“Quit your job to travel. Now.”
“Don’t worry about money. It’s OK. You won’t regret traveling.”
“Who cares about the future, you need to enjoy your present.”
Or, “It’s OK to spend all your money on traveling, says science,” according to the Huffington Post. (Hello, click bait! which I refuse to link to.)
Do these statements sound familiar?
I see motivational messages like this all the time. Sure, they are inspiring. They are motivating. But, they are also irresponsible.
Clearly, people who want to quit their job, to not worry about money, to live in the moment, find these statements appealing. After all, aren’t ideas like this speaking to us all on some level?
But, they are also dangerous.
Don’t Worry About Money, Go Travel = Horrible Advice
Words are powerful. Encouragement is powerful. And, there is a massive web presence which encourages exactly this. It comes in the form of bloggers selling a lifestyle that isn’t always honest (i.e. why you shouldn’t care about money, and just go travel now, now, now!), from online publications looking to get those extra clicks, and from inspirational quotes scattered on our Facebook and Twitter feeds and Pinterest boards.
I’m not saying people shouldn’t spend their money on travel. In fact, I don’t regret plowing through most of my savings to go travel solo (note: I didn’t go through my entire savings, and I had freelance jobs while I was traveling). But, cashing out that savings account, throwing caution to the wind and going (with nothing to return to), isn’t necessarily a good plan.
Travel — although many would like people to believe it is all-healing and all-powerful (and it can be), can be done without draining a bank account and hitting the open road.
Consider This Before You Drain Your Bank Account
I quit my job when I turned 30 to travel long-term. It was a decision I battled with for months before I actually booked my flight and gave notice to my job. It took a long time to make this decision because of one thing: money.
I had the money to travel long-term, but would I have the money to keep traveling or return home and start a new life back on American soil?
It’s an important question to ask before anyone takes the travel plunge. The truth of the matter is this: money is important.
If someone doesn’t have money, how can they actually pay for their travels? Sure, some people set up crowdsourcing campaigns to help them. Some dip into their savings (I know I did). But, what happens when that travel fund runs dry? When it’s time to call it? Without money, what can a person do to get themselves back on their feet?
Or, let’s say going home isn’t an option. Hey, I know travel is addicting and for some people, returning to a stationary life isn’t an option.
Again, that’s where having money comes in.
Fortunately, some travelers have skills they can fall back on to bring in a moderate income to fuel perpetual travelers. They work online. They are designers. They teach English. But, what about those who don’t?
Being able to travel the world is certainly a privilege and it is one I am extremely thankful I have the ability to do, but not everyone can do that.
Money is necessary.
I always recommend to readers not to travel without having money behind them, money in the bank for when they get home, and maybe even a little money to start them off on saving more to enable them to travel again. Not just that, but what if something catastrophic happens on a trip? Travel insurance is a necessity, and if someone doesn’t have it and the worst happens, they can be SOL. And fast.
Plus, even though most travelers don’t even let this cross their mind — there is also the issue of having money for when we get older. If someone is traveling, unless they are working for someone back home, chances are there isn’t a place where money is going for retirement or for later down the line when it is needed.
Yes, travel! But, do it smartly.
Remember, money is what makes the world go-round and the idea of a lifestyle that doesn’t include money (at least on some level) is not realistic.
Stay tuned for Money Matters, Part 2: How to Travel on a Budget