“I’d love to travel long-term, BUT…”

“But” – it’s a tiny, but powerful word.

You know an excuse is coming after that word. You cringe when you hear someone else saying it.

It’s really easy to recognize excuses in other people, but for some reason it’s not obvious to yourself.

We all make excuses. Sadly, excuses stop us from making big changes and getting what you want in life.

If you dream of traveling long-term but utter a “BUT…” in the same sentence, then this article is for you.

It ultimately comes down to how badly you want a change. If you want it bad enough, then you will realize that there is a way to address each excuse/fear/hesitation that is holding you back.

1. But it’s too expensive…

Yes, traveling can be expensive. But traveling long-term is quite different than taking a one or two week vacation.

You have less long-haul flights, you likely won’t be staying in fancy hotels every night, you will likely be traveling slower than a typical vacation (which means less transportation costs), and you’ll likely cook a bit more than eating out every meal like you may do on most trips.

Of course, you CAN spend a lot of money, especially if you want to accomplish your top bucket list experiences, but you don’t HAVE to spend oodles of cash to travel long-term.

There are huge budget variations for long-term travel, so budgeting is tricky, but don’t just take your typical weekly vacation budget and multiply that by however many weeks you want to travel for.

For example, we traveled for a year to all seven continents and spending an average of 3.5 nights in each place for less than the cost of living in downtown Chicago for a year.

2. But it’s not the right time…

When will be the right time?

Retirement? Possibly, but depending on how far away you are from retirement that could be a very long way away. Plus, you don’t know what life will be like for you at that point in time.

My Mom’s best friend and her husband traveled and worked abroad for a year just after getting married. They had the time of their lives. They had three daughters and had dreams of traveling again once they both retired.

Sadly, just weeks after her husband retired, he was diagnosed with cancer. They were able to visit their beloved New Zealand together, but that’s their only post-retirement trip they were able to take before he passed away.

Nothing in life is guaranteed, but you better believe the memories of their yearlong adventure around the world are treasured and they were both grateful to have that experience together early in life.

There is not going to be a magical “perfect time,” so don’t wait around for one. Make your dreams happen before it’s too late.

Plus, the earlier you make these memories, the more you get to cherish them…awww…

3. But then I will have to retire later…

See answer above. Would you rather:

  1. Travel when you are young and healthy and maybe retire later than planned OR
  2. Retire “on time” and travel with potentially limited mobility, or worse, you don’t make it to retirement.

You likely have a set retirement age in your head, but there are multiple variables for when you can retire as a good financial advisor can tell you. Traveling long-term could change your perspective of how and where you want to live in retirement that could impact your target retirement age.

Why not explore those possibilities earlier in life to design the life you want to live?

I do understand and agree with the argument of earning money as quickly as possible earlier in life so that money can be invested and grow exponentially over the years. However, if you are in a solid financial situation, where traveling for a few month or a year would be a blip on your lifetime financial radar, then in my mind the pros absolutely outweigh the cons.

I highly recommend discussing the idea with your financial advisor before making any decisions. Can’t hurt to ask about to see what is possible!

4. But it would take my career off track…

I get this one, I really do. As a former consultant that was all about career growth, taking off even a month straight seemed like forever.

But you don’t have to necessarily quit in order to travel long-term. You can download my guide to learn 4 ways to travel long-term without quitting your job.

For example, I got a Leave of Absence from my employer, so I returned to the same job. There was a bit of a transition time back into the corporate world, but I picked back up where I left off pretty quickly. Not much changed in that year. 

I would argue taking a sabbatical or career break may help your career, especially if you are taking your career break to explore new career possibilities or deepen your skills and knowledge.

My husband, Jan, was definitely worried about losing skills and not keeping up with technology while he was traveling. But he transitioned from retail e-commerce management into a consulting job once we returned. He likely would have never made that switch otherwise.

Maybe you aren’t actually “living the dream” and do decide to quit your job to travel, one of the big fears is “what if I can’t find a job when I return?”

I think the big advantage is you can vet potential employers to see how they view your sabbatical/career break. You’ll want to find employers that are open to it and excited to hear about it. This is good news because you’ll quickly see how open minded they are to different ideas. And they’ll likely have better vacation policies too! It’s all about how you spin your traveling experiences on your resume to attract the right employers.

5. But it will negatively impact my child(ren)’s education…

Full transparency, I did not travel with kids, nor do I have children. However, there are a lot of families that travel long-term with their kids.

Obviously, you don’t need to worry about the school factor if you’re traveling with babies or toddlers, but education can be a big inhibitor for families that have dreams of traveling long-term with their kids that are of school age.

First of all, I think there is no better educator than travel. You learn about history in the places they happened hundreds or even thousands of years ago. You learn new languages, eat new foods, learn how to adapt to different environments, interact with different cultures, learn to be flexible and go with the flow when things go wrong (it’s inevitable when traveling long-term!), and meet people around the world that are very different than home.

I can guarantee your children will remember their experiences they have in a different country WAY more than something they learn in a textbook.

Here are a couple options to consider:

  • Travel during school breaks, like summer: If you want to travel for a period of one or two months, summer is the ideal time. You don’t have to worry about the kids missing school or trying to homeschool them.
  • Homeschooling: Again, I am no expert in this, but homeschooling is a popular choice amongst long-term traveling families. Is it work for you? Yes, absolutely. But if you really want that dream of long-term travel and sharing that experience with your kids while still providing the framework of traditional schooling, then this is the perfect option.

6. But I can’t leave my home for that long…

We were lucky, we had a lease that was up around the time we wanted to leave for our trip, so we just didn’t sign the lease again. Easy peasy.

If you are in a lease and looking to only travel for a month or two, ask your landlord about the option to sub-let your place.

I know it’s not nearly that easy if you own a home, but it’s not impossible either.

Besides selling your house, you could consider…

  • Short term rental
  • House Sitting
  • Home Swapping
  • Have a friend/relative stay in your home
  • Airbnb (if you live in a condo, make sure it’s allowed!) – you can hire a management company to help with this

However, if by “home” you mean family or friends then work visits home into your itinerary, or better yet, have your loved ones meet you on the road!

Comment below – what excuse is holding you back the most from taking the leap to long-term travel?