2017: The Year You Make Travel Happen – Jetlaggin
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2017: The Year You Make Travel Happen

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daring travel sky dive
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions people make is to travel more. It’s right up there with eating better and going to the gym more.

And, like so many other resolutions, this one starts with the best of intentions and motivations but often fails.

When asked why, most people make up some reason involving time and money. They ran out of time, life got in the way, they forgot to ask for time off, work got too busy, they never saved enough, couldn’t find a cheap ticket, yada, yada, yada.

Tomorrow is the day to hit the gym, give up pizza, read more, or find that cheap trip to Paris.

But, when you dive deeper, you usually find people don’t follow through because they are too afraid to commit. They half-checked flights, looked up some hotels, and maybe even went to a bookstore to buy a guidebook. But when it came down to purchasing the trip, they hemmed and hawed and said, “Let me think about it a little. Maybe tomorrow.”

After all, change is hard. Getting out of your comfort zone is hard. It takes dedicated mental energy.

Turning a dream into a reality can elicit a sort of “ohh f%%k, this is happening” moment. There’s always a mix of excitement and fear. “Yes!” to doing it but also an “uhh, what did I get myself into?” feeling.

The second you buy your plane ticket, there’s no going back. You’re going. You’re locked in.

Soon you’ll be in a place you know nothing about, where you know no one, and (maybe) don’t speak the language.

The reality of that stops more people than you think from hitting “Book Now” because they aren’t sure they are “ready.”

Now, I know that you, dear reader, have a sense of adventure. You’re reading this blog, right? This is probably not your problem.

But time and/or money? These things probably worry you.

Someone literally asked me in an email last week: “Why do people still think travel is expensive?!”

When I read that, I screamed at my computer, arms flailing, yelling “Right? Why indeed? That is such a good question! I still can’t figure it out! It drives me insane!”

With all the blogs, magazines, apps, travel hacking websites, and deal sites out there, you would think the persistent myth that travel is expensive would have started to fade away by now. But it is still there. It’s hard to get rid of for the millions of people who grew up in the age of “travel = expensive hotel/resort vacation.” For the other millions in countries that are just getting the purchasing power to think about overseas travel, travel is very much still a luxury.

And luxury is synonymous with expensive.

However, there are travel deals all the time if you know where to look. 2016 saw some incredible cheap fares, and 2017 is shaping up to be no different. (There are some crazy $400 USD round-trip flights to Europe right now.) Additionally, the sharing economy has only grown in recent years, allowing you to bypass the old travel gatekeepers, and connect with locals for a cheaper trip.

So today, I’m going to get you somewhere in the world. I’m going to show you the secret to finding a cheap vacation so you can start 2017 off right and not back out of your resolution. Ready?

First, go to one of these websites: The Flight Deal, Holiday Pirates, or Secret Flying. Look for a cheap flight to a place you want to go to.

Second, book a flight. Lock yourself into a trip. Don’t worry about anything else. I promise you everything will work out. You can worry about a hotel, what to pack, day-to-day expenses, time off, what to do, etc., later. Those things don’t matter and there are many ways to cut those expenses! Worry about the logistics later.

Third, well, that’s all there is to it. There is no third.

Once you make the commitment by buying a flight, the rest is easy. Over and over again, I hear from travelers, “I was so worried about my trip. I built it up in my head so much and began to fret about all the ‘what ifs,’ but once I got on the road, it all fell into place and I wondered why I was ever worried at all.”

I know it seems scary to take the leap, especially when you are on your own. I know it can be unnerving to run out of your comfort zone. It’s basically this cartoon below, right?

The simple act of hitting “go” takes mental work!

But I’m here for you. This site is a virtual hand. I’m here to take the leap with you together. To be there to reassure you along the way, take away your fears, answer any of your questions, and provide support. (Plus, we have a whole community of people to help you too!)

How I’m Going to Help Make 2017 the Year of Travel

Today, I’m bringing back the case study project. I’m going to take five readers and help them plan their trip from start to finish. I’m going to help them each step of the way (as much as they need me to) and use their examples to show again that you don’t need to be rich to travel – or that you just aren’t limited to cheaper, developing countries.

To be one of those readers, you simply need to book a flight within 24 hours of this blog post going up. The first five people to do that and send me proof are in. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are, where you are going, or for how long. SPOTS ARE FULL! THANKS FOR APPLYING!

Just email a screenshot of where you are going, as well as the following information: your name, phone number, and age; a short bio; the ideal budget for your trip; and anything else I need to know. (Please keep it to no more than two paragraphs.)

There are no fees or strings attached. I’ll work with you via email, phone, and Skype to create a plan and help you stick to it so you can travel sooner than you planned and for less money.

I’ll feature these case studies on the blog when they are done as a way to help and inspire others (so you have to be OK with sharing your story on the website).

If you want to go somewhere but have always been a bit too afraid to pull the trigger, do so today, and let me help guide you out the door.

I will take your hand and we will leap together.

– Matt

P.S. – Looking for another way to kick start your new year? Over at the forums, we are doing our quarterly Travel Action Challenge, where you win prizes (like a $100 USD Amazon.com gift card) !

P.P.S. – If you would like to help underprivileged students travel more, we’re currently fundraising for a group of students to go volunteer in Ecuador. Help us reach our goal, change someone’s life by exposing them to the world of travel, and get some travel swag in the process. It’s a trip win!

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Guides

Don’t be a Boarding Area Jerk

We’ve all experienced the boarding area jerk at the airport and hopefully you won’t be that asshole. Let’s all be civilized adults here and act like you’ve traveled before.

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We’ve all experienced the boarding area jerk at the airport and hopefully you won’t be that asshole.   You know the douche that is talking loudly on their phone or arguing with the poor airline staff, don’t be the cause of other people’s stress.   Let’s all be civilized adults here and act like you’ve traveled before.

Don’t be a jerk in the boarding area by avoiding these common dick moves.

 

Don’t put feet up

I get it, traveling is tiring and you are exhausted but do you have to put your feet all over the seats around you? No, stop invading other people’s personal space with your big old Fred Flintstone toes. Unless you have a medical condition where you need your foot elevated, keep it down on the floor where it belongs.

 

Stop saving all the seats

Ok, we’ve all seen this jerk. The boarding area only has a certain number of seats, never enough for everyone, so stop hogging seats with your luggage. Stack your luggage up on the floor and let me sit down. I can understand keeping your carry on close because it has your valuable, but that big roller bag doesn’t need a chair.

 

Power Outlet Hog

This jerk doesn’t need to charge all their electronics at once. If there are multiple power outlets next to you, don’t be greedy and only use one outlet. Maybe plan ahead their power hog and bring your own power strip next time if you really must charge your two phones, IPad and laptop at the same time.

 

Stop eating stinky food there

They have restaurants in the airport for a reason, to eat food there. Can we all stop eating stinky ass food in the waiting area and for heaven’s sake keep it off the airplane.   I ’m tired of smelling some tuna sandwich being chomped on behind my seat in the boarding area, eat at the restaurant you bought the food from, geez. People treat the boarding area like it’s their living room, it’s not so act right.

 

Stop crowding the gate

The worst possible people crowd the gate before their flight. These jerks are all usually a late boarding group so they are trying to jump the line. No Cuts, No Butts and definitely No Coconuts. Please be an adult and wait for your group to be called before crowding the tiny boarding area.

 

Leave the airline employees alone

It’s not the gate attendant’s fault that the plane is delayed, so leave the poor employee alone. Customer service is a thankless job that never gets paid enough, so give them a break. We’ve all see the asshole yelling at them when they can do absolutely nothing about it. Traveling can suck; so don’t make it worse by being a jerk.

 

Keep quiet on your phone

This jerk needs to learn how to use their inside voice. We all get it; you are some important hotshot businessperson who is making a douche call, but can’t you use a quieter voice. Learn how to be respectful of people around you or be hated by all.

 

Let’s all try and be better, more considerate people while traveling.

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Destinations

Destinations with Perfect Blue Water

We are all searching for the perfect vacation destination with crystal blue waters and great temperatures.   Your search is over as we have compiled the paradise on Earth list with the most amazing blue waters you can find.

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We are all searching for the perfect vacation destination with crystal blue waters and great temperatures.   Your search is over as we have compiled the paradise on Earth list with the most amazing blue waters you can find. See if your wanderlust will take you to these incredible destinations and the paradise you seek will finally be attainable. These places have the bluest and clearest water on the planet, so book your trips ASAP and enjoy your vacation bliss.

 

Palawan, Philippines

You’ll feel like you are on your own beach here, with few tourists and plenty of sand. Filled with private lagoons and the bluest water around, Palawan is paradise that we’ve found. You’ll also find the world’s longest navigable underwater river.

 

The Maldives

Celebrity destination number one, the Maldives’ blue waters will blow your mind. Located in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is the hottest vacation spots around. A bungalow sitting over blue waters is paradise in my mind.

 

Peyto Lake, Canada

Sapphire blue water will blow your mind while visiting Banff National Park and checking out Peyto Lake. Filled with glacier runoff and snowmelt, you’ll take some memorable photos here.

 

Havelock Island, India

The Bay of Bengal has a few surprises for visitors like Havelock Island.   Get off the grid with this secret snorkel spot. Located in a string of Islands of the coast of India you’ll find some of the clearest waters around.  

 

Ambergris Caye, Belize

Home of the earth’s second largest barrier reef; Belize is a scuba and snorkelers paradise. The clear waters are home to many amazing dive sites including Shark ray Alley where you can swim with nurse sharks and stingrays. Or if more mystery is up your alley, check out the underwater caves of the Blue Hole. The shades of blue here are so vibrant you’ll think it’s a dream.

  

Devil’s bay, British Virgin Islands

Sometimes the juice is just worth the squeeze and Devil’s Bay is exactly that. After an adventurous hike you’ll find the picturesque views and tranquil bright turquoise waters. Snorkel in the crystal clear waters and you’ll know why this place is so magical.

 

Con Son, Vietnam

A hidden gem in Southeast Asia, Con Son is the only inhabited island in the area.   Steep granite cliffs surround the beaches and protect them from violent storms, making the area pristine and untouched. Finding your inner peace here should be easy.

 

Crater Lake, Oregon

A huge crater created by a volcano centuries ago has left us with a spectacular and picturesque mountain lake. Crater Lake in Oregon is simply stunning and a place that we all need to see. Make sure you go in the summer or late spring as the winters here can dump feet of snow in a matter of hours. The deepest and clearest lake in the US, Crater Lake has visibility 400 feet down. Take a dip, but beware, it’s cold.

 

Egremnoi, Greece

The Mediterranean has some of the most beautiful waters around and Greece may have the best. Check out a hidden gem in Egremnoi Beach on the West coast of Lefkada, a small Greek island. A steep staircase keeps the hoards of tourists down and the powder white sand welcome the brave visitors. You will be rewarded with crystal turquoise waters and relaxing waves crashing on the shore. Swim in the luke-warm waters and let all the hassles of the real world melt away.

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Destinations

America’s Most Visited National Parks

The United States have some of the most amazing and spectacular National Park land in the world and you should be visiting them all.  Here are the top 10 most visited parks in the system and why I think you should check them out.

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The United States have some of the most amazing and spectacular National Park land in the world and you should be visiting them all. Last year was a banner year for National Parks as they recorded 331 million visitors in 2016, a 8 percent increase over 2015. That’s a lot of visitors, they all can’t be wrong, these National Parks might have something here.

Luckily, our great country has over 417 National Parks for you to explore and all are reasonably priced. The parks just celebrated their 100th anniversary so let’s all celebrate together by checking some out. The top 10 National Parks are some stunning places to visit, so what are you waiting for?

Here are the top 10 most visited parks in the system and why I think you should check them out.

 

Vietnam Veterans Memorial — 5,299,713

Located in Washington, D.C., the Vietnam Memorial is a somber and powerful monument. The Washington Mall has many great monuments that symbolize our country’s freedoms; the Vietnam memorial may be the most shocking. The amount of names on the list of people that died fighting for our country is alarming.

Check out this monument if you are in D.C. and want to see a truly moving piece of American History.

 

Natchez Trace Parkway — 5,891,315

The parkway cuts through Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee and is over 400 miles of American History. Native Americans and settlers used the ancient trail during the country’s expansion West. Take a trip back through time as you can explore hiking trails, camping and horseback riding.

 

Grand Canyon National Park — 5,969,811

This should be number one in my opinion, just based on how epic and awesome the Grand Canyon truly is. One of the seven Natural Wonders of the World, The canyon is so awe-inspiring. Everyone should see the sun rise over the North Rim and walk over the glass bottom observation deck. Make a day trip from the Las Vegas area or make a weekend trip and take a donkey tour to the bottom.

Real adventurers will take a white water rafting tour down the Colorado River.

 

Lake Mead National Recreation Area — 7,175,891

Straddling the border of Arizona and Nevada, Lake Mead Recreation area is a watery paradise. Spring breakers gather here to party and families venture here for some boating fun. Great destination for the whole family, so check it out and make a day trip to the Grand Canyon, boom, two birds baby.

 

Lincoln Memorial — 7,915,934

Another wonderful monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Lincoln Memorial is a great place to take in the whole mall and reflect on our country’s greatness and deficiencies. Be one of the millions of people who take a selfie with President Lincoln.

 

Gateway National Recreation Area — 8,651,770

The top destination for New Yorkers Gateway national is actually three parks in one. It includes Jamaica Bay, Sandy Hook, NJ and Staten Island, NY. These three parks combine to offer big city dwellers small glimpses of nature to enjoy. Living in the urban jungle is tough and sometimes you need some greenery in your life.

 

George Washington Memorial Parkway — 10,323,339

Take a scenic drive down the GW parkway alongside the Potomac River; you’ll understand why so many people come here. With miles and miles of hiking trails and jogging paths, the GW parkway has some great green areas. Located just outside of Washington DC in Northern Virginia, the parkway connects the city and the suburbs.

 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park — 11,312,786

Spread across North Carolina and Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains offer grand views and amazing local foliage. Visitors love hiking and other outdoor activities. Come in the fall for some amazing color displays as the leaves are changing.

 

Blue Ridge Parkway — 15,175,578

Driving on top of the world is how this park feels. Located in Virginia and West Virginia, the Blue ridge Parkway takes drivers on some winding mountain roads. Motorcyclists love these mountain rides and huge convoys can be seen on weekends.

 

Golden Gate National Recreation Area — 15,638,777

Outside of San Francisco is a wonderful park full of mystic and wonder. The most visit national Park in the United States is a great one. With giant sequoia trees to ever expanding vistas, the park is worth the trip.

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