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.
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.
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.
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!