Common Travel Misconceptions
Before we started traveling, we had a lot of misconceptions of what long term traveling actually was. We were worried it would cost a lot, be difficult, or even dangerous. We learned that with a little bit of knowledge these misconceptions were kicked to the curb real quick! Below you will find the most common travel misconceptions and how we overcame them!
I MUST HAVE MONEY TO TRAVEL.
This is probably the #1 misconception when it comes to traveling. You don’t need to have a lot of money to travel. You can travel with as little as $1,000 or as much as $10,000. The money you spend will depend on your traveling lifestyle and how long you want to travel. Just like any other long term traveler we have to make compromises. We work hard each day to find creative ways to keep ourselves on a budget and stretch our dollars as far as we can. You may be surprised to find out that you can actually travel for less than what you already spend back at home! Not having enough money should not keep you from traveling.
How did we start saving for our world tour? Well…it all starts with doing little things each day that will make a big difference. The biggest one for me was leaving my Starbucks addiction behind. Believe it or not I bought 2 coffees a day. I would easily spend $5 on each coffee drink! On average I was spending an estimated $50 a week, $200 a month, or $2,600 a year. I quickly realized I had to quit my Starbucks addiction if I wanted to travel. I started making my coffees at home and bringing them to work. Ricky and I also cut back on eating out. One of our favorite spots in Atlanta was El Veneno. They make the best langostinos and Ricky loves micheladas! We kid you not, there was a couple of months that we would eat langostinos every weekend! One regular plate of langostinos ranged from $20-$25 and we each had our own plate. Include a couple beers and you are paying anywhere from $60-80 for one dinner! Living is expensive, abroad or at home. Traveling is no different, you can travel as cheap as you want or as expensive as you want.
I DON'T HAVE TIME.
When something is a priority in our life, we figure out a way to make it happen. Making the time to travel and enjoy the world is no different. Travel can be a couple of weeks, couple of months or a couple of years. There is no right answer to the amount of time you should travel.
If you are thinking about long term travel, there is no perfect time. Some do it once they completed their studies and others do it during a career or job change. The other option may be to request a leave of absence or coordinate with your organization to work remotely. We have met several long term travelers that have done this. By no means are we telling you to quit your job, but there are many alternatives if your desire to travel is bigger than your fear to let go what makes you comfortable.
I DON'T KNOW HOW TO TRAVEL.
Initially we had no idea what we were doing. There is no guidebook on how to travel. Realistically, it’s all trial and error. We will be honest, this does take time. When you are doing long term travel, this becomes your full time job. Your priority becomes how to have the best experience at the best price. Once you do something over and over again, you just simply get pretty good at it. From researching the cheapest accommodations and flights to packing all your belongings in less than 15 minutes. Practice makes perfect!
I NEED TO BE DOING SOMETHING THAT WILL SHOW UP ON MY RESUME.
Quitting your job and having a resume gap might be a big concern for some people. Don’t worry… traveling will give you experience and education you will never find in a cubicle. The world today is changing and in order for companies to succeed they want and need people on their team who know and understand the world. Who better than an employee who has skills and experiences that will never be developed in a “corporate training course.” Traveling will allow you to practice or develop problem solving skills, communication, and negotiating skills amongst other things. If you know how to position your skills, we are sure you will have no trouble finding a job when you decide to go back. Lets be honest, if an employer does not respect the fact that you took some time off to follow your passion, do you really want to work for that organization? Position your travel experience as an asset in your resume, not a liability!
TRAVELING THE WORLD IS TOO DANGEROUS.
This thought crosses everyones mind at least once. But let’s face it, we most likely get our insight into the world by watching the news. The bad part is that the news only show us the negative parts of things happening in the world around us. They scare us into not wanting to travel to places because it’s too “dangerous”. The media forgets to mention how welcoming, humble and friendly people truly are. They will go out of their way to thank you for visiting their country and are eager to show you a good time. Don’t let the media plant the seed of fear inside of you and keep you from enjoying your life. Bad things can happen to anyone, at any given time, and can happen in your own hometown. It all comes down to common sense in any place you visit. Follow your gut and be aware of what places are not safe to visit during your travels. The one thing that always surprises me is that people do more stupid stuff while on vacation, but would not do it back home because it is dangerous. If it is not good to do back home, don't do it while traveling. Chances are the same type of behavior is not acceptable. Don’t be that person getting stupid drunk and walking around in dark alleys at 4am. If you put yourself in harms way, then you are more likely to be harmed.
TRAVELING THE WORLD IS TOO DIFFICULT.
Not at all! I think we are incredibly lucky to be in a generation in which technology has completely changed our way of life! With access to internet you can make anything happen. There are websites and apps out there that make it easy to book flights, accommodation, and transportation amongst other things. My favorite part of technology is the ability we have to stay connected with our loved ones via FaceTime or WhatsApp.
We have also learned that most people around the world understand and speak English to some extent. Communication has never been an issue. Most of the people we have met are nice and willing to help us out. When it all fails, we all understand pictures and body language. We have had the best laughs with trying to act out directions or questions!
We hope this helps you get first hand insight into some of the realities of traveling and helps eliminate any preconceived notions. We warn you, once you get that travel bug it will be hard to stop!