Last week I just got back from a trip to Europe. This was my fourth trip to Europe over the last few years. Each time I have returned, I am met with the same response from friends and family.
“You’re so lucky.”
“I wish I could do that!
“I could never afford to do that..”
There is nothing that makes me sadder than hearing phrases like this. Anyone can travel. There are no excuses on why you can’t get your passport, hop a plane, and have the experience of a lifetime.
What are the excuses I’ve heard that cause people to never leave the country?
I don’t have the money for a flight.
Yes you do. For the past four years, between college and living expenses I have lived off around poverty level. (That said – I’ve managed to live great!) I had all the money I needed to put a roof over my head, eat well, and take amazing trips. Travel is not as expensive as you would think. I have not bought a plane ticket to Europe (round trip) for over $800 ever. This last trip, I found a ticket to London for only $432 dollars. There are so many great deals out there – you just have to look a bit harder. And to get you started, here’s a post for you on how to find these tickets.
I don’t have a passport.
Okay, go get one. For $140 dollars you can have your very own. This little book was the best purchase of my life. If you break down the cost over 12 years it costs you about 0.038 cents per day. For less than a penny a day, you can have 10 years of freedom to move about the world. For a college student or someone working paycheck to paycheck $140 is a lot of money – I completely understand. Once you take you’re first international trip – you’ll see it was worth it.
I don’t have anyone to go with.
The first time I had planned to leave the country, I had a friend planning to go with me. As the trip got closer, I never heard back from her. Silence. Since I had already bought my ticket, I decided… “who cares?! I’m going to go anyways.”Guess what? It was scary as hell. Prior to that trip I had never been to the airport by myself, I had never been on a plane by myself, and I didn’t know anyone in the whole country I was about to enter. It gets easier. Yes, it’s scary at first – but after about a day you feel comfortable, you loosen up, and you have the time of your life. There are tons of resources available for those traveling abroad. From finding new friends on Twitter, to Couchsufing – you don’t have to go the trip alone.
I can’t take time off from work.
If you have a job that doesn’t let you take even a week off during a year – you’re at the wrong job. With only a week, you can easily take a trip abroad.
I have nowhere to stay.
For anyone on a budget or traveling alone – hostel are a great options. From hostels, I’ve managed to keep my expenses low and make some amazing friends. I personally recommend HostelBookers for finding some great deals in amazing locations. If you’re even braver, CouchSufing is another option. CouchSufing is a global community of people willing to give travelers a spare bed or couch. In the past, I have hosted travelers and been hosted while in foreign countries. This site has given me some great friends and many once in a lifetime experiences.
If you get hit by a bus tomorrow and die, traveling dead is going to be really tricky. Life is SHORT. You have no idea how many days you have left on this planet. If you want to travel – find a way to do it. There is no telling what your tomorrow may bring.
Women can’t travel alone.
Yes they can. The news is great at telling scary stories. For this reason, I worry my mom every-time I go abroad. (Whoever it was that told her to watch the movie, Taken, please let me know so I can punch you) If you watch your surroundings and stay smart – you’ll be fine. In all the international trips I’ve taken (while travelling alone) the worst that has happened was I got rude cat calls. You just brush it off.. and if that doesn’t work… the F word and the finger is pretty universally understood.
In the future, I plan to do as much traveling as I can. There are so many beautiful, wonderful places out there. You just have to hop a plane to see them. If you have any reasons on why you can’t travel, let me know in the comments and I’ll help you figure out how you can.
Oh yeah, and let’s be friends on Twitter?