit and are responsible – you can travel in style for a price you can afford by earning frequent flyer miles.
- Summer Hull
- People say they can’t travel much because they have an infant/toddler/young child. That is utter non-sense because when a baby is young can actually be a very easy time to travel (when they are sleeping a lot and not yet mobile). If you choose to, you can even just have them as a lap infant and not incur too much additional expense for bringing them along.
Toddlers can be more of a challenge, but it isn’t that hard to get them to understand the routine of travel and become a willing and happy traveler. Some movies, colors, snacks, books, and small toys can go a very long way in making young kids happy members of a traveling family.
- Stacy Small
- Most people say they can’t travel due to busy work schedules. They all want to travel but often have a hard time finding and making the time. My response is that life’s too short not to travel and with nearly every hotel (and many planes) wi-fi enabled, it’s easy to stay as connected as needed wherever you go!
- The most common reason people give me for not being able to travel is because of their current commitments. This is usually work, family and/or financial.
In regards to family it truly depends on your life situation. There are many families and solo parents out there traveling. Read their experiences and see what you can handle!
As for work and finance then your commitment is only to your debt. Clear that debt first. And at worst drop everything and simply move to a new country and lower you income while continuing to pay off the debt. Just make sure you are not digging into deeper debt.
With some planning, courage and that first step commitments can take on a new light in the realm of travel!!
- Ben Schlappig
- I’d say the most common excuse people give for not being able to travel is that they can’t afford it. I don’t think that’s a good excuse because if you have decent credit and are willing to put a bit of time into the hobby of frequent flyer miles, anyone can travel for next to nothing. By taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and other bonus offers you can get luxury travel (flights and hotels) for nothing more than the annual fee of a credit card, if it’s not waived the first year.
Lastly, a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in this project! Your insight has been amazing, and a major inspiration.
To everyone reading, what are your reasons for not traveling? And how has this post inspired you to look at it in a different light? Let us know in the comments below.
If you’ve found this post to be especially awesome, please share it on Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon, etc. The more travelers the world has, the better it becomes!