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If you had told me when I was 21-years old and setting off on my first solo trip abroad that there are a number of disadvantages of travelling, I wouldn’t have believed you.
I thought travel was all rainbows and sunshine.
You’re living the dream and seeing the world. How could there be any disadvantages of travelling?!
Well, I was in for a bit of a reality check.
Don’t get me wrong. I love travel, and the advantages of travel certainly outweigh the disadvantages of travelling.
But, now that I’ve travelled for years, I want to share with you some of the disadvantages of travelling, so you can have a more realistic view of what travel is actually like.
That way you won’t be surprised if you encounter some of the less glamorous sides of solo travel.
You can take the good with the less good and still have an amazing trip.
There is always a rainbow at the end of a rain shower!
So, I’m sharing the top ten disadvantages of travelling I’ve discovered in my years of travel.
You may not encounter all of the disadvantages on this list. You may experience other disadvantages.
This is based on my experience and what other travellers have echoed in my conversations with them.
This should hopefully help you be more prepared for travel and result in you having an even better trip than you ever imagined possible!
1. It Costs a Lot of Money
I bet you’re not surprised that travel costs money, and money doesn’t grow on trees.
How we all wish we were trust fund babies or won the lottery, so we could travel without worrying about money!
There are a number of ways money is one of the biggest disadvantages of travelling.
- You have to be disciplined enough to save enough money for your trip.
- You have to stick to a budget while you’re on your trip.
- The money you spend on your trip can’t be used anywhere else. So, you have to sacrifice other things you may want to buy in order to travel.
I, obviously, knew that travelling costs money when I took my first big trip. The other two aspects of money and travel were a little bit more difficult for me to come to terms with.
It can be hard to forego travel experiences because it isn’t part of your budget, but it is a reality that every traveller faces.
It can be hard to say no and to figure out what is and isn’t worth shelling over your hard-earned money for.
Travel doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does cost a pretty penny.
Especially if you’re taking short trips rather than long trips.
Flights are expensive, but once you get to a geographical area (especially if you can rely on trains and buses to get around), your monthly living costs may actually be less than your normal living costs.
It is those short, week long trips halfway around the world that kill your budget!
But those are the trips most people can take based on their work schedule.
It is a cruel world!
2. You Have to Consider Opportunity Cost
You don’t only have to think about the cost of your actual trip but the opportunity cost of travelling.
You’re potentially giving up job growth, a promotion, or other opportunities that will allow you to make more money in the future.
More money to fund your future travels. 😉
Even the income you miss making while you’re on the trip is part of the opportunity cost of travel you have to consider.
This is one of the disadvantages of travelling that impacts long-term travellers more than short-term travellers.
If you take a one-week vacation, there isn’t much opportunity cost to that trip.
However, if you’re like me and travel for months at a time, there is a lot of opportunity cost.
There were plenty of years where I didn’t have a blog and was relying solely on earning income from my job back home.
I would make less than $15,000 in a year and spend it all on travel!
Obviously that isn’t sustainable throughout your entire life.
On the flip side, there is also an opportunity cost to not travelling and working full-time instead. You don’t get to experience everything the world has to offer.
There is a give and take when it comes to opportunity cost and travel.
You have to find the balance that works for you and run with it!
But without a doubt it is one of the biggest disadvantages of travelling.
3. Your Personal Information is More at Risk
I know this one sounds odd but hear me out!
When you’re at home living your normal life, you’re most likely using your home internet more often than not.
Your home internet is very safe because you’re the only person who knows the password to access it.
You can sleep tight at night knowing that there is only a slim possibility that a hacker can access your home internet and steal your personal data.
That’s not the case when you’re travelling.
You are reliant on public wifi networks when you travel.
Whether it be at your hotel, a restaurant or café, or at the airport, there are lots of opportunities for your online information to be stolen.
And I know what you’re thinking.
Most public wifi networks have a password, so they are safe.
Even if there is a password on a public wifi network, your online information is still at risk of being stolen.
Anybody can get the password and gain access to the wifi network!
The only way you can protect your online data when using a public wifi network (even when you’re at home) is to install a VPN on all your devices.
A VPN essentially puts up a forcefield around your devices that keeps prying eyes out.
Even when using a public wifi network!
A VPN essentially makes using public wifi just as safe as using your home internet.
My Favourite VPN
I’ve used a lot of different VPNs over my years of travel, and pretty much hated them all.
VPNs have a reputation of slowing down your devices, and my phone and laptop were often so slow that I ended up turning off my VPN and putting my data at risk just to be able to use the internet without wanting to bang my head against the wall.
That all changed when I discovered NordVPN.
I’ve been using their VPN for years and have no plans of ever switching!
NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market, and that’s why I recommend it to all my fellow travel lovers.
You don’t even notice there is a VPN protecting your devices. You can stream away, check socials, and do whatever you want to do on the internet without feeling held back.
While still being protected!
I truly, truly believe that everybody should have a VPN on their devices. It is silly to leave yourself and your personal information exposed.
You can protect up to 6 devices with on NordVPN account, so you can easily protect all of your devices at once.
A two-year subscription costs less than the price of a Starbucks latte per month, so there are no excuses!
My philosophy is that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect your online information!
You do not want to have the hassel of having to cancel your bank cards while on holiday because you were too cheap to protect your online information.
That’s just no fun! And 100% preventable.
4. Travel is Exhausting
I was not prepared for how exhausting travel is before I started travelling on a regular basis.
You have an image that travel is the ultimate escape, and it kind of feels like the rules of the real world don’t apply.
But they do!
It doesn’t matter whether you’re on a short trip or a long trip. The days are long, and you expend a lot of energy.
This may not technically be one of the disadvantages of travelling, but it was sure a shock to me!
I was going non-stop for two and a half months before I finally burnt out and decided to take a few days to rest.
Taking time to relax and enjoy your holiday is alright. In fact, I often tell my friends and family who ask me for advise to plan a few extra days in any given city.
This gives you time to see everything you want to see without rushing. You can spend a few hours people watching in a café and not feel guilty for not doing enough on your vacation.
Whatever that means. It is your trip! Make it exactly how you want it.
But be prepared to be tired when you travel!
Your feet will be sore from all the walking. Your body will be tired from all the excitement.
You may even come back more exhausted from your vacation than when you left!
Even beach vacations can be deceptively exhausting. So make sure you leave some wiggle room in case you need a breather.
5. Planning a Trip Takes a Lot of Effort
If you’re anything like me, you hate planning your trips. It just sucks the energy out of me!
One of the biggest disadvantages of travelling (and one not many people talk about) is all the prep work required before you even start your vacation!
It can be stressful to research where to go, where to stay, what to do, and try to find the best deals.
Some people love the planning process. It gets them excited for the trip and makes them feel prepared.
Others (like me) dread it.
No matter what side of the debate you fall on, there is no getting around the fact that planning a trip eats up a lot of time and effort.
It is one of the less glamorous sides of travel you rarely get to see!
There isn’t really a way around the planning process either. Sure you can use a travel agent, but you still need to be active in the planning process.
You have to tell them where you want to go, what area you want to stay in, and what your budget it.
Then you have to review and approve their suggestions.
It is a lot of work, but it is so worth it!
You get to go on an amazing trip, and the hard work you put into planning it more than pays off!
Just be prepared to put in the work before you leave in order to have your dream trip.
6. Relationships at Home Suffer
This is one of the biggest disadvantages of travelling.
Unfortunately, some of your relationships back home may suffer or die altogether. This is especially true if you’re a long-term traveller.
A lot of people don’t understand the desire to travel. They may even be jealous that you can afford to travel and they can’t.
Or you being away for a little while might bring to light some cracks in the foundation of your friendship or relationship.
I don’t think I’ve met a single solo traveller who hasn’t had at least one friendship end because of their travels. Whether directly or indirectly.
I’m definitely not saying you will have friendships and relationships end if you travel!
I’m just saying it is a possibility and one of the biggest disadvantages of travelling and something I wish I was more prepared for before I took my first trip abroad.
7. You Miss Out on Important Moments at Home
Even if all your relationships stay peachy-keen while you’re away (and I truly hope they do!), you’re likely going to miss out on some important moments while you’re away.
I can’t even count the number of engagements, housewarming parties, and baby showers I’ve missed because I’ve been on the road rather than at home.
Granted, most people don’t travel as extensively as I do and don’t miss as much time away from home.
But, there is still the chance you’ll miss out on events going on at home while you’re on the road.
Even if it is just a birthday party or a ladies’ night out where a new inside joke comes to life.
Missing out on things back home is one of the biggest and toughest disadvantages of travelling.
It is probably the one I wish could disappear!
Unfortunately, though, it is one of the trade offs that comes with being a travel addict!
8. Earning Money while Travelling Isn’t Always Easy
This is a very niche disadvantage of travelling, but it an important one to many people.
As we discussed earlier, there is an opportunity cost to travel, and it most often comes in the form of lost wages.
Many long-term travellers try to make money on the road, but it isn’t always easy!
There really isn’t a way to make quick, easy money while travelling. No matter what other bloggers are telling you!
Most digital nomad jobs require you to put in a lot of up-front work before you see any results.
So, if starting your own website isn’t as easy as bloggers make it out to be, what other options do you have?
Most countries have immigration rules. You can’t just go out and find a bartending job anywhere in the world and make quick money.
Well, you technically could, but it wouldn’t be legal, and there are consequences if you get caught. I know a lady who is never allowed to visit Ireland again because she worked there illegally while travelling.
Working at a hostel is always an option.
The downside to that is most of the time you trade your labour for a free stay in the hostel. Not actual money.
It is better than nothing though!
So, if you’re on the road and strapped for cash, you probably need to get creative if you need money ASAP and can’t build up your own business.
I 100% recommend everybody start an online business. It can be life changing and give you the freedom to travel as much as you want without having to beg your employer for time off.
But, if we’re being honest, properly creating and sticking to a budget is probably the better choice than blowing through your money and scrambling to try to make a few bucks, so you can eat that night.
9. Your Travel Companion May Annoy You
I may have found this out the hard way when I was younger.
Just because you get along great with someone when you’re at home doesn’t mean you’re compatible travel companions.
This is without a doubt on of the biggest disadvantages of travelling with someone for the first time.
You won’t figure out whether or not you’re compatible travel companions until you’re already on your trip.
And once you’re on your trip, there is no going back.
You have to finish the trip with the person you started it with.
Hopefully you can find a way to become more compatible with your travel buddy, but that is easier said than done at times.
On the other hand, you may learn that the person you travel with is the best travel companion possible!
Those are the best trips!
You don’t know until you try! So, take the leap of faith and travel with people you think you’ll be compatible with. If you’re more interested in group travel than solo travel that is.
You’ll learn so much from each travel experience.
Even if you’re not compatible travel mates, you’ll have a better idea of who may be more compatible on your next trip!
10. You May Discover You Hate Travelling
Travel is romanticized.
It seems like the best part of life and that people who have the privilege to travel are living the best life.
That’s true for a lot of people, but it may not be true for you.
I know quite a few people who hate travelling.
Would rather sit at home and watch tv rather than travel, and that’s 100% alright!
We all have different interests, and you may figure out after you take your first trip that travel just isn’t for you.
At least you tried it and know rather than dreaming of travelling and regretting that you didn’t travel later in life.
But, I will admit from the perspective of a travel lover, finding out you hate travel is one of the biggest disadvantages of travelling.
Once you know you don’t love travel, you need to figure out where to go from there.
You may still want to see the world but hate travelling. Those are two things that are hard to balance!
The solution may be booking tours where everything is planned for you, and all you have to do is show up and admire the beauty of the place.
It may mean you suck it up and deal with the aspects of travel you dislike.
We all have aspects of travel we hate. Trust me!
It may also mean you fulfill your wanderlust by watching YouTube videos and travel documentaries.
If you discover you don’t enjoy travel but still want to experience the beauty of the world, you need to figure out a solution that works best for you.
It isn’t always easy, but it is worth the effort!
I hope you don’t think I’m a Debbie Downer!
There are far more benefits of travel than there are disadvantages of travelling! Trust me!
I wanted to write this post to help you get a more realistic sense of what comes with travelling.
Especially if you travel for long periods of time!
Knowing that there are disadvantages of travelling helps you prepare for your first trip. You know that not everything is rainbows and sunshine.
And this helps to enhance your travel experience!
If you go into travel without your rose coloured glasses on, I truly believe your trip will be amazing.
You’ll be more willing to roll with the punches and potentially be more willing to step outside your comfort zone and experience the culture you’re visiting.
Travel is a beautiful things, but just like anything in life, it comes with its hardships.
You won’t love every aspect of travel.
I promise you that!
But travel is still worth it (as long as you enjoy it). Disadvantages and all!