The first step to travelling more is to just book the ticket and then figure it all out after. I mean, once you buy a ticket there’s really no going back, so you find a way to afford accommodation and money to spend when you get to your destination.
Okay, that’s a joke. A joke that may have actually worked for me on more than one occasion but really not a SMART decision.
The vast majority of people I know want to travel more. They say it frequently and they stare longingly at vacation pictures on social media but then write off travel as something they just can’t afford. And in some cases, they’re right. Travel can be expensive and for people with student loans, car loans, mortgages, rent etc. it’s just not something they can afford at the moment.
There are some of us though, who want to travel more and can probably afford it but still write it off as something that may just be too expensive, too hard to plan, too much to think about etc. If that sounds like you, then read on!
The real first step to travelling more is to be SMART. If you have a marketing background then you’ll be very familiar with the SMART acronym. I use some variation of this acronym for almost all aspects of my life so naturally I’ve created one to help you figure out how to travel more.
Step 1: Sacrifice
The first thing you need to do is figure out how much the trip is going to cost. This will include the costs for tickets, accommodation, spending money and emergency money. After you create a trip budget, you’ll need to figure out how much you can save monthly. It’s hardly likely that you’re going to be able to continue spending money the way you do now if you’d like to travel.Unless money isn’t an issue for you, something is going to have to give if you want to travel more.
You don’t have to crawl into a hole for six months but you do have to make a conscious decision to change your spending habits in order to save for the trip. If you’re the type of person who already keeps a monthly budget then this is easy. You can manually shift your spending around to accommodate your trip savings. If you don’t, then you should create a budget – doing so will make you less likely to spend your trip savings on other things. A good tip is to separate your trip savings from your monthly spending money as soon as you get paid and make it hard to retrieve. If you’re USA based, apps like Digit are great to help you save!
Saving for the trip will mean not shopping as much, going out less, spending less money on food or skipping your monthly spa day. It’s not going to be enjoyable – sacrifice isn’t ever really pleasant, but trust that it’ll be all worth it providing that the trip you’re saving for is something you really want to do.
And that leads me into Step 2…
Step 2: Manifest it
Okay so don’t roll your eyes and get ready to close the post. I truly believe in being an active participant in the manifestation of your dreams. If travelling more is a goal or a dream of yours then you have to actively make decisions that’ll make it a reality. If you’re not serious about it, then sacrificing won’t seem like it’s worth it. This will inevitably delay your trip.
One simple way to start manifesting your travel dream/goal is to decide on the place you want to go. Stop saying “oh I want to travel the Caribbean” or “I want to get to Europe one day”. Pick St Lucia or France and then work toward getting there. Be specific, it helps to make the trip more of a reality than something you want to do maybe…someday.
After this, challenge yourself to do little things weekly to make it happen. If you’re extra you can even go to town on a vision board (but a cheap one cause remember we’re saving to travel and trust me, every cent counts).
Step 3: make sure it’s Affordable
Some places are crazy expensive and ticket searches are downright scary enough to have you writing off travel. Don’t let this stop you from quelling that travel bug though, there are almost always more affordable destinations which you’ll enjoy.
Yes you want to go to Bali but maybe right now while you’re paying off your car loan it isn’t affordable. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t travel at all, it maybe just means you should look for other destinations which are affordable.Personally I haven’t made it to Asia, Africa or Europe yet because they’re not affordable destinations for me right now; saving for them will take some time.
The thing is, almost everywhere is affordable if you have the patience and strength to sacrifice for long periods of time to save to get there. If you don’t, then it’s a good idea to pick an affordable destination. Maybe start with somewhere you can get to after saving for three or six months.
Side note-ish: Travel bloggers, influencers and the travel industry generally have been marketing travelling as this luxurious event. You have to purchase a whole new wardrobe of floral, flowy dresses, a cute sun hat or two and you better stock up on those bikinis before you board that plane. It can make you feel like if you don’t have the cute clothes, money for an all inclusive where you can pose by the pool, or to stand outside a fancy hotel’s balcony sipping a piña colada, then you’re not travelling.
If I thought like this I wouldn’t go a place. All of those costs make trips much more expensive than they need to be. Now don’t get me wrong, if travel for you is about being pampered and posing for cute pictures for the gram then cool but if you’re about that #budgettravel life then pack the clothes in your closet (no one knows you in St Maarten anyway), find a cheap, clean Airbnb and go live your best life in Jamaica.
Step 4: be Realistic
This is where you get real with yourself and think about if all the sacrifice and manifesting is sensible and practical. Ask yourself if this year is the best time for you to travel. Adulting sucks, but at the end of the day travelling is very much a want, not a need. Ensure your affairs are in order before you start booking tickets wildly.
Step 5: be Time Bound
Decide on a month – maybe not dates as you should keep these flexible if you can to ensure you get the cheapest tickets possible. But decide on a month and then hold yourself accountable to what you say you’re going to do.
This will also help with your budgeting and help you become more serious about the trip. Think “I want to go to Grenada in October” versus “I want to travel somewhere around the Caribbean at some point this year”. It makes a difference 😉 After you decide on the month, check out the tickets and then decide when you’re going to book, book the ticket when you say you’re going to (bar emergencies). In a way booking the ticket really does tie you into the trip and it gives you that extra bit of excitement to keep sacrificing. If you’re comfortable doing a payment plan for airfare, you can check out Airfordable.
Travel isn’t cheap, but there are ways to try to make it as affordable as possible. Little things like creating a budget and being realistic make a great difference. If travel is something you’re really serious about, be SMART with your planning and start small if money is tight.
If you’d like to travel more this year or even next year and want some help with budgeting, brainstorming or planning your trip, I can help with that. It’s ridiculously affordable because #budgettravel! I got you, just shoot me an email.