How do you manage to travel so much? Where do do get the money or the time? These are questions people often ask me. I believe, it’s all about prioritization. How often have you made one of these excuses for not traveling?
- I don’t have the money right now.
- I don’t have the time right now.
- I need to focus and get my career established first.
- I don’t have anyone to travel with and I can’t go alone.
- I don’t speak the language. I’ll probably get lost.
All of these excuses are in fact just that: EXCUSES. And these excuses lead to the “I’ll do it later” syndrome. I’m going to argue that you should travel NOW. Here’s why:
You can actually afford it NOW.
Traveling costs less than you think. You can easily save money while traveling by CouchSurfing, using discount cards and frequent flier miles, working while you travel, and being more flexible with flights or even traveling by bus or train. A day in Thailand can cost as little as $25–less than what many people spend on their morning Starbucks run and mid-day lunch out with coworkers. What it comes down to is not that you don’t have the money, but how you prioritize where you spend your money. It’s amazing how much you can save by just cutting down on unnecessary expenses like that daily morning coffee, which costs you $4/day, $20/week, $1040/year! So if you really do want to travel, then try cutting down on eating out, going out for drinks, or upgrading to that newest smart phone every year. These little changes will go a long way. And if that’s not enough, here are some tips and inspiring stories on how others saved money for travel:
- 28 Ways to Save Money for Traveling
- How I Saved Enough to Travel the World for Five Years
- How I Saved $13,000 For Travel in Just Seven Months
Your body is going to get old.
Sure you can wait to travel, but can your body wait? In 20 or 30 years, will you be able to climb Mt. Fuji, hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, or cycle through the Dolomite mountain range in Italy? Maybe you could. Perhaps you’ll become more physically fit than you are today, but I’m willing to bet that traveling will be more enjoyable now without the achy joints, back pain, or labored breathing.
You’ll have more responsibilities later.
As you get older, you’ll have more responsibilities: car payments, a mortgage, a family. There will be other lives (spouse, children, pets) depending on you. This means less flexibility to be able to do what you want, when you want to. So while you may think you have no time right now, you actually have less obligations today than you will later in life.
You’re worth less now than you will be in the future.
A few years ago, an entrepreneur came to speak to one of my graduate business classes. He made one simple statement that has stuck with me: “Go travel right now because right now you’re not worth anything.” BURN! But what he spoke was the truth. Today, your net worth, your hourly worth is nothing compared to what it could and should be one day. If you became the CEO at a Fortune 500 company could you really take months off at a time to travel? How much would it cost the company for you to be away so long? Even if you aren’t going to be the CEO at a Fortune 500 company, it’s pretty safe to assume you’ll move up in your career and your overall worth will increase. So while you are worth nothing today and your career is still at the beginning stages, go travel! And if you’re worried it’ll impede on your career trajectory, think again. Traveling opens your eyes. As the world globalizes and becomes increasingly connected, having international exposure makes you more valuable in the work force.
You could be waiting quite some time if you wait for others.
Traveling alone can be scary. I completely understand that. Which makes sense why you would want to travel with someone else. What you will come to find is that it’s quite challenging to align multiple schedules and different financial situations. You may end up waiting, and waiting, and waiting and still not have gone anywhere. I experienced this for years and eventually threw in the towel and decided to just go alone. I was extremely intimidated my first time traveling solo. I didn’t speak the language. Plus I have a horrible sense of direction. Just ask anybody! I can get lost with a GPS in hand! What I realized is that traveling alone is quite liberating. It’s actually easier to meet other travelers while on your own. And getting lost isn’t half bad. That’s how I ended up coming across local markets, limited-time art exhibits, and other lost travelers. Going solo offers you more freedom and flexibility. As an added bonus, you also gain a sense of courage and determination!
You don’t want to regret it later in life.
Have you ever heard of anybody in their death beds regretting not attending more work meetings? Not staying at the office later? Probably not. One of the top regrets people do have is not traveling enough. In fact, regret #1 in this recent article on the Top 37 Things Dying People Say They Regret is: “Not traveling when you had the chance. Traveling gets harder as you get older, as more people depend on your presence, day-to-day and it ends up becoming more expensive to bring more people with you.” I couldn’t have said it better!
Bottom line is that if you want to travel, you’ll make it happen. It’s still the beginning of 2014, so there’s no better time than NOW to do it!