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When You Can’t Travel

It’s bound to happen sooner or later. Whether because of injury, illness, a change in financial circumstances, or tumultuous world events you will likely one day find yourself in a place when you can’t travel. 

Note: I just want to pause here and make it clear that I understand in the grand scheme of things the cancellation or postponement of a trip is a pretty minor inconvenience. There are many people in the world today facing some very difficult circumstances, and my thoughts in this post are not intended in any way to minimize those difficulties. 

Having said that…the loss of a long-planned and dreamed about trip can be quit disappointing. It’s sad. 

Go ahead. Wallow a bit. There’s nothing wrong with expressing your disappointment and feeling sad for a while. 

Chocolate and Gilmore Girls. 

And then you move on. 

But how? What should you do when you can’t travel? 

What do you do when you can’t travel? 

As I write this (in March 2020), Hubby and I are facing the very real possibility that we won’t be able to make it to New Zealand this year. We’ve been planning this trip for about two years, and I am very, very sad it might not happen this year. 

And that’s just the way things go sometimes. 

BUT even if we can’t go this year it doesn’t mean we’ll never get there. We’re not going give up on the New Zealand dream. 

So what do you do when you can’t travel?

Rebook that trip! 

Yes, it’s an obvious one, but just because you can’t make your trip as planned doesn’t mean you won’t ever get there.  

If you need to cancel your trip, I encourage you to rebook it as soon as you possibly can. 

Perhaps you could even take the opportunity to improve on your itinerary.  

  • If you’re planning far ahead can you save up more money and travel longer? Can you turn that one-week trip into a trip of two weeks or more and see even more of your chosen destination? 
  • Did you make any “mistakes” in your original trip planning to you can correct when you rebook such as… 
    • Booking flights at undesirable times or with multiple layovers because that was all that was available? 
    • Missing your chance to book a must-do activity because it was sold out? 
    • Choosing a hotel in an inconvenient location because everything else was booked? 
    • Accidentally booking a flight to the “wrong” airport? (It happens!) 

It’s pretty rare that I’m completely happy with my itinerary as is when I leave for my trip (I’m pretty hard on myself). With every trip I take I end up with a least a short list of things I would have done differently. Now’s your chance to right all those wrongs ahead of time and do things differently if you could. 

And when rebooking you definitely need to make sure that you consider some kind of trip protection or travel insurance. Sometimes things go wrong and you’ll feel better knowing your travel investment is covered. 

So, rebook that trip and keep traveling. 

Plan the next trip 

Sometimes we face circumstances in our lives that require canceling a trip without the possibility of rebooking. Maybe it was a once in a lifetime event that can never be recaptured (like seeing your favorite ballplayer getting inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York…And, yes, I’m still a little bitter about that one). 

So, anyway…on to planning the next trip. In the case of my canceled trip to Cooperstown we were able to put that money toward our Christmas trip to Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown plus a really nice weekend getaway to Savannah

There are some life circumstances though that mean we just can’t travel at all for a while. Perhaps it’s an illness or injury or loss of employment. In that case your future travel plans might be more theoretical, but it doesn’t hurt to dream.  


Map with a text overlay

Explore more near home 

Please note that I am not encouraging people to ignore medical advice to social distance or self-quarantine during a time of pandemic. 

Although you may not be able to take your dream trip, that doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon your desire to explore. Don’t overlook the amazing things to do near home. I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t seen nearly enough of Upstate South Carolina or the North Carolina mountains. 

When money is tight or when you can’t travel for extended periods of time, exploring closer to home is a great option. 

Catch up on all those travel books you’ve been hording. 

Come on. You can admit it. 

You have an entire shelf of books like WildInto the WildInto Thin Air, and Eat, Pray, Love that remain unread. No? Just me? 

Well now’s the perfect time to read those books.  

And who knows? Maybe you’ll even get some great inspiration for your future travels. 

Enjoy the memories from your past travels 

Bouncing from one amazing trip to the next can sometimes leave little time to process what we just experienced. Lack of current and future trips can offer more opportunities to do things like… 

  • Edit that digital boatload of photos from your last trip that you haven’t even really looked through yet. 
  • Finish that travel journal. I know you had such great intentions of doing it within a month of returning from Italy in 2018 but then you were lazy and now the bag of stuff to make the journal is just collecting dust in that small space between your dresser and the wall…maybe. I’m just guessing here. 
  • Sometimes I go really crazy and write out a full debrief of a trip to remind myself of everything we did, things I would do differently and the things I want to do if I ever get the chance to go back. 

So, bottom line. There will be times when you can’t travel. It’s a bummer. 

Snow covered mountains with pine trees and pink sky and text overlay
when you can't travel keep planning and keep dreaming

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