The 5 Worst Excuses to Not Travel (And How To Defeat Them)

At some point, everyone dreams about travelling. Curiosity is part of human nature, and most of us yearn to visit some special, far-flung place that’s captured our imagination for as long as we can remember. For some it’s the Great Wall of China or the streets of Paris, for others the Pyramids of Egypt or the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.

And yet so few will ever fulfil that dream.


We’ve always got an excuse. Some are legitimate, but most are hardly worthy of serious consideration.

Over the years, I’ve probably heard every travel excuse in the book, but none strike me as more ill-conceived than the following five. If you’ve used these in the past to rationalize not embarking on that dream trip, I’ll forgive you.  But from now on, you won’t have any excuses: it’s time to get going!

1)    “I can’t find anyone to go with me.”

If there’s a worse justification to avoid travel, I’ve yet to hear it. Apparently, many people believe that travelling is an inherently dangerous activity that, like attempting a 300-pound bench press, needs a spotter. How far from the truth!

Solo travel need not be dangerous, but it’s almost always rewarding. With no one to sway you, you’ll go where you want to go, do what you want to do, when you want to do it. Who’s a more perfect travel companion for you than you?

I realize that as an only child, I’ve learned to enjoy my own company more than most and not everyone can handle loneliness with the same indifference.

But travelling solo doesn’t mean travelling alone.

As you drift through your travel plans, you’ll meet other like-minded wayfarers, some of whom you may end up floating around with for a while before parting ways.

Even if you’ve traditionally been shy for your whole life, there’s no better way to smash out of your shell than to socialize with some new, interesting people while travelling the world.

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2)    “Travel? There’s no way I could afford that!”

Somewhere along the way signals became crossed. We’ve been exposed to this insane idea that travel is the domain of the rich and that jetsetters are only those privileged and lucky enough to afford it.

Let’s debunk this myth, and never utter it again.

Travel is only as expensive as you want it to be. Sure, it’s easy to blow through a year of savings in a week, but it’s just as easy to stretch it out over months. For up to date prices from great travel companies check out this list of travel sites.

All this excuse covers up is a lack of will to do whatever it takes to make your dreams happen. If travel is truly a priority in your life, you’ll sacrifice whatever necessary to stuff your piggybank with enough dough to increase your travel fund and set off on your journey.

Maybe it’s working overtime, forgoing a few restaurant meals a month, buying a few less pints on the weekend, or sucking up your pride and squatting in your parent’s basement for a few months after college – if you really want to take that dream trip, you’ll make it happen!

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3)    “I don’t have the time.”

Who would you reckon are the busiest people on earth? Politicians? Fortune 500 executives? Guess what: if they can find time to travel, so can you.

We all work hard all year long to get what we want and we all have vacation time to unwind; shouldn’t we spend it doing something unforgettable?

Even if you only have ten days (like us poor saps starting out in Canada), you can perfect the art of short-term travel and experience some amazing things within a short period of time.

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4) “I’d love to go to [insert destination here], but it’s too dangerous.”

Turn on the TV or skim a newspaper, and you could spin this statement into a hundred iterations. Outside our backyard, it’s always doom and gloom; the world is an unstable place, and you’d be wise to stick close to home.

Ignore all the hype: the world is a far safer place than you’d imagine.

When I first started choosing more unconventional travel destinations, I erased years off the lives of my loved ones. They tried to talk me down, questioned my motives, panicked, and wondered if I’d ever return home.

But rumours of my inevitable demise now seem grossly exaggerated.

I’m still in one piece and never encountered anything more serious than a few minor inconveniences in travels spanning most of the continents.

If I’d listened to all the “advice,” I’d have missed out on some of my favourite travel destinations including Israel, Turkey, and Indonesia. All proof that stubbornness can sometimes have its virtues.

Proper research, a healthy dose of caution, using common sense and simply travelling smart are far better defences against problems than simply limiting your travels to familiar destinations firmly within your comfort zone.

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5)    “I’ll do it next year.”

Really? I could have sworn you said that last year.

There are many legitimate reasons for putting off a trip, but simply because you aren’t ready right now is not one of them.

When inspiration slaps artists in the face, what do they do? They whip out the easel, swirl around some paint and smack the canvas with their brushes.  They don’t wait around, hoping inspiration will strike again; they act on their impulse, knowing full well their ideas may never return with such vigour.

If you’ve just been slammed with the urge to visit some place you’ve always dreamt of, the time to act is now.  Not next year, not when the timing is perfect, but now.

There’ll always be excuses to not do something, isn’t it about time to make an excuse to do something?

Whether you choose to keep driving straight or grasp the wheel and break through the shoulder to blaze your own path, is your decision. But next time, make sure it’s the one that pushes your travel dreams closer to reality.

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Author Bio: Ryan O’Rourke is a Canadian travel writer, photographer, international food & drink aficionado, part-time wanderer, and founder of Treksplorer. Connect with Ryan on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest to join him as he unearths the earth’s quirky & sublime two to three weeks at a time.

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  2. Charlie Davids

    Nailed it. Travel excuses are based on fears. But travel ends up being the most freeing experience you will ever have. We need to have more excuse crushing around here!

    All the dangerous places that I’ve been to ended up being the most exciting and most beautiful. If anything, travel has taught me to embrace the excuses and run towards the fear.

  3. Loris Yamauchi

    At times I find that people always depend on their family or friends to work it out with them. But going in clusters often is not possible. Each one gives his or her own excuse and at the end of it, we ourselves as well cancel the plan as no one is coming along us. We feel what we would do alone, exploring an unknown territory?

    1. Author

      There is nothing wrong or shameful about traveling alone and you’re guaranteed to meet like minded single travelers on your journey.

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  7. Hanna

    It is a great post. Make you think of what excuse you are actually making up to not travel!

    I guess for majority ” I cannot afford it ” is the one. Its just a mindset and priorities, really! If you want to enough you will always find a way!

    1. Ryan @Treksplorer

      Exactly! I think much of them stems from people thinking that travel abroad is as expensive as living in their own countries. Besides the cost of the initial flight, you can usually spend less while travelling that you would living at home. I spend more on just utility bills, insurance, gas, and groceries in Canada in one month than I would probably spend for everything in 3 months elsewhere, I’m sure; I think much of Europe is even cheaper than here! So yes, I’d agree: “I can’t afford it” is a terrible excuse that merely covers up a flawed mindset.

  8. Aryn

    I think the number one thing I hear is “That’s so cool that you travel. I wish I could but I can’t.” That’s literally their argument- that they simply can’t. I hate that excuse so much!

    1. Author
      J from Travel on Inspiration

      I agree there really is no such thing as ‘I cant’, its more like ‘I’m afraid’ or ‘I can’t be bothered to save up the money’. If you really want to do something in this world then there should be no excuses to stop you.

    2. Ryan @Treksplorer

      I also hear: “You’re so lucky to travel.” But I’m a little confused as to where luck comes into play! It’s a matter of making a conscious effort to focus on the things needed to reach your goal of traveling, not luck. Once again, it’s all just covering up for deeper excuses!

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  10. Ryan @Treksplorer

    Right on, The Guy and Jim! These excuses really are just a cover for other reasons: fears, insecurities, lack of motivation etc. If you truly want to travel, there’s nothing that should stop you.

  11. Jim

    Great list! As a world traveler and former travel agent, I’ve heard all of these excuses and more from friends, family, and clients. Excuses aren’t reasons, they just simply excuses.

  12. The Guy

    Some good explanations here as to why the excuses hold limited value. Effectively the excuses are only made to yourself to justify it to yourself. If the desire is strong enough then you can overcome the excuses.

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