Happy New Year, travelers! It’s that time of year when we set our New Year's resolutions and create the goals we want to achieve in 2018 and beyond (hopefully!). It may be to eat healthy (ish), be more active, volunteer more often or, for the travel-minded, see more places.
For so many people, they don’t know where to start when it comes to actually planning and taking that bucket list trip.
Usually when I’m speaking with others about their travel goals, there’s at least one big trip that’s mentioned – that bucket list trip that the person would absolutely LOVE to do one day, like going on an African safari or staying in a ryokan in Japan or trekking across a mountain range somewhere. If you’re a travel addict like me, you likely have a few (dozen) of these trips in mind. But, for so many people, they don’t know where to start when it comes to actually planning and taking that bucket list trip.
In my experience, I’ve found there are a few common barriers that prevent us from achieving these travel goals. I’m going through each to share ways to overcome each barrier and take that bucket list trip.
In no particular order:
Barrier #1: Cost
This is a big one for many people – they want to take that big bucket list trip, but the cost is way too much. I get it. Airfare can be super expensive. Then you tack on accommodations, meals, tours and it can really add up. I've written about this in the past, but I believe the best ways to minimize the cost are to plan ahead (way ahead if needed), be flexible about the time of year you go, look out for travel deals on airfare and hotels (check my resources for more) and – most importantly, in my opinion – use credit cards to earn points (but make sure to pay those credit card bills)! Those points are a game changer when it comes to covering the cost of airfare and hotels.
Barrier #2: Time (Or Lack Of)
We are busy people – life is busy, work is busy and our families are busy with many obligations. So, time is limited. Or, you may be in a job that offers very limited vacation days, meaning vacation time is limited. If it's the former and your life just has too much going on right now, it helps to plan in advance (there's that planning thing again), put some dates on the calendar and know that those dates are untouchable. If you don't plan, it's easy to let those travel dreams get swallowed up by other demands. In terms of vacation time, I recently came across this amazing article that details how to stretch those limited vacation days.
Barrier #3: Fear
After celebrating my 30th birthday in Mexico by myself, my solo birthday adventure was published on Yahoo, after which I received a ton of emails from folks who had done something similar as well as from people who wanted to do a trip like I did but they were afraid. It was and continues to be a question I'm asked often – aren't I afraid to travel to X place or to travel by myself? In all honesty: yes, sometimes I am. Fear is a normal emotion to have, but I've learned to know when to combat that fear in order to do something I really want to do. It doesn't mean I'm careless or go to places without caution. In fact, it's the opposite. I do a ton of research and talk to people because it helps me to be less afraid. I truly believe knowledge is power, so talk to people who've been where you want to go and read up on that destination.
Barrier #4: No One to Travel With
Similar to the above, another topic that I'm frequently asked about is solo travel, not from the perspective of being afraid but mostly because people like companionship and don't think a trip will be as much fun if they go by themselves. My answer to this is to dip your toe in the water before you dive in. That's my personal approach. For others, they may decide to just book a huge trip by themselves and off they go, but I don't believe solo travel is for everyone. Take a small trip to find out if it's something you like doing. If so, then go for it and do that bucket list trip by yourself, other people be damned.
Barrier #5: Other Priorities
There are sooo many other priorities in life that prevent us from taking a bucket list trip, whether that's family obligations, illness, work demands or something else. You will never hear me say that travel should come first and foremost because that's just not true. But what I will say is that if you really want to do a bucket list trip, then be honest about your situation and look at how you can prioritize it at some point in your life. It may not be now; it may have to be later, but be proactive about it and actually plan for it. This will help you make the commitment and then adjust as needed depending on what else is happening in your life.
Is there anything else preventing you from taking your bucket list trip? Where do you want to go in 2018? Let me know!