I’ve heard every excuse in the book not to travel to your dream destination. It’s too expensive, it’s too much planning, last week a version of you came back from the future to warn you that if you go to Spain you’ll set a series of events in motion that will totally erase humanity. These are the common excuses. Everyone uses them.
But these excuses are crazy. First, because the space-time continum doesn’t work that way and second because you can learn to budget. If you really want to travel (not including time-warping wormholes), you can and should take the leap.
Sure, there are a million reasons why it’s a bad idea or not the right time. We all find ways to stop ourselves from doing the things we really want to do. It’s a very human behavior, borne out of fear. You want to see the penguins of Patagonia or the northern lights in Iceland or party on the beaches of Ibiza, and tell yourself there’ll be plenty of time for that later. “Tomorrow maybe… or next month…”
But here’s the thing: If you’re reading this article, if this is the one thing you clicked on during the five minute coffee break, you’re probably ready to see your excuses for what they are and move past them. It’s high time. Because everyone deserves adventure. Everyone deserves to go to the places that spark their imaginations. Everyone deserves to take that dream trip that they’ll remember and talk about for the rest of their lives.
The Excuse: “I don’t have any money.”
I get this, it’s hard. It’s probably the biggest thing that stops most us from taking a big trip. Do we really have the money to go halfway across the world?
Maybe you don’t right this second, but you can. And it’s really pretty simple. With most traveler interviews I’ve done, I’ve asked these nomads how they were able to take that plunge financially. I think every single one has said it’s just a matter of budgeting, saving, and reprioritizing the way you spend money as it comes in.
I wish I had something different or more magical to tell you, like, “You don’t have money? Well, a professional cupcake taster position has finally opened up at Uproxx, and it pays $870,000 dollars a year, and you’d be perfect!” But I’d never tell you that because once that position comes up, I’m going to keep it for myself.
So the deal is figuring out what you’re spending money on (budgeting apps are really helpful for this), and then strategizing on how make smarter decisions. Have to buy a new car? Would you rather have leather seats or walk the Great Wall of China? Yeah, of course you want both. But most people who travel regularly have to sacrifice some of the material things for the intangible experiences.
And, studies have shown that’s a smart choice. Because you’ll get more out of your trip than a bigger TV. A psychology professor from Cornell, Thomas Gilovich, has dedicated his life to tracking what makes people happy. He’s come away with the conclusion that happiness is almost always derived more from experiences, like trips, than things. Trips, he’s found, create a larger part of our identity, cause us to connect more socially, and give people a better sense of self worth.
Okay, okay. I can figure out how to save a little money. But trips are sooooo expensive.
They don’t have to be! Watch sites that track discount fares like the ones we’ve listed here. And there are so many hostels or cheaper hotels that people love because they’re clean and comfortable (even if they don’t have all the bells and whistles). You can also Airbnb so that you can buy groceries and not eat out every meal.
Even trips that sound like they’d be expensive may have one big cost, airfare to Thailand maybe, but when you get there, you can figure out how to do it on a dime. And worst case scenario: you run out of money in Russia, become a drug mule and get sent to a foreign prison for the rest of your life. Then you get three meals a day, while visiting a new country. FREE.