“Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you…. If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it and correct course along the way.”
Do you set New Year’s Resolutions about travel? Or make bucket lists of places to see before a certain age? Do you take stock on birthdays to see what you’ve accomplished and think about where to next? And the most important question… do you make the travel ambitions you have, actually happen?
If the answer is yes, then good for you, don’t stop pursuing your travel dreams. If the answer is no, we need to talk.
There’s something standing between you and travel, and that something is you.
Now I am well aware that to travel is a privilege, and I am by no means seeking to belittle anyone who genuinely cannot travel because of unchangeable personal circumstances. I’m talking about those of you who want to travel but it just never seems to happen. You can’t save the money or find the time or are possibly even a little afraid of making that leap, even if you won’t admit it. Is that you?
If some magic fairy gave me money for every time someone told me how lucky I am to travel or how brave then lets just say I would be… well probably putting that money into MORE travel. But the thing is, it’s really not about having luck or being brave. It’s a choice. And if you have made a goal to travel more then you need to follow that through and actually choose to travel.
Sounds easy, but how do you actually do it? Well, here’s ten ways to make travel happen for you this year.
1. Begin with small adventures
One of the biggest barriers people have to travel is in their mind. They think travel must be a grand, or long, or luxurious adventure. They picture themselves on the beach in the Maldives, or eating in every expensive cafe in Paris, or travelling the entire world in a year. Great goals. But maybe not a realistic place to start.
Travel comes in many forms. At a base level it’s exploring new places and learning new things, which you can actually do on your own doorstep. I think we are the worst at exploring our own cities and countries. So you want to have more travel adventures this year? Start by checking out what’s in your local area and slowly expand it. Make a list of all the adventures you can have within a day from your home and set about planning them.
2. Start a travel fund
Sorry, there is no magical way to have money for travel appear in your bank account. Except for the lottery and if someone can figure out how to guarantee that please email me stat. Instead, if you make small sacrifices every day then soon they will start to add up. Think about your purchases and what you REALLY need and what is just a personal preference or something you can do without for now. Remember you’ll be paid back later in a much richer way that has nothing to do with money.
3. Travel and flight deals for the win
Travel planning can all look rather overwhelming and expensive if you don’t know where to start, but it doesn’t have to be. You can check out my Travel Resources page for places to start looking for travel deals. Personally I love using Skyscanner and keeping an eye on Secret Flying. They post on Facebook about amazing deals all the time and I swear I could book a flight a day! I rarely ever search for flights or travel by going directly to an airline, instead I find deals elsewhere and check the airline to confirm. Travel with carry on luggage only instead of paying a fortune in luggage fees. With more local travel compare buses and trains and look at different routs or options. Don’t search hotels directly, use somewhere like Booking.com to look for deals first. It can be more effort but if you really want to travel you’ll realise that effort will yield the results you need to make it affordable.
4. Loyalty programs and points
Now this isn’t something I’ve ever done, mostly because I jump around too many countries to settle on something and a lot of the deals seem to be based in the United States. But if you start searching and you’re prepared to put in a bit of work then the benefits of travel reward programs can really pay off. Plus, it can be like another travel fund and be more motivation to get going!
5. Realise that you can work and travel
Travel doesn’t mean you need to have loads of time off, or 6 months to a year (or more!) off work to see what you want to. When I say that you can work and travel I’m not just talking about the digital nomad craze that’s taking over the world right now, but about all sorts of jobs that let you work and travel the world. You just have to realise that what you’re doing now at home, you can probably do somewhere else. Or you can find something new to do overseas. It doesn’t even have to be for long, but living abroad for any time gives you the opportunity to explore another place for deeply and to explore the places nearby too! Plus saving to move abroad can be faster or easier than for long term travel. I know it sounds like a scary prospect, but once you’ve done it I swear it will be one of the best things you’ve ever done.
6. Save money and travel cheaper by housesitting
If you are travelling long term, then seriously consider housesitting. Actually, you can even housesit in your own city to save money on rent! Generally housesitting goes along with looking after pets like cats or dogs, but not always. My parents have been housesitting for six months in the UK and it has saved them so much money in accommodation, one of the biggest costs of travelling, and so it means they can travel for much longer.
7. Change the way you travel
You may sense a theme in this list of realising that there is more than one way to travel. Well, it’s because it’s one of the biggest things you can do to get on the road. If you always travel in one way, for example taking a week long holiday to a beach somewhere, then it’s time to mix things up.
Travel more often by thinking about weekend getaways to places within driving distance, or short flights. Instead of taking a week in one place, split it into 4 days in one and 3 in another close by (I’m obsessed with seeing more than one place when I travel). Map out a road trip you can do in just a few days, or lump your holidays together and take a whole month to travel Europe, or up the west coast of the United States, or South East Asia, or whatever! You can balance the rest of the year with those local and weekend only trips. You get the idea…
8. Realise that it’s now or never
We all know that we only have a finite amount of time here, and yet we don’t act like it very often. The thing is, we can have all these hopes and dreams for the future and then something happens and it just doesn’t work out. Not everything can happen right away, but a sooner rather than later attitude is the key here. Sooner means actual plans, and so more possibility of it really happening.
Plus, the majority of the times that I have felt most alive have been on the road. Literally. There’s something about travelling that puts you in the moment and reminds you how amazing this life really is.
9. Realise that travel isn’t this big scary thing out to get you
I know it’s easy to say just travel and it’ll be fine when I’ve been doing it for years. To someone who has never really travelled a lot before it can be a daunting prospect! There are so many resources out there now about solo travel and making friends when you travel, or places to find people to travel with, so you don’t have to do it alone. Like the first point, start small and build up to you. Join Facebook groups and chat with other people who are travel first timers too. Or email me and let me know your concerns!
10. Just book it!
The hardest thing is pressing the “book” button, once you’ve done that you’ll find a way to make it work and it will all fall into place. Just step out of your comfort zone for literally a second, and you’re on your way! Then later on the travel bug will bite and you’ll be wishing you could book everything under the sun….
So there you have it, ways to get yourself on the road this year. If you have ideas about travel but you don’t know how to make them happen, get in touch. I’m always up for talking about travel.
Is 2017 your year to travel? Say yes.
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