Yes, I said it. And I stand by it — despite how cringeworthy that sentence alone may be to those who claim to love travel or want to travel, but hide behind the cloak of affordability to justify the lack of stamps on their passport – the people who brush off travel as a luxury instead of a necessity and save it in the back of their unfulfilled bucket list by telling themselves that airfare is just “too pricey right now”.
You CAN afford to travel – you just don’t want to – and it’s time to come face to face with the reality that the same money that is going to eating out every night, to expensive handbags, to makeup or clothes can be budgeted to an adventure that has the potential to make you a more well rounded, cultured individual.
The truth is, people CAN afford to travel, but they fail to make it a priority in their lives. Traveling, just like any other expense, is about how badly you want it. While some see traveling as a leisurely expense, an avid traveller will tell you about how imperative is to them — they will describe to you the bitter ache they feel in their heart when they see pictures of Hagia Sophia or the Christ the Redeemer statue. They will tell you about the lust they feel for wanting to get out, to see all corners of the world, to constantly stop moving and never stop questioning life. For a true traveller, the question is not “how can you afford it?” it is “how can you not?”
Traveling is undoubtedly a privilege, one that quite frankly, is expensive. For a college student, is no sugar-coating the moment of silence for your wallet that is observed every time you enter your credit card information into the check-out section of your flight details. Being able to see the world is a privilege, but one that we often over-estimate because of how glamorized it is in the media — but the truth is, there is little glamor in opting to not bring a suitcase to avoid the 50 dollar suitcase fee, there is little glamor in the bags under your eyes because you chose a cheaper flight which consequently has a 9 hour layover, there is little glamor in driving six hours to go to another airport because their landing fees are much less expensive than your local airport. Perhaps there is glamor in the Instagram pictures and Snapchats you see, but the actual process of the journey is far from glamorous — but it doesn’t have to be. Traveling is about the people you meet, the sights you see, the culture, the food, the experience — and it is far more attainable than people make it out to be.
I’m not telling others to prioritize travel over rent, over tuition, over bills — don’t do that. But if you truly analyze your bank statements each month, it’s easy to come to terms with the fact that so much money is wasted on things that while not immediately expensive, can add up long-term. Think about it logically: set aside the same 20 dollars a week (or more) you spend on eating out and choose to only eat out every other week, by the end of the year you have over $600 dollars – which if you search hard enough for a decent deal, will cover your airfare.
If you have money to carry around a Michael Kors handbag and go out every weekend, you have the money to travel. If you have the money to get your nails done and own all three Naked palettes, you have the money to travel. If you have money to eat out at restaurants and buy new clothes from the mall every season, you have the money to travel. You have it, you have the money. You can afford to travel. But do you want to?