Are you reading travel blogs and taking short trips, but are still longing to fulfill your ultimate travel dream? Whether it’s lazing on a beach on a faraway isle, going on safari in Africa, or spending months at a time in Europe, what’s keeping you from making your dream come true?
People offer lots of excuses for failing to act—from a lack of time and money to health concerns, responsibilities, and safety fears—but a fair case can be made that it’s often none of those. That’s because travel is as much a state of mind as it is an activity. So let’s take a look at those “excuses.”
Excuse #1: “I don’t have the money.”
If you’re not actually living in poverty or swimming in debit, chances are you can afford to travel. Do you really need a new car or that latte every day? My husband, Kevin, and I are retired, living on Social Security and our limited savings. Yet we take trips that some of our less economically challenged friends believe they can’t do. For example, we spent three months in Paris in 2014 and took a round-the-world trip in 2015-2016, and we’re planning new adventures. Sure, having limited funds affects our travel style, but it just means being a bit frugal: spending more time in each place, finding budget lodgings, and making our own meals from the variety of local foods in markets rather than eating out. If we can travel, almost anyone can travel!
Excuse #2: “I don’t have the time.”
Think you can’t take an extended trip? Can you organize one around holidays, where you can stretch your vacation time? Or maybe you can join the crew of global digital nomads, like my niece, who made her living as a proposal writer while taking three years to travel the world? If you can work remotely, you have it made. And if you feel you really can’t jeopardize your career by taking time off, you may want to ask yourself what your priorities really are. (Perhaps you can take a mini-sabbatical while you consider that question?)
Excuse #3: “I have health issues.”
Of course, if you’re undergoing extensive medical treatments, it can be difficult to get away for a while, though even a weekend close by can provide a needed escape. For most of us, however, health issues can be managed. Check with your health provider. Also, look into IAMAT, the International Association for Medical Assistance for Travelers. For only a small donation, this nonprofit organization provides a directory of English-speaking doctors and clinics worldwide. Even dialysis can be done abroad—just ask at your local kidney center. If you are healthy, you still need to research in advance what medications are legal in the countries you plan to visit. (Some over-the-counter medicines that are legal here are not elsewhere—and vice versa.) Visiting a travel medicine clinic before taking off for less developed countries is a good idea, as well, to make sure you have necessary inoculations. (Many of the large supermarkets now offer travel clinics.)
Excuse #4: “I have ___ [fill in the blank: young children, an aging parent, a dog]. Kids adjust well to travel and often open doors for you. We’ve traveled with our son, who cherishes the memory of playing soccer with Italian kids in Florence, and with our grandsons—when one was less than three months old! B&B owners practically fought to hold him. (Plus, see the tips here on We Said Go Travel for trips with kids.) If your journey includes great-grandma, you may not want to move around as often, and you’ll probably want to rent a car or take taxis. That may shorten your trip, but it need not dampen your fun. As for Rover and Puff, that’s when house-sitter websites come to your rescue. For a five-week stay in England last year, we found Jane, a delightful, caring person who loved our cat, Pogo, and spoiled him (appropriately)—for free. She enjoyed staying at our place to see the local sights and take classes. That’s a win-win!
Excuse #5: “I just wouldn’t feel safe abroad.”
Terrible things happen, here and abroad. But it helps to put things in perspective. Americans, in particular, are often nervous about traveling outside the country, but as Time magazine reported in 2016, “On average, over the last 13 years, only 827 Americans died of unnatural causes while abroad each year.” Yet more than 68 million U.S. citizens traveled in 2014 alone. Americans have a 1 in 96,566 chance of dying in an airplane crash, but a chance of 1 in 144 from dying in a fall. You could stay home and die getting out of the bathtub! Besides—sorry to break the news—your odds of dying eventually are 1 in 1. Why not live a little? As the website says, “We Said Go Travel!”
Rachel S. Imper is the author of the Active Seniors Guide to Budget World Travel.