Top 5 reasons why people don’t travel

Our most popular blog post on the site has been about the top 5 reasons why people travel. In fact, if you Google ‘why people travel’ this post is the first result.

But it got me thinking… why don’t people travel?

Perth WA Beach Double-Barrelled Travel

It can be tempting to stay at home when this is your local beach – but I managed to travel regardless!

At first I struggled to think of reasons. I mean, travelling is what I live for. There’s nothing like the excitement I feel when the plane lands in a new place to explore. All I can think, “Where do I explore first?”

But I realise that’s not the case for everyone. And I’ve been investigating why people don’t travel. So here they are.

Top 5 reasons why people don’t travel:

1. “I don’t have enough money”

“You must be so lucky to be rich enough to travel the world all the time.”

This is the most common phrase people say to us, somewhat enviously, when we’re travelling.

But the truth is – we’re not rich! We travel on a minimal budget thanks to our house sitting assignments, love of cooking over eating out, and other money-saving schemes. In all honesty, we could probably travel even cheapier if we were more spendthrift but sometimes we enjoy ourselves too much.

Casa Loma dining room Double-Barrelled Travel

We don’t have a fancy dining room like this – in fact we don’t have a dining room!

The one thing we have in common with many other long-term travellers, however, is that we made a targeted goal to save money for our trip, we put our minds to it, and we saved up the cash. Not only that, but we work hard at this blog and make a little money from it, as well as from freelance writing assignments.

The year is 2014. You don’t have to be rich to travel.

There are numerous ways to travel on a budget. There are cheap flights to take, hostels to stay in and street food vendors to buy from.

If anyone says they can’t afford to travel then they’re not trying hard enough to save.

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2. “I have children”

OK, so we don’t have children, so I can’t speak from that point of view.

Driving shot Double-Barrelled Travel

Yes, we understand, long car trips with children can certainly be tough… but do it anyway!

However, many people say that they ‘can’t travel’ because they have a baby. In fact, my mother-in-law even told me once that it’s ‘not fair’ to take a baby on a plane, for both the baby and the people on the flight.

But is that any way to live? Limiting what you can do because you have a child? Is it a reason why people don’t travel?

I have a French friend whose baby probably has more stamps in its passports than most Americans. Her and her partner have hiked mountains, road tripped through the US and relaxed on beaches around the world, all with their baby in tow.

Not to mention there are a number of travel bloggers, like Y Travel and The Nomadic Family, who travel with their children. Which is pretty inspiring and awesome.

But if they can do it, who’s to say that you can’t?

3. “I’ve got a mortgage and a job”

Some people view having a mortgage as tying them to a place, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. We know many travel bloggers like Grown Up Travel and Never-Ending Voyage who have mortgages that don’t stop them from travelling.

If you want to travel long-term, why not rent out your place? Perhaps the rent might cover your mortgage and some of your travel costs. (In fact, sometimes we do wish we were home owners for this very reason!)

The Homestead Glen Arbor Double-Barrelled Travel

Perhaps you have a fancy backyard that rivals this hotel’s. And perhaps you’d rather sit there than at a hotel’s. Fine!

Or if you’re going on a short term trip and have pets that need looking after, why not try house sitting? You can get someone to live in your house while you’re away, looking after your pad and taking care of your pets at the same time.

Recently we met a couple in Seattle who’d both taken six months off work to travel around South America for their honeymoon.

I asked them how they got their bosses to be so flexible.

Their response?

“We just asked and they said yes.”

Because the thing is, if you’re good at your job your bosses will let you take the time off to travel the world. Sure, it’ll most likely be un-paid but at least you’ll have a job to go back to upon your return.

And if your boss doesn’t let you go, quit your job and travel anyway. Don’t let your job hold you back – there will always be another job out there for you.

And who knows? Perhaps it’ll be better than the one you currently have.

Woodstock New Hampshire Double-Barrelled Travel

Who wouldn’t want to travel when you can visit places like this? (Woodstock in New Hampshire.)

4. “I’m scared”

Fear. It really can control us if we let it. And it certainly can be a reason why people don’t travel.

I remember getting on plane to Paris as a 15 year old, going to live in France for a year on my own. It was on a student exchange programme. I didn’t know any French beyond the words, “oui” and “bonjour”.

The fear gripped me at the airport and I sobbed all the way onto the plane.

It was the best year of my life.

With my French mum Mimi Double-Barrelled Travel

With my French host mum Mimi – we’re still close to this day

It sure was challenging at times but it was also life-changing and I came back focused and with my passion for travel firmly cemented inside me.

My dad says I came back “a better human being” and he’s probably right.

Nothing profound but I most likely would’ve been pregnant at 16 and dropped out of school if it wasn’t for that experience.

So don’t let fear control you. Step outside of your comfort zone. Travel the path less trodden. You’ll feel rewarded and you might just learn something too.

5. “I just don’t want to”

Fair enough. You have no desire for travel. You don’t like exploring the world and different cultures don’t interest you.

I get it.

Some people just don’t have a desire for travel, and that’s ok. It’s not the path for everyone.

I used to get frustrated at my friends who didn’t travel, thinking “WHHHHHHHHHHY?!” But then I came to the conclusion that not everyone is as passionate about travelling as I am. They are passionate about other things.

And that’s completely ok too.

Why do you think people don’t travel?

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About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

19 comments on “Top 5 reasons why people don’t travel”

  1. Nancy Reply

    SO much appreciated… thanks for the sharing your best views. all are so much nice…

  2. Contented Traveller Reply

    I have friends who have absolutely no interest in travelling at all. Like you, I have stepped back and thought OK, that is your choice and I respect it. I may not understand it but …

  3. jefferson faudan Reply

    i’d love to visit places if only the money won’t hurt… when i think of it, i feel that it’s best to invest it in my startup business (for the meantime) and maybe when i feel that spending $5000 on a trip isn’t so much of a big deal…

      • jefferson faudan Reply

        if you would settle with just about anything local that there is to offer then it would… the way i see travel is “if im going to paris, i’m staying in a hotel, dine well and not a hostel somewhere… and i’d love to eat streetfood because it was a personal choice, not because i have no option” and i don’t like the idea of going to a certain country and you see a boutique on sale but you tell yourself “ahhh no i don’t need that, i’m sure they have some really cheap places around… it’s still the same cotton shirt anyway, right?”

        • jefferson faudan Reply

          btw, in my area, $2000 can get me my own land and can already enable you to put up a small house which i can sell in a year or two at maybe $5000 and even more… $2000 can also enable me to put up a small food cart business situated at good spots. $2000 can get me a really big home flat screen with home theater and karaoke… it’s also a good enough amount of money for home renovation… $2000 is also a lot to start a kickass ebay business selling wholesale beauty products and clothing — you keep your normal routinal job and make more at the side and have more spending power (to broaden your own small businesses)

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  5. John McDerp Reply

    I find it a waste of time and most importantly a waste of money. My parents have been traveling for years around my country and the world, but I have never joined them, even though I’ve been invited every time. I just don’t see the appeal of it. The time and money wasted can otherwise be invested in much better things.

    You pay a HUGE sum of money to get out of your ordinary life for a week or two… and then it’s all back to normal. You’re back to your boring job/college/school. You’re back to the country you abhor so much (in my case). You also have a thousand pictures you’ll probably never go through again, some lengthy videos you’re most likely never going to watch, a couple of somewhat cool souvenires, and memories of stuff you’re likely to forget. Oh, and you’re poorer. A couple of thousand euros/dollars poorer.

    In my personal case, I also have issues with the weather and the transportation itself. I hate sunny & hot weather, so I do my best not to go out on hot days, and avoid the sun. What I hate even more is transportation – cars and buses in particular. I get dizzy in them after a short period of time, let alone hours (used to vomit a lot in our car when I was a little kid). I’m afraid of flying and wouldn’t go on a ship either. Although I don’t mind trains that much, the general transportation is by either bus or a plane. Considering my weather issues, the issues I have with transportation, the money issues, and the waste of time issues, I’m probably not going to be traveling anytime soon if ever.

    But… There is nothing more I’d love more than to leave my country. Forever. I consider my whole country an “European ghetto”; an enormous village. It’s probably the worst country in Europe. I’ve always said that the moment I leave this place is gonna be for a permanent vacation, hopefully somewhere in Canada 🙂

    • Dave Allan-Petale Reply

      Hmmm – you make some interesting points here John and I agree with you on a few of them. As a red head with pale skin I avoid the sun too, I hate to fly and buses and trains get on my nerves. But I still go… why?
      Yes travel can be expensive and yes it doesn’t really change the life you leave behind (unless you do that yourself) – but it can give you experiences and perspectives that perhaps will illuminate your own life. I know that when I was younger I didn’t like my own country, Australia, a place considered paradise by many. When I first travelled, I saw amazing things, terrible things, sad things, cool things, and returned home with news eyes and a new appreciation for what I had. It’s all seasoning for the big dish. Travel makes life interesting, and can grow you in unexpected ways.
      Perhaps you should go to Canada and see how you like it – away from parents, and old life and where you are from. You could have the time of your life, if you give it a chance.
      And as for the pictures, totally agree – I look at mine sometimes, but there are too many in the world. Better to just use your eyes and memory (sketch book is best) – the only souvenir I have is my belly from all the food and drink! Good luck to you mate, it’s a big world waiting

  6. Lisa D Reply

    How about people who have obligations they can’t ignore? I used to love going with my spouse on his various business trips. But now, it’s different. I care for my 90 year old mother, and one of my 4 kids is autistic. Right now I’m on a week long trip with one of my children for a national competition, and arranging this time off has been incredibly difficult. I also garden and have a variety of other interests and obligations that just don’t lend themselves to me picking up and going. As far as not being interested in other cultures and people, there are more ways than travel to indulge those interests. We’ve been a host family for international coaches. I cook for my family from a variety of world cuisines. I’m widely read, and I’ll match my knowledge of world history and culture with just about anybody. Just because travel is not your priority doesn’t make you an uncultured or uninteresting person.

    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      You are completely correct!
      You can certainly travel from the comfort of your own home, by doing all those things you’ve mentioned. It’s great, because you’re even bringing the multiculturalism to your family, who might otherwise struggle to travel.
      Perhaps I should re-name this post to something more suitable.
      Thanks a lot for your feedback Lisa.

  7. Rose Reply

    This is a great article. Thank you for including number 5. I’m number 5 (“I just don’t want to”) and I don’t like that with so many people I have to pretend the reason I’m not going is because I can’t afford it or something, when really it’s just that I don’t want to but don’t want people to judge me for not wanting to. I love holidays, but that’s a different thing, and I actually prefer to go to the same place every year and do nothing for a week except lie on a beach, rather than cram as much sightseeing in as my tired legs will manage and then come home not feeling rested. I’m just not a travel person and I like that unlike other blogs about why people don’t travel, you aren’t judgmental about that.

    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      It’s true, not everyone likes to travel! I totally understand how it can be overwhelming to go sightseeing constantly and end up more exhausted than when you left. I’m sure you’re not alone in loving to lie on the beach for your holidays!
      Thank you for your comment 🙂

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  9. Rasputin 38 Reply

    I 100% agree with John McDerp,

    I think it´s ridiculous run away from your problems for a week or two and lose money in the process.

    When I want to just run away from my ordinare life I play games. Here in my country (Brazil), steam´s games are VERY cheap, prolly the ONLY thing cheap in Brazil (serious).

    I also want to get out of Brazil forever, but communism is everwhere nowdays, even Europe have some communism, then I should think with great care.

    I also don´t understand why people go to North Korea, Thailand, Rio de Janeiro (in Brazil) or other dangerous and corrupt country.

    It´s insane put your life in risk just for travel. I am from Brazil and I just go to Rio de Janeiro for bussiness, never tourism

    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      What a shame to live your life in fear! I don’t think travelling is about running away from your problems, it’s more about learning from the world and about different cultures. Exploring places and meeting new friends 🙂
      I’m sorry you feel that way

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