So you have been dreaming of travelling for weeks, months or perhaps even years and you have finally decided that this is it - 2019 is going to be the year you make your travel dreams come true.
Well that is fantastic news! and I am glad you stopped by, below I share with you 10 things you can do to make sure you make it happen
1. Set a clear and well defined goal
Setting a goal will give you a specific outcome to work towards, something which will keep you focused and on the right track. Like a lighthouse it will guide you in the right direction helping you adjust your trajectory if you get a little lost.
When setting your goal make sure it is SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Here is a simple example of a framework you can use to set your own goal:
By ‘X’ (date) I will have done ‘X’ (what) by ‘X’ (how).
i.e. By June I will have saved £3,000 by working at the local coffee shop on a Saturday.
Also make sure that your goal is positively framed to help you focus on the benefit of achieving what you are working towards.
Goals give you a sense of purpose and provide you with a point of reference when making decisions or taking action. Once you have written out your goal, every time you make a decision or take action pause and ask yourself “Does this help me achieve my goal of X?” if the answer is ‘Yes’ then fantastic! If the answer is ‘No’ then find a way to stop.
2. Create a Vision Board
Vision boards are a fantastic way to keep your Goal alive and at the forefront of your mind. You want to create a visual representation of your ideal outcome and make it inspiring, exciting and fun. Keep it somewhere visible, where you can see it everyday…ideally somewhere like your bedroom (so you can look at it when you first wake up and before you go to sleep) or in your office or kitchen, wherever works for you as long as you can see it every day. This will keep you focused and motivated to work towards your goal.
To create the vision board, you can go Old School and cut out pictures from newspapers or magazines and stick them on a large piece of cardboard (ideally A3 or bigger) or if you prefer you can create it on your computer and simply print it out!
3. Do your research
If you have no idea where you want to go or what you want to do, doing some research will help you get a better understanding of what your options are. If you know where you want to go, then you can jump straight to doing research about that particular location(s) to ensure you are knowledgeable about where you are going.
Research doesn’t have to be boring, you can watch Youtube videos, read blogs, follow other travellers on Instagram. You can also go into your local travel agent like STA travel or Trail Finders and pick up some free Brochures (also good source of material for your Vision Board cut outs). Speak to other travellers and ask them questions and if you don’t know any, join one of the many Facebook Groups and start conversations with people on there. In the main, people are super helpful and happy to answer your questions.
4. Set your Budget
Once you have decided where you want go and have done your research, it is time to set yourself a realistic budget. How much money you will need will depend on a combination of factors such as:
The Country you are travelling to
The length of time you want to stay
The type of travel you want to do
The activities you want to tick off your bucket list
Where you live in relation to the places you want to travel to
Your spending habits
If you are flexible about your destination and your main priority is to explore another country for as long as your funds will allow, then you could look at it the other way round - Find out how much money you can save in the time frame that you have and then decide where it would go the furthest. For example places in Asia will be substantially cheaper than the likes of New Zealand or Australia.
5. Create a plan
As the saying goes…fail to plan, plan to fail.
Now, granted that spontaneity and adventure go hand in hand with travelling but I still believe that it is always good to have a basic plan, even if you are the wildest of cats.
Having a plan makes things easier, cheaper and more likely to maximise the time you have. It is extremely helpful to have a plan for both the things you need to do in order to reach your goal of travelling (save money, visas, bookings etc) and a plan for when you actually arrive at your destination (accommodation, transport, activities etc.). Having a plan doesn’t mean you have to stick to it down to a T, but it gives you a blueprint from which you can then make educated and spontaneous decisions.
6. Start saving
Does this even need an explanation? Unless you are a very financially fortunate individual (in which case good for you, skip ahead to number 7!) the majority of you reading this (myself included) will need to save money to fund at least part of their travels. Create a savings plan that is attainable for your circumstances and start saving right now…whether the plan is to earn more or spend less or the combination of both (which really is the ideal option) the sooner you start the sooner you will reach your goal.
Even the smallest adjustments soon add up, I like the quote ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves’ I have found this to be so true (even in different currencies! :P)
7. Write a Bucket List
Writing a list of all the amazing things you want to experience on your travels is the perfect way to get super excited for what awaits you if you focus, commit and work hard to make your dream come true.
Be bold and brave and write your wildest travel aspirations down on paper. I never thought I would be brave enough to do a bungee jump and a skydive, yet somehow I ticked both of them off!
Even better, include a visual representation of the things on your list to your Vision Board. It will help you keep the focus on momentum, which is particularly handy when you are saying no to shopping or nights out to save your pennies!
8. Set some personal policies
You may find that compromises are necessary to achieve your goals and that is ok, it makes the outcome even more worth it. This is where the focus and commitment comes in, to ensure you follow through with your plan and take the actions you know you need to take to achieve you want to achieve. A good way to do this is to set some personal policies.
Personal policies are basically rules or guidelines you intentionally set yourself that will help you make choices that ultimately help you achieve your goals. For example, a personal policy might be ‘I don’t buy lunch for work, I pack my lunch instead’ or ‘I don’t buy new makeup unless I have completely ran out of what I currently use’ or ‘I don’t buy new books, I do a book exchange instead’. These are personal policies that will reduce your spending and ultimately help you save the money you need to travel, however, they can really be about anything i.e. ‘I only watch videos/read blogs which help me maintain a positive and healthy mindset’ or ‘I write a gratitude journal every day to keep me focused on the goof things in my life’.
Once you have these in place, they will trigger a more helpful response when being faced with a choice. For example if you walking around a shopping centre and you see a new eye palette that would set you back £30, you will think - I can’t buy this because it goes against my personal policy not buying new makeup unless I have completely ran out of what I have.
Give it a go, you will be pleasantly surprised at the difference it makes especially as you become more consistent at adhering to your policies.
9. Stay inspired
I am not going to lie or sugar coat this, at times it will be tough.
Like any other goal that you want to achieve, there will be times when you will doubt yourself, when you will wonder if you have what it takes to make it happen, when you will question if hibernating at home whilst everyone else is out will really be worth it. The answer is yes. Yes you can do this, yes you have what it takes, yes it will be worth it. If this is what you want, what you really really want then YES, YES, YES. All you have to do is just keep going.
What helps in those tough moments is staying inspired as much as you can. Look at your vision board, read your bucket list, read that book that makes you want to push the boundaries of your comfort zone, watch that film that makes you want to see the world, talk to that friend who also wants to live a wild adventure. Do whatever it takes to stay on the right track and you WILL get there.
10. Work on your mindset
This goes hand in hand with the previous point. I love the quote, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t you are right”, your mindset will really determine if you reach your goal or not, so you want to make sure you take care of it. Feed it good things, help it grow and in return it will give you what you need to take the actions you need to take to get to where you want to be. Your thoughts drive your behaviour and your behaviour drives your actions so make sure your thoughts are setting you up for success!