You might think that now is not a good time. But the truth is, it is never going to be a perfect time to travel.
Travel is just something you must decide to do - and then put the wheels in motion so that it happens. With our lives as busy as they are, it's easy to let years go by - and somehow always seem to have a fresh reason not to make it happen.
This is the year you can travel - you have only to decide that you will.
Travel, like so many things in our lives, is something many people just write off before they even find out if it's feasible. Many people resign themselves to declaring that they "..really don't want to travel all that much".
But at the same time, most of us would jump at the chance if we were to win a free, pre-arranged, all-expenses paid vacation.
Yet, you need not wait for luck to send a holiday - or some extended travel - your way. It is said that we make our own luck. In the same vein, we make our own travel. Read on for my 5 tips that will help ensure that your travel resolutions become a hard-cold reality this year.
Start Thinking Differently
Applauded author and thought leader Napoleon Hill said:
"Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve".
Here in Australia unfortunately the default stance of many people in regards to travel is: "Oh, that would be nice" or alternatively, "Well, maybe if I win the lottery".
But that is no attitude to take toward something that is recognized by many to have a profound effect on a person.
The first and most important step is to change your mindset towards travel. Some people would debate this sentiment, but without realizing it, in life, the things that we think about and believe subconsciously become our reality.
We spend a lot of time entertaining thoughts that take us further away from the things that we would like to do.
Limiting thoughts such as "I don't have time to travel" or, "I can't afford to travel" just aren't going to get you any closer to the world that awaits you. Silence that voice in your head.
Decide unequivocally that you are going to travel this year - and believe in that declaration. That is the very first step in making it happen. I suggest you write down your decision and put it somewhere where you can see it every day.
If you feel comfortable showing it to other people that's fine (some people find it helps keep them accountable - but others find that their friends just try to discourage them - it's up to you). Just make sure that your decision is written somewhere that you are able to see it multiple times daily - maybe in your wallet or on your mobile phone or laptop home screen.
This will help focus your thoughts by reminding you of your intentions constantly, and bring you closer to making them a reality.
Figure Out Some Parameters
Although it is important to make a firm resolution regarding your travels, there are a few scenarios under which you might understandably consider breaking your promise to yourself to take a trip. Think about it carefully, and determine just a few acceptable reasons for cancelling your plans.
It might be to take care of a family member, or in the case of a natural disaster at home. You will know best what these reasons are according to your personal situation. Just be sure to limit these scenarios to only 3 or 4, and determine not to back out of your plans except under the few circumstances you decide upon.
Otherwise, it is too easy to just drop your plans the moment something 'inconvenient' happens.
Unsuitable shoes are no reason to cancel your plans
Be fair to yourself. Don't make it easy to not take your dream trip. Accept that this is a challenge and that bailing out for anything but a genuine reason is you just letting yourself down.
Now you have decided beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are going to travel, it is time to figure out how to make it happen.
Travel can seem so unattainable because it involves many things which may be unfamiliar to you - air travel, visas, travel insurance, hotels bookings, etc. For many of us, aside from a superficial knowledge of travel we don't have much practical know-how when it comes to planning the logistics of travel.
Furthermore, doing thorough research is really important because it will help keep you excited and motivated. During your online searches you will come upon countless accounts of other travellers experiences - and you will soon come to realise that travelling is an adventure!
When doing your research I highly recommend that you check out various travel blogs, and seek out the advice of full-time travellers and nomads on forums and Facebook groups.
You are more likely to get practical advice from these sources, than from tourism companies who tend to recommend more costly options, and not give a realistic perspective on travelling - especially on a budget.
The simple truth is that, except for in some very particular circumstances, travel does require money. But take heart - it is a lot less than people assume. It's just that most people never really research how to travel economically.
There are things you can do to save for travel without impacting your life too much - but for each of us it will be different.
Saving for travel can be a balancing act - but it's totally doable
For a start, very few of us live a completely ascetic life, and as such we have many things we don't need, we subscribe to many services we don't require, and generally spend more of our resources than we need in order to live comfortably.
I'm not saying for a moment that in order to travel you should give up all of the things that you enjoy. This is definitely not the case.
In saying that, every one has some areas where they could cut back.
Could you perhaps do any of the following:
1. Downgrade your mobile phone or home internet plan - perhaps you could look into whether you are spending more on these services that you require. If so, downgrade if your plan allows you to.
2. Cancel subscription services - If you aren't really getting your money's worth out of it, maybe it's time to get rid of that pay-TV subscription.
3. Do more free activities - having a good time is not about how much you spend, but about having interesting things to do with people whose company you enjoy. Can you embrace more free activities, or have more nights-in with friends to cut down on costs.
4. Transportation - this is not an area where everyone can cut back, but assess your own situation and see if there is any way you can reduce the cost of getting from place to place.
5. Stop shopping - the truth is that we buy so much unnecessary 'stuff' to distract ourselves and give ourselves short bursts of enjoyment. But now is the time to save that money for a truly rewarding experience - travel.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and once you view your travel plans as a necessity, you will soon invent ways to make them happen. This includes getting creative about providing for your needs.
The first step is to do more. This might include trying to take on a few more shifts at work, doing a little overtime working a few public holidays, or doing some freelance work on the side to supplement your travel.
Not only can you cut back on your expenses now - for the sake of future travel, but you can make arrangements now to greatly reduce the cost of your accommodation during your actual travel.
One of the commonest hacks of this type for long-term travellers is to build a profile as a house sitter. This is, without a doubt, one of the cheapest ways to sustain travel - especially if you are still paying to retain your accommodation back in your home country.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in, set up your profile straight away on a site like Trusted Housesitters, and use the first few months of this year to build up your credibility as a house sitter in your home country - with the eventual goal of getting some house sitting gigs abroad.
It is accommodation, effectively, for free. And if you doubt whether this could work, well, people do this full-time - check out the experiences of Dani and Jess, a house sitting couple.
If this is not the sort of travel experience you feel like you would enjoy, you might find the freedom to travel by working on the road. This is best-suited to people who already work in careers that could be made location independent - like programming, writing and graphic design.
Begin creating your reputation as a freelancer in your field on sites like Upwork. When you have some confidence in your ability to earn, take the leap and head off on your travels.
Maybe you can pay for a portion of your travels in this way, even if you aren't able to pay for the whole amount. Every bit counts - and there are lots of other travellers working on the road too. You won't be alone.
Hopefully these tips have given you some food for thought. If this is something you have always dreamed of doing, don't wait another year - you owe it to yourself. Happy Travels!