Saturday, January 31, 2015

Common travel excuses & how you can overcome them

Thinking about the places I have had the privilege of visiting in my life, I couldn't possibly imagine my life without travel. After a few weeks of being back from a trip I start thinking about where and when I can go away next. If I'm not travelling, chances are I am thinking about it. However, so many people I know view travel as a massive deal and throw obstacles in front of themselves by making up excuses of why they can't travel. The truth is though, most of these excuses aren't things that should stop anyone from travelling. Most of them can be overcome by a slight change of thinking, careful planning and most of all, a real desire to travel.

Travel is too expensive

Granted, many people work extremely hard and still struggle to pay the rent and feed their families. I deeply admire those people, and at that time in their lives they are likely not going to have anything spare for optional things such as travel. However I get annoyed when people act like I'm rich and spoilt for travelling, but then go out and spend their monthly pay on expensive clothes and restaurants. Yes, I travel a lot and yes I visit beautiful countries. But this doesn't mean that I have a money tree stashed in the cupboard. I worked for the money I have and I don't spend it on unnecessary things. I go to restaurants and buy clothes still, but only what I need. I'd much rather go to Paris for a a weekend than have a designer dress that I probably won't even wear. I value experiences and memories over things. Things can be quickly be lost, stolen and destroyed. Memories can't. Well, not as easily anyway. If you really want to travel but don't think you have the money, look at what you are spending your money on and work out what you can cut back on.

If you simply can't afford a trip to another country, think about the travel you can do in your own country. In the past two years that I've been in the UK, I've visited far more places within the UK than many of my friends who have lived here their whole lives! Travel doesn't mean months in an exotic country. Tourists come from far and wide to see places within your own country, so why shouldn't you? All you need to do is hop on a train or go for a short drive, and for the price of a sandwich and a cup of tea you can be seeing something new and amazing. 

Take every opportunity to see as much as you can, no matter how close to home it is. 

I have kids. I'll travel once they're older since they won't remember it now anyway

I have my parents to thank for my love (well, I guess you could say obsession) of travel. When I was 7, they saved up and took me and my older brother on a 3 month trip around Europe. I learnt so much on that trip and still have very fond memories of it. When I was 11, my brother 13 years old and my younger brother almost 2, they took us to Vienna, Austria for 3 months and then Dublin, Ireland for a year. We loved every minute of it and even my youngest brother who was just a toddler remembers a lot from our time there. I am so grateful that my parents took me travelling from a young age. It meant that I learnt so much about different cultures, countries and people. Travel pushed me out of my comfort zone and out of my little bubble which I know would not have benefited my personal character at all. I had to learn that the world isn't all a perfect suburban paradise and made me realise how privileged I am to have the life that I do. There are people that work 10 times harder than anyone I know and still have to live in poverty, simply because of where they were born, how they were raised, or any number of other circumstantial reasons. I learnt that just because someone doesn't do things the same way that I grew up doing, doesn't mean that they are worse or lesser than me. I learnt to embrace other cultures and appreciate them for what they were. I have had to learn patience, empathy and humility; qualities I'm sure any parent would want to instill in their children.

If there is one gift you give your children before they grow up, give them the gift of travel.

I don't have the time

Time is precious. And as the years go by it seems that people have less and less spare time. But, you don't have to quit your job to travel. Take advantage of annual leave from your job and maximise it as much as possible. For example, if you go away in the week of a bank holiday, you don't need to use as much holiday time as a normal week. I'm very glad to live in the UK, where I get 5 weeks holiday per year (I know, I was shocked when I moved here too!!). But even if you only get a couple of weeks holiday per year, make sure to take advantage of bank holidays, and even think about where you can go just for the weekend. If you leave Friday night and come back on Sunday night, that's still two full days you get to explore a new place.

Plan ahead and make an effort to use all available time off that you have.

I know that people do have genuine reasons why they can't travel. But if you have a real desire to travel and your circumstances suit, you might be able to just change a few things in your life and learn to schedule, budget and plan carefully to allow you to travel. I can tell you for certain that you will never regret travel, and I can be sure you won't be thinking about a Gucci handbag you could have bought when you are sitting in the Spanish sun sipping a Piña Colada!

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