Whatever your big ideas, don’t discount them because they are too big, too expensive, or think that you’ll do that “some day”. The first thing you should do, and I mean before going to the web to look up deals, prices and flights is write down all your crazy ideas in a list. Chances are two or three (maybe more) don’t seem so crazy. Start with those and get them on a calendar. I’m not talking about that monthly wall calendar with the cute kittens, I mean looking long term. If you don’t have a yearly planner for this year and possibly next, just make one on a blank sheet of paper. Use one sheet per year for the next one to three years, and start putting those big trips on the calendar. Put the big, complicated, expensive trips a year or more in the future and maybe some smaller, shorter trips this year.
Now you have yourself a plan and something to work toward. You might even have a commitment for yourself. This tends to be one of my big problems is making a decision about where to go. I have so many places I want to travel that I need to just pick one and throw it on a calendar, and that gives me something to shoot for.
Now that you know when you are going you can start researching prices for the big trip. This way, if you are strapped for cash you can start a savings plan. By finding little ways to save on other expenses you can put away some money each week toward your travel goal. Put your goal up where you can see it every day to remind you of your travel priorities. When you get within six to 8 months you should start getting serious about researching the flights and the accommodations. You can figure out the details after you get those two things booked. Don’t obsess about every little detail, just getting there and getting something acceptable within your budget. You don’t have to make sure the hotel is the exact perfect fit – there is no such thing, and stop looking at those negative online reviews. Don’t wait too long on that flight either. Under six months and it probably isn’t going to change very much. Once you know you are getting there and have a place to sleep, relax. You can get a travel guide, or look up some highlights online for all the sights, restaurants and activities. Keep your plans loose, and you can get tips from the locals or other travelers while you are there.
Preparation for a trip just takes small steps. Small steps are easy to follow if you have them listed out. Laying it out on a calendar with a yearly view can really pump you up about making your travel dreams become a reality, and it can definitely help you plan how much to save and help you know exactly when you should start booking things.
Photo Credit: Library and Archives Canada