The Internet is full of inspirational articles sharing the benefits of travel. Travel blogs and forums are crammed full of positive articles encouraging you to quit your job, sell everything you own, and see the world -- it'll change your life, they claim.
And I can't deny the transformative power of travel. Before I left to travel, I suffered from debilitating anxiety, had panic attacks on a daily basis, and was battling an eating disorder. Travel changed my life, because regularly leaving my comfort zone was just what I needed to overcome my mental health issues. I can't deny that travel is fantastic, but I don't agree with the thousands of articles that tell you the solution to every problem is to travel.
Here, then, are 7 situations when you should probably think twice about travel.
1. You're in Debt
Travel can be very affordable if you do it right, but it's not the best idea to travel if you're in debt. Instead, focus all of your efforts into paying off your debt, and then when you're free of it, you can use those saving tips you picked up to start working on your travels. The one exception to traveling when you're in debt is if you have student loans and can afford the repayments, defer payments, or haven't started paying it back yet.
2. You Can't Afford Travel Insurance
One of the lines I've written most as a travel writer is: if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. It's as simple as that. If you end up breaking your back in rural China and have to be airlifted back home, you're going to end up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and your family will have to shoulder the responsibility, too. Get travel insurance.
3. You're Struggling With Your Mental Health
Travel has done wonders for my mental health, but I wouldn't recommend leaving if you're struggling. I waited until I was able to talk myself down from panic attacks and experienced them once a month instead of once a day until I left, and I'm so glad I did. I'm not sure I wouldn't have been strong enough to endure the culture shock and sensory overload if I hadn't. Wait until your anxiety is controllable before you think about tackling the world.
4. You Have Ties at Home
Should you still travel if you're in a long-term relationship? What if you're married? Or have children? There are ways to continue to see the world if you have ties, but you have to make sure everyone is on board with it. Travel isn't worth ruining your relationship with your spouse for, and you don't want your children to grow up resenting you for leaving them to travel.
5. Your Career Depends on You Being There
Travel will always be there for you, and while I believe that the best time to travel is straight after graduation before you have any ties or commitments, there are so career paths that are important to follow when you're young. If you're a musician, for example, or an athlete, taking time off from your training could damage your chances of success. If you're in this position, I'd suggest working on your career while building your savings to travel in a few years' time.