If you're anything like me, you made your list of New Year's Resolutions on the 2nd and vowed to start sticking to them on the 3rd (hey... a couple of days late never hurt anyone). I am an organization freak so each of my resolutions fits perfectly into a category and yes, I made a spreadsheet to help me track progress/completion (which you can totally download if you want it. Just click here). One category that is always on my list of resolutions/goals is to travel more. And it should be on yours too. If it's not, go ahead and add it. It's not too late. It's still January!
So why should travel be on your list? Well first of all, you wouldn't be reading this if you weren't interested in making travel a priority. Second of all, travel helps maintain your work/life balance. It keeps you sane, helps you grow as a person, and serves as a stress reliever. I could keep adding to that list but I won't keep you here all day so we'll move on to the last reason. Third of all, if you start now in January and put pen to paper for your travel goals, you'll find it much easier to make them a reality. Do you really want it to be December and then you realize that you didn't take a single trip? The horror.
So how do you do it? How do you truly travel more?
Step 1: Set a Realistic Goal
Come on, you know just as well as I do what happens when people make outrageous New Year's resolutions. They fail. Epically. If you have never worked out in your life, you wouldn't put "workout six days a week" as a resolution. Baby steps. The same applies here. Trust me, I want all of you to be able to travel more but I am happy (and you should be too) if you manage to take even one extra trip this year.
I usually break my goal into two: international and domestic. I can make my domestic trips happen over a weekend so it's easier to do more of those. So instead of putting the overall domestic trips I want to take in 2018, I made my goal even more specific and said I would like to travel to four new cities this year. That goal works for me since I know that there are going to be domestic trips to cities I've been to before and I want to be able to change it up a bit.
Still not sure? That's okay, just keep going through the steps because it'll all make sense.
Step 2: Make a Tentative Year Plan
This is helpful for a few reasons:
It'll help you maintain a level of organization
There's not much to say here…who doesn't love organization?
You'll be able to see if your goals are actually realistic
Do you actually have enough vacation days to make the travel happen? Can you really add in more trips? Does it conflict with other plans?
It'll help hold you accountable
If you pencil a trip in March then damn it, make it happen.
It helps you space out everything appropriately
Want to travel four times? How about once a quarter then?
Step 3: Save Money (skip, if you're loaded but also donate to me)
I get a lot of questions about how to afford trips. There are ways to cut corners like looking for cheap flights (read how to here) or staying in a hostel (read my guide here) but you'll probably still need to save some money for the rest of the trip.
Here's the truth of it, if you're living paycheck to paycheck but still want to travel more, then maybe stick to a road trip or day trips to nearby cities. Be realistic with what you are able to afford. Traveling isn't supposed to bankrupt you. I don't believe in any of those services that lend you the money for a trip and then you have to pay back at a high interest rate. You don't need to take out a loan to travel. You may just need to be creative but it is possible to make it happen!
You're making travel a priority, remember? So make it a financial one too. Again, not outside of your capabilities and not ahead of things like rent, food, basic life. But put it ahead of some of the other stuff. Do you treat yourself to a shopping spree every weekend? Well, maybe cut back on a few of those. How about a bar tab? Or eating out a ton? If you're serious about travel, this will just make sense to you. Have a separate account for just your traveling and put a portion of your paycheck into it or the money you would have spent eating out/shopping into it.
Set a travel fund goal and make it happen! P.S. if you're not already subscribed to this blog, I'd highly recommend doing that before you leave this page because I will be sharing how to budget like a boss for your trips and other hacks to help you travel more for less.
Step 4: Stick to the plan
You made the goal, you mapped it out, and you saved for it. So now execute. It's buying all the groceries, choosing the recipe, setting the table and then just not cooking the food. How could you? Yes, things happen and you may have to course correct along the way. But, to the best of your ability, stick to the plan and travel!
I hope you're just as jazzed as I am. I'm psyched for some more travel! Tell me the destinations on your bucket list for 2018 below.
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