Why You Need to Make Travel a Priority


morning sky

I have to make a confession: I’ve never been to Machu Picchu.   I know that might not mean much to you, but to me it’s a big deal.  It’s been on the very top of my list of places to see for several years and yet I still haven’t taken the time to travel there.

I can live with that though since I’ve made travel a big priority.  I know I will see it because I put a lot of time and effort to fit travel into my life.  But many people don’t make travel a priority.  And they don’t just put off traveling to their top location, they put off traveling altogether.

Putting Off Travel

I have a friend who loves to travel.  He doesn’t want to see every country in the world like I do, but he still wants to see all of Europe and Australia.  And for a few years after he graduated college, he took yearly trips.  However, one year he just suddenly stopped.

He told me that he was putting off travel for awhile.  His plan was to earn enough money so he could retire early.  At that point he would start traveling again.  In total, it will take him about 40 years.

I can’t tell you enough what a mistake I think he is making.  And even though he is an extreme case, I think others’ have similar attitudes.  Many people put off traveling until they think they can find a good time to do it.  Unfortunately for those people, a good time to go never happens.

What’s Stopping You?

When it comes to travel, I can understand if there is a good reason holding you back.  For example, if you’re completely broke, you can’t buy a plane ticket to go anywhere.  But other reasons I’ve heard include that the timing is bad or they have kids or various other reasons.

Many people make it sound as if they’re waiting for the perfect time to go.  They’ll travel once they have no money worries and are secure enough to take a little time off to explore the world.  It’s not so much about factors in the present holding them back; it’s their uncertainty about the future.

This is no reason to stop you from traveling.  The future is inherently chaotic and unpredictable.  People can be happy and secure in their job one minute and unemployed in the next.  No ideal time to travel will ever happen.

The worst part about waiting for the ideal time is how many travel opportunities you’ll miss out on in the meantime.  Or worst of all, you’ll miss out on going anywhere at all.  I’ve known many elderly men and women who waited and waited only to be struck down or bedridden with illness before they could go.  To them, the chance to see other places is gone forever.

On Making Travel a Priority

When it comes to making travel a priority, stop thinking about doing it “one day” and think about doing it in the next few months.  Give a specific time frame for when you want to do it.  When you set a specific time in the future, it will make it more likely to happen.  When you think of doing something “one day”, you’ll just keep putting it off and it will never get done.

Take a look at the other reasons that are keeping you from traveling.  One of the biggest ones I hear is how you have kids now so traveling has to stop.  I never quite understood this since having kids shouldn’t necessarily mean stopping travel entirely.  In fact, when I was in Central America, I saw a large number of families taking vacations.  Having kids makes traveling a little more difficult, but not impossible.

Also remind yourself of why you want to see parts of the world.  Was there something that made you want to go there in the first place?  Revisit your passion for traveling to those places and your motivation and desire will come naturally.

In many cases, the best time to travel is as soon as possible.  Don’t wait until retirement or when the kids are out of the house.  That could be too late.  If you have the money and time to go than do it.  Just because the place you want to go will always be there doesn’t mean you can take forever.

Part of the fun that goes into traveling is the adventure it entails.  And adventure is about not knowing what will happen next.  Think about it like this: nobody ever accomplished anything by waiting for it to happen.  You have to make it happen.

As for me, I’m not waiting to travel.  Another friend of mine has a saying, “you never regret spending money on travel.”  I couldn’t agree more.  I haven’t regretted it yet and I still won’t regret it when I’m sitting on the side of those Incan ruins enjoying the view.  See you in Machu Picchu.
photo credit: y-a-n

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  1. I’m very glad I’ve made travel a priority. It’s certainly not the most important thing on earth – far from it – but I think, especially if you do enough of it, travel can help you become smarter and stronger in areas that otherwise would have been untapped. I do see some people who seem to be long-term travelers, not vacationers, traveling with very small children. I even saw one backpacker couple in Kampot, Cambodia carrying a baby around with them. It can be done. I wish I could have traveled the world when I was a kid. I think having kids should be an excuse to travel – not an excuse not to.

    • I agree with you that having kids should be an excuse to travel, not an excuse to stop traveling. The way I look at it is travel is an opportunity for them to learn more about the world and other cultures.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with the words written in this post and urge people (especially young people) to make it happen and not wait. As you get older, life just keeps getting more complicated as each year passes, and for some their opportunities will dwindle away.

    I hope you make it to Peru sooner rather than later Steve, and I myself need to listen to your advice. Even though I’ve seen a sizable chunk of the planet, I still want to see more. I just keep getting sucked back into the system, and become another cog in the big machine.

    • It really is better to start traveling at a younger age. You can get used to it, realize that it isn’t that hard to do and the memories will last longer. I didn’t realize how complicated life really would become when I was younger.

  3. I agree with you 100% Steve. Why wait and listen to yourself making excuses when you are healthy and capable of travel now. I feel bad when people tell me they also want to travel but couldn’t because they don’t have enough money or that they have other commitment. You’re right, it’s all about priority. And the best reason to travel? Just because you want to.

    • I also feel bad when I see people who want to travel, but have things that hold them back. Traveling is one of those things that need to be done sooner rather than later since later might never come. And I think your reason for traveling is great. You should do it because you want to do it.

  4. I agree with you that traveling should be made a priority, especially for those with an adventurous spirit. I did quite a bit of traveling when I studied abroad in Italy during college. After that, I took a few trips here and there. As the years passed, I found myself taking less and less time to travel due to finances, obligations, etc. Boo, adulthood!

    Being in my mid-thirties now, I had to change, so I took off for a month last year. I’m hoping I’ll be able to continue to take off here and there. I started my travel blog a few months ago mostly to inspire me to continue to travel. We’ll see how that goes. :)

    Great to have found your blog, Steve. Loving your content and will be back for more reading.

    — Michelle

    • Hey Michelle,

      I’ve had my share of life commitments get in the way of travel too especially since I’m in school. It’s made me shift travel to certain times of the year more than prevent me from doing it though.

      At least you got back into travel mode. I know many people who travel early and suddenly stop and never seem to get back into it. Have fun in all your travels.

  5. Have you heard anything about them shutting down the Incan Trail/closing access to Machu Picchu? That’s my biggest fear of not traveling more. The snow is melting on Kilamanjaro and you can’t climb the pyramids of the Aztecs or Mayans anymore. We gotta get out there before these things are changed forever or we aren’t allowed to visit anymore

    • I know that the trail to Machu Picchu was shut down about a year ago due to flooding, but I haven’t heard anything about them shutting access altogether. You make a good point about why it’s important to travel sooner rather than later though. Some of the things you want to see might not be there several years from now.

  6. Whatever travel ambitions you have in life, there’s never a ‘good time’ to do it. You’ve just got to make the decision and go. We don’t have a tick list of all the places we want to see before we die or anything like that but we certainly never put off going somewhere once we’ve made the decision to go. If money is short, we do the trip on a more frugal basis. :)

  7. Whenever people would ask me how I was able to travel to places, I just tell them that I prioritize it. it’s the same with other vices. once you sacrifice something precious, we gain something else.

    We can understand the hesitation why people don’t travel and have so many issues on traveling. But when there are travel bloggers such as yourself (and many others) that share their experiences when it comes to traveling with a budget and maybe a pregnant woman traveling, they inspire us to keep on going.

    • That’s why I spend my money carefully. I know that I could buy coffee everyday and spend more money on other luxuries, but I’d rather be traveling to places I want to see.

  8. i agree with you steve… not only travel but whatever a person is passionate about… there’s no point in making it wait… life happens “now”… we wouldnt know if we will still be alive tomorrow…

    i know a lot of people like me have responsibilities to their family, etc.. find ways to meet halfway… i believe that the universe conspires to make things work…

  9. I kind of put off traveling until more recently in my life and it’s totally resulted in me being terribly jealous when listening to all the locations my friends have gone when they were younger. However, I’ve done my best to change it and get out there before it’s too late. Great post!

  10. the stuff on this site is great and really helped me. God bless

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