Excuses Not To Travel: I’m Too Old + Not Enough Money + Career Ruin?

Imagine yourself standing on the peak of an awe inspiring mist awning mountain with nothing more than nature´s glory sprawling out at you in every direction.  If that doesn´t tickle your fancy, how about visiting that sacred temple that you thought was only accessible through the sticky pages of National Geographic Explorer?

It doesn´t take a lot of convincing to express that the rewards and benefits of extensive and extended travel are almost inexhaustible; however, the excuses why ´most´ never get out and experience adventures on the road are numerous.  The most typical excuses aren´t exclusive to just travel, but there are some that seem more unique/specific to this given topic.

Excuses not to travel - too old, not enough money and/or career ruin symbolized by a smiling man I encountered backpacking

I Can’t Travel Because = It’s Just Too Expensive

The truth is that travel in developing countries is far CHEAPER than the cost of living for an average month if you hail from a first world developed nation.  The expenses you avoid while traveling are numerous.  The cost of living the high life with the swanky pad, vehicle, insurances, various (essential and non-essential) subscriptions, taxes and a multitude of other cash deplete-rs simply do not exist while you´re carrying nothing but a backpack.

As a rule of thumb, one can get by quite comfortably in areas such as South East Asia and many other developing nations with a daily budget of $20 to 40 which stretches anywhere between $600 to 1200 USD a month.  Oneis not scrimping with this kind of budget feasting on three square meals of generous sized portions of local food per day, sight-seeing most afternoons, going on occasional organized tours, semi frequent nightlife and transportation to and from  place to place.

Some have a harder time giving up creature comforts they find back home while others become frugal in ways they had never imagined.  The budget I´ve given allows for the flexibility of the subjective traveller with all of their specific needs and individual quirks.

And while flights can be a little pricey, there are ways around that too. By obtaining travel credit cards via sites like Frugal Flyer, you can travel for free (or FAR less)… all while treating yourself to the occasional business class seat!

Anyhow, the verdict is in. Travel in most parts of the world is significantly cheaper than the boxed-in lifestyle (one often wracked with anxiety and discontent) back home.

Real-Life Example:

This backpacker has been on the road for over two years having left home with nothing more than $500 in his pocket.

Get over your excuses and just hit the road! Look at the adventure I'm on with these sand dunes! Nomadic Samuel backpacking adventures

I’m Not Able To Travel Because = I’ll Ruin My Career

I think this might be the most common excuse I´ve heard by far.  I´ll be destroying my career if I take X amount of months off or a whole year from work or study.

I won´t be able to get hired or pick up my studies again and I´ll have a hole the size of the Rocky Mountains in my otherwise spiffy and impressive resume.  What one often doesn’t realize is that the job you feel that won´t be waiting for you back home is likely not the only option one has to consider.

If one absolutely feels they’re limited to living in a specific city, house and job; however, if you have skills that are highly employable you´ll land that cushy job once again with nothing but ease.  If you´re a trained professional you won´t find any shortage of students to teach, needles to poke or jerks to sue.

The conditions and reality of life doesn´t change overnight just because you´re not there for a year.  I´ve seen numerous people quit and then find even better jobs after they´ve come back home.  The truth of the matter is that backpacking changes you immensely and more often than not in a positive manner.

When you realize you can get by for an entire year with nothing but a 12 to 15kg pack on your back you´re probably less likely to go back home and continue hoarding, polishing, collecting and spending money on stuff in ridiculous ways that never even came close to fulfilling you in the first place.

Personally, I´ve found employers are often fascinated by those who have done ´unique´ things and backpacking definitely is given high priority in this  broad category.  The time away from the hamster wheel of daily routines may also give one a broad new perspective leading one towards an exciting new career that otherwise would have never been discovered.

Real Life Example:

This nomad has been abroad since 2003 requiring nothing more than a laptop and an internet connection.

I’m Shouldn’t Travel Because = I’m Too Old

I must admit this one makes me chuckle.  I´m in my late twenties and feel the world is my oyster, but I´ve seen a few seasoned and jaded characters in my day who wouldn´t have done much to convince me that they were backpacker material; however, I´ve since changed my global opinion considerably when I witnessed with my own two eyes individuals in their 70´s and 80´s doing jungle treks, mountain climbing, safaris and white water rafting.

They screamed, roared  and laughed loader than the crowd less than half their age and had a common thread of being young at heart and full of adventure, excitement and enthusiasm.  It´s never too late to get off your ass and get out of your well defined and ridiculously rigid comfort zone, but it does take a bit more initiative and enthusiasm I would imagine as you advance in years.

I´m not even thirty, totally healthy and physically fit, so I can´t comment too much on the area of daily physical challenges but just let it be known that there are those who are much older than you who are enjoying the times of their lives without the aforementioned aches, pains and moaning that might be associated with a more mature traveller. The bottom line is simply this – travel can be done at any age.

Real Life Example:

This digital nomad hit the road to successfully pursue a travel career as a writer and photographer around the time when most individuals are thinking more towards a lifestyle of retirement.

Overcome your excuses to travel. Just go travel and stop making excuses. Nomadic Samuel wearing a backpack and ready to travel and explore.

The Benefits of Travel: Why You Should Overcome Your Excuses

Travel is one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences you can have in life. It exposes you to new cultures, people, and ways of thinking, and can broaden your perspective and change your outlook on the world. However, despite the many benefits of travel, many people find themselves making excuses not to take the leap and explore the world. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common excuses people make not to travel, and offer tips for overcoming these challenges.

  1. Lack of time

One of the most common excuses people make not to travel is that they simply don’t have enough time. Between work, school, and other commitments, it can be difficult to carve out a block of time to travel. However, it’s important to remember that travel doesn’t have to be a long-term or expensive undertaking. Even a weekend getaway or a day trip to a nearby city can be a great way to explore new places and break up your routine.

If you’re struggling to find the time to travel, try scheduling your trips in advance and prioritizing them on your calendar. This will help you make travel a priority and ensure that you have something to look forward to.

  1. Lack of money

Another common excuse for not traveling is a lack of funds. Travel can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many ways to save money on travel, from choosing budget-friendly destinations to finding cheap flights and accommodations.

One great way to save money on travel is to travel during the off-season. This can help you avoid crowds and high prices, and may even allow you to experience a destination in a different and more authentic way. Another option is to look for deals and discounts on travel websites or through loyalty programs.

  1. Fear of the unknown

For some people, the idea of traveling to unfamiliar places can be daunting. They may worry about language barriers, cultural differences, or the possibility of getting lost or encountering danger.

To overcome these fears, it’s important to do your research and plan ahead. Learn as much as you can about your destination, including the language, customs, and local laws. Consider joining a guided tour or hiring a local guide to help you navigate the area and learn more about the culture. And always trust your instincts and exercise caution, especially when traveling alone or in unfamiliar areas.

  1. Fear of flying

For many people, the thought of flying can be anxiety-inducing or even terrifying. However, there are many resources available to help you overcome this fear, from counseling and therapy to meditation and breathing exercises. You can also try distracting yourself during the flight with music, books, or movies, or consider alternative modes of transportation, such as trains or buses.

  1. Family obligations

If you have family obligations, such as caring for children or elderly relatives, it can be difficult to take time away for travel. However, it’s important to remember that self-care and personal growth are important for your own well-being, and can ultimately benefit your family as well.

If possible, consider bringing your family along on your travels, or arrange for a trusted caregiver to take over while you’re away. You can also try scheduling shorter trips or finding creative ways to involve your family in your travel experiences, such as sharing photos and stories with them or planning trips together in the future.

  1. Health concerns

If you have health issues or disabilities, it’s important to carefully consider your travel plans and ensure that you have the necessary accommodations and support. This may mean choosing destinations that are accessible and have good medical facilities, or arranging for assistance with mobility or other needs.

It’s also important to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider before traveling, especially if you have any chronic conditions or are taking medication. They can offer advice on managing your health while traveling and provide any necessary vaccinations or medications.

  1. Work commitments

Work can often be a major obstacle to travel, especially if you have a demanding job or limited vacation time. However, it’s important to remember that taking time off for travel can actually improve your work performance and productivity, as well as reduce stress and burnout.

To make travel work with your job, consider talking to your employer about flexible work arrangements or taking unpaid leave. You can also try planning your trips around holidays or weekends, or taking advantage of business travel opportunities to explore new destinations.

  1. Lack of travel companions

Traveling alone can be intimidating for some people, and many may avoid travel altogether if they don’t have someone to go with. However, solo travel can also be incredibly rewarding and empowering, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in your destination and meet new people.

If you’re hesitant about traveling alone, consider joining a travel group or booking a solo tour. This can help you connect with other like-minded travelers and provide a sense of safety and support. You can also try staying in hostels or shared accommodations, which are often popular among solo travelers and offer opportunities for socializing.

  1. Environmental concerns

Some people may avoid travel due to concerns about the environmental impact of air travel and tourism. While it’s true that travel can contribute to carbon emissions and other environmental issues, there are many ways to minimize your impact and travel responsibly.

One option is to choose eco-friendly accommodations and activities, such as staying in hotels with green certifications or participating in conservation projects. You can also try reducing your carbon footprint by using public transportation, bringing a reusable water bottle and utensils, and offsetting your carbon emissions through programs such as CarbonFund.

  1. General apathy or complacency

Finally, some people may simply feel indifferent or apathetic about travel, preferring to stay within their comfort zone and routine. However, it’s important to remember that travel can be a transformative and life-changing experience, and can help you grow as a person and gain a deeper appreciation for the world around you.

To overcome this apathy or complacency, try setting personal goals or bucket list destinations that inspire you. You can also read travel blogs and books, watch travel documentaries, or talk to friends and family about their travel experiences.

In conclusion, while there are many excuses people make not to travel, it’s important to remember that travel can be a rewarding and enriching experience. By recognizing and addressing your own excuses, and taking steps to overcome them, you can open yourself up to new possibilities and discover the many wonders of the world.

Conclusion: Stop Making Excuses and Just Go!

I´ve only covered just a few of the more common excuses I´ve heard from those who desperately ´want´ but actively ´choose´ not to travel. The reality is that people are doing what one might think is impossible each and every day.  Moreover, the fact that life is brief and unpredictable gives you ample reasons to get your gears shifted in the right direction.

There are only so many tomorrows and without making it a priority it´s likely going to always be stored away on the back-burner on the ‘things-to-do-list’ that one never finds time to complete.

Anyhow, I do hope that if one has the burning desire to seek new cultures, experience new food and bombard their every sense with new stimulation that they stop making the excuses that prevent them from getting the ball rolling and start moving in the direction of their wildest dreams 🙂

Join the Conversation


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Completely agree Samuel. When we first started traveling the “too expensive” excuse was used the most. Now that we have been on the road for a long time we hear the “I’m too old” and “I can’t, I have kids now” excuses. Like you said, the world is your oyster and some grab it and some don’t. Each to their own. There are so many awesome people out there traveling – young, old, with kids or with a disability. I hope people read their blogs and get inspired too. 🙂

  2. says: Fernanda

    Completely agree! Although I am only 23, my worst fear in life is not old age but growing old from the inside. I went to China last year and everybody started feeding me with fears on the uncertainty of going to a different country and why I shouldn’t go. I’m glad I ended up going because it was definitely one of the best experiences of my life!

  3. says: Gail

    Hi Sam, I love your line –The truth of the matter is that backpacking changes you immensely and more often than not in a positive manner.

    I have this Backpacker’s Hotseat page in my blog where I interview fellow backpackers regardless of age, gender and race. One of the questions I ask is “What life lessons have you learned from backpacking/traveling?” and it’s very inspiring to read their answers to this question. Backpacking really makes one realize the beauty of life and how each backpacking journey makes one stronger as a person.

  4. says: Denise

    We should all be grateful that not everyone likes travelling, and that does who don’t, stay home. Sites are already over crowded (many who seem like they’d rather be somewhere else frankly), resources over used. I actually believe that are many who are not passionate about travelling but do it anyway because ‘that’s what everyone is doing’. It would be better for the world if they didn’t travel at all, also better for those who really love travelling.

    1. I agree with you Denise. For those who aren’t passionate about travel it’s something that would be best avoided. I think though that there are a number of individuals who truly want to go but allow fear or excuses to prevent them from doing so. For people in this category I hope an article like this can help persuade them to refocus.

  5. says: Charu

    Nice points, Sam. People always cite fear also as another reason not to travel. They’re just afraid to travel and move out of their comfort. I was born quite autistic and only travel helped me come out of my shell. I know others on the spectrum who have felt the same way. Travel liberates, and opens minds in the way nothing else can. Very good post!

  6. says: Amer

    This is an inspiring post! I would never have thought quitting your job will ruin your career. You learn so much from travelling even if its a mere 2-3 weeks holiday. I’ve learnt a lot about opening up, listening to clients / colleagues, being patience and most importantly being adaptive in different environment. Businesses today need people with adaptive skills.

  7. Great article. This is very timely as we just came back from a Meet Plan Go event. You covered the most common excuses I tend to hear when people say I want to travel but… [insert excuse here]. The more they tell themselves these excuses, the more they believe in it. It’s tough to break those shackles in their head and take the leap of faith.

  8. says: Grace

    Love the pointed out to real life examples. I didn’t realize Brendan only had $500 in his pocket when he started traveling. I somehow missed that!

  9. says: nomadSteve

    So true,
    Everyone makes these excuses. And they are just that excuses. After a while I got sick of people saying “I wish I could do that!”
    “You can!”
    “But my job, my car, my house, my partner, my kids.”

    Ok, now some of these would change the way you travel, but if you really want to do it you can. I’ve met people from every type of job, who are renting out there houses at home (or sold them,) people with kids of all ages.

    I must admit, quitting your job and selling everything you own is scary, but it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. After one year travelling, and six months recording an album, I am back working in my previous career, in a more senior role and earning significantly more money.

    You know what my boss said was the main reason I got the job?
    I was a backpacker.

  10. I think for many people, the answer is “I’m not sure how to make money on the road.” That’s still an issue my friends are struggling with. It’s true you can travel cheaply, but I don’t think there are enough resources on how to find jobs while traveling, because eventually the money will run out. Not everybody can work remotely as a blogger or photographer or web designer, so that is a legitimate concern.

    PS – I love that statue of Statler & Waldorf! Did you take that pic yourself, and where is it located?

    1. Scott, that’s totally true. I’m lucky to have found ESL gigs as a way to keep me on the road and to save up for the next big adventure. I would love if my blog could someday take over from that as my primary source of income but I’ve yet to rely on it as of now. Unfortunately, that great pic is not my own and I found it from flickr 🙁

  11. says: Chris

    Great post mate. To be honest, I use ‘not enough money’ a hell of a lot. I keep setting myself distant goals like having $10,000 in savings and that’s virtually impossible for a crazy spender like me.

    Maybe I just need to bite the bullet and hit the road?

  12. says: Jim

    Too old? We travelled Mongolia/Russia with 3 people in our group over 80!
    We’ve been able to manage travel and juggle the usual things in life, career, mortgage, kids etc.
    As for not travelling full time- well, blame the dog.
    She’s my rescue dog, and we can’t take off and leave her. 6 -7 weeks is a long time away from her. We managed 15 weeks travelling last year but in 3 segments. But walking to work the other week, I decided that when she’s gone, I’m shutting up shop and we’re taking off. I just don’t think I could stand it without her. She’s on notice as I told her ” Soon as you’re gone, I’m outa here!”, and she’s looking at me writing this….

  13. says: Cole (fourjandals)

    Love it. Trying to convince myself at the moment to get out of my desk job again which annoys me every day. Hopefully will be sooner than later.

  14. says: James Clark

    Thanks for the hat tip, Samuel! The fact that travel doesn’t have to be expensive is so true. Once I started travelling I also realised alot of my previous living expenses were so unnecessary, so travel has certainly improved my financial expenditure as well.

  15. I’ve heard these excuses before and I think these people are afraid of taking risks that’s why they tend to stick to the safe side.

    The ‘Too Expensive’ excuse was my alibi a few years ago, but i realized that it is doable as long as you know how to adjust with your lifestyle. It’s funny that most people who are saying that travel is expensive are the ones who have high salaries LOL.

    The ‘Career Ruin’ part is understandable for those who have families already. I guess that is the reason why it is ok for me not to be employed (even if i have sleepless nights thinking where to get more freelance gigs huhu), but it is a risk that i took and i am happy about it. Also, i want to start my own business to where i am the boss 😛

    The ‘Too Old’ part is something that i feel bad about for some people. For example, you have a very big salary in a multinational company and your retirement pay is big. Can you still bungee jump in Macau? What about skydiving in Cuba? I’m glad that my grandparents are open-minded when it comes to traveling. In fact, they make it a point to travel outside the country at least once a year. They will celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary on the 22nd 😀

  16. says: Abby

    Yeah! Go Samuel! I’ll be giving this exact speech in a week at Meet, Plan, Go. I am proof that taking two years off does not equal career ruin, although, sometimes I wish, oh, never mind… 😉

  17. says: JACINTA

    Excellent article, Sam, and very convincing. Now more than ever that the world is in financial turmoil its time to question stable institutions and ´normal`life as we know it in the developed nations. Like you say……there are only so many tomorrows…..Carpe Diem !
    Glad things are working out for you and you are enjoying life. : )

  18. It’s true. If you have the travel itch inside of you, don’t put “Imbeingrealistic-balm” on it. When you travel around other countries, you’ll be amazed how common and normal it actually is to be on the road, even for extended periods of time. I can still remember how amazed I was first time I met someone who told me he has been travelling the world for a couple of years. Nowadays, I can’t even recall all the people I’ve met who are doing just that 🙂

  19. Oh yeah the too old one is a good one – got that when I was 30 – kinda stopped now though, now I’m closer to 50. There is a frustrating aspect to it – my partner has some health issues- and you don’t need much to make travel insurance something quite difficult to get.