Do you wish you traveled more?
Most people do. It can hard sometimes to take the trips we want to, though. The biggest obstacle to vacationing is often financing, but sometimes fear or lack of companionship play a role. Is it really worth the bother, anyway? You might not see what the big deal is, ultimately: why do you have to take vacations?
Here are four ways to take more vacations.
Whip Your Finances Into Shape
The biggest deterrent from traveling, for most people, is the state of their bank account. It might seem weird to organize your finances so you can go on vacation, but good results will follow. (And your vacation fund won’t be the only thing that benefits.)
- Ask where you can cut back. You might feel broke, but are you really? If you live in a bigger house or apartment than you need to, if you buy too much new and not enough used, or if you eat out rather than packing your lunch, or buy fancy espresso drinks every day, you’re probably spending more than you need to.
- Make some investments. Most investments take a few years to generate income, but they’re a great way to get your finances in shape. You can research the best gold stocks or the best marijuana penny stocks to get started. In a few years, your stock market investments could be funding your vacations, so why wait to get started?
- Set aside a vacation fund. Who says you can’t afford great vacations? As long as you have a little surplus every month, you can have a vacation fund in your budget system. Put aside even $50 a week (or a month), and it will add up.
Plan Trips Worth Saving For
Most of us have at least a few countries and exotic destinations on our bucket list. You might be longing to walk the streets of India, hike in Southern China, or relax on a tropical beach. The only problem is trips like this cost money, and sometimes it can feel like you’ll never have enough saved.
Instead of saving for “someday” trips, make concrete plans.
- Set a target date. Set a timeline goal. Maybe in one year you want to be able to take a trip to Paris. Having a set day will allow you to construct a savings plan and a logistics planning timeline (renewing your passport, making reservations, setting an itinerary, etc.).
- Pick the trip length. When you know how long it will take to see your destinations, travel the continent, or hit all your bucket list spots, you have a financial plan. A two-week trip is a lot costlier than a five-day one. You might find that the trip is cheaper than you thought.
- Pick the activities. When you have specific things to be excited about, you put more motivation into your savings plan. Once you know that you’ll take Maui helicopter tours on your vacation to Hawaii, you’ll have a great incentive to save.
- Pick the accommodations. If you’re willing to try hostels, Airbnbs, or homestays, you can stay overnight, anywhere in the world, for a lot less. Once you have a plan: I can stay here, for X amount of money, you’ll know exactly what kind of budget you’re working towards.
Trips can be expensive, but friends aren’t. When you visit a friend in New York City, you likely won’t get the tourist view of the city. Instead, you’ll get the inside scoop. Visiting friends can be a great way to travel without spending as much money.
- Talk to friends who are overseas. Do you have any close friends who are living a few continents away? Maybe you made connections when you studied abroad. Maybe you have a friend who’s working with the Peace Corps or an internet buddy you’d love to meet. Ask them about staying at their place.
- Talk to family. You probably have relatives all over the country, and some of them might be willing to put you up. Do you have an aunt and uncle in California? A grandparent in Texas? A cousin in Montana? Ask if you could come stay with them. They’d probably say yes.
- Organize a college reunion. Want to see everyone you hung out with during college? Make the person in the middle host and get everyone together. Either that, or rent a cabin and split the difference. The more the merrier, and the more the cheaper.
Make Your Own Fun
You don’t have to go far for every vacation. Some vacations are worth taking right where you live, and you can make a great day out of your own backyard.
- Tour your city. You probably live within driving distance of a city or in the city itself. Instead of ignoring the nearby museums, statues, parks, and other tourist attractions, spend a day touring your city like a newcomer. You might find things you never knew existed once you walk around with the fresh eyes of a tourist.
- Camp in the backyard. If you live in the city, this won’t be as satisfying, but you probably have at least one friend who will camp in the backyard with you. Get a tent and set up in the backyard. Build a fire, tell stories, and roast smores. A backyard is free, so why not camp there once this summer?
- Rent a water slide. Who said water slide rentals had to just be for kids? Invite a bunch of your college friends over for the weekend, eat out, play games, water slide, and make an experience out of a few days at home.
The more you travel, the more experiences you’ll be able to share with others, and the more positive emotions you might find yourself experiencing well after you return home. Keep traveling, and keep doing what you need to do to keep the spark of adventure alive.