Are These 7 Fears Stopping You From Traveling?
It’s easy to come up with real , real-to-you, or imagined reasons why you can’t travel with your children. But wait. Are these ‘reasons’ simply excuses or fears in disguise? Read on to see if these 7 fears are stopping you from traveling with children.
1. Money! I just can’t afford to travel.
It may come as a surprise, but you don’t need a lot of money to travel. If you want to travel, there are cheap ways to do it, especially if you are willing to be creative. For example, if you are traveling with a family, you can sometimes save a bundle by buying one way airline tickets – one outbound itinerary, one return itinerary. I recently was able to travel, 4 kids + moi, to Europe from New York for about $120 one way per person. Once in Europe, I was able to fly to different locations with my crew using low-cost airlines, such as Easy Jet and Ryan Air; I took one flight between London and France that was £ 4.99 per person/one way (that’s about $6.00 USD)!
There are a number of discount travel sites out there. You just have to look for them! There are also ways to stay cheaply abroad, from home exchanges, hostels, to couch surfing, to long stay AirBnB rentals, to family volunteer abroad opportunities that give you free accommodation in exchange for your time. Some families even rent out their home while they travel to earn extra cash. Also, depending on your destination, you may discover that some places are soooo much cheaper for a family to live in than home…you might actually save money being away from home!
There are many ways to make money online while you travel, too. I previously wrote this post about 21 side hustles, which might give you ideas. There are also job opportunities abroad, such as teaching English as a foreign language. If you already have a work-from-home job or one that allows flexibility, this may make it even easier financially to travel.
You can always start small too. You don’t need to book a six month trip to Europe to enjoy the benefits and experience of travel. Staycations, weekend trips, or overnight adventures close to home are also ways to soak up the travel lifestyle. One of my favorite travel destinations is only a few hours away from my home, and it’s always a fun, easy adventure to pack the kids in the car, fill up the gas tank, and go.
Yes, traveling costs money, but if you really want to travel, there are ways to do it affordably, cheaply, and sometimes free. With a bit of creativity, you really can’t hide behind this excuse.
2. They are too young to travel. They won’t remember any of it.
Recently I was talking with my children about tabula rasa. This is the concept that children are born as a blank slate, waiting to be shaped and molded. Somehow a child learns to walk and run, but they don’t necessarily remember learning it, yet it stays with them. The experience of travel is sort of like that too. Children are like sponges. They absorb, study, and soak up everything around them. You may not see the impact immediately, but somewhere the experience is stored and shaping them.
Having exposed my children to travel at young ages and repeatedly over the years–now to the point that travel is a lifestyle, I know that my children were never too young to travel. They may not remember specific moments or trips, but every single day I see how travel has shaped their thinking, perspectives, ideas, decisions, and interests. So, ditch this excuse. Traveling with young children, showing them the world, introducing them to different people, cultures, places, ways of seeing the world, is one of the best gifts you can give them.
3. I can’t. There’s just no way. I can’t take them out of school. They will miss so much.
Seriously? You can’t take them out of school? Um…why yes, you can. Really. Although there may be exceptions depending on where you live, you can take your children out of school. Depending on the length of time of your travels, you may have to jump hurdles like arranging details through your school, such as making a homework plan, or withdrawing your child and registering your child as a homeschooler in your state, but it is possible. You may have to ignore the naysayers. People get uncomfortable with out of the box or out of the ordinary ideas, but don’t let their discomfort become yours. See #6.
Travel is one of the best educational gifts you can give a child. While it is sometimes challenging when you have older children because they may not want to leave peers or worry about falling behind in school, travel is absolutely possible and so beneficial for older children. Whether you have older or younger children, I’m a big believer that anything they miss in school can either be made up or will be substituted by invaluable travel and learning experiences. From my own experiences and from what I’ve heard other families say after taking their kids out of school, kids who travel tend to come back more prepared and interested in learning, or far ahead of their peers, particularly in terms of maturity, outlook, or willingness to learn.
Whether you take a child out of school for a week or a year, you’ll likely discover that they didn’t really miss that much academically, particularly if you are working with them or seeing that they are doing some academic work outside of school — even if it’s just reading a pile of books, that reading combined with what they learn and see while traveling is beyond measure.
4. I don’t have the patience to travel with my children or spend long amounts of time with them in the same space.
I don’t think you really need a lot of patience to travel with children. You certainly don’t need superhuman patience. You really just have to love your children and want to expose them to amazing learning opportunities. You have to be able to imagine what a gift travel will be to your children, and you have to want to give them the life changing experience of travel.
Sure, travel with kids is not always easy. There are times when it’s frustrating, exhausting, and overwhelming. There are times when you’ll probably wish you were at home or able to drop your kids off on a moment’s notice (or not) with your parents or at the neighbor’s house. But as it goes in life, often the things that are most rewarding, are the things that require a little extra effort, planning, patience, time. Traveling with kids is so worth it. The shared experience and connection will allow you to know your child and vice versa in ways you never imagined.
If your worry about having enough patience is holding you back, it’s time to set it aside. Plan a trip and figure out either as you go or before hand how you might work in a little time to yourself or extra space for you. Perhaps that means signing your child up for a class, activity, or camp in your destination. Perhaps it means renting an AirBNB that has a big fenced in yard, so you can send your child out the door to play while you relax quietly inside. If you want to travel, don’t let your fear of spending too much time in the same space with your child be what holds you back!
5. I have to work. I can’t just leave my job.
Of course you need to make money, but it doesn’t mean you can’t leave your job. Travel is an experience of a lifetime. It’s a life changing opportunity, however and whenever you can make it happen. The experiences and memories you make from travel, especially when you travel with children, can’t be replaced. A job, even the best of jobs, is just a job. Whether you want to believe it or not, a job is replaceable. You are replaceable at a job. Kids grow fast, too. You may think you have so much time to travel with them in the future, but believe it or not, that future will arrive much too quickly.
So, yes, you can leave your job to travel. Whether it means taking a day off for a long weekend of travel or something more for longer travel, you just have to be willing to come up with a plan or creative solution. It’s a matter of finding a way to support yourself while you travel. Before actually leaving your job, though, you may want to first explore how you can get time off to travel and keep your job. Can you take advantage of time off or extended leave? Can you save up your vacation days? Can you convince your employer to let you roll vacation days over into the next calendar year? Can you take a sabbatical? Can you work remotely? Can you propose a new work project? Can you propose to create a new office in a different location?
Remember, travel and what you gain through travel can make you a more valuable employee. You may have to convince your employer of this fact, but it may be worth trying. If all else fails, it may be time to look elsewhere for a more flexible employer or job opportunity. There are reputable sites online that list work-from-home, telecommute, or work from anywhere gigs. There are opportunities to teach online, as well as opportunities to teach language in other countries. If you’re a nurse, there are travel nursing opportunities. If you’ve wanted to start a business, there are ways to do this online, so you have lifestyle flexibility. The possibilities are endless.
If your job is the excuse for why you aren’t traveling, it may be that the job needs a change or needs to go, so you can find an opportunity that better supports your dream. After all, this is your life, and why let anything hold you back of reaching your dreams?
6. My family/friends/spouse don’t support my dream of travel.
People generally don’t like change. They don’t like to take risks. They don’t like to step out of their comfort zones. Your dream of travel, especially with kids–if that’s something your family or friends haven’t done before or can’t imagine doing–will likely make them uncomfortable. So when you encounter resistance, you need to recognize that it’s about them and their fears. It’s not about you.
You’ve got to do what your heart desires, even if it’s not popular with what others want in your life. Are you here to live an average, risk-free life, like most people do? If you are reading this, I don’t think so.
So, dream up your dream and act on it. If it makes you sleep better at night, sending postcards or update your social media with your travel adventures so family/friends, etc. can see what you are up to. But don’t feel obligated to do so. And above all, even when people are family or close friends don’t forget to ask yourself what it really says when people don’t support you, what you want, and what you consider important to you. You deserve to have support for your dreams, so surround yourself with people who want you to rise and meet them!
7. It’s just not the right time to travel.
What?!? Is there really ever a ‘right’ time to do anything meaningful or life changing? Life and obligations somehow always get in the way. Unexpected pregnancies, deaths, job losses, taking care of sick family members, school or work schedules… these things happen and the timing is never right for those things, is it? But somehow we manage to find a way to get up each day and make it through until the next. So, if you really want to travel and not just hide behind the it’s just not the right time to travel excuse, you’ve got to make it the right time to travel. Making it the right time to travel, starts by making time now!
Planning time to travel is much like resolving to exercise. You have to make time for it. There is rarely a good time for it. You just have to seize the moment and declare a time when it’s going to happen and stick to it. If you don’t just make it the right time to travel, the days, weeks, months, and years will pass you by. Actually, they will fly by you. Instead of making your own travel memories, you’ll be scrolling through Instagram feeds of people who decided to make the time to make their own travel memories.
If you want to travel, there isn’t a better time to travel than right now. So, what are you waiting for? Make a plan to travel today! Do something, anything, big step or small, toward your travel dream.
You can do this!