Why People Don’t Travel

Why People Dont TravelI was recently reading a post over at Travel Writers Exchange about how travel bloggers can inspire travel. In the post, Chris Christensen notes that few people travel like travel bloggers and travel writers do.

Chris also noted some surprising statistics (when viewed from a travel blogger’s standpoint). For example:

  • Many people consider a weekend trip to visit grandma to be a vacation.
  • Many people just don’t travel, and some don’t even like to travel.
  • The majority of people drive when they travel and only slightly over 25% fly.
  • Less than 10% have taken a cruise.
  • A quarter of people say they haven’t taken a family vacation in at least ten years, if they’ve ever taken one at all.

For someone who travels in part for a living, these statistics are shocking, but I have to remind myself that not everyone is as fortunate — or as interested — as I am to hit the road.

Which got me thinking … I know that some of the people who read my blog are frequent travelers. Many others have wanderlust but can’t get away for one reason or the other. With this in mind, I decided to do a very small, informal poll about why people don’t travel or why they don’t like to travel. The most common answers?

At one point in time, a full-time job held me back from my travel dreams and, though I don’t have kids, my pets often keep me confined to my home base. I’ve done some solo travel and know many others who frequently travel by themselves … and enjoy it. And while I’m lucky to have a husband who has the travel bug as bad as I do, the money issue still rears its ugly head from time to time.

But travel doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Many people travel easily with children. And there are even solutions for the spouse who would rather stay at home. So what I’ve decided to do in the coming months is provide resources and solutions for all the reasons people can’t or don’t travel. My hope is that my readers who don’t normally travel will find a way to make their travel dreams a reality, and my frequent traveler readers will throw in their two cents on how they make travel work for them.

Here’s wishing you safe travels in the new year!

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:

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Why People Dont Travel
JoAnna is a globe-trotting, idea-inventing, culture-collecting creativity connoisseur with big dreams and a desire to touch all seven continents. You can also find JoAnna at joannahaugen.com and at The 52 Letters Project.

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22 Responses

  1. Wonderful idea, JoAnna! Some people see an obstacle to travel as a “reason” to not travel, rather than as a challenge that can be overcome.

    Providing people with solutions to common problems will show them that there are indeed ways to make a travel dream come true, if they really want it to.

    I’m looking forward to reading some of those posts and throwing in my two cents!

    Thanks also for the link love — much appreciated!

  2. brian says:

    Sometimes people need an example if they honestly believe travel isn’t possible because of their circumstances, whatever they are. Bloggers like you will hopefully get someone to forget the excuses, get out there and do it.

  3. Colin Wright says:

    For some, I think traveling vicariously through travel bloggers is all the risk and excitement that’s necessary (they get the real stuff through some other part of their lives).

    I’m personally glad that there are so many people out there who are interested in reading about what I do, and I’m glad we have such a wonderful communication tool as the Internet to spread the word about what’s out there. I think it increases understanding, lessens ignorance and breaks down walls that would otherwise exist between disparate and non-traveling folks all over the world.

    Not only that, but those who DO want to travel but cannot or will not for some reason may get the inspiration and motivation they need to make the little changes they need to make in order to fulfill their travel dreams.

  4. Audrey says:

    I do believe that one of the things travel bloggers can do is to help make travel look less scary and and more accessible financially. You can show that regular folks (like us) are doing all this “adventurous” stuff and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

    That said, not everyone enjoys travel. My brother and I were raised in the same way as diplomats’ kids and I have the travel bug and he is content staying close to home. When he came to our wedding in Italy, he was more focused on the problems than enjoying the Tuscan countryside.

    We also have friends who love to travel, but their spouses don’t. I think this would be incredibly difficult — one of the joys of travel for me is being able to share it with my spouse and talk over everything we’ve learned at the end of the day. Some of them have come to an arrangement where one of them takes a solo trip a year or they compromise on a vacation close to home that is easy.

  5. Donna Hull says:

    Offering travel resources for would-be explorers who can’t seem to maneuver around life’s obstacles is a fabulous idea, JoAnna. With all the negativity in the news about travel these days, a little encouragement is needed.

    I’ve lived in a situation where my spouse didn’t want to travel. Perhaps your resources will include information for the spouse who does want to see the world. Fortunately for me, my circumstances changed. My current spouse has introduced me to travel adventures that I would have never considered. We’re having so much fun.

  6. Candice says:

    Some day I hope to make a move similar to yours…move from the cube job to a freelance one. I still can’t wrap my head around it though, as Matador keeps me entirely busy in my free time outside the office, so I can’t imagine adding more work on top of it.

    You are very fortunate to travel! Seems like you’ve come super far in a short amount of time, which is inspirational to me.

    While talking with my relatives over the holidays, they were genuinely surprised when I expressed the need to just MOVE. I don’t want to settle for a very long time. To them, that’s what life is…getting married, settling down with a big house, and being stable. Funny how much things have changed.

  7. Gray says:

    Those are shocking statistics, JoAnna. I’m just flabbergasted that so few people fly, and that so many haven’t taken a family vacation – not even to go camping. Of course, I’m sure socio-economic and cultural factors come into play at some point. So many people grow up in such abject poverty that travel isn’t even on their radar. In any case, this sounds like a terrific project for you to tackle. I like the idea of helping people to achieve their dream of travel by showing them how to overcome their (possibly self-imposed) obstacles. If they still don’t travel after that, then the desire isn’t really there. I’m looking forward to reading this. Good luck!

  8. Abbie says:

    I have also noticed that I call “weekend trips” what others call vacations, and people are amazed that we drive a couple hours away to go rock climbing, because that’s how far they would drive for vacation!

  9. Shelley G says:

    Great topic idea, Jo! We had a holiday event at work earlier this month…one of the activities involved everyone submitting a brief statement of what they would do if they had a year to live and didn’t have to worry about health or financial limitations (we had to guess who said what). There were about 20 of us there, and almost everyone’s statement somehow involved travel. But once we got to talking about it, very few of us had actually traveled off the continent. Kind of interesting.

  10. Nancy says:

    Great topic and post Joanna. I agree that travel doesn´t have to be difficult or expensive. Many people fear the unknown and don´t realize how easy it can be. Thanks for giving people a great example of how to make traveling a lifestyle!

  11. Monica says:

    I’ll be looking very forward to your future posts addressing the issue of traveling with a full time job and minimal vacation. I work a 9 – 7 & only have 10 vacation days, which means I can only travel a maximum of 2 extended trips a year. That’s not good enough for me so I’ve been trying to find ways to travel to closer places to satisfy the travel bug. A weekend away or during an extended weekend but it doesn’t always work.

  12. Anil says:

    I also think that some people make travel difficult and the less you travel often the harder it can seem. I think your series will really be useful because like you mention, so many more people don’t travel frequently than those that do.

  13. Great idea! Travel really doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive, but sadly because of the tourism industry most people don’t know that.

    Travel is such an important education for kids, so I hate to see families missing out on these advantages. One can think like a traveler even in your home state or area.

    Time & money are ways people allow themselves to be limited, but is an illusion. Everyone should read Matador’s most popular article on how to travel for free.

    Sometimes people just need to see some examples to know it is possible. I can not even tell you how many people have written to us about how we have inspired them to live their travel dreams. Families CAN travel the world indefinitely today on much less than living at home & we’ve been proving that since 2006.

    I’m sure you & other travel bloggers have inspired many too. Sometimes just living the life and sharing it, allows others to form their own travel plans, by opening minds to the unlimited possibilities!

  14. Sabina says:

    Chris Christensen’s statistics cited on TBE are very surprising to me. It’s hard to believe some people just aren’t even interested in traveling at all. I think your idea of providing resources and solutions for wanna-be travelers is a great one. I’ll be providing similar info on my upcoming blog.

  15. Lewis says:

    I hate to say it but most people I know who don’t travel (and there seem to be so many), choose not to because they have no interest in leaving their homes. They have no curiousity about the world and don’t like leaving their comfort zone. I really don’t understand this but there are lots out there who feel this way.

  16. Marfus says:

    You miss the point. We don’t LIKE to travel. We have the time and the money but see no point in leaving home where we are content. I’m not a snob but someone recently said to me that people who don’t travel are above those who do. I don’t know what “above” means but I’m tired of being thought of as someone who needs to be encouraged to travel. I have travelled, been there, done that, don’t wanat to do it again. Also I have a summer home and that’s enough for me.

  17. JoAnna says:

    Fair enough, Marfus. I completely understand and appreciate that some people just aren’t interested in traveling. The reason I started this series is because many people would like to travel more but they don’t think they can because of money or time or personal fears. This series is for those people, not for those who just aren’t interested in traveling at all.

    Thank you for your comment. I appreciate you stopping by.

  18. Lane says:

    I would like to travel, but the rigamarole involved in managing chronic conditions while traveling requires too much advance preparation, and even with the best of intentions, might not always work out. People who don’t travel are not always close-minded and small – you never know what goes on behind the scenes.

  19. JoAnna says:

    I agree completely, Lane, and it was never my intention to state otherwise. I know some people can’t travel for a myriad of reasons, and I also know that some people don’t like to travel, and that’s okay too.

  20. Sabrina says:

    When I was younger, I was very keen on travel but I have to admit these days I’m finding much more contentment staying closer to home and being a “tourist in my own town.” I figure there’s plenty in my state and region I’ve not seen yet so I’m not going to feel guilty if I never get to see Paris or London.

  21. JoAnna says:

    Nor should you feel guilty, Sabrina. I certainly acknowledge that not everyone wants to travel to far-away locales, and I think that’s okay. There is a lot in our own backyards to explore and discover.

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