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?
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
“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.
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.
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.