Was one of your new year’s resolutions this year to travel more? You’re not alone there. But with the work commitments and budget restrictions which most of us have, it’s not surprising that many of us feel that we can’t travel as much as we want. A lot of people ask me ‘how do you get to travel so much’ and although it’s a little easier now that some of my work involves traveling, even when I was living in London working as a town planner my boyfriend and I managed to rack up a huge number of destinations each year, on limited time and money.
Set your travel goals
For some of us it might be a long, life changing trip somewhere, for others it might be doing something weird and adventurous that you would never usually do. The important thing to do here is to choose realistic goals that reflect the time and budget you have. Regardless of what your goals are, it’s important to write them down and create an action plan for making them happen. My travel goals this year are all about using every weekend properly (whether I go far or just around the corner) and active travel, focused on going places to learn new things. Stay tuned next week for my thoughts on where to go this year!
Choose the right destinations
Clearly for most the biggest barrier to more travel is limited money. Don’t I know it? That’s why I suggest doing a plan for your year and thinking about travelling to places where your currency gives you a foot up in terms of lifestyle/budgeting. A lot of people ask me how I am able to travel so much but in all honesty, most of the destinations I go to other than Australia and the odd trip to Europe or the US are in Asia, a place that is generally inexpensive to travel in. Another idea is to travel within your country or state, and opt for camping and other cheaper options that will stretch your budget further.
Do the public holiday maths
This was something I learnt to master when I worked for someone else and only got 16 leave days per year. At the beginning of each year I would sit down and calendar out the public/bank holidays – easter, christmas new year and any others. I would then look at where I could take my leave days between public holidays in order to get the longest continuous breaks out of only a few leave days used. Around certain times of the year public holidays are clustered together, so by using a couple of leave days you can get, say, 10 full days off. Saving that, I also liked to think of my weekends are a great opportunity to do trips to local areas – travel doesn’t always have to be far away or expensive!
In my experience travel only gets more expensive the later you book. People often talk about the elusive drop in prices the closer you get to your dates but honestly, I have never ever found that to be true other than a few fluke occaisions. Although it takes preparation and an ability to commit ahead of time (hello travel goals!) if you book 6 months in advance you’re almost definitely going to get better deals. This is where planning your year in January helps.
Experiment with the sharing economy
I’m sure you’ve all heard of AirBnb and Uber, companies that have used the sharing economy to revolutionise the travel industry. There have been so many of these sorts of companies spring up lately, and are all great for giving you more options when you travel. In addition to well known companies, there are many lesser known sharing economy apps that allow you to travel better incuding apps that allow you to housesit for someone, pet sit or even do odd jobs in the city you arrive in for extra cash. Or you could rent your own place while you’re away.
Up your loyalty
One way I’ve managed to get some absolutely amazing deals in the last few years was directly from airlines and hotels via their newsletters. These companies often reward newsletter subscribers with one off deals that you just can’t find on the website, so sign up to as many as you can! Might mean a hefty inbox but it’s well worth it. Also, choosing a frequent flyers program and flying as much as possible with that group, and making sure you get airmails on your credit card are also ways to get more.
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