How to Make Travel a Priority in 2017

Ah, New Year’s resolutions. Ready or not, it’s that time of year where the gym inevitably becomes slammed and all of your friends start buying fresh Nikes. Now I’ve never been one to really stick to my New Year’s resolutions, and it wasn’t until this year that I started thinking about why that is. Something I’ve been noticing more frequently when chatting with friends and family members about their hopes for 2017 is that everybody wants a little bit more of something in the New Year.

Some examples: “I’d like to work out more in the New Year.” or “I want to find more meaning in my work.” or “I want to travel more frequently.”

There’s just one problem with using this type of language when goal setting: It doesn’t hold us accountable.

Let’s talk about traveling more in 2017 because this is a topic of particular interest to me. It might feel impossible… maybe you’re a full-time student or perhaps you work a full-time job with limited PTO. I’m here to tell you how I plan to make travel happen in 2017 and hopefully help you figure out how to do the same.

Get Specific

So you want to travel more this year? The first item on your to-do list should be getting specific with yourself about where in the world you want to go and how many trips you can actually make happen. Start by making a list of places you’ve been daydreaming about, both domestic and abroad, and then circle two of those domestic locations and two of the abroad. What did you narrow it down to?

If you aren’t too particular about where you want to go, you can choose your destination based on how far your dollar will take you. The Bold Brunette provides some awesome recommendations for places you should check out in 2017 based on a number of factors. If you are willing to go just about anywhere, check out her article for some inspiration.

Be Realistic

Try not to get too carried away with your list. Unless you quit your full-time gig, it more than likely won’t be possible to visit New Zealand, Germany, Los Angeles and New York City all in one year. But if you map out your trips just right, you might be able to hit some other spots on your list by keeping your destinations near one other.

For example, if it’s really important to you to visit Germany this year, what is another European city you could fly into and check out for a few days en route? A similar mindset can be applied to domestic travel. I currently live in San Francisco, so it would be most realistic for me to plan my two domestic trips on the West Coast. Seattle is on my list of places I’d like to visit this year, so maybe I can check out Portland in the process. Setting up your trips this way will help you make the most of your time and allow you to see as much as possible.

Utilize Long Weekends

Since I work a full-time job far away from home and don’t have a ton of vacation time, it’s important to me to use those vacation days to catch up with family and friends. This can make it even more tricky to find time for travel, and that’s where those long weekends come in handy.

Perhaps your company is closed on President’s Day in February. Since you already have that Monday off, you might as well take Friday off too and utilize that long weekend for one of your domestic trips. In the scheme of things, that’s only one of your vacation days and it can check off 1 out of your 4 trips for the year. Not too shabby! Planning your domestic vacations around long holiday weekends can ensure the best use of your time.

Similarly, instead of heading back home to visit friends this year, trying planning a fun trip together instead! That way, you can catch up all while exploring a new place together.

Plan Ahead

Personally, I am Type A and a massive planner, but I also understand that not everyone is. Being spontaneous is great if you have an entire summer off with all the time in the world to make quick decisions. Seriously… if that’s you, take advantage of it while you can!

However, if you are like me and juggling a number of different responsibilities, I always find it best to plan ahead. Map out the best time of year to visit that destination abroad, and act fast. Planning ahead can save you a whole lot of time, stress and especially money.

On the topic of money, you can also spread your trips out throughout the year so your bank account isn’t hurting all in the same season. This will also help ensure you don’t fall behind in school or at work. It’s also good to keep in mind that traveling somewhere during off-season will help you see a major difference in price of airfare and accommodations.

Pack Your Bags

Yup… it really is as simple as that! Instead of just saying you want to travel more this year, actually make it happen by setting measurable goals for yourself.

Among other unrelated things to this post, my New Year’s Resolution is to take four trips (both domestic and abroad) in 2017. Making my goals quantitative makes them less abstract and gives me something to work towards.

Travel is so important to me because it is the one thing that has drastically changed my perspective on life and the people that inhabit our world. I’ve said this a hundred times before, but we can’t possibly expect to make the world a better place without attempting to understand where other people come from and what makes them the way that they are. Travel helps you understand that as humans, we are not so different after all… which I think is something I think is especially important for us to realize these days.

I hope you walk away from this post realizing just how simple it is to make travel happen if you really want it. Set some real resolutions for yourself, and the world will be your oyster!




  1. 01.13.2017 / 8:33 pm

    I love this post!! It’s so true – if you want to travel, you need to do what you have to do to MAKE IT HAPPEN. Thank you for mentioning my article 🙂 xo

    • Natalie
      01.18.2017 / 10:58 pm

      Thank you so much for reading Christina! Will always support The Bold Brunette 🙂

  2. 01.14.2017 / 12:07 pm

    There are so many great tips in here, Natalie! I think getting specific and planning ahead are so important and definitely something I want to work on this year! Thanks!

    xo, Taylor

    • Natalie
      01.18.2017 / 10:57 pm

      Thanks so much for reading, Taylor! I’m so glad it was helpful.

  3. 01.18.2017 / 9:43 am

    Totally agree with you! I think being realistic is most important for me, as I often spend lots of time dreaming about many places and then end up being disappointed that I can’t visit them all. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Natalie
      01.18.2017 / 10:59 pm

      I totally relate to that Fiona! I hope your 2017 is full of travel 🙂 xo

  4. 01.18.2017 / 10:43 am

    Really a very practical list of advice. Plan ahead, use long weekends and have a feasible number of destinations to visit. Being a full time software engineer myself, I know how important it is to be disciplined with travel 🙂

    • Natalie
      01.18.2017 / 11:00 pm

      Exactly! Thanks for reading. I am also a disciplined traveler and very much relate 🙂

  5. 01.18.2017 / 11:09 am

    I love this article! You are so right, it is easier to stick to your resolution if you are specific. Vague goals are easier to drop. All the trips you plan to make in 2017 sound wonderful! I also try to make the best out of weekends and even day trips.

    • Natalie
      01.18.2017 / 11:01 pm

      That’s exactly right, Anna! Thank you so much for reading 🙂 I hope you have an exciting 2017

  6. 01.18.2017 / 1:06 pm

    100% Same as my plans for this year! 2017 is going to be epic for both of us it seems =) x

    • Natalie
      01.18.2017 / 11:01 pm

      Yay! So exciting! 2017 is going to be a great year 🙂 Thanks for reading

  7. 01.18.2017 / 1:34 pm

    Hi Natalie! This is such a cute blog, could totally relate as I, too, now live in the Bay Area (moved from the Philippines, which is way over two hours from here, travel-wise). Love your tip about utilizing long weekends, this is really the way to go when we have to work full time, right? Maybe someday, we both would get paid to travel. Enjoy SF! 🙂

    • Natalie
      01.18.2017 / 11:03 pm

      Hi Iva! Thank you so much for your comment. I love meeting fellow Bay Area residents! Lucky for us, we have so many great day and weekends trips to take from San Francisco. Such an amazing place to live, isn’t it? XO

  8. Jessica
    01.18.2017 / 5:00 pm

    I need to do this. More often than not I have BIG dreams but not enough patience to plan out the details. I’m trying to set smaller goals this year so I will actually see them through!

    • Natalie
      01.18.2017 / 11:04 pm

      That’s so great, Jessica! I think setting smaller and more achievable goals will definitely help you make great progress in 2017 🙂 I hope your year is full of wonderful travels

  9. 01.19.2017 / 3:08 am

    Great New Years resolutions… Cheers to a 2017 filled with travels!

  10. 01.19.2017 / 4:48 am

    Great tips Natalie! This is a great approach to make things happen instead of sitting back and wishing they would. While planning ahead is important (I’m type A too!), I find it’s also helpful to grab opportunities as they come up – for example, Cathay Pacific had amazing deals to Chiang Mai so I’m headed there in a few weeks!

  11. 01.19.2017 / 5:42 am

    You’re right – travel is simple to make happen. It’s all a mindset!
    For me, it’s always a priority 😀

  12. 01.19.2017 / 9:54 am

    Love the power and simplicity of this post. Anything you want is worth making a plan to achieve it. Sounds like 2017 is going to be full of adventure. Happy Travels!

  13. 01.21.2017 / 8:48 pm

    I love this article – travel is something that’s on a lot of people’s goals for the new year, but it’s harder to plan for as quite often there are so many moving parts (flights/accommodation/costs etc). I always make a point every year to book all my holidays at the start of the year so that I know I’m using all my long weekends and planned annual leave (haha type A here too!)
    Thanks for sharing these tips 🙂

  14. I can’t believe I only just now discovered your blog, it’s lovely! Prioritizing travel is something that I think we can all do a bit more of, the experience and the memories made are so worth it. Your advice to try to combine destinations is spot on. I recently did a trip that totalled a week and got to see Paris, Prague and Budapest, the later two I had never been to before! Fab article overall xx

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