We recently had a discussion with another couple that frankly told us, “We don’t want to travel internationally. “ We began our usual interrogation of their reasoning. They had some real concerns. As we went through them, we had a great discussion, and our conversation provided inspiration for this post. Do you have friends that don’t want to fly abroad? Please send them this post!
It is too expensive.
Really? A flight from Boston to Phoenix will run you $642 per person, that is $1284 for a couple. A flight from Boston to Paris, France on the exact same days, exact same airline will cost you $653 or $1306. Domestic is cheaper right? But wait! You get free luggage on international flight! The international flight is actually cheaper! Don’t you hate luggage fees?
With a little advance planning, often it is cheaper to fly international. We usually book our international flights 6-8 months in advance. We fly during the shoulder seasons, and we get some smokin’ good deals on flights. We often pay less to travel across the oceans than a few states away.
There is so much to see domestically.
Yes, there is. Life is short. See the world. Yes, you could spend a lifetime visiting every corn field in Iowa. But why not expand your horizons? Why not see the sunrise on the other side of the planet? Make the most of your walk, take yourself somewhere radically different. Wait until you see how they grow corn in Bali!
I don’t know anyone?
Wonderful! Meeting new people, learning new cultures, traditions, and languages is one of the huge dividends from foreign travel. We travel two weeks at a time. Obviously, we are not able really get to know folks too well during our travels. But we have met some incredible people that we still keep in contact with. We will never forget our outstanding Amazon guide Javier, Carol and Jeff, the owners of Bromeliad Bed and Breakfast in Darwin, Australia, and Dan and Becky, the owners of Kindred Spirit Inn in Prince Edward Island.
I might offend someone?
In our experience, you really have to put yourself completely out there and be extremely rude to offend someone. We have completely butchered a long list of languages. However, in each case we have found kind people that are so gracious and willing to help. A little known secret to “domestic only” people, English is the language of travel. We have yet to find a city in the world that didn’t have a bunch of English speakers.
What if I get arrested?
Really? This is an excuse not to travel outside of your country? If you are headed anywhere not called Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria, the likelihood that you are going to end up in a prison is miniscule. Yes, we have gotten parking tickets and a small fine for passing in a no passing zone, and a huge fine for not buying the right Slovenian “sticker.” If you go there, shoot us a message and we can help you know which sticker to buy. We have become pros!
The fact of the matter is, you will only get arrested in a foreign country for doing something that you would get arrested for domestically. Candidly, we have gotten out a few things because we were foreigners. So you likelihood of getting in trouble abroad is actually less.
Don’t they drive on the wrong side of the road? I don’t know how to drive in another country.
Haven’t you secretly always wanted to drive on the wrong side of the road? Me neither. Again, 95% of the world drives on the “right” side of the road. If that is a big hang up, go to a place not called Britain or India.
I don’t know the language?
Its probably going to be ok. In most European and Asian tourist destinations there is more English spoken than any other language. But, candidly we highly recommend that you learn a little of the native language.
I don’t know how to use their money.
Money is same in every country. When you land, look for an ATM, punch in your pin and get money. It is really that simple. Bring two credit cards, let them know that you are traveling abroad and where. Problem solved.
I might not like the food.
Right. And then again you might LOVE it! Mike is one of the most pickiest eaters on the planet. He is not the most adventurous eater. We have never gone hungry during our travels. In the worst case scenarios McDonalds has become an international empire. You will always find a grocery store that will have a wide offering of food that you are more familiar with.
Trust us, there is nothing like eating escargot in Paris, sushi in Tokyo, or guinea pig in Peru. Give the local cuisine a try.
Where would I stay?
At a hotel. They have a lot of them. The internet has a list of them. Google (city) and hotel and you will get a list. Check out TripAdvisor if you don’t know where to stay. We also have friends that book a hotel on Hotwire just a few days before they leave.
I don’t have a passport.
Get one. It is easy. Go here (USA), Or here (UK) or here (Canada), or here (Australia). There are many studies that show that people that have passports are smarter, wealthier, and better looking (ok we made up that last one.)
I don’t know where to go.
The world is a huge place. Here’s are top three suggestions if you have never been out of the country: Thailand, Peru, Turkey, and Slovenia. Each offers reasonable prices, delicious food, and unique sights.
Now go see the world!
Interesting stuff, esp for someone from the UK. I don’t think many Europeans would think like this as then we would be missing out on so many brilliant places!
I LOVE this! LOVE- if I wasn’t a big traveler already… this would be the kick in the butt I needed. YAY for you guys! -Veronica
Great article for someone like my parents. My hubby and I love international travel. You left the big big one that my mom always throws out at me (and I don’t think she’s alone in this sentiment)–it’s not safe. My mindset is completely different as there is some horrible violent stuff happening here in the states. And you can’t just live your life in a bubble!
I loved this list! So perfect in every way. I have been to about 70 countries, were able to get money in almost all of them (El Salvador was a problem), don’t speak the language, manage to eat, find hotels, and, so far, have not been arrested. Knock wood.
All wonderful points. Some folks just plain don’t want to travel, that’s fine. But if their not travelling because of any of the reasons outlined here, you’ve done a great job refuting them.
I think people who hold passports are better looking, just not in their passport photos. ;)
Fabulous post. I’ve been traveling internationally on my own and with travel buddies for decades but have siblings who won’t go abroad, or go to the Hawaiian islands – the same city every year. It’s a different way of being. Needless to say their political leanings are right of center too. Travel instills tolerance and opens the heart. Thanks for writing.
Great post it targets definitely so many people that make excuses for not seeing the world that is at their finger tips.
I met a lot of Americans here in Thailand, and a few became my friends, and I love them to bits, but I think Americans are really afraid of travelling. They are here in Chiang Mai and they have been living here for the last year, but they actually haven’t been anywhere, except for Pai and maybe Bangkok. It’s like they came all the way here just to get stuck in one place again…Really strange…
Really great post! A lot of people have these concerns when they are traveling and I think that you did a great job reducing the fear of traveling internationally.
Yes! Couldn’t agree more!
Thank you very much for this! We haven’t been outside our country, the Philippines, yet. But your post is encouraging and inspiring us to travel abroad! Thank you so much! We may lay our first out-of-the-country travel plans next year.
Thanks for the kind words. We cant wait for our first visit to the Philippines. It is on our bucket list!