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10 Reasons to Stop Making Excuses and Just Travel Already

Start taking the steps necessary to make 2012 the year you finally take your dream vacation.

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If you made a New Year’s Resolution to travel in 2012, make that dream a reality. Like any resolution, it requires focus and planning. Similarly, the payoff is enormous: R&R, wonderful memories, experiences and new friends, maybe some killer Facebook photos, too!

So stay focused and start planning! Bookmark this page and refer to it anytime you second-guess yourself with thoughts of “Maybe next year…”

Repeat after us: “I’m travelling in 2012!”

(Photo courtesy of Al Ianni/Flickr Creative Commons)

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Excuse #1: “I don’t have time!”


Why it’s a bad excuse:
Expedia.com’s 2011 Vacation Deprivation Survey reveals Canadians take just 15 vacation days per year, well below the 30 taken by workers in Spain, France and Denmark (30 days), Germany (28 days) or the United Kingdom (25 days). If anything, our measly vacation allotments mean we should make the most of them!

Pack your bags by…

…prioritizing! Stop using vacation days to de-clutter your home or go shopping. Get household tasks out of the way using time you’d spend parked in front of the TV. Dedicate vacation days for vacation.

(Photo courtesy of Jen Davis, Nycgo.com)

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Excuse #2: “I can’t afford to travel!”


Why it’s a bad excuse:
Yes, you can! As long as you budget, and are realistic about goals, says Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.

Pack your bags by…

…”set[ting] a realistic goal for what you can afford. You may want to sail the seven seas, but realistically you can afford a seven-day Caribbean cruise with an inside cabin,” says Schwartz. If so, start saving!

• “If you normally budget $200 for restaurant meals, reduce it in half and increase your travel fund by $600 in six months,” says Schwartz.
• Borrow books and magazines from the library
• If you smoke, stop
• Trade homebrew for Starbucks
• Sell unused household items
• Line up odd jobs

(Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

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Excuse #3: “I’ll travel when I retire.”


Why it’s a bad excuse:
Who says it has to be an either/or scenario?! Why not try it now, as well as in your golden years?

Pack your bags by…

…perusing books and websites that inspire you with trip ideas for 2012. Although travel’s a lifelong pleasure, chances are, unless you’re an 80-year-old marathoner, bucket list destinations like hiking Australia’s mountainous, 223-long, Larapinta Trail are best done now, not later. Get heart-pounding adventure trips done now, then take a lazy cruise in your 70s. Or keep pushing the boundaries if you prefer.

(Photo courtesy of ElderTreks.com)

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Excuse #4: “We have kids. It’s too much hassle.”


Why it’s a bad excuse:
Surprise: Kids can make travel a more enriching experience!

Pack your bags by…

…knowing that destinations like Florida, Disney resorts, or any beach or ski resort with a kids’ club, make it easy for families.

But going off the beaten track is another option. A voluntourism stint provides the opportunity for quality family time alongside exploration and working for a good cause, says Aaron Smith, owner and founder of GoVoluntouring.com.

These trips are most appropriate for ages 9+. “Overall, animal-based conservation projects are the most accessible and fun for children, and there are hundreds of GoVoluntouring.com. You can sort by age range, so appropriate projects are displayed, then see if they fit with your family’s expectations,” says Smith.

Seriously, your teen may roll her eyes at the idea of hanging out with you at home, but combing a beach together at midnight, under a full moon, in search of green sea turtle hatchlings to protect, as part of a turtle conservation project in Costa Rica? We’re willing to bet she’s in.

(Photo courtesy of GoVoluntouring.com)

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Excuse #5: “I like my usual routine.”


Why it’s a bad excuse:
Then why bother making any New Year’s Resolutions at all?!

Pack your bags by…

…vowing to overcome a bad habit like smoking, overeating, or not exercising enough. A change of scenery, not to mention new experiences like snorkeling, surfing, yoga, or cooking classes, may be just the distraction you need to sever bad habits in favour of life-affirming ones.

(Photo courtesy of Mojosurf.com)

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Excuse #6: “It’s a bad idea to pay for a vacation with a credit card.”


Why it’s a bad excuse:
Actually, we agree (unless you can pay it off quickly). But that doesn’t mean you can’t travel.

Pack your bags by…

…”includ[ing] vacation as an expense line in your budget, just like you would your mortgage or car payment, and open[ing] a vacation savings account. By allocating a specific amount of money to be automatically withdrawn from your account every payday, you will have saved for your holiday in no time,” says Schwartz. Use your vacation savings to clear any booking or trip expenses incurred on your next credit card statement.

(Photo courtesy of kelownawinetrails.com)

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Excuse #7: “The world is a scary, dangerous place.”


Its inherent fallacy:
By this logic, getting out the door each morning is risky.

Pack your bags by…

…researching your destination thoroughly.

• Check online for government-issued travel warnings 

• Peruse traveler forums on sites like Lonely Planet 

• Read news reports carefully, noting regional specifics. Take Mexico, deemed by many to be unsafe: Baja California has become a violent-crime hotspot, but that doesn’t mean Baja California Sur and Riviera Maya are dangerous (they’re not). The world has good people and bad. I’ve personally met more in my hometown (and those I can count on one hand) than on the road.

(Photo courtesy of Jen Davis, Nycogo.com)

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Excuse #8: “My significant other doesn’t want to travel.”


Why it’s a bad excuse:
Their dislikes shouldn’t kill your dreams.

Pack your bags by…

…having an honest talk. Is there a destination you can agree on, even if you’re not into the same activities? Can you scuba dive while your partner reads by the pool? Could you tour art galleries while your spouse shops? There’s nothing wrong with diving a trip between shared and solo activities. If your partner refuses to travel, go on your own. One easy way of doing this is to tack a couple vacation days to the end of a business trip. Time apart strengthens healthy relationships.

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Excuse #9: “I hate flying”


Why it’s a bad excuse:
It’s not the only mode of transport.

Pack your bags by…

…researching destinations accessible by car, bus, train, boat, or bike. Many of these options are perfect if you’re also starved for time or are on a tight budget, since they may be closer to home.

(Photo courtesy of Via Rail Canada)

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Excuse #10: “I’ve already been everywhere worthwhile”


Why it’s a bad excuse:
Not possible. Seriously.

Pack your bags by… …scoping out a hot new destination, or revisiting one that’s “new-again” like London during the 2012 Olympics. Do you like design? Try uber-cool Helsinki, Finland. Into intrepid travel? Human rights advocates recently lifted their travel boycott of beautiful and remote Myanmar, and sustainable tourism enterprises are springing up. Like art? Try this year’s contemporary, Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kerala, India.

(Photo courtesy of Tourismmyanmar.org)