- January 11th 2011
As travelers, we often have long lists of places we’d like to visit. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been adding places to my list and it seems that I add them quicker than I check them off. Why is that? What stops people from achieving their travel dreams?
Some people find that becoming a parent clips their wings. I have plenty of friends who stop taking long trips the minute they have a child because of fear of excessive heat or cold, or being stuck on a plane or train with a screaming baby. That can’t be the only reason, though, because I have just as many friends who strapped their baby into a carrier and set off around the world. I took my daughter on her first international trip when she was 7 months old and we’ve made regular trips since then, visiting Germany, France, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Barbados and Grenada. Now that she’s in school, there are some time restrictions, but that’s only because I choose not to home school. If I did, we could go anywhere at anytime. (Check out these family travelers for an example!)
Travel seems to be getting more and more costly, mostly because of taxes. Many air carriers have got really creative ways of charging passengers for things that used to happen automatically – like choosing seats and getting meals. (Don’t get me started on this; or I might have to have another travel rant!) Despite this, there are still deals available for people that are prepared to be flexible – and to do the legwork to hunt them out. Even if you don’t want to go as far afield as Australia or Europe, there’s still plenty of scope for travel in South and Central America.
Fear of the Unknown
Matt cites fear as a major reason why Americans don’t travel more (see Why Americans Still Don’t Travel Overseas). After all, since America has a lot of different geographical climates and since the world out there is more and more dangerous (so says the media), who needs to go anywhere? I think it’s a shame to let these feelings stop us from exploring the world, which is usually an enriching and rewarding experience.
I agree with JoAnna of Kaleidoscopic Wandering, who says: “travel doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive.” In fact, as she points out, you can start small, by checking out local travel opportunities before branching out to more costly travel experiences further away.
What stops you from traveling? How do you plan to solve that this year?
- August 6th 2009
Most business trips are short and sweet, but occasionally there’s the chance to spend a couple of extra days seeing the new city. If you want to see the sights without blowing a hole in your budget, then couchsurfing might be a great option. Since we first covered the topic at the start of 2008, the numbers of couchsurfers have grown and grown, with an estimated 1.2 million couchsurfers around the world, according to Couchsurfing.org, the site founded by the originator of the movement, Casey Fenton.
How Couchsurfing Works
The premise is simple – sign up for the site, set up a Facebook style profile, say where you want to go and find someone in the city prepared to offer you a couch for a few days. That’s not all you might get, either. Many hosts are willing to show you around, give you tips on where to eat and places to visit and generally make sure that you have a great time without spending a lot. It’s a wonderful way to see a place from the inside – the way the locals see it. You can avoid tourist traps and have experiences that you might otherwise have missed.
Rating The Experience
Is it safe? Statistics suggest that most people have a fantastic time with no negative reports. On the Couchsurfing site you can rate each experience. Even if you don’t want to stay with a complete stranger, you can use the site to meet people in your destination who will meet you for coffee or a drink and point you in the right direction. You can also have just as much fun playing host to new friends visiting your town – and when the holiday’s over, there might even be business opportunities.