Excuses Not To Travel

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.  


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.  Anyhow, the verdict is in and the cost of travel in most parts of the world is absolutely significantly cheaper than the boxed in lifestyle one is often not quite fully pleased with 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.


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 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.


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 🙂
Excuses not to travel - too old, not enough money and/or career ruin.

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: 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.

  9. 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 🙁

  10. 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?

  11. 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….

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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 😀

  15. 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… 😉

  16. 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. : )

  17. 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 🙂

  18. 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.