I know many Indians who travel extensively and widely. I am one of them who travel full time and have designed a life around it.
There are numerous reasons why Indians don’t travel.
- Comfort of their homes or going to same place repeatedly.Most of Indian kids spend their summer at maternal grandparents or at their home. Mother put the kids in some summer camp and it is done about there. When those kids grow up, they either join family business which requires them to stay in the same city as their family or join a job in a different city.
Whenever it is holiday, they are homesick and would rather return home than explore.
- Most Indian can’t travel on their own (I said most.)
They can’t find a companion to travel with them. So their first opportunity comes when they get married or are in a stable relationship. However, then it becomes a family holiday that can last only for short period as expenditure increase many fold. Couples don’t want to backpack in India. They want to feel safe. You can make the friends at the destination. If they are married, finding vacation together is a task that can last.
- Most Indian definition of traveling is sightseeing.
They don’t want to explore. Going to Paris is a trip to Eiffel tower, photo stop at other location and then move on to next location. They want to see landmarks. They don’t spend time truly understanding what really happened. I just went there opinionated and came back with trivia that allows me to be more opinionated. True travelers stay at that location and really understand why people do what they do? Why are Russian considered cold people? They are one of the sweetest people I know. You just need to approach them differently.
- I don’t know many Indian who love foreign languages.
They are frightened by it. We only watch Bollywood and selected few transitioned to Hollywood. What about German movies or Korean movies? (Again the most). I am slowly seeing people adopting foreign languages in metro cities like French, Spanish or German. However, I have rarely seen someone trying to pick up Asian languages or African language. Travelling isn’t Western Europe, USA or Far east Asia.
- We want to save every pretty penny.
Except you don’t see how you could be spending more money by saving every penny. I stay in 5 star hotels and not in hostels and I am really not paying that much more. I am just being smarter. I am hanging out with people who provide me better opportunities. Most people just can’t see it long term. I tell them to invest in something. You are going to travel even once a year, don’t plan everything for current trip. Do something that makes next trip easier. THINK LONG term.
- Everyone just thinks about America.
Anything foreign is American for so many of Indian. We love soccer but rarely see people even knowing those places. So many people are fan of Messi, Ronaldo or Manchester United or Real Madrid. What is capital of Argentina? Where is Argentina? Most people don’t know much Geographically or Politically
- Reliance on parents/family
Most Indian get a massive holiday when they graduate. There are 2 to 3 months after you graduate from 12th board. By March end or April start boards are over. By June all the competitive exams are over. We get a huge break from there till September. Most of the western travelers I know go on trip. They get feel of travel. They understand their tendencies and other things. It is more of journey internally than externally. They apply for jobs in Unesco, Animal shelter, NGO etc. They try to earn their independence while we Indian mostly stick to comfort of our home.
- Traveling isn’t easy.Everyone wants to travel but they don’t really understand what they are taking on themselves. Traveling has to be calibrated, detailed, disciplined. Everyone treats travel like a vacation. You go on a splurge. You start spending money, buy clothes, go out of the element. Vacation and Traveling are different term. Traveling requires discipline. A routine that you adhere. I wake up, I go for run. I get my work done. I have to earn money on the go. I have to pick up skills that might earn me my sweet bread when traveling. If you just go out of your element for too long. You would become sick, physically broken, emotionally fragile and home sick
- Food requirement
THE BIGGEST PROBLEM I FACE is finding an Indian restaurant that is affordable. We don’t adopt or try local food. We really need Indian food wherever we go. This one thing makes me not want ot travel with Indian companions. I have spent countless hours with Indian travelers for them to find an affordable Indian restaurant. Finally, I decided to let them do whatever they want. I decided to have my own thing.
- Those are Cultural reasons. There are national reasons too.
- We own one of the poorest passport in the world. Amount of money required to get a visa and paperwork is extensive. Most Indian can’t just pass that initial hurdle.
- P. S. So many people do destination research, very few research how. When I didn’t travel much, I didn’t understand nuances of traveling. It is an acquired taste. It is a marathon not a sprint. Understand yourself first. Research ways to save long term and not short term.