Myths About Traveling That Keep People From Their Wanderlust
The perception is that travelers all have trust funds, or caught a lucky break, or are just simply irresponsible and don’t care about the future.
These ignorant comments got me thinking. Some people seem to legitimately believe that traveling is out of the realm of possibility for them. For those who want to travel but think that they never could afford it, or are simply too afraid about the idea of moving to another country, here are the four main “Travel Myths” and the solutions to all of them.
Myth 1: Traveling is SUPER expensive
BUSTED: Life is expensive, it’s just a matter of where you want to spend your time and money.
It cracks me up when I hear from my friends who live in New York, or LA telling me how they wish they had the money to do what I did. I saved 5k working my butt off for 6 months to get over here and I’m still working while I’m here to continue to fund my adventure. Meanwhile, my friend in New York is probably paying over $2,000 a month to rent for an apartment in the city. It’s all about priorities and what you want to spend your money on. If you like living above your means, paycheck to paycheck, then traveling probably isn’t too realistic. But if your desires are more about life experience and less about material things, you’ll find it’s very easy to save money and get your journey started.
The startup cost for traveling (i.e. flights) are usually the most expensive part. There are people who spend more on a two-week all-inclusive vacation then I’ve spent in the six months that I’ve been here in Australia. It’s all about priorities and what’s important to you.
- Flights: Skyscanner is a great resource for comparing rates and finding the cheapest flights (helpful tip, if you’re flying anywhere in Oceania, Jetstar will match any deal you find and beat it by at least 10%)
- Crashing for Free: Couch Surfing is a free app for iPhone and Android. Couch Surfing allows people from all over the world to find nice hospitable places to sleep for anywhere from a night, to a week or longer. I’ve had great experiences with this app and I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s had a bad experience.
- Crashing for Cheap: there are tons of apps and websites out there, personally, I prefer Hostelworld, but it’s about preference. Hostels are a great way to start off in a new city, there are lots of like-minded fun people, but I wouldn’t recommend staying more than a week.
- Cheap Trips: I’m a HUGE Groupon fan, and everybody’s favorite “I don’t need it, but I can’t afford not to buy it” app is available in quite a few countries now. If you’re looking for a cheap excursion for a few days, this is a great place to start.
There are just a few examples, but there are so many more apps and websites out there that can assist in making your bigger purchases a little more affordable. The point being if you want to make it happen, don’t let cost be the thing that holds you back. Everything costs money, where do you want to spend yours?
Myth 2: I have student loans (or any kind of debt really)
BUSTED: You can actually improve your credit score while traveling, and knock down your loan payments.
When I was in college my girlfriend was always traveling abroad or across the country. I was extremely conservative with my money and I thought she was insane. What she ended up teaching me in our time together was a lesson I still carry to this day and is part of the reason I was inspired to travel in the first place. She said, “I’ll take happy and broke over miserable and broke every time.” Debt sucks, but it won’t go away simply because you stress over it.
Keep the currency in mind when choosing your destination. Basic living needs are much more affordable depending on where you go. People are often surprised to learn that you can actually save money while traveling. Which leads us to the next myth.
Myth 3: All these people are traveling without working
BUSTED: Most of the people traveling work just like everyone else. That’s why we have a work/travel visa.
I work 40 hours a week, but in my free time, I get to spend it in another awesome country. The thing that makes people want to pack up and go in the first place is not the fear of work, but rather the fear of the mundane, outside of work. If I hate what I’m doing, and I’m doing it in a city I don’t like that much, simply to pay the bills, that’s a lose-lose. I work, and I work hard, and in my free time, I get to explore.
In this age of social media, we take all the best aspects of our lives and put them on display to create this sort of augmented reality. You see the most exciting aspects of a traveler’s journey. The truth is I don’t go hiking or sight-seeing every day of the week, but when I do have free time, that’s how I spend it. So next time you see your friend who’s overseas posting some crazy pictures that make their friends jealous, remember you are only seeing highlights.
Myth 4: Travelers are just a different breed, I would never have the courage to up and leave
BUSTED: Getting here is the scary part, but once you’ve taken that step it changes your life.
People seem to think that everyone who is out traveling the world is either a recent college graduate or just someone who was going nowhere in life, but that’s not true. We all have a story, and most of them don’t start with, “I wasn’t doing anything with my life so I just packed a bag and left”.
When you travel you meet people from all walks of life and almost every story begins with how nervous people were to go. We all knew we wanted to travel and go somewhere new and try to “find ourselves” but like everyone else, there was always something else holding us back. Maybe it wasn’t enough money saved, or being away from our family and friends, financial obligations, etc. The point is you don’t have to be extremely brave to go off and take an adventure, what you need is just a few simple things. A destination, a time frame to make it happen, and most importantly, a ticket.
I remember I had quit my job and moved back home with my family to save for the six months leading up to my expected departure date. As I sat in my kitchen one night staring at my computer screen looking at flights, I kept thinking of all the reasons why I was crazy for doing this. I was bombarding myself with self-doubt and second-guessing, but finally using all the courage I could muster, I took the biggest leap of faith in my adult life. I clicked “book trip”, and just like that it wasn’t a hypothetical anymore, it was happening.
If you’re considering traveling I implore you to do some research, read tons of travel blogs, and once you decide where you want to go, lock it in. There will never be a perfect time to leave, there’s only the time you decide to make it happen.