Just about everyone wants to travel. Whether you dream of backpacking the world or simply traveling to another country, we all dream of seeing places around the world. The problem for most is that wee feel that travel is a pipe dream regulated to only the super rich, retired, or trust fund kids. In all actuality the the only thing stopping you from traveling is your own excuses.
I am currently making just over $20k while working full time, and simultaneously paying off over $40k worth of student loan debt. There was a time where I felt just like you do now, that no matter what I did I was not able to go anywhere or do anything. I made excuses that you probably tell yourself; travel is to expensive, I don’t have the time, I don’t have to travel now there will be plenty of time for that when I’m older I need to focus on my career now, I’m to far in debt to worry justify traveling now. But the truth is these are all just excuses stopping you from living the type of life you want.
Let’s break each one of these excuses down and examine them one by one. First off, “travel is to expensive.” People are under the impression that travel is something that really breaks the bank. That you have to empty out your bank account to be able to go to the places you want to go. But with a little research travel doesn’t have to be expensive. Travel agencies, airlines, and hotels are big business. They want to make as much money as they can. Because of that they sell a dream to people. They make you think that the only way to travel is by first class, staying in a five star hotel, and going to fancy clubs during the whole trip. Luckily for you that’s not even close to true. There is a wealth of information online made specifically for budget travelers. We discuss them on my Travel Resources Page. From discount airline, to hostels, and free entertainment an entire industry has popped up in response to the budget travel industry.
Now that the money portion is out of the way, lets look at the second biggest excuse I hear. “I don’t have the time to travel.” Maybe you are going to school or working a 40 hour job that is stopping you from your travels That can certainly be a hard road block to get over but it definitely isn’t impossible by any means. You may have heard that one of the biggest regrets people have on their death bed is that they spent too much time at the office. Don’t let that be you. If you work a full time, (or more,) job then make it very clear to the that your time off is non-negotiable. Many people are timid about asking for time off but I’ll let you in on a little secret, the first step to getting time off is simply asking for it. If you don’t ask for the time off you will never get it. As it turns out most companies are actually willing to give people time off for the simple fact that they know you get burnt out. An exhausted employee makes for an unproductive employee and that hurts there bottom line. When asking for time off simply be firm. Let them know that you are not asking for time off but simply telling them that you will be taking it, you would be surprised by how accommodating your employer will be when you are firm and confident.
Now that we have the major outside factors covered lets talk about the justifications you use on yourself. You may tell yourself that there will be plenty of time to travel when you are older. Without getting to morbid here lets get right down to it, life is unpredictable and none of us know how long we have on this earth. It’s up to all of us to live every moment as best we can. Even if you do live into your ripe old age what do you think would be more fulfilling traveling in your 20’s or 30’s when you are in the prime of your life or when you are a senior citizen and aren’t able to do all the things you once were able to. What would you rather do; sit in a chair on the beach for an entire trip, or climb a mountain, go bungee jumping, scuba dive, or stand on the edge of a volcano? I know what I would answer. Now not everyone will be in terrible shape when they are elderly but chances are you wont be able to do all the things your capable of in your youth. There will never be a “perfect,” time to travel. There will always be something standing in your way be it work, mortgage payments, raising children, or a whole host of other road blocks. The only thing actually stopping you from traveling is yourself. You can keep putting off your dreams or you can get out there and do what you want with your life. Don’t let yourself get in the way of the life you want.
Finally the excuse that started this whole site, debt. Debt can seem to be the biggest factor stopping you from traveling when your drowning in it. It doesn’t have to stop you though, It doesn’t stop me and I’m paying off over $40k of debt on less than a $20k salary. It can seem difficult to set money aside when so much has to go to your debt payments. Luckily for you debt collectors are very willing to work with you. They want your money and they know that the lower the monthly payments the more likely you are to pay them. The first step is to call your debtors and make arrangements. They will work with you to lower your payments if you need it. Know the type of debt you have can help you to. While credit card, mortgage, and student loan debt can only be lowered so much things like hospital or doctors payments are much easier to negotiate with. If you owe a hospital money they are required by law to accept what ever payment you offer them, even if it’s only $5 a month. Another factor to take into consideration is where you travel. Maybe you have always wanted to go to a tropical Island such as The Bahmas but it is out of your reach. Think about going to Puerto Rico instead where you can enjoy beautiful beaches and sun at a much cheaper price. Do you want to see the early ruins of Western Culture in Italy? Try the much cheaper county of Greece which will be much kinder to your wallet while still letting you see amazing ruins. Thinking Russia? Try Eastern Europe to see the remnants of the former Soviet Union for a fraction of the cost. Chances are where ever you were planning on going there is a cheaper alternative that will give you a similar experience without emptying your savings account. For more tips on traveling with debt check out my page on traveling while paying off debt.
You can make excuses and keep living the same life you are now, or you can finally start seeing the world. It is much easier then you could ever imagine and the resources are out there to help you. You don’t have spend all of your money to see the world. With a little bit of hard work and dedication anyone can travel,