Happy New Year! I hope your year is off to a great start, and you have started to gain momentum for what lies ahead. All the best to you and yours.
Among the many questions I receive about my travels, one of them is how I plan my trips every year. Many people want pointers and just aren’t sure how to go about it. Fear not, I’ve got you covered.
I have a full-time job which means I have a limited number of days I can take off and that impact how much I get to travel. As you already know, being a full-time employee hasn’t stopped me from traveling and if that is the case with you, it shouldn’t stop you either. Here are tips to help you.
Keeping limited time off work, limited finances (travel costs real money, guys!) and just time and resources, here is how I am planning my 2019 travels.
First, I am mapping out all the statutory holidays I have this year.
This one is helpful if you have a full-time job. The first thing I do each year is figure out how many statutory holidays I have each year. Because I live in Ontario, Canada, this year I have 10 days of holiday this year (minus the allotted time off my company affords me.) Keeping these days in mind, I try to take holidays around these dates because that means I can take one extra day without impact to my days off. For example, I can travel from June 28 to July 2nd and only take one day off work instead of two.
Please note: Because it is a long weekend, flight prices might be higher than usual. A work around will be to book at least 60 days in advance to reduce cost.
What statutory holidays do you have in your country of residence this year? How can you take advantage of it for more travel time this year?
Second, I create a travel vision board.
With the information I have above, I create a list of countries I hope to visit. Every year, I have countries on my must-visit list, this also includes mandatory commitment like weddings or events I cannot move around. I keep slots open for spontaneous travels because not having a bucket list helps me travel more and also to take advantage of travel deals that pop up.
Note: Keep this realistic but don’t be under ambitious. Be bold about your travel goals. You do not have to travel frequently like me, but you can have a travel goal of visiting one new country per year or spending the Christmas holidays abroad. Whatever the case may be, start thinking about it NOW.
Where do you want to go this year? What are the SPECIFIC countries?
Third, I start to map out my travel finances.
After writing the list of countries I want to visit this year, the next big question is, “how much do I need to make this happen?” “How long do I need to save for?” “How soon can I start saving (the real answer is now!) “What financial sacrifices do I need to make?” “How can I make my money work for me?”
Finances play a huge role in your travels so making better travel finances are the best way to go. I like to have a travel fund account (i.e. a separate account for saving towards travel. It makes a huge difference.)
What financial decisions do you need to make to achieve your travel goals this year?
Fourth, I think about other items that are required for my travels this year.
Items could range from Visa acquisition to accommodation sourcing and transportation, etc. I have a Nigerian passport and while I have found a workaround for it, I still need a visa to some countries. After listing out the countries I want to visit in step 2, I plot out the visas I need and take the steps for getting them. (This can include getting my bank statement ready, getting a police report if needed, and so on.)
Fifth, I start to plot out the resources that will propel my 2019 travels forward.
Remember, smart work is better than hard work. Now I have plotted out what I need for my 2019 travels, I find individuals or companies that can propel my 2019 travels forward. Sometimes it’s simply by following your favorite travel bloggers or websites (FOLLOW ME!) for smart travel inspiration and tips. It could also be subscribing to travel website for deals (Hello, Secretflying and AirFareWatchDog!).
What I am saying is, you cannot do this solely on your own. You need the wisdom and experience of others. Seek them out and learn from them. That way, you avoid making travel mistakes and travel smarter this year.
Who are the people you need to follow? What travel websites do you need to subscribe to in order to increase your efforts to travel this year?
Finally, I move. I go!
I could make all the plans above, do all the steps from start to finish but if I do not take the plunge and actually go, (which could mean not just booking a flight but hopping on a flight), it will all be a complete waste of time and effort. So, I go, I move. I do not second guest my plans because I am confident in my ability to conquer unfamiliar territories and make the best of the time I have to travel.
Will you move this year, or will it just be one big talking fest? Up to you!
I hope these easy-to-follow steps were useful for you and more importantly, I hope you implement them. According to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”
Now that you know, you have my blessings to go forth and do. All the best with your travel plans this year.
Until next time,