If there’s one thing everyone seems to have in common it’s the desire to travel.
Admit it – the word travel is on your bucket list.
But if our desire to travel is so strong, why aren’t we doing it? What is standing in our way?
My theory: Fear coupled with a lack of creativity.
Today I want to address all the fears that stop us from traveling. I see these fears as hurdles, not barriers– and all you have to do is think up creative ways to jump over them.
The Reason Why
One of my goals for this year is to travel to Australia and New Zealand with my husband.
But that’s not all.
My theme for 2012 is “Planting Seeds” which involves developing good lifestyle habits while I am (relatively) young. This means that reaching one travel goal is not good enough – Brian and I must develop habits that allow us to travel every year, even after Australia and New Zealand are checked off our bucket list.
The tips below are the result of research I’ve done to prepare for our big Outback Adventure later this year.
Travel Fears (And Me Crushing Them)
1. “I can’t afford to travel.”
Granted, financial restraints are a legitimate concern.
It’s nothing a little creativity, resourcefulness and compromise can’t solve:
- Get discounted (maybe free!) plane tickets to anywhere in the world plus discounted hotel stays by using frequent flyer miles and travel rewards offered by credit cards. Get all the best tips here and here. For a fabulous, comprehensive, 3-part explanation of how all this works, read this.
- Consider backpacking and staying at hostels. (But do your research to avoid shady places!)
- Get free lodging abroad by house swapping or couch surfing.
Side note: If you are struggling with credit card debt, none of these tips apply to you. Because dude…you legitimately cannot afford to travel.
(Brian and I paid off 28k in credit card debt in two years. During that time we didn’t do any traveling aside from a honeymoon that we did not spend a penny on — from flight, food, activities, to lodging — thanks to our incredible friends and family.)
The good news is that once you are out of debt, the tips above will help you stay out of the hole, even with a life full of travel.
2. “I’ll travel when I’m older and retired.”
I’m a bereavement counselor for a hospice program. Every day I work with people who are literally on their death bed or who are grieving the death of a loved one.
So you guessed it — I don’t believe in putting off big dreams for a later date in your life.
Also, read this inspiring article on why you should travel while you’re young.
3. “I’m afraid of flying in an airplane.”
Get over it.
Fear and anxiety aren’t good enough excuses to live a life you are not fully satisfied with. So talk to a friend who has overcome a fear of flying, or perhaps get help from a therapist. For now, read this post on overcoming phobias.
Of course, you can try Greyhounding it, touring the country via private sleeper car on Amtrak, and taking a freighter or cruise ship overseas. But you won’t always have the time for these slower modes of transportation, so you might as well learn to face the inevitable with courage and grace.
4. “I can’t get time off from work.”
There’s no such thing as “I can’t get time off from work.”
If you tell yourself this lie it’s probably because you are afraid of something bigger — like being hated by your boss, feeling like you let others down, or fearing that your co-workers can get along just fine without you.
Stop thinking exaggerated thoughts that negatively influence your quality of life. Ground yourself in reality. Ask yourself: What’s the worst that can happen? Make a way.
5. “I’m unemployed.”
Dude. The best time to book a long trip is when you don’t have a job. This is obviously counter-intuitive (and you should also review my tips under fear #1), but as long as you don’t have tons of credit card debt right now, do it and thank me later.
You will find a job (eventually). But you will never forgive yourself for passing up an extended stay at your Dream Destination during a pocket of time when there was a dip in your number of daily responsibilities. Don’t waste your unemployment.
Consider going on a vacation that involves volunteer work. Check out this cool site to find out how.
Volunteer vacations are the kind I want to take my kids on (when I have ‘em) because they teach a ton about compassion, adventure, and humanity.