I know it can be very difficult to find the time to travel! I’m a travel consultant, and I still find it hard…Husband, I’m looking at you! Below are some tips that I’ve found extremely helpful over the years. If you’re really dedicated to your bucket list, spend some developing a plan for the next couple of years. If you need some help strategizing, I’m happy to work with you!
1) Plan, Plan, Plan: I can’t say this enough! Whether it’s in your head or on paper…MAKE A PLAN!
A) Write down a list of trips that you would want to, need to and would love to take. These can be general trips such as a hiking trip, a beach trip, a safari or a Europe trip, OR very, very specific such as Paris, Bhutan, Thailand, Zanzibar or Bali.
B) Print out a blank yearly calendar for the next couple of years and plot these trips over time. Look at the best time of year for each trip and how much time you’ll need. Plot these trips over time. You know how many vacations days you have each year, so you should be able to figure out how many trips you can take.
C) Tell your employer or boss in advance when you would like to take a vacation. Put the specific trip on your work calendar. This is a free way to mentally and publicly commit to your vacation and means your employer will be much less likely to say no to your vacation time.
2) Budget, Budget, Budget: All these bucket list trips are going to cost money, right?
A) Once you’ve created your list of trips and figured out when you would like to take them, write down the cost. You can easily google this or ask me. Be generous with your budget. Travel almost always cost more than we think it will.
B) If you’re not great at budgeting and saving, create a separate savings account and make small monthly deposits. After the step above, you’ll have an estimate for how much you’re going to need each year. If this amount is just completely unachievable for you, then you might need to go back and review your bucket list. Spread the trips out a little more. I’m NOT an advocate for going bankrupt just to get to Africa!
C) Invest in a good travel credit card that maximizes the points you’ll earn. There are some awesome travel credit cards out there. Do some research and find the right one for you. Take advantage of it and start earning points. I charge almost everything to one travel rewards card to maximize my points. Save up your points and then splurge on that dream trip! First class plan tickets, anyone?
D) Don’t waste your money: If you have trouble finding travel funds, take a hard look at how you spend your money. If you make saving for your next big trip your priority, I’m confident that you can cut back on silly things like Starbucks and cab rides. Small sacrifices will add up quicker than you think!
3) Find a friend or loved one to hold you accountable: Create your plan with a spouse, significant other, family member or friend with similar travel goals. Just like a workout routine, it’s so much easier to stick to your goals when someone else is holding you accountable!
4) Don’t underestimate the weekend: Not every trip requires a full week. Take advantage of your weekends, especially your long weekends, to check off trips that are shorter, closer and cheaper! It will also help you maximize those vacation days.
5) Travel at an off-peak time:
A) If you have trouble taking time off work, plan to travel at times that are less popular with your co-workers or just less busy. When you plan ahead, you should be able to identify those “off-peak” times and take advantage of them. Skip the holidays and school vacations.
B) If budget is your biggest challenge, look for shoulder seasons and off-peak travel times in your dream destinations. This should mean lower rates for you!
C) If your schedule is flexible, travel at odd times. Avoid the weekends! Flight fares are often much lower mid-week.
Ready to being planning your long-term travel, contact me here!