Many of us have new year’s resolutions with the best intention, but unfortunately they never seem to last, not even for a week! For those of you who have made a new year’s resolution to travel more, hopefully these tips will help you keep your resolution.
When it comes to planning a trip, it can seem all a bit too much whether it is the large amounts of research, saving as much money as you can, or changing your lifestyle slightly to help reach your goal. Hopefully, if you follow the below steps, you will be well on your way to boarding a flight to your dream destination!
Now, where to start… This can often be the hardest part, but once you have the first two steps done, the rest will fall into place!
Planning for your trip
- Where do you want to go? Yep, something that doesn’t sound like it would be difficult to pick, but surprisingly can be! Do you have a destination in mind that you’ve always wanted to visit? Or, do you have absolutely no idea where to start? If so, perhaps you should check out Traveller’s suggestions on where to visit in 2017.
When do you want to go? Now, once you have the hardest decision made… the second hardest decision needs to be made. You need to pick a date for your upcoming holiday. Have a look at your destination, consider the best time of year to visit the destination. For example, what is it you want to see and do there, also consider the average weather and rainfall forecast for the period. Generally once you have done the above, it will be exactly the same time everyone else would like to travel to the destination, so if possible, it may be worth checking your options and picking a few dates just outside of the peak period, this is where you can save yourself a bit of money and avoid the crowds!You also need to make sure it doesn’t clash with any of your exiting commitments! A yearly wall planner is the best way to prevent double ups – click here for some tips on how to make the most of your available time.
- Book your leave. Once you’ve picked your destination, planned your dates – it is time to book your annual leave at work. The earlier you do this, the better off you’ll be, your supervisor is unlikely to know of colleagues requesting leave at the same period and won’t know of any impending deadlines that may come up closer to the date.
- Tell your family and friends. Once you’ve made the decision to go on a holiday, let everyone know – this way you will become accountable for your decision to go on a holiday and be less likely to back out! You could even ask if anyone is interested in joining you – you might end up with a travel buddy!
- Ask for advice. Since you’re already telling everyone on social media, you may as well ask for advice from those who have travelled to your destination before. They could help give you information on what tour company to use or what hotel to stay at (or what to avoid!).
Funding your trip
- Create a budget. It is so easy to look at flights and hotels and keep looking, checking and looking again, only to find out that the price you looked at 3 weeks ago, has gone up so much and you should have booked them when you saw them! So, spend a couple of days researching your flight availability, costs, accommodation, tour prices and meals to get an estimate of how much your trip will cost. No doubt, you will end up spending more than this, so perhaps add a 15% buffer on top of that price for any little surprises.
- Setting up a travel fund. If you have trouble saving for specific things, most banks will allow you to open up a sub account, which you could call ‘My Holiday’ and set up automatic transfers from your bank account to your travel fund. To work out how much you need to transfer in to your travel fund, you just need to work out the total budget, divided by the number of pay periods between now and when you expect to make the payments. This should significantly reduce the impact on your lifestyle as the amounts you put away will be much smaller than making lump sum and unexpected payments when the time comes.
- Monitor your travel fund. Keep checking to make sure your transfers are going through ok and everything looks in order.
Are you having trouble meeting your savings goal?
- Make a sacrifice: If you don’t think you can meet your goal set out above, then you might need to make some sacrifices in your day to day life. For example, take a look at what you spend each week. Do you spend excess amounts on non-essential things, such as coffee, alcohol, cigarettes etc? If so, work out how much you typically spend each week and perhaps put that money into your travel fund instead. It will pay off in the end!
- Remember why you made your resolution: No one makes resolutions just for the fun of it. You made your resolution to travel more because there is something in your life that either needs to change or you want to change, you want to experience new places, or meet new people. If you focus on that reason, you are more likely to stick with your resolution and make any sacrifices that much easier.
- Make some upfront payments: If you’ve managed to save a bit of cash towards your holiday already, why not pay for your flights in full (this is also a good thing in terms of your ticket price not increasing!) or even pay for your accommodation up front as well. Not only will you secure the price on the day, but you will be less likely to back out of your holiday!
- Frequent Flyer Credit Card: If you’re someone who is pretty good with money, and doesn’t get carried away, then you might benefit from taking out a frequent flyer credit card. Quite often, there are specials with banks to sign up to a credit card and get up to 75,000 frequent flyer points if you spend a certain amount in a specific time frame. This could help towards paying for your flights. I’m not a certified advisor, however in my opinion, this option is only suitable for those who are careful and make sure they pay the credit card off BEFORE the payment deadline to avoid those excessive interest charges. You can always cancel the credit card once you’ve earned your frequent flyer points!
Now it’s time to prepare for your trip
- Passport: Step one, if you’re travelling internationally; make sure you have a current passport, usually with at least 6 months left and a few blank pages as certain destinations will issue a visa (that can take up a full-page) upon arrival even when you do not need to apply for a holiday visa before arriving (such as Indonesia, Jordan and Turkey to name a few).
- Visa: Do you need to apply for a visa for where you’re visiting? If so, make sure you apply for the visa as soon as possible to make sure it comes through in enough time.
International Driving Permit: If you’re planning on hiring a car overseas, double-check the requirements as you might need an International Driving Permit (IDP). Check out our blog on renting a car in Europe for more detailed information on this.
- Leave a copy with a relative or friend: It is important to make a photocopy of all of your important documents and leave them with a family member or friend. This will be very helpful if you’re unfortunate enough to lose such documents while you’re away.
- Travel vaccines: Do a bit of research online to see if you need to get any travel vaccines before your holiday. If so, book in to see your doctor to get these done.
- Online backup: We store everything on Dropbox, which you can easily access through the app on your mobile. This way, you can get access to all of your important information at the click of a button.
New to dropbox? No problem! Click here for a link to download and install Dropbox.
- Download travel apps: Download some travel apps on your mobile, including some offline maps to help get you through the places you’re planning on visiting. We use MobilyTrip as it has an offline map together with a list of the most popular sites to see. Remember to check out our blog on using your mobile phone abroad to avoid those nasty extra costs!
- Language: Are you going to a country that speaks a different language? If so, it doesn’t hurt to learn the basics, such as hello, how are you, please and thank-you. Speaking even the smallest bit of the local language can go a long way! You could start with Duolingo to help learn the basics.
Remember, not all trips need to be extravagant overseas adventures. They could be simple weekend escapes to a city within driving distance, or a quick 2 hour flight away. Have a look online and see what might be close to you which will help you keep the costs down as well.
If you’re someone who struggles to get a bit chunk of time off at work, look at long weekend breaks. We have done hundreds of these where we fly out on the Friday night and then come back on the Sunday evening – you will be surprised what you can see in 2 full days!
In a nutshell, if you want to travel – there is nothing stopping you! Just lock it in and away you go.
Once a year, go someplace you haven’t been before – Dalai Lama