I know, I know, this sounds way easier than it is in real life, right? We all lead busy lives, with deadlines and meetings at work, after school activities and appointments in our home lives, and lets not forget about taking time out for ourselves and scheduling those pesky appointments for visits to the doctors office.
Our daily responsibilities can feel like the never ending churn of the rat race that grinds us down each day. But think about traveling as taking time out for yourself, and your family. It’s a time when we can escape the routine of everyday life, and appreciate the world we live in with those we love. Traveling can make us well adjusted people, by giving us a necessary break to recharge and enjoy the things that mean the most to us. I’m a huge advocate of making time in your life to travel. Here’s a few tips I learned along the way:
1. Create space in your life for travel
The same way that we make time for appointments in our lives is the same way we can create space for travel. Organize your time for the year in a calendar, account for appointments, year end deadlines, school rehearsals…everything you can think of. Now that you have your dates organized. carve out a few days or a week for a vacations, even if you don’t have a location in mind. By doing this and sticking to the time frame, you’ll be forced to say ‘no’ to other unnecessary requests for your time. By doing this, we essentially declutter the time in our lives, and make travel a priority along with the other things that matter in our lives.
2. Set a goal
Now that you have made space in your life for travel, set a goal for your adventure. Maybe you want to visit an amusement park or perhaps you would like to get in a hike. Or maybe it’s just enjoying the scenery of a beautiful location while sipping a tasty adult beverage (which is how we usually like to travel)!
3. Budget your time off
If you are like me, you get a limited amount of time per year to take vacations, and we all want to use our time wisely. Many of us have dreamed about quitting it all to travel the world, but realty of adult life sets in and you realize you can’t leave your house empty for too long, and it’s too hard to take your kids out of school just to travel full time.
Once you have created space to travel in your life, now it’s time to look at the practical reality of how many vacation days can you take consecutively to travel. If you don’t have the vacation days, ask yourself, if you willing to try and work remotely or do you want to take any unpaid vacation days? Or, perhaps you would not like to use any time off and spring for a road trip instead (post plug for my experience with 5 Winter Road Trips from Vancouver)! I don’t have the ability to work remotely, so I try to schedule my vacations around holidays so I can maximize my time off, while limiting my vacation days used.
4. Budget your money
Make sure you budget your vacation so you have an idea of how much you can spend in advance, and most importantly, be sure to stick to the budget! This will help plan out how much you want to spend, and how much you need to save in order to get there.
I start by listing out the big ticket items, the flight, or cruise, and any hotel costs. These are the necessary, baseline costs that I will need to account for in order to go on my trip. Then I list the incidentals, food costs (if you are not going on an all inclusive), local transportation, and any museums, amusement parks, or shopping. I can eliminate anything from the incidentals list to make a tighter budget if needed, but I still budget about 20% more than needed, in case of emergency, or if I would like to make a spontaneous purchase, (although I try to steer away from unnecessary purchases whenever possible).
During this process I also like to follow price fluctuations in airline and hotel prices, to see if I can peg down a reasonable price. This would give me more leeway in my incidentals budget, because I love springing for nice dinners just as much as the next person 🙂
5. Eliminate excess and forgo unnecessary expenditures
Now that we have made a goal, made a vacation time budget as well as a monetary budget, we can make a plan of how we can save to reach our travel goals, and that’s by cutting back on some expenditures, or bringing in more money.
Working a 9-5 desk job in an area that doesn’t allow Uber, I don’t really have convenience for another job, but I can cut back on that $5 coffee a day habit. Start keeping track of what you consume everyday, and separating it out into what you actually need in your life, compared with something you want. You can learn to eliminate the things you want, and that can amount to a savings of $50 or $100 or even $500 a week. At the end of one year, I looked back on my Amazon purchases and realized my purchases averaged out to about 1 delivery, every 2 weeks. I was appalled at my excess, asking myself, “..was this really necessary?” Scouring the internet I became fans of the minimalist lifestyle, finding advice and tips to eliminate over consumption in my life. I realized I could limit my makeup purchases if I wasn’t meeting with clients, and use YouTube videos for yoga, to eliminate those studio purchases.
When you travel, hitting the road with only a carry on stuffed with essentials, you have already decided on the one bag of stuff that you need in your life. Traveling makes you realize how little you really need in your life, leaving more time and money to experience the wonders of the world with those you love.
What are some of the ways you like to budget for travel? Feel free to share with me!
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