There are several factors that may keep you from traveling despite that nagging feeling of wanting to be somewhere else. Life happens, responsibilities get in the way, and our bodies don’t always agree with us. Sometimes there’s just nothing we can do to avoid a halt in our dreams and plans.
Some may say that fulfilling our dreams is more important than anything else, but that’s not always the case. We need to listen to the signs from our bodies—or the universe—and we need to make sure we are safe and healthy above all else.
In November, my boyfriend and I set off on my dream trip: Paris. We had metro tickets purchased, museum passes ready for pick-up and a list of plans that seemed never-ending. I remember how I felt sitting at our gate in the airport; it was like no other feeling I’ve had before. I’m always excited to travel, but what made this time so different? I had been out of the country; I had been away without my parents and family; I had been away with my boyfriend.
Why did this trip feel so important?
I was setting off to a place I’ve dreamt of since I was a little girl with the love of my life. I worked my hardest to put together an itinerary that made Paris interesting for him (since he’s been there so many times) and first-timer-friendly for me. I made sure our trip wasn’t impossible to afford but also included many of our points of interest as well.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime trip with a once-in-a-lifetime guy. I couldn’t believe it was happening!
Unfortunately, roughly two hours into the flight began one of my worst nightmares. Tom had begun getting sick after eating his airline meal and spent most of the flight in the bathroom. The turbulence was rocky and I feared that he’d be knocked around in the bathroom by all the bumps. I hoped and prayed he’d be better by the end of it. I couldn’t imagine feeling the way he did.
After three days of violently vomiting, being bed-ridden, and seeing Paris for a total of 2 hours, we called it a wash and booked an early flight home. A couple who was supposed to be in Paris for a magical week, flew for a total of 17 hours to spend 3 whole days in a hotel room.
Regardless of the money lost and the time spent, we learned lessons (*cough* travel insurance *cough*) and we’re adapting. Life is not about the vacations, no matter what picture my blog paints for you; it’s about evolving and finding solutions to problems you didn’t see coming.
If you have anything that keeps you from traveling, here are some solutions to satisfy your hunger to see the world:
If you have a health reason that keeps you from traveling, whether you have a lifelong condition or a temporary roadblock, remember this: your health is more important than seeing the world. What’s the use of being able to travel if you aren’t comfortable or in the right state of mind to enjoy it?
Plan road trips, day trips, and sightseeing experiences that are easily accessible and flexible. If you wake up feeling ill or in pain the morning you’re supposed to leave, go another weekend! Go on a trip when you feel up to it.
You have to be flexible mentally as well. If you’re too set on a date and time to leave, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment.
Stay within your limits. Some may be able to drive for a dozen hours while others can only handle one. Regardless of how far you can go, there’s always something worthwhile. Do some research, get a group together, and hit the road.
If you can’t travel at all, near or far, create a board of photos, things to do, and maps. Before I had the money, time, and perfect travel buddy, I spent hours creating Excel documents of budgets and timetables. I’d research the best things to do, the best places to stay, and the best restaurants to dine at. I have countless trips planned that I have yet to go on…and may never go on, but that’s okay.
Seeing a place first-hand and being surrounded by a culture is obviously everyone’s first choice, but you can learn and feel so much just by planning an itinerary.
If you’re scared of flying, you certainly aren’t the only one. Truthfully, I’ve flown more times than I can count and I still find myself getting squeamish on a plane. There are a few travel options to keep you away from flying: you can take trains or cars if you prefer to stay on land, and you can go on cruises if you’re comfortable with sailing.
(Even if you don’t live near a port for cruising, you can drive or take a train. It’ll add some length to your trip, but who doesn’t love a longer vacation?)
Fears can be hard to overcome, but if you rally around the right group (AKA, supportive people who love you and make you feel safe) and plan it right, you can travel and see more of your country than many people get to see. I can fly to L.A. from New York 100 times while my friend drives that route once. In the end, she’ll get to see and do far more than I ever have.
Road trips can seem daunting with all the driving, but that’s what good planning is for. If you can plan out the right stops and routes, you’ll have one hell of a time.
One of the biggest reasons people don’t travel is money. (I don’t actually know that for sure, but it seems to be the most talked about.) The best advice when you’re strapped for cash is to be flexible and smart. I know it sounds easier said than done, but it’ll work every time.
If you’re flexible, you can:
- Go to places at off-peak times and score off-peak prices
- See parts of a city that most others won’t get to see just because you snagged cheaper accommodations that are “out of the way”
- Avoid crowds at popular sites
- Visit places you never would have thought to see
When I know I want to get away but have no idea where I want to go, I immediately check Skyscanner.com. They’ll list the cheapest places to go at the cheapest times from the airport of my choice, and it always sparks an interest in an unexpected place. Check out the price calendar on their site and decide which places fit your budget and pique your interest. You might be surprised where you’ll end up.
I know even “cheap” vacations can still be too much money sometimes, so plan a vacation down to the very tiny details until you have the money to go. Looking up information, planning excursions, and even picking what you’d eat at restaurants is sometimes enough to make you feel like you’re there. It definitely makes you more excited to go, but knowing you’re working toward that overall goal can be enough to satisfy your travel taste buds.
Planning, booking, and going on a trip is a lot of time and effort. We don’t always have the time. Whether we’re too busy to plan it or we don’t have the time off, it can be hard to find the perfect time to jet.
If you only have weekends available, utilize the time you do have to visit places that aren’t too far but are far enough to know you’re getting away. You may not want to go somewhere that’s a 4-hour plane ride away, but if you can hop on a 2-hour flight somewhere, you can leave after work Friday and get back on Sunday night. You’ll have a nice weekend away without taking any time off.
BONUS: pay the extra money to go away on a holiday weekend where days off are built in. It could be more crowded or expensive, depending on where you go, but if you have the funds, take advantage.
If you don’t have time to plan it, go to Pack Up + Go and let them do everything. Fill out a survey to let them know everything from your budget to where you’ve visited recently, and they’ll do the rest. I haven’t done it…yet. It looks like a lot of fun to do even if you do have the time to plan!
Show up at the airport (or hop in your car if you opt to stay close) and find out where you’re headed. They’ll have made the hotel reservations for you and will even give you tips for great places to eat and visit while you’re there. You’ll have an unforgettable trip without any of the hassles.
Regardless of your reasons for skipping out on vacations, there’s always a solution. Traveling is a privilege, and when we don’t have the means to make a trip work, we can always think of fun ways to get around it.