15 things keeping you from traveling and how to overcome them

I don't have to convince you of the benefits of travel. Most of us want to travel more. We regret not doing it in our younger years, before kids and real jobs. So, we set up our 401K plans with notions of finally living our traveling dreams...after we turn 65. Nope, it's not because we hate traveling that we don't do it. More likely, it's that life just gets in the way.


How does it get in the way? 

Let me count the ways. 

1. Kids practices and games, and other weekly obligations

Sometimes a schedule full of good things is not good. You need space to breathe, time to think, and time to reset. You can't do that if you are eating dinner while driving across town to get your kids, and catching up on your emails at red lights...EVERY NIGHT.

What to do: Put that hand down, I mean it--do not volunteer for one more thing. Skip the sign up for soccer this season. Pair down your obligations. It's ok to focus on self care, which I believe includes travel. Having community, giving your time to good causes, and prepping your child for college sports recruiters when he's 5, does not have to come at the expense of your sanity.

ChallengeFree up two nights out of the seven to rest and be present with your loved ones. Then, if you're brave...go for three or four.


2. Not enough vacation days

I know what it's like to be saving your vacation days for an extended trip or for days when you have to stay home with sick kids. But getaways don't have to be long, and weekends are your best friend in this case (as long as it's not completely booked with other obligations--see example above.) 

What to do:  Quit making travel a big, extravagant plan. Day trips or overnighters in neighboring cities are great alternatives.  Be spontaneous and don't let a four-hour drive stand in your way of seeing a new place.

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3. School is in session

So, you don't want to be referred to family court for missing 5 days of school; I get it. You are bound by the school calendar, yes.

What to do: Think of getaways as quick spurts of fun. Reframe how you see family trips. What if you didn't have to pack the car with every toy and pillow and bottle of shampoo that you own when you leave for a trip? What if everyone packed a backpack and headed out for an overnight adventure?

Challenge: Check the kids out of school early on a Friday and spend the night somewhere new. Or leave early Saturday morning for a day trip. 

4. No one to watch my furry family members

Boarding an animal, even for a night, can eat into a frugal travel budget. And depending on your pet, they may not do well in a kennel. 

What to do: Offer to trade pet sitting services with a friend. Research free petsitting options, like TrustedHousesitters.com (requires an annual membership) but you can have free petsitters for a year. *This link gives you 20% off, if you decide to sign up.

Challenge: Create a post on Facebook asking for friends who are interested in doing a pet sitting swap. I bet you'll be surprised by the response. Maybe Spot can quit getting in the way of your travel dreams, the little bastard.


5. Too tired

You want to sleep in.

What to do: You're picking the wrong getaways if sleep is winning this war. It's time to figure out what's exciting to you...and then do that, and only that.

Challenge: You need a weekend where napping is the only thing on the agenda. Get some rest. Then, go and travel and see more of this big, amazing world.


6. Can't think of anywhere fun and affordable  

I'm glad you asked! I've got a great solution for that. 


7. Kids are too young, too hard to travel

I feel you, weary parents. At this point, you'd pass on free tickets to the Eiffel Tower because you know it conflicts with nap-time and the fury of the overtired toddler isn't worth it. Take it from someone who took a 6-day old newborn on a road trip from Alabama to Texas...teaching your kids to travel starts young. The more you do it, the more routines you can build, the easier it becomes for you and your little one. 

What to do: Plan trips that are age-specific and allow lots of room for running. Visit cities with acclaimed children's museums. Pay a little extra for quality travel gear, like strollers and carriers. Find ways to alternate an activity for them and an activity for you while you're on the road.

Challenge: Plan a day trip. Go to the thrift store and buy little trinket toys and books. Divide the items into 3-4 goody bags to be doled out throughout the day. Play it up. Give a travel surprise bag every 2-3 hours to give your little one something to anticipate. 


8. I'm not in the season of life that allows me to travel

What if kids aren't holding you back, but other things are? Can I just say--there will never be a good season to travel. When you're younger, you don't have enough money. When you're in mid-life, your kids are too young and you're busy with work. When you're in retirement, you're taking care of aging parents. Literally, waiting for the RIGHT season to do something you're passionate about is a recipe for life filled with regret.

What to do: Make travel bite-sized. When you reframe your travel expectations from 3-week journeys to Africa to 2 days getaways to a neighboring state, it becomes more attainable. 

Challenge: Plan an overnight trip every two months for the next six months. That's 3 trips in 6 months. See if your perspective about traveling changes after that.

9. Afraid

The state of the world can feel daunting and scary. However, traveling is an immediate way to get outside of your head to see that the world is a big place with a lot of people living beautiful lives. 

What to do: Travel with friends. Take baby steps out of your fear and surround yourself with people you love while doing it. 

Challenge: Visit the State Department's website when planning travel, especially internationally. They provide alerts and warnings for tourists so you can stay safe.


10. I have no one to go with

I get it. It's hard to travel alone. But when people tell me this, my initial question is always this: "have you asked someone to go on a trip with you?" The majority answer: "well, no."

What to do: Invite a friend to travel with you. Ask!! I don't think you'll have to ask for very long. People love to travel. They're just waiting for a reason to do so.

Challenge: Invite a friend to coffee and plan a quick getaway together.

11. Don't see the value in going away, unless it's for an extended period of time.

An overnight trip isn't worth all the work. That's what people who get stuck at number 11 think. Who wants to drive 3 hours there and 3 hours back to see some sights and then go to sleep? That argument is understandable. However, if you live life with this notion, you'll never travel. You'll wait for the 2-week dream vacation that will always be too much money, to hard to coordinate with work, or too hard to plan. I think you'll find that quick travel getaways are an easy way to infuse your life with experiences and memories. 

What to do: Quit gauging the effort it takes, and start focusing on the places you want to explore. Let excitement run the ship for a bit.

Challenge: Don't think about the practicals. Just start making a list of things you'd like to see within a 4-hour drive from where you live now.

12. I hardly think about travel

This is heresy, and I'm trying not to judge, but...no. Yep. It's too late. The judging has begun.

What to do: You need some inspiration! Start making a bucket list of things that sound exciting. For Pete's Sake, start thinking of travel!!

Challenge: Find 3-5 travel accounts on Instagram to follow, just for inspiration. Here are some suggestions:

  • @thevonfamily

  • @polkadotpassport

  • @dashley_world_tour

  • -- and of course, ahem (clears throat, awkardly) * @mrs_samanthanelson


13. Procrastination is kind of my thing

Yep, this struggle is real. Do you have 50 trips you'd love to take, all sitting hopelessly on your Pinterest vacation board? Then I'd say...it's time to ask for help.

What to do: You can't do it alone. Admit you have a problem. (One of my favorite shirts reads, "Procrastinators, rise up...tomorrow." I have this disease, bad.)

Challenge: Offer to pay for a friend to travel with you. They'll be really motivated to help you make that trip happen. (I'm only kind of kidding about this challenge. I will volunteer to be that friend for anyone...just saying.)

14. Don't have the money, or I'm saving money

This is one of the biggest reasons people give me when they talk about why they aren't traveling. They're either saving money or out of money. I get it. Boy, do I get it. If this is where you find yourself, getting over the budget hump takes work. You may have to forego eating out or staying at a hotel. But travel doesn't have to stop. 

What to do: Think of what you can see within a 2-hour drive. Plan an entire trip on one tank of gas. Pack food from home. Hit up free events. Many museums and attractions have discounted rates if you go after a certain hour.

Challenge: Pick a city that you'd like to visit. Go to that city's Groupon page. There will be a section called Things to Do. Check out the discounts and see if anything fits your budget.

15. Don't have the time to research options

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