Most people have great intentions of traveling more. They are wanderlust spirits with a strong desire to explore this beautiful world. And yet… they don’t. For one reason or another, their aspirations to travel don’t materialize.
I believe the majority is missing an important step: not having a plan of action. This is why most people still haven’t experienced that perfect cappuccino from the charming cafe in Italy, or soared across the treetops during a canopy adventure in Costa Rica. Simply put, they need a plan of action.
Today, I share some crucial steps that will help you build a plan of action and make travel a priority in your life. Not only do I love helping people have travel experiences, but I also love inspiring people to travel more. Let’s look at three ways you can turn your travel aspirations into a reality.
Step One: Make it a priority
I need you to make a decision on two things right away: Where will you go? and When will you go there? This isn’t about all the places on your bucket list (believe me, I know how long that list can get). Instead, it’s about deciding on the next place. I often see people develop paralysis by analysis, and I get it. The world has So. Many. Amazing. Places. But picking one destination that you’re dying to go to next makes it real in our heads and in our hearts.
Next, decide when you will go. Often, this is decided for you—especially when you are an entrepreneur. If you run your own business, you’re probably not going to schedule a major vacation during your busy season. But what I need you to do is give yourself permission to have a real vacation at some point. What time of year are less busy? Go with that.
Once you decide on both a place and a time, block it out. This is time you’ve given to yourself to do something that is good for your soul. Don’t wait to see if something else might come up, or give yourself the opportunity to back out. Put it on your calendar and start to make it a reality.
Step Two: Understand your travel fund
Part of making travel a reality is to make a budget. Does your travel fund need to be built? Or do you already have the funds and you just need to put it aside for travel? Everyone can afford to build a plan of action that suits both their budget and their lifestyle.
Ask yourself a few questions about your travel style and preferred destination. How much you will need to save (or set aside) depends on many factors.The trick is to know your preferred travel style, what you can realistically budget for the trip, and then set aside money each month to reach that budget goal.
Some questions you can ask yourself to learn your travel style are:
· Do you need at least a 4 star hotel with the top amenities and breakfast in bed? Or do you prefer finding an AirBnB where you cook your own breakfast and make your own bed?
· Are you the type of traveler that would like a VIP tour of the Sistine Chapel before it opens to the public? Or are you happy to head out there on your own without a tour guide (and the lines won’t bother you)?
· Do you prefer being picked up at the airport and delivered to your hotel, or can you manage the city’s public transportation on your own?
These types of questions will help you understand your budget and allow you to save for exactly the style of travel that suits you best.
No matter what your budget and travel style are, you should allow the occasional splurge. Your budget should not feel like a ball and chain around your ankle and make you miss out on experiences special to that destination. It’s better to decide to spend a little more time saving for your trip than to skimp on experiences.
Step Three: Find someone to help you make it come to life
The next action is to find someone who will help your dream become a reality. For some, that means hiring a travel professional. A travel professional will come alongside you, understand your dream vacation, and then create a tailor-made plan. These itineraries are always based on your interests and desires. Because one of the most challenging aspects of traveling is all the research it requires, a travel professional is perfect for someone who is short on time and needs help knowing what day trips to take, where to eat, and where to get a great night’s sleep.
However, not everyone wants a travel professional. For some people, exploring, getting lost, or stumbling on that perfect café by accident is the perfect travel experience. These people often feel comfortable in a new setting with only a metro map and a backpack to sustain them. For these people, travel blogs and travel writers might be their “someone” to help make their travel dreams come true. There is a myriad of websites for people to explore and get inspired by. This type of travel style is perfect for people who feel they have time to devote to planning hotels, transit, and places to eat.
Whether you’re the type who wants a travel professional’s expertise, or you’re the type who wants to travel DIY style, I hope you feel more confident in creating a plan of action. There are so many places to explore; so many amazing cafes to sit at and sip an afternoon coffee; and so many perfect beaches for you to spread your towel on.
Part of the reason I’m a travel professional is because I believe that traveling is not an option. It’s a priority for living life to its fullest and for feeding your soul. I hope that you start drafting an action plan, today, to make your travel dreams come to life. If you do, I know that you will turn your best intentions into the most amazing experiences of your life.
Photos courtesy of Camille Stallings.