It’s a brand new year and an opportunity to turn your travel dreams to reality, this time. You said it last year, you said it in 2015 and in 2014 but it didn’t quite happen. Surely this year has got to be different, correct? Here’s how to make 2017 your year of travel. Just like every other goal you have set this year; fitness, spiritual, financial, you must work towards it, put in the time and effort needed or it is going to be just another year where you wanted it but nothing happened. I hope that is not the case for you. On this travel recap of 2016, I shared the places I visited last year and I got messages asking how I did it. The short story is: Proper planning, savings and motivation levels peaking through the heavens. For the not-so-short story and how you too can do it, please continue reading.
HAVE A REALISTIC BUCKET LIST
Saying “goals” to every single place you see is not going to get you too far, literally. To put this in perspective, there are 195 countries in the world (if we do not count Taiwan) and about 4,416 cities. It’s unrealistic to be wishy-washy about places you want to see. You cannot see everything. Draw up a realistic bucket list, one that matches your time and budget. For example, there is no point wanting to do a three-week safari trip when you know your full time job only allows you two weeks worth of vacation time. Let’s be all the way real here.
It’s 2017 and people still think travel is a luxury and only associate travel with expensive resorts and overpriced tours. A travel experience is made up of these three major things: Transportation + Accommodation + Food, all of which can be done on a budget. I kid you not. Transportation: Air or Road or Sea? Find deals and a mode that suits your need. For air transportation which is usually the most expensive, sites like TheFlightDeal and HolidayPirates have amazing deals. For more information on how to get great deals on airfare, I wrote a detailed post on it here. Accommodation: There are cheaper alternatives to forking out thousands of dollars per night on a 4-star hotel. Alternatives like, Couchsurfing, AirBnB and some affordable places on Booking.com. Food: Sometimes, eat like the locals. Isn’t that what travel is all about anyway? For every expensive restaurant, there is a cheaper one. Think about your home country and how there are a wide variety of cheaper alternatives. It’s the same everywhere. Yes, travel will cost you money but it is certainly not as much as widely believed.
GET RID OF THE FEAR OF COMMITMENT
We have established that traveling does not have to be expensive, right? Right. So why do people still fail to realize their travel dreams? It’s the fear of committing. It’s easy to put away your plans when you haven’t made any financial commitment or haven’t put one foot forward. This right here, is a mental issue, more than anything else. Commit to buying that plane ticket, booking that hotel, buying that travel guide, joining a local city tour or else, it’s not going to happen. Simple.
START MAKING CONCRETE PLANS
Remember that bucket list we made earlier? Put some fire to it by making concrete plans.
- Design your bucket list in order of priority.
- Pick one place where you are going to next.
- Research what it will cost you. You can use this great vacation cost calculator, as a guide.
- Work towards it.
While this might be cliché, If you want something, you have to make conscious efforts to get it.
OPEN A TRAVEL FUND
I talked about the importance of having a travel fund here. Opening a specific account for your travels and putting money away occasionally is such a bold and deliberate move. Find a system that works for you and do it.
Traveling can be overwhelming and there are so many places to see so, you must pace yourself. Personally, this works for me. I remember years ago I wanted to do a 25 countries by age 25 goal but first, it was unrealistic at the time and second, I really could do without that extra bit of pressure. I find that pacing yourself works just fine. By all means have a goal or bucket list but do not hold on too tightly. Remain flexible and see the world one city at a time, slowly but surely.
EXPLORE YOUR IMMEDIATE ENVIRONMENT
When people think travel, they think airplanes and long distances and that is really not true. If we go by the lay man’s definition, Travel means the act of going from one point A to another point B. From me to you, there is so much beauty around you to explore. Here’s a good start point:
- Find out the countries closest to you. Typically, they have the least cost of transportation. Use GoMapper.
- Explore your local environment.
- Find time to go to a place in your country you have never been at least once a month.
BECOME A STALKER
Stalk those travel deals on Flight Deal and HolidayPirates. In the world of travel, early movers are the real winners. It’s like winner takes all. They are always on the look out for jaw breaking deals and buy it without giving it too much thought. Subscribe to flight deal notifications, newsletters, etc.
STOP WAITING FOR YOUR FRIENDS
It takes so much for two people’s plans to align. It can be an absolute miracle sometimes. If you have to wait for your group of friends to be ready, come closer, let me tell you something; It might never happen. Ditch your friends and adventure on your own if you must. Else, 2017 is going to be that year where you really really wanted to travel, your heart was in the right place but ummm, it never quite happened.
Read and subscribe to your favorite travel blogs, like this one of course! Follow travel pages and social media accounts. Get the inspiration you need to make that travel journey happen. Studies show that if you see something very often, it registers in your subconscious and start forming a pattern. I hope you never run out of inspiration to see the world.
No step is too small, baby steps count too! Do something from the list above and you would have gotten that little bit closer to making 2017 your year of travel. If you need help on planning your next travel journey, I am only an email away and will be more than happy to help. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If it’s important to you, you will find a way. If it’s not, you will find an excuse.
Cheers to a 2017 filled with travel adventures! Love, Subscribe below for more travel tips and exclusive deals and giveaways.