Admit it — how many times have you said any of the following:
"I want to travel, but I don't have the time."
"I want to travel, but I don't have the money."
"I want to travel, but I have kids."
"I want to travel, but I have too much going on right now."
Too often we let our own thoughts stop us from doing the things we love — including travel — but guess what? If you really want to travel, you can.
Yes, I deliberately made that sound simple and fully realize it's not that simple for everyone, but I do believe it's possible if you put your mind to it. I am not saying drop everything and go travel right this minute, but you can start to put a plan in place to make it happen at some point in the future.
Here are 10 steps you can take today to help you travel the world:
Step 1: Decide you want it
Just like losing weight or accomplishing any other goal, you have to fully commit to the idea of travel if you want it to happen. It's easy to say "I want to travel more" without making any changes in your life. It's another thing to say "I want to travel more" and decide you will do what it takes to accomplish your goal. So, before doing anything else, decide you really do want to travel and then go from there.
Step 2: Do your research
The most skilled travelers know that for any trip you take, you need to do your research, or at least get help from those who have done their research. The best deals are often not the first things you see, so you have to dig a little deeper to find the right information — when to travel, how to find great travel deals, which credit cards will help you travel more, how to successfully travel with children and so forth. The internet is your friend when it comes to travel research, so don't be afraid to search around but also use your common sense. Sometimes if something seems too good to be true, it likely is.
Step 3: Put a plan in place
I'm a planner, so I always advocate for putting a plan in place in order to get what you want. For example, let's say you want to travel to Paris to fulfill your dream of seeing the Eiffel Tower. Create a plan for how you will get there, including how much money you will need, how to save up that money, when you will be able to go and what else you need to get there. A plan will give you the focus to make your travel dreams come to fruition.
Step 4: Start a travel savings account
This is a crucial step. Travel requires money (unless you use airline miles — more on that later), so to take that trip you have been dreaming of, you need to start saving for it. Create a separate travel account and allot a certain amount to go directly into that account on a regular basis. If you don't trust yourself to leave that money alone, give sole ownership to a trusted friend or family member so that you are not tempted to withdraw funds for other purposes.
Step 5: Talk to people who travel
It's amazing the number of things you find out just by talking to people. Do you have a friend, family member or colleague who always seems to be traveling? Talk to that person and find out how they make travel happen. You may gain some useful insights into how to achieve your travel dreams. People who travel a lot often love to talk about their experiences, so by engaging them in conversation you're allowing them to talk about their travels (something most people love doing) while also hopefully learning a few tips in the process.
Step 6: Know the tips and tricks
I alluded to this earlier when I mentioned airline miles, but there are many "travel hacks" that can help you see the world for very little. Case in point: I recently flew from Florida to Mexico and paid almost nothing for my roundtrip airfare. I also will be heading to Asia later this year for a fraction of the normal cost. What's my secret? Airline miles and amazing flight deals. Sources like The Points Guy and other sites on my resources page provide the information you need to travel for less, or nothing at all. There are also several other tips and tricks that frequent flyers utilize to help them travel the world. It's all about research!
Step 7: Think outside the box
Are you looking to go to London or Paris in the summer? Unless you have those precious airline miles, be prepared to pay a lot. Here are some alternatives to consider: 1. Go to London or Paris outside of the high season when airfare is less expensive. 2. Instead of the main tourist destinations, try heading somewhere that's off the beaten path. Croatia is often touted as a great, less expensive alternative to Italy for those who like great food, wine and gorgeous views. 3. Fly into a less expensive city and then use one of Europe's discount airlines to get to your final destination, but do the math to ensure it's worth it. The main takeaway is to think creatively about how you travel.
Step 8: Be patient but persistent
Unfortunately, for most people, travel is not as simple as deciding you want to travel and the next day you're at the airport ready to take off. It takes patience and persistence to build up your travel funds and determine where you should travel, when you should go and what is best for your unique situation. Travel also requires making some sacrifices and being patient that those sacrifices will pay off at the end when you are finally taking that long-awaited trip.
Step 9: Book the trip!
Often times the hardest part about making travel happen is that deciding step: do you book the ticket or not? There are no refunds, so once you book it, that means it's real — and that's a good thing! You've committed to the idea of traveling, put a plan in place, patiently and persistently worked toward your travel goals and now you're in a position to actually book the trip. This is a big moment, one to celebrate because you did all the necessary steps to make it happen.
Step 10: Have no regrets
As the saying goes, "In the end we only regret the chances we didn't take." Do not regret travel and doing something for yourself (or for your family). Too often I hear of people who reflect back on their lives and said they wish they had taken more chances; they wish they had traveled earlier and more often instead of waiting until retirement or never traveling at all. They wish they had prioritized experiences over more superficial things that, in the end, did not fulfill them in the same way. Think about it — when was the last time you heard someone say, "I wish I had not traveled so much?"
Do you have any tips for traveling the world?