We do this all the time don’t we? We tell ourselves that we are going to travel more next year, and we’re going to plan that ‘one trip’, the one we’ve always talked about taking. As fast as that great idea is in our head, it’s nearly summer and we haven’t even planned what’s for dinner yet. Alas, life moves on and completely leaves us behind. There are lots of reasons why people never get around to taking that ‘one trip’: lack of money, bad planning, anxiety, no one to go with, etc. Today I challenge you to take one international trip this year. Here are 5 tips to stop dreaming and plan your 2017 travel adventure now!
Go Somewhere Less Popular and Cheaper
London and Paris are both wonderful cities, but you may be breaking the bank a little more than you want to. Since money can cause a huge amount of stress, for your trip in 2017, I’d recommend opting for a less popular and cheaper city to travel to (these two things usually go hand in hand). Recently I booked a trip to Copenhagen, and turns out it is the 9th most expensive European city to live in. I hadn’t really thought that through, considering I’d just gotten back from the 66th and 70th most expensive places to live in Europe. I think I am in for a little money shock in a few months! Start small and work your way to more expensive cities. Here is a list of European cities from most to least expensive.
Sign Up for Price Alerts
Now that you’ve picked a few cities that are cheaper than the average, sign up for price alerts on your favorite travel sites. I would recommend having two or three places picked out so you can keep track of the market. Price alerts are so freaking handy. My favorite are Google Flights’ price alerts, and I highly recommend signing up for price alerts through them. Their emails are clear and concise, and often, but not too often. Using Hopper to check pricing trends and the cheapest months to travel is also a good idea. I covered how to do all of this in 5 Steps to Researching Your Way to Cheaper Airfare.
Ask For Time Off Now
One of the biggest excuses for people to not travel, is because they fear they won’t be able to get the time off work, or worse, they don’t want to take the time off work. I am about to drop some knowledge on all you millennials. Taking time off work for a vacation, actually makes you more productive at work. Now that we have that out of the way… Ask for time off as soon as possible! It doesn’t mean you have to know where you’re going yet. Once you’ve established a good date based on your price alerts and hopper, go ahead and ask for it off.
Set a Budget and Rethink Your Smaller Purchases
Setting a budget is something I usually struggle with myself. To be honest, this is something we should be doing every time we plan a vacation. Set a budget and stick to it! I like using the Expatistan website to get an idea of the price of things in the country I’ve visiting, and what I should be budgeting for. Also, doing a search on Trip Advisor for pricing can also bring up a lot of forums about people’s spending experiences. After you’ve set your budget, try rethinking your smaller daily purchases up until your travel dates. For instance, instead of buying Starbucks Monday through Friday, bring coffee from home instead. Also think about clothing purchases as those can add up really fast.
Research and Plan
The fun part! Well, not for everyone. If you really hate researching and planning, then check out Trip Planner where I do the work for you. Having plans while traveling can be a really good thing. You should definitely do a little research on the country you are visiting before you leave, as to not make any blunders with the law. I’d also recommend researching the language a little and knowing the basics to get you by. Search the ‘main sites’ to see, and form a blueprint of what your travel days and sightseeing days will look like before you go. This will keep you from any last minute uncertainty and stress. Leave a day or two for some spontaneity, and you are good to go!
I challenge you to get on that vacation planning now! Traveling internationally is on of the best gifts you can give yourself this year, and we all deserve it, no matter where we are in life. So stop the dreaming and start planning now. You can plan your 2017 trip easily and seamlessly by following the steps I’ve listed above.
Remember, this is a challenge (even if I am the only one participating and keeping score), so I want to hear from you! Where are you going to go this year?