The 5 Excuses We Tell Ourselves That Prevent Us From Traveling

Ever heard of hodophobia? It’s a fear of traveling that prevents people from fully experiencing life. Most people think that a fear of flying is what keeps folks from traveling but in actuality there are several other reasons that hold people back from exploring the world. Here’s a deep dive into the top reasons people use to explain away their hodophobia and some solutions I’ve provided to help you overcome these roadblocks and start living.

1. Fear

Because it is a mind killer. For me, it’s a thrill to travel the unknown – to hike active volcanoes in Central America, swim with Dolphins in the Caribbean, and ride 1000ft in a hanging cable car in Spain! To others, these things scare the crap out of them. The very idea of traveling to unfamiliar destinations, elevates fear in many. We all have our fears and reservations, however we want to ensure that they are not stopping us from reaching our potential or getting the most out of life. For me, my fear use to lie in the “what if”…but what if “what”? The more I thought about it, I was only psyching myself out. We have the tendency to create things and scenarios that do not exist, or are very unlikely to happen. My advice is to take the leap (as long as it doesn’t put you in imminent danger) and go for it! You’ll thank your future self for being and doing just as you wanted today. Follow your heart, fear is merely a distraction.

Action: I have a question for you — what fuels your fear? Take some time to think about this. Write it down as well as the steps you can take the overcome.


“Stairway to Heaven” sculpture. Montserrat, Spain // Credit: Courtney Smith

2. Finances

Who isn’t on a budget these days? I won’t call out just us millennials, but saving money is downright HARD. We love our brunches, happy hours, sample sales (for the fashionistas) and new technology. How can we save money to travel when Saturday brunch has become Holy Grail?  I’m here to tell you, creating a travel budget can be done, but it will take work. It may require a little more cooking at home, but it will be worth it when you can book that flight stress free. As for me, I have established a travel budget that I contribute to monthly.

So you ask yourself, where can I cut cost? How much can I save each month to contribute to a travel budget? Where do I want to go and how much will it cost to me to spend a few days there? If you are serious about your travels, get your calculator out and add up your monthly entertainment costs (this includes eating out, going to the movies and shopping!).  If you were anything like me, you’ve had your share of monthly wining and dining. When I did this for myself a couple years ago, I realized I was spending LOTS of money on repetitive activities. If I knew then what I know now! I’ve bought roundtrip flights to Guatemala and Europe for less than what I was spending on entertainment in a month.

Travel has become more affordable and more accessible for millennials. Social media and the internet teaches you how to be your own travel agent, given you have the time to plan. Economical travel can be done with a little discipline, but what can’t?

Action: Create a monthly budget that includes saving money for travel. No amount is too small.

3. Comfort and Social Acceptance

One vacation is enough? No way. One of the reasons I became so adamant about traveling and started my travel company was because I noticed older generations weren’t doing it enough…IF at all. For as hard as they work, vacationing just wasn’t something they grew accustomed to. You’ve fallen comfortable with the normality of a life with no travel. I’m here to tell you that it’s time to break the chain. Develop a habit of treating yourself.

We’ve all had negative encounters with those that don’t have much good to say about anyone that is traveling as if it’s socially unacceptable to enjoy yourself.  If you allow them, they will keep you in a box believing that you can’t or aren’t deserving of doing all the things you’ve set out for yourself.

This is how you positively respond to them:

They say: “I don’t see how you can afford to travel, shouldn’t you be saving money?”

You say: I save to travel because I believe in it and it has helped me learned more about myself and the world.

They say: “I’ve never heard of that place. Why would you want to go there?”

You say: The world is comprised of many locations, many of which I’ve haven’t heard of yet, I’d like to travel to those places as well.

They say: “Why do you travel so much?”

You say: For as long as I can, I want to explore the world. If you’d like, I’d love to have you join me.”

Your biggest supporters will celebrate you and your accomplishments no matter the circumstances. This point is one of the most powerful because as women, we tend to get boxed. We are here to do outside of the norm. Get out there and make a world for yourself, go beyond the life someone has painted for you. Step outside of your comfort zone, it’s a space where nothing happens.

Action: Plan a new adventure for yourself, it can be big or small. Make it something you’ve never done before.


Took a solo bike ride through the New Orleans French Quarter. // Credit: Courtney Smith

4. No Travel Buddies

If you’re waiting on someone, you’ll never do it. Everyone is on board for a great idea, until it’s time to book that flight or pay that deposit. It has happened to us all. We want to take a group trip and everyone is down for the cause until it’s time to pay the green! The excuses start rolling and begin to get more and more creative. Very early on I had to come to terms with if I wanted to go somewhere, and my friends were not for it, I would be going alone. You have to be okay with this, but what you may not know is that independent travel teaches you things you didn’t know about yourself. Of course, there are places in this world that is not to be explored alone for obvious reasons, but those are not the subject of this matter. How peaceful would reading a book, sitting on a white sandy beach or a solo bike ride through a new city? A peace of mind can be a very expensive thing, but oh gosh is it worth it. This point is not solely to be focused on travel – find an activity that gives you peace and do just that.

Action: Have you ever considered solo travel? Make a list of all the destinations, from local to abroad, that you wouldn’t mind traveling to solo.

5. Time

Besides finances, time seems to be the second biggest reason why folks don’t travel. Is it work, children, family? Why can’t we make time to travel?

Most say they can’t be the jetsetter they dream of becoming because of their jobs. There are two types of people in this world: those who have enough Paid Time Off (PTO) to take off the last four months of the year and those that stay in the deep, dark PTO/unused PTO hole – always pushing the envelope of trying to get that extra day off.  Let’s focus on the percentage of folks with  PTO that never make use of it. You deserve a vacation, but taking days for yourself isn’t necessarily praised in the hallways of your job as much as working late four days a week. It’s time to wake up! We are in 2016 and PTO is for just that, taking time off! Tell your boss (in the nicest way possible, of course) you need to take a few days. Personal time is of the essence in such demanding jobs. We spend most of our adult life at work, a break is needed.

Now it’s time to focus on those who really don’t have the luxury of PTO stored up for consumption. Whether you’ve used it all up or your job simply doesn’t offer it, I encourage you to save money so that you will be able to take a day here or there for yourself. For those who are constantly in the hole, does your job allow you to work from home? Teleworking is beginning to reign, as a means to promote, so-called, “work/life balance.” Proposing the idea of working from home more often will allow you to only need your computer and an internet source, making you more mobile.

As for those with children, we know that traveling during the school year is forbidden and buying flights for children can double the expense.  For those with children under the age of two, many airlines still offer “lap child” tickets for children who do not need their own plane seat. I grew up taking a big family vacation every year. We never traveled abroad. Instead, we traveled economically – road trips and sharing lodging space with the whole family- most importantly, we made time to do it. I believe exposure to travel, while I was young, has fueled my desire to travel.  We have time for whatever we want in this world. Don’t take time for granted. Get the time you need and take it.

Action:  Make a plan to take more time for yourself and start executing on your plans. Purchase a ticket. Book a hotel. Whatever you need to do to make sure you don’t self-sabotage your trip!

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