11 Main Disadvantages of Travelling You Should Know About

airplane taking off

Travelling is one of the most common hobbies out there. People enjoy travelling, exploring and getting to know other cultures. I am not an exception myself. I can’t imagine my life without travelling. This is something that makes me happy and makes me feel alive. Despite all the good things connected to travelling, it is also important to talk about some important disadvantages of travelling. It is something that people usually don’t consider when travelling abroad, or simply don’t know about it. I have created this article to throw attention to some important points in this regard. It is not meant to discourage you from travelling but rather to educate you. I hope you will find it helpful. 

Table of Contents

Financial Disadvantages of Travelling
Cultural Disadvantages of Travelling
Physical Disadvantages of Travelling
Environmental Disadvantages of Travelling


Financial Disadvantages of Travelling

Traveling abroad can be very expensive

This point is very obvious. Flights and hotels can get very expensive unless you are ready to be very flexible with travel dates and compromise your time and comfort. Another important thing to consider is that prices for basic things such as groceries, accommodation, and transportation abroad can be very different from the prices back at home. There are some websites such as numbeo where you can check out the cost of living for a specific city. It is also important to consider different currencies and the exchange rate. Exchanging money abroad can also get quite costly. My advice is to always check things upfront. Sometimes it is cheaper to get the money in the local currency directly from an ATM, but sometimes ATMs have some fees for foreign credit cards. Also, your bank which gave you the credit card may have higher fees for you using your credit card abroad or for cash withdrawals. Those fees may eat up a considerable chunk of your travel budget.

Financial Disatvantage of travelling
Photo by Alexander Mils



Unexpected costs and emergencies

When traveling abroad and being far away from home, inevitably extra costs may appear which you didn’t take into consideration. One of the main reasons for unexpected costs might be an accident and following medical treatment. If your domestic health insurance doesn’t cover medical treatment abroad, it is important to have travel health insurance. It is usually not that expensive and can be very helpful abroad. Another common source of extra cost is car rental. Most people rent cars abroad with cheap insurance which does not cover most of the things. I highly recommend renting a car with full insurance. It is more expensive, but you will be sure that renting out a car abroad will not cost you a fortune if you have an accident or even a small scratch. Those things are out of your control and getting the proper insurance and some research upfront may save quite a lot of money.

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Cultural Disadvantages of Travelling

Language Barrier

If you speak English, you will probably be fine in many countries in the world, especially in very tourist locations. But if you decide to go to some exotic destinations or off the beaten path, you might have some language problems. Generally the more foreign languages you speak, the better it is for traveling abroad. But the majority of people speak, on average only 2-3 languages fluently. As a solution, you can always hire a local guide to help you out. I recommend hiring local guides directly without any middlemen and big corporations. This way you can better contribute to the local economy. 

Cultural Shock and Adaptation to foreign customs

Different countries have different cultures and customs. This is especially true about how people dress, how they communicate, and how they behave. For example, in Islamic countries, women are expected to cover their body and their head. This is very different from some European countries where you can walk around half-naked with pink thongs and nobody will pay attention or say anything. In some counties, you are not supposed to sit next to a taxi driver as a woman. You have to sit in the back seat.  It is interpreted as being open for flirting and being approachable. In some Asian countries, there are big fines for eating and drinking in public transportation. I recommend doing some research about the customs of that country you are traveling and getting prepared. It is important to respect other cultures and adapt accordingly.

You are on your own in a foreign remote country

When traveling abroad you are far away from your family and friends. Once abroad, you leave your comfort zone and enter the kingdom of the unknown where everything is possible.  From now on you are on your own in the new unknown world. If something happens, nobody is going to help you. Well, there are many nice and helpful people out there but you never know. There is nobody to give you advice or listen to you if you just want to speak out. Making and maintaining friendships takes effort and time. If you change places often and move around, you may not be able to maintain those friendships.

Physical Disadvantages of Travelling

Having Long Flights

Long flights can be very exhausting. All the things related to the flight, such as getting to the airport, passport and visa checks, flight transfers, and baggage claims are very tiring and stressful. It is of course less stressful when everything gets smoothly, but sometimes bad surprises happen. For example, your flight may get canceled or delayed and you may miss your next flight. Sometimes you may have to wait several hours or even an entire day to catch your next flight. Sleeping overnight at the airport is also quite stressful but sometimes you might not have a choice.

woman waiting in the airpor with a luggaget


Different Time Zones and being Jet Lagged

People usually don’t take the time differences seriously, but in reality, big differences in time zones may affect your health and sleep. As a result, you may feel jet lagged for a few days and not be able to function normally. You won’t be able to sleep at night and will be very tired during the day. Also, communication with your family and friends might be difficult due to different time zones. If you travel very often to different time zones, this might seriously affect your health. You should stay in one time zone for at least a few weeks so that your body can get used to it.

Not being able to exercise regularly

In your home country, you may have been taking yoga lessons regularly, going to the gym, or jogging every day. When traveling you might not always have the possibility to do sports. In that case, you should try to walk and swim as much as you can. Generally, any kind of movement is good for your health. You just shouldn’t forget about it.

Different food and water quality

The food and water quality abroad may be very different from the one in your hometown to which your body is used to. It doesn’t necessarily mean that food and water quality abroad is worse. It just means that it is different and our body may have some issues processing it. Getting food poisoning and diarrhea is very common when traveling abroad, especially when traveling in Asian countries for western Europeans and Americans. Some premium class restaurants and hotels take into account those differences and provide special menus for westerners.

Environmental Disadvantages of Travelling

Pollution caused by tourism

Pollution is, unfortunately, a real problem nowadays. The negative environmental impacts of tourism are substantial. Long flights and road trips contribute to air pollution caused by transportation. Tourism contributes also to plastic pollution most of the plastic used in tourism is meant to be used only once and then be thrown away. This kind of plastic often can’t be recycled, leading to large amounts of plastic pollution.

Air Pollution as an impact of tourism
Air Pollution

Plastic Pollution
Plastic Pollution





Tourism may disturb the ecological balance

Tourism puts enormous stress on local land and water use. The excessive water use and increasing waste at natural sites may cause soil erosion, water, and land pollution and eventually destroy the natural habitat of some animal species and plants.  Every species in this world have their own ecosystem and food chain. Their health and lifestyles will be affected by contaminations and disturbances impacted by tourism.

Impact of tourism on natural balance
Image by A_Different_Perspective
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