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Why Don’t More People Travel Long-Term?


by Leonora Bergstrom



Traveling is often seen as a transformative and enriching experience. It opens up a world of new cultures, landscapes, and people, allowing individuals to broaden their horizons and gain a deeper understanding of the world. However, despite the numerous benefits that long-term travel offers, it remains a dream for many. So, why don’t more people travel long-term?


There are various factors that contribute to this phenomenon. From lack of time and financial constraints to fear and comfort zones, there are numerous hurdles that prevent individuals from embarking on long-term travel adventures. This article explores some of the key reasons why people shy away from long-term travel and provides insights into how these barriers can be overcome.


By addressing these challenges head-on and understanding the reasons behind them, we can empower ourselves to overcome limitations, step out of our comfort zones, and fulfill our travel dreams. Let’s dive into the common obstacles that people face when it comes to long-term travel.


Lack of Time

One of the most common reasons why people hesitate to embark on long-term travel is the perceived lack of time. In our fast-paced and hectic lives, it can be challenging to find the time to take extended trips. Between work obligations, family responsibilities, and other commitments, carving out several weeks or months for travel may seem impossible.


However, it is essential to prioritize travel and make time for it. Planning in advance and utilizing vacation days strategically can help maximize the time available for travel. Consider taking advantage of long weekends, holidays, and sabbaticals to extend your trips and truly immerse yourself in new destinations. By identifying and eliminating time-wasting activities or non-essential commitments, you can create space in your schedule for long-term travel.


Moreover, exploring the concept of slow travel can also help overcome the time constraint. Rather than rushing through multiple destinations in a short period, choose to immerse yourself in a single location, allowing for a deeper and more meaningful connection with the place and its people. Slow travel allows for a more relaxed pace, enabling you to experience the destination’s true essence and fully appreciate all it has to offer.


Remember, time is a valuable resource, and it’s up to us to allocate it wisely. With proper planning and a commitment to making travel a priority, the lack of time should not be a barrier to long-term travel.


Financial Constraints

One of the primary reasons why many people hesitate to embark on long-term travel is the perception that it is financially prohibitive. The cost of transportation, accommodation, meals, and other travel expenses can add up quickly, making long-term travel seem unattainable for those on a tight budget.


However, with careful planning and budgeting, long-term travel can be more affordable than one might think. Here are some strategies to overcome financial constraints:

  1. Saving and budgeting: Start by setting a travel budget and actively saving for your journey. Look for areas where you can cut expenses in your daily life, such as dining out less frequently or reducing unnecessary purchases. Create a dedicated travel fund and strive to meet your savings goals.
  2. Travel during off-peak seasons: Prices for flights, accommodations, and attractions tend to be lower during off-peak seasons. Consider traveling during shoulder seasons or exploring destinations that are less popular but still offer unique experiences.
  3. Use rewards and loyalty programs: Take advantage of frequent flyer programs, credit card rewards, and hotel loyalty programs to save on travel expenses. Accumulate points and miles to offset the cost of flights and accommodations.
  4. Embrace budget travel options: Research budget airlines, affordable accommodations, and local street food options to help stretch your travel budget. Consider staying in hostels, using public transportation, and opting for free or low-cost activities and attractions.
  5. Consider alternative accommodation options: Explore options such as house sitting, volunteering, or couchsurfing to secure free or low-cost accommodations in exchange for services or helping out.

Remember, traveling long-term does not necessarily mean luxury and extravagance. With smart planning, a willingness to be flexible, and a focus on meaningful experiences, it is possible to overcome financial constraints and make long-term travel a reality.


Career and Work Obligations

One of the significant obstacles that prevent individuals from pursuing long-term travel is their career and work obligations. The fear of impacting one’s professional growth and stability can be a significant deterrent. However, with proper planning and communication, it is possible to strike a balance between career and travel aspirations.


Here are some strategies to navigate career and work obligations while pursuing long-term travel:

  1. Remote work opportunities: Consider exploring remote work opportunities that allow you to work from anywhere in the world. With the rise of digital nomadism and advancements in technology, more companies are offering remote work options. Discuss the possibility of working remotely with your employer and present a well-thought-out proposal.
  2. Sabbatical or career break: If remote work is not an option, inquire about sabbatical or extended leave policies at your workplace. Many employers recognize the value of personal development and may be willing to grant a temporary break for travel. Plan your travel during this period and return to work rejuvenated and with a refreshed perspective.
  3. Explore part-time or freelance work: Consider transitioning to part-time or freelance work arrangements, which can provide more flexibility and freedom to travel. This allows you to manage your workload and schedule while still pursuing your travel dreams.
  4. Develop transferable skills: Enhance your skillset and make yourself more marketable by acquiring skills that are in demand worldwide. Look for opportunities to gain experience in areas such as language learning, cultural immersion, or project management, which can have a positive impact on your career prospects.
  5. Network and collaborate: Connect with like-minded individuals and professionals who have successfully balanced their careers with long-term travel. Seek their advice and insights on how they have managed to navigate this balance and learn from their experiences.

Remember, it’s essential to communicate openly and transparently with your employer about your travel ambitions. By presenting a well-thought-out plan and highlighting the personal and professional growth opportunities that long-term travel can provide, you may be pleasantly surprised by the level of support and flexibility afforded to you.


Fear and Comfort Zone

Fear and the desire to stay within our comfort zones are common barriers that prevent people from pursuing long-term travel. Stepping into the unknown can be intimidating, and the fear of the unfamiliar can hold us back from venturing beyond our comfort zones. However, breaking free from these limitations can lead to incredible personal growth and enriching experiences.


Here are some strategies to overcome fear and step out of your comfort zone:

  1. Start small: Begin by taking smaller steps outside of your comfort zone. Try new activities, explore different neighborhoods or cities, and gradually build up your confidence in unfamiliar situations. This can help ease the transition into long-term travel.
  2. Seek support: Surround yourself with supportive friends, family, or a travel community who understand and encourage your desire for long-term travel. Sharing your aspirations and fears with like-minded individuals can provide the reassurance and motivation needed to overcome obstacles.
  3. Embrace uncertainty: Understand that travel inherently involves some level of uncertainty. Embrace the spontaneity and unpredictability of the journey, as it often leads to the most memorable and transformative experiences.
  4. Challenge your limiting beliefs: Reflect on the beliefs and assumptions that may be holding you back. Challenge these limiting beliefs and reframe them in a way that empowers you. Replace thoughts of fear and doubt with thoughts of adventure and personal growth.
  5. Prepare and educate yourself: Research and familiarize yourself with your desired travel destinations. Learn about the local customs, language, and culture. The more you know, the more confident and prepared you will feel when encountering new situations.
  6. Take calculated risks: Push yourself to try new activities and experiences that may lie slightly outside of your comfort zone. This could involve trying new cuisines, participating in local customs, or engaging in adventure activities. Each step outside of your comfort zone will build your resilience and expand your horizons.

Remember, growth happens when we step outside of our comfort zones. Embrace the unknown, challenge your fears, and embark on the incredible adventure that long-term travel offers. The rewards of personal growth, self-discovery, and lifelong memories far outweigh the temporary discomfort or fear.


Family and Personal Commitments

Fulfilling family and personal commitments is another obstacle that often hinders people from embarking on long-term travel. Responsibilities towards children, aging parents, partners, or other familial or personal obligations can make it challenging to pursue extended travel adventures. However, with proper planning, communication, and support systems, it is possible to strike a balance between personal aspirations and responsibilities.


Here are some strategies to navigate family and personal commitments while pursuing long-term travel:

  1. Involve your loved ones: Engage your family and loved ones in open discussions about your travel dreams. Explain the benefits and personal growth opportunities that long-term travel can provide. Seek their support and understanding, and discuss ways to minimize any potential impact on their lives.
  2. Plan and prepare in advance: Plan your long-term travel well in advance and communicate your plans to your family or loved ones. Assure them that you have taken all necessary precautions to ensure their well-being in your absence. Set up support systems and contingency plans to address any unexpected situations that may arise.
  3. Stay connected: With advancements in technology, staying connected with your family and loved ones while traveling is easier than ever. Make use of video calls, instant messaging, and social media to remain in touch and keep them updated on your journey. Regular communication helps alleviate concerns and maintains strong relationships.
  4. Encourage your loved ones to join you: If possible, invite your family or loved ones to join you for part of your travel journey. This can be a great way to create shared memories, strengthen relationships, and fulfill your travel aspirations while still meeting familial commitments.
  5. Delegate responsibilities: Where possible, delegate or seek assistance with ongoing responsibilities such as childcare, elderly care, or household duties. Engage the help of trusted family members, friends, or professional caregivers to ensure that your loved ones are well taken care of during your absence.
  6. Consider shorter trips: If long-term travel is not feasible due to family or personal commitments, consider taking shorter trips or vacations more frequently. By strategically planning shorter getaways throughout the year, you can still feed your wanderlust while maintaining your responsibilities.

Remember, family and personal commitments are important, and it is essential to find a balance that allows you to pursue your travel dreams while meeting your obligations. Open communication, careful planning, and a supportive network can help navigate these commitments and enable you to embark on long-term travel with peace of mind.


Language and Cultural Barriers

Language and cultural barriers can be significant hurdles that discourage people from embarking on long-term travel. The fear of not being able to communicate effectively or navigate cultural differences can create uncertainty and apprehension. However, with a proactive approach and a willingness to learn, these barriers can be overcome.


Here are some strategies to overcome language and cultural barriers:

  1. Learn basic phrases: Before traveling to a foreign country, take the time to learn a few basic phrases in the local language. Simple greetings, thank you, and please can go a long way in establishing goodwill and making connections with locals.
  2. Use language-learning resources: Utilize language-learning resources such as apps, online courses, or language exchange programs to improve your language skills. Dedicate some time each day to practice and familiarize yourself with the local language.
  3. Immerse yourself in the culture: Show respect for the local culture by learning about its customs, traditions, and social norms. Observe and adapt to the local practices, dressing appropriately, and being mindful of cultural etiquette.
  4. Make connections with locals: Engage with local communities, join local events or guided tours, volunteer, or stay with locals through homestays. These experiences can provide valuable insights into the local culture and help you connect with locals on a deeper level.
  5. Utilize translation tools: Make use of translation apps or devices to bridge the language gap. These tools can help you communicate and understand basic information when interacting with locals.
  6. Stay open-minded and adaptable: Embrace different cultural practices and perspectives with an open mind. Be flexible and willing to adapt to new situations, as this will make your travel experience smoother and more enjoyable.
  7. Learn from mistakes: Language and cultural misunderstandings are bound to happen, especially when in an unfamiliar environment. Embrace these moments as learning opportunities and don’t be discouraged by small missteps. Locals often appreciate the effort you make to engage with their language and culture.

Remember, traveling is not just about visiting new places, but also about immersing yourself in different cultures and connecting with people from diverse backgrounds. With an open mind, a willingness to learn, and a respectful attitude, language and cultural barriers should not hinder your long-term travel aspirations.


Lack of Travel Experience or Confidence

For many people, the lack of travel experience or confidence can be a significant barrier to embarking on long-term travel. The unfamiliarity of navigating new destinations, dealing with logistics, and facing unexpected challenges can create self-doubt and prevent individuals from taking the leap. However, building travel experience and confidence is a gradual process that can be achieved with proper preparation and a positive mindset.


Here are some strategies to overcome the lack of travel experience or confidence:

  1. Start small: Begin by taking shorter trips or exploring destinations that are closer to home. This will help you gain confidence in navigating new environments and dealing with travel logistics.
  2. Research and plan meticulously: Thoroughly research your destination, including transportation options, accommodation, local customs, and attractions. Planning in advance will help you feel more prepared and confident when you embark on your journey.
  3. Seek advice from experienced travelers: Reach out to friends, family, or online communities for advice and tips from experienced travelers. Learn from their experiences and ask for recommendations to help ease your concerns and feel more confident about your forthcoming journey.
  4. Take a guided tour: Consider joining a guided tour or group travel experience, especially for your first few trips. Traveling with a knowledgeable guide can provide a sense of security and eliminate some of the logistical challenges, allowing you to focus on enjoying the experience and building your travel confidence.
  5. Step out of your comfort zone: Challenge yourself to try new experiences and activities while traveling. Pushing your boundaries and trying things you’ve never done before can help you build confidence and expand your comfort zone.
  6. Document your experiences: Keep a travel journal or start a blog to document your experiences and reflections throughout your journey. This helps you see how far you’ve come and boosts your confidence as you overcome travel obstacles and make meaningful connections along the way.
  7. Embrace the unexpected: Travel often comes with unexpected situations and challenges, which can be intimidating for those with limited experience or confidence. Embrace these moments as opportunities for growth and learning. Each hurdle you overcome will increase your resilience and build your confidence for future travels.

Remember, everyone starts as a beginner in travel, and experience and confidence grow with each journey. Embrace the process, take one step at a time, and remember that every travel experience, no matter how big or small, is a valuable opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery.


Safety Concerns

Safety concerns are a common apprehension that can deter individuals from embarking on long-term travel. The fear of encountering crime, political unrest, or health risks can overshadow the desire to explore new destinations. While it’s crucial to prioritize personal safety, it is equally important to educate yourself and take necessary precautions to mitigate risks. By being well-informed and prepared, you can navigate potential safety concerns and travel with confidence.


Here are some strategies to address safety concerns while traveling:

  1. Research your destination: Familiarize yourself with the safety situation in your intended destination. Stay updated on travel advisories, political situations, and any potential health risks. Government websites and reliable travel resources can provide valuable information to ensure your safety.
  2. Stay informed: Keep up with current events in the places you plan to visit. Monitor local news, follow reliable sources, and join online travel communities to stay updated on any specific safety concerns or precautions.
  3. Take precautions: Implement basic safety practices, such as keeping your belongings secure, staying vigilant in crowded areas, and avoiding risky situations or areas known for high crime rates. Research common scams or tourist-targeted crimes in your destination and take steps to avoid falling victim to them.
  4. Register with your embassy: Before traveling, register with your country’s embassy or consulate in your destination. This allows them to contact you in case of emergencies or provide assistance if needed.
  5. Stay connected: Share your travel itinerary and contact details with a trusted friend or family member. Regularly check-in with them during your journey to provide updates on your whereabouts and well-being.
  6. Use reliable transportation and accommodations: Opt for reputable transportation options and accommodations that prioritize safety and security. Research reviews and ratings before booking, and choose well-established companies or accommodations with good track records.
  7. Blend in with the locals: Respect the local culture, customs, and dress appropriately to blend in. Avoid flashy or expensive attire and be mindful of cultural norms to minimize drawing unwarranted attention to yourself as a tourist.
  8. Travel insurance: Purchase comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical expenses, trip cancellation, and personal belongings. Having insurance provides peace of mind and financial protection in case of unforeseen circumstances.
  9. Trust your instincts: Listen to your intuition and trust your gut feelings. If a situation feels unsafe or uncomfortable, remove yourself from it. Your personal safety should always be the top priority while traveling.

While it’s impossible to eliminate all risks, being cautious, prepared, and informed can greatly minimize potential safety concerns. Remember, millions of people travel safely around the world every day. By taking necessary precautions and being aware of your surroundings, you can navigate potential risks and enjoy your long-term travel experience.


Limited Access to Information and Resources

Limited access to information and resources can pose a significant challenge for those seeking to embark on long-term travel. Lack of information about destinations, transportation options, accommodation, visa requirements, and local customs can create uncertainty and hinder travel plans. However, with the right approach and utilization of available resources, this challenge can be overcome.


Here are some strategies to overcome limited access to information and resources:

  1. Research extensively: Take advantage of the wealth of information available online. Utilize travel blogs, forums, and reliable travel websites to gain insights into destinations, visa requirements, transportation options, and local customs. Connect with fellow travelers to gather firsthand experiences and recommendations.
  2. Consult travel agencies: Consider consulting travel agencies or tour operators specializing in long-term travel. They can provide comprehensive information and customized itineraries based on your needs and preferences.
  3. Make use of guidebooks: Guidebooks are valuable resources that provide in-depth information about destinations, local attractions, and practical tips for travelers. Purchase guidebooks or borrow them from your local library to gain insights and plan your long-term travel journey.
  4. Connect with local communities: Reach out to locals or expatriate communities through online platforms or social media. They can share insider tips, suggest off-the-beaten-path destinations, and provide valuable insights that may not be easily accessible through traditional travel resources.
  5. Utilize social media platforms: Follow travel influencers and join travel groups on social media platforms. These platforms are great sources of real-time information, travel advice, and recommendations from fellow travelers. Engage with others, ask questions, and participate in discussions to gain insights into different destinations.
  6. Utilize mobile apps: Make use of travel apps that offer useful information, offline maps, translation tools, and transportation guides. These apps can help you navigate unfamiliar destinations and access essential travel resources without the need for an internet connection.
  7. Engage in online research: Access official government websites, embassy websites, and travel forums to gather reliable information about visa requirements, entry regulations, and health-related recommendations. These resources provide up-to-date and accurate information for travelers.
  8. Seek advice from travel experts: Consult with travel experts, either through travel agencies or independent consultants, who have specialized knowledge and experience in long-term travel. They can offer tailored guidance and provide insider insights to help you plan your journey.

While limited access to information and resources can initially seem daunting, with thorough research, effective use of available resources, and a proactive approach, you can overcome this limitation and plan for a successful and fulfilling long-term travel experience.



Long-term travel is a dream for many, but it can be hindered by various obstacles. However, by addressing these barriers head-on, it is possible to make your travel aspirations a reality. Whether it’s lack of time, financial constraints, career obligations, fear, family commitments, language barriers, lack of experience or confidence, safety concerns, or limited access to information and resources, there are strategies to overcome each challenge.


Planning, prioritization, and open communication are key when it comes to addressing these obstacles. By making travel a priority, saving and budgeting effectively, exploring remote work opportunities, seeking support from loved ones, learning about different cultures, acquiring language skills, and taking necessary safety precautions, you can overcome the hurdles that stand in the way of your long-term travel dreams.


Remember, travel is not just about visiting new places; it is about embracing new experiences, opening your mind to different perspectives, and discovering your own personal growth. Stepping out of your comfort zone, navigating unfamiliar territories, and immersing yourself in different cultures are powerful catalysts for personal development and self-discovery.


Embrace the unknown, face your fears, and take the leap into long-term travel. The rewards are immeasurable – from lifelong memories and friendships to increased confidence and a broader understanding of the world. With proper planning, a positive mindset, and a willingness to adapt, you can embark on a transformative journey that will shape your life for years to come.