If you are like me, then you jump at the nearest mention of traveling. From flyers in the mail from travel agencies or emails from your university to study abroad, you grasp any opportunity to pack your suitcase and go on the next adventure. But when do you say no to an opportunity that seems beyond perfect? How do you resist the urge to go everywhere you are offered?
The most apparent reason people do not seem to travel is because of money. According to an article by FoxNews, only 13% of Americans traveled abroad in the last year (2013). Money can be a good determining factor of whether we can really afford to go on a trip. However, money can also be the reason we don’t travel. We fear the enormous costs of traveling, when in fact, there are many “travel deals”, air mileage rewards programs, and discounts when traveling. One does not have to eat at a fancy 5 star restaurant every night while on vacation.
As a student with various odd jobs, I do not have the resources to embark on every travel opportunity that I come across. This can be particularly challenging for me because I want to explore the world, I want to taste new foods, I want to meet new people. I recently received an email for a study abroad opportunity in Peru. I had never really considered traveling to Peru as one of my first choices, but I have a friend from Peru and my sister has traveled there so this seemed like the perfect journey. Actually, I had wanted to partake in another study abroad opportunity to Costa Rica, but since that wasn’t offered, I assumed this was my next best bet. The trip to Peru focuses on sciences, when I am not interested in any science as my major (and science unfortunately is not my strong point). After my immediate escalation in trying to figure out the logistics of going on this trip to Peru, I realized that I would be spending more money out-of-pocket than I was prepared for. Yes, there are scholarships for studying abroad, but I would need to pay gas for traveling to another campus for classes, and if I didn’t receive any of the partial scholarships offered, I would be spending lots of my own money, when I am already planning trips for the summer.
I get emails from LivingSocial, Groupon, or Amazon Local, and sometimes travel packages are featured. Of course I open these emails! Often times the deal is extremely good, but the timeline to use it never fits with my schedule. However, many times I open these emails without ever thinking I would go to that country or city, but because there is a deal I’m hooked. I can’t wait to travel more in the future, and I hope to use these deals someday, but since I have other upcoming travels planned, I’m learning to restrain from the excess travels until I have the funds or time. By adequately planning my travels, I can ensure that I’ll be able to see and experience the most that I can while on my trip! Maybe studying abroad in that country is not for me, but maybe I can go there another day on vacation or volunteering, etc.
Knowing when to say no can be heartbreaking (totally serious here!). The joy of traveling to a new, unknown-to-you place can be exhilarating, but can also cloud your judgment sometimes. I’m all for spontaneous and frequent travels and not letting money deter you from traveling, but I also think it’s wise to consider all the logistics before your next trip. Realizing that going to Peru within the next year is not for me right now helps me to save money for other travels I already have planned, and helps me to get hyped about traveling to Peru down the road!