We all have them. Those glittering dreams of what we wish to achieve one day. Crafts we would like to master. Literary classics begging to be read. That adorable lakeside cottage which we’re totally going to build. And not least our travel goals: a bucket list of the marvelous places around the globe that we’re dreaming to visit – that one perfect day when the puzzle of life falls into place.
When the time is right. When the kids are older. When your wallet is full. When you’ve got spare holiday. In other words: when pigs fly.
In order to achieve your travel goals, the first thing to realize is: there’s no such thing as a right moment. Life is full of wonderful but distracting roadblocks that keep your eyes on day-to-day business. As with all other achievements, if you want your travel dreams to come true, you need to take action, define your goals and plan to make them happen.
It’s all about priorities
Traveling is movement. Moving yourself from one point to another – investigating new corners of the world – is a delightfully simple and efficient way of changing perspective, and getting a broader and more inspired view of this thing we call life.
In a long-term perspective, that’s a significant opportunity that deserves priority, right? OK. Hold on to that thought. That’s step number one: making traveling a real priority. Something you identify with and plan for.
What’s holding you back?
Now that you’ve gotten your priorities straight, it’s much easier to tackle the challenges you will face along the way. So, what’s holding you back?
Money? Well, how much do you need and by when? Not entirely sure? Well, then that’s your first challenge. Figuring out exactly what you want is imperative, only then can you start budgeting for it.
You’ve got time struggles? Join the club. So many great adventures to be had, so little time. This is where your priorities kick in. You’re determined, and from there it’s surprisingly simple. If you want more time for traveling, you need to plan ahead. It’s much easier organizing your holidays when your schedule is still open and things can be swapped around.
Got kids? Splendid! Traveling is an outstanding education and bonding experience. Check out these 25 tips for traveling with children. Have no one to travel with? Solo travel is a thing – and an awesome one, too. See our 20 essential tips for solo travelers.
In short, get cracking with that research and start transforming your challenges into tasks.
Where do you want to go?
Back to your bucket list. It’s endless. The roads you will tread! You still need somewhere to start, though. It’s impossible to take action on vague dreams, so in order to achieve your goals, you need to narrow your options.
Make a list of your dream locations, and allow yourself to drool over it for a while. Now it’s time to get real. Choose a place on your bucket list – or more than one, but keep it realistic – and commit to it. By doing so, you no longer have an endless list of places fighting for your attention, and you’re able to do some actual planning.
Compare destinations and prices by using momondo’s Anywhere Search. Type your preferred arrival destination – city, country, region, continent – into the search box, and you’re presented with a list of options and approximate prices. Choose map view for a geographical overview.
If you’re looking to travel off the beaten path, check out the best alternative summer vacation destinations for 2018.
How to save money for travel
Alright. Now it’s getting serious. Someone needs to fund this, and let’s face it – it will likely be you. However, it doesn’t have to be half the slog you may think it is. Taking actual steps towards achieving your goals is tremendously uplifting.
Firstly, get an idea of your trip’s overall costs. Include prices for flights and accommodation, transportation and food. Also, look up the local cost of living to calculate pocket money.
Once you’ve got your number, start balancing. Compare your income vs. expenses, and see how everything stacks up. Set a fixed spending budget, and figure out how much you’re realistically able to set aside bi-weekly or monthly. Set up a dedicated travel fund where you collect your savings.
Make sure to revisit your budget regularly to see if anything needs adjusting.
Maximize your budget
Once you’ve cut back on excess spending, see if you’ve got additional income options. Perhaps you have some stuff you could sell?
When planning your trip, look for free activities. Book a room with kitchenette or kitchen access, and make an adventure out of local grocery shopping (it’s fun!). Look for tourist passes for cheaper transportation, and bring snacks and drinks when sightseeing. Steering free of tourist traps is another obvious win.
As for flight tickets, note that it’s usually cheaper to fly mid-week, and even cheaper if it’s in the evening. See all our insider tricks on how to find the cheapest flights, and consider picking one of the best budget destinations.
How to make time for traveling
You’ve got your dream location. You’ve compiled a list of must-sees longer than the Great Wall of China. You’ve swiftly calculated the expenses and the time needed. And then you call it off. Next year … maybe then it’s more feasible.
Classic mistake. Trips neither have to be long, nor expensive to offer great experiences. Plan ahead and schedule long weekends. That’s a great way of starting your world explorations, and even just three days somewhere different can bring new perspectives. Also, once you’re there, remember that you don’t have to see it all. Pick just a couple of sights, and then leave your schedule open to the unexpected. This way you’ll have much better time to fully appreciate what comes along.
It’s all in our vacation expectations, and how we perceive our time. If you only count your weekends, you have 104 days off every year. Add just a couple of weeks of personal leave, and you’re well above 3 months of potential travel days a year. That’s without counting public holidays. You’ve got time.
Get more bang for your buck
You’ve got the money, you’ve got the time. Now follow in the footsteps of any frequent traveler and spend it wisely. Keep on the lookout for deals and bargains – it’s key to maximizing your travel opportunities.
Once you’ve made a flight search on momondo, set up a personal Price Alert. It’s nice and simple – you sign up for your preferred route, and we’ll ping you as soon as the price changes significantly.
Obsessed? Well, that’s perfect!
To keep your motivation fueled, you’ll want to take your travel obsession to new levels.
Immerse yourself in your dream destination. Get insider stories from others who’ve already been. Watch movies about it. Browse travel guides and articles, and list the places you’d like to see. More than anything, read novels that paint a picture of local history and what it’s like to be there. It’s the perfect way to get beneath the surface.
Apart from keeping you motivated, all your research will come in handy when you finally arrive.
Join forces to stay on track
To stay on track, consider finding yourself a travel buddy. Someone who shares your interests and will hold you accountable for your progress. Set short-term tasks for each other, and check in once a week to make sure you’re on track.
If you’re a lone wolf, your strategy is more or less the same. Set up continuous short-term goals and fixed deadlines, and keep them. If you tackle one step at a time, you’ll be amazed how easy it is.