Why People Don’t Travel, Part 5: My Partner Doesn’t Want to Travel

Don’t let excuses hold back your travel dreams. Though many Kaleidoscopic Wandering readers are familiar with the travel industry, many others are not. As part of the Why People Don’t Travel series, I’m taking a hard look at five different things that keep people from traveling. In this series, I hope to provide solutions and additional resources for people who would like to travel more.

Today’s travel concern: “I want to travel but my partner doesn’t want to.”

Feet on vacationEvery once in awhile, the perfect match is made in heaven, but there’s one small problem: One half of the couple can’t live without traveling, and the other one hates to leave home. Some people would walk away from this relationship, but others stick it out, knowing that somehow, travel may have to go on the back burner for the sake of a relationship.

Just so there’s no confusion, you should all know that I’m one of the lucky ones who is in an awesome relationship with a guy who adores traveling as much as I do, but I also know many people who yearn to hit the road even though their significant other doesn’t want to.

If you have wanderlust, do you have to just stuff it in a closet and let it get dusty?

NO! There are lots of ways that you can still feed your travel bug while not alienating your other half. Here are three things to consider:

  • An increasing number of couples are taking time to travel (or stay home) on their own, so it is completely acceptable to travel without your significant other. If he or she is working, your other half will hardly realize you’re even gone.
  • It may be possible that your partner just thinks he or she doesn’t want to travel. If travel wasn’t part of how he or she grew up, and it was never something ingrained in the fabric of life, then the lack of interest may just be a hibernated interested.
  • That said, it is important to realize that some people do not like to travel, and it’s important to respect that.

But the problem still remains: You want to travel, and he/she does not. How to remedy this?

  • Travel on your own. Solo travel is a completely legitimate way to hit the road. Hopefully your partner can appreciate your need to explore the world, and if that’s the case, there is no reason why you can’t pack your bags and head out for a bit of alone time.
  • St. Thomas Caribbean US Virgin IslandsTravel with friends or other family members. If you don’t feel comfortable traveling on your own and your partner won’t travel with you, tap other resources. Take a girls’ weekend with some friends from college, ask your brother if he wants to go on that epic hiking trip or take the kids with you. If you can’t find anyone to go with you, consider signing up for a tour group.
  • Find out why your partner doesn’t like to travel. Is it because he or she is afraid of learning a new language? Is new food freakish? Does your other half find it frustrating and expensive? Or is it possible that your partner just doesn’t have any travel experience so he or she doesn’t know what to think about traveling? Talk about why travel isn’t a part of your partner’s life, and that will help you figure out if (and how) it can become part of the life you live together.
  • Travel in your own backyard. The truth is that many of us don’t take advantage of the awesome opportunities that our own cities and local surroundings offer. When was the last time you took a “staycation” to explore what your neighborhood or nearby towns had to offer? You may be able to convince your partner to take a trip not far from your own home. Plan to spend a night or two in comfortable accommodations and eat food you enjoy. The unknown is scary for a lot of people, so ease into a travel situation that is similar to the familiar.
  • Make a deal. Just as your partner shouldn’t have to be part of your plans to pick up and bike through Vietnam at the last minute, you shouldn’t be stuck at home either. Agree to meet each other halfway by spending vacation time at home half the time and traveling the other half of the time.
  • Don’t force travel, and keep it simple. If you find yourself arguing and fighting to travel, then it’s not worth it. Travel loses its zest when it becomes a fight, so if you can convince your partner to take a trip, keep it as stress-free as possible. Choose destinations similar to what your living conditions are. These are likely places where people speak English, clean beds and warm showers are available, transportation is abundant and food is familiar. All-inclusive resorts and cruise ships might be good options because someone else is taking care of all the details for you. Road trips will keep you a bit closer to home.

The bottom line is this: If you want to travel, you should. Ideally, you can find a middle ground with your partner and together the two of you can come to an agreement about how travel fits into the life you lead together. If, however, your partner has firmly planted his or her foot down and said no, then you can and should find a way to meet your need of exploring the world. After all, if you don’t travel now, when will you go at all?


11 Responses to “Why People Don’t Travel, Part 5: My Partner Doesn’t Want to Travel”

  1. Abby

    Your posts are always so well thought-out and informative. 🙂

  2. Alex Quinn

    I had a similar story liek this. I went to Chile a few years ago and took one of the Patagonia tours down there. I wanted to go there bad enough and could not find anyone to go with, so I went myself! You really learn a lot about yourself traveling solo I must say, and don’t let anything hold you back from going to where you want to go. The scenery, people, and wildlife made this tour a trip of a lifetime. I hope i can get down there again !

  3. Lana

    I know this post is old, but I couldn’t help it. My husband just loooves traveling, while I…don’t. He always wants to go somewhere exotic, somewhere foreign, and I just don’t want to do it. I love traveling in my own country, and seeing different states and whatnot, but, I don’t know what it is about going abroad. I don’t tell my husband, but I dread it whenever he talks about going abroad. And I have gone with him, but I can’t get excited about it like he does. I find myself DREADING it. I think a big part of it for me is flying. I HATE flying long distances. I think about blood clots forming in my legs every time I’m on a long flight, and it sucks the fun right out of it for me. Ugh…and we bought tickets to Europe for our anniversary, and…ugh. I’d rather explore my own backyard.

    I just needed to get that off my chest. I really did.

    • JoAnna

      Hi Lana! Thanks for stopping by. There’s nothing wrong at all with not wanting to travel. I completely appreciate and respect where you’re coming from – and there’s nothing wrong at all with exploring your own backyard. In fact, I don’t think nearly enough people do it!

  4. brian

    I’m in my late 40’s. Lady-friend is in her early 40’s. She loves to travel. I think travelling is stupid. (Stupid for me, anyway…) Here’s why I loathe travel:

    1) I really prefer the company of those I work with to that of some odd ball, stranger that wants to make small talk.
    2) I dislike people. All people. This means I can be very curt or even rude. Telling people that bother me to F-off isn’t a problem for me. If I don’t like you, you’ll know because I’ll tell you. Being surrounded with drunken idiots and restaurants filled with sun burnt morons isn’t at all my thing.
    3) I loathe airline travel
    4) On previous vacations, I’ve been mugged, beaten, shot at and accosted. These are the main reasons that I feel the way I do about travel.
    5) I don’t like spending more time than I have to with a woman. Lady-friend is a big time traveller and that’s fine. I’m not and I believe that a vacation should be time spent away from one another. Don’t get me wrong, I love the woman but I know I’d have more fun with one buddy
    6) I just want to drive a couple of hours and fish. You know? Like, in the wilderness. Why in the name of Christ would I want to subject myself to a resort? Moving from one concrete jungle to another isn’t my idea of fun.
    7) Diseases like hepatitis, bed bugs, and anything else you might get from a third world place does it for me. Not to mention whatever other bodily fluids have been released on the furniture, floors and towels…
    8) I could travel to the USA which might be easier for some except, that’s where I was mugged, beaten and shot at, so America is a piece of crap third world backwood to me as well and since 1996, I’ve maintained the promise that I would never again put a red cent into their economy.
    9) Vacations cost too much and deliver far too little. I’m not coming back relaxed or happy or satisfied because I’m going to be on high alert for all the douchebags.
    10) I’m a grown man and if I don’t want to go someplace, I won’t and I damn well don’t owe my spouse or anyone else an explanation.

    • JoAnna

      Hi Brian ~

      The great thing is that we’re all entitled to an opinion. For some people, travel just isn’t a priority or interest, and that’s perfectly okay.

  5. Watupgurl

    Great series of articles. Definitely sheds some light on why people don’t want to or like traveling. It’s not my thing and I love reading the opinions of other non-travellers as it makes me feel less alone and less insane/stupid/boring etc.

    • JoAnna

      Hey there! It’s totally okay not to want to travel, and there are a lot of people out there who are in the same situation as you. Don’t ever feel like you have to *like* or *want* to travel. Feel free to focus your attention toward things that interest you. Life is too short not to.

  6. Ash

    My husband won’t travel unless I pay for everything and make up the money he will lose from leaving work. He doesn’t let me travel alone or with family or friends. He think wives should stay home.

    • JoAnna

      Hi Ash ~

      I’m sorry to hear this. There are lots of benefits to traveling, whether by yourself or with other people. I have no problem overstepping my boundaries and say it sounds like your husband would benefit from opening his mind a bit – something traveling could assist with.

  7. Suzanne

    Hey…i just came across this article after accusing my husband of not loving me bc he won’t travel with me…lol…here in the damp, humid weather of the South our bones ache & we can’t breathe…i want him to go to the so.cali desert to feel better…i go periodically, feel better & don’t care to come back, even after 3 weeks…its really sad as I am a desert storm VETERAN with numerous health problems. Traveling alone is not a problem for me…hubby has never flown…i feel like it’s a no win situation even though we are devoted to one another. Oh well…tired of being in beautiful places alone & no one to enjoy it with. I meet good people everywhere I go but I always miss my husband. There…ive said it…yall have a great day.


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