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?
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?
— Krissy Valentine (@WannabeFitGrl) December 20, 2016
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.
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!
The Best Holiday Gifts For The Traveling Man
If you’re having trouble finding a gift for the man in your life that loves to travel, look no further than these perfect suggestions!
We all know at least one. The guy who seems to be traveling every few months. They just can’t help themselves! They need to see the world and they need to see it now. So, with the holidays right around the corner, we thought we’d help you out by giving you some great gift ideas for the men in your life that love to travel. Take our word for it, they will love every single one of these items!
YETI RAMBLER 30 OZ. TUMBLER
Nobody loves staying hydrated more than frequent travelers! Whether they want to keep their water cold or their coffee hot, Yeti has some of the best products and this particular tumbler is one of the best on the market. It can be used for week-long camping trips, way-too-long flights, tailgating, you name it. They also look pretty awesome if I do say so myself.
72-HOUR MERINO TEE BY HUCKBERRY
Huckleberry is one of the lesser-known men’s wear brands out there, but that should really change. Especially when it comes to gear designed for travel. Take, for example, this amazing merino tee. It was specifically designed so it can be worn 3 days in a row! How perfect is that for those long travel days where you sometimes go well over 24 hours without access to a shower.
And get this… it’s also available in a long-sleeve version!
GoPro’s almost seem like a thing of the past these days as we don’t hear about them all that much anymore. But make no mistake, they are still very cool. And they’ve only gotten better over the years. Their latest version, the GoPro HERO is truly amazing. It’s waterproof, comes with voice control, and features jaw-dropping stability regardless of whatever rocky terrain you may be traveling on while documenting.
So if your travel dude loves to livestream his adventures or recap them in videos after the fact, this is the perfect holiday gift for them.
RENEW LIGHTWEIGHT HOODED PUFFER JACKET BY EVERLANE
A good, durable jacket can be a literal lifesaver in some climates. But it can also be so hard to find the right one! Well, look no further than this perfect puffer jacket from Everlane. It’s reversible, surprisingly lightweight, and can be zipped into it’s own travel pouch, making it extremely easy to pack. This really is a must-have for any serious traveller.
LUMINA 5200 MAH ULTRA COMPACT PORTABLE CHARGER
It doesn’t matter how much we fight it, we simply can’t survive without our devices any more. We need them! Even if it’s just to play games to pass the time. But traveling is one of the easiest ways to accidentally let your battery run out.
That’s why a portable charger like this one from Lumina is vital to any successful travel experience. It’s one of the more affordable portable chargers out there and it comes with a lifetime warranty. It’s also available on Amazon so it couldn’t be easier to buy.
COMRAD COMPRESSION SOCKS
For whatever reason, foot comfort is one of the often overlooked elements of successful and enjoyable travel experiences. I don’t know why so many of us forget to take of our feet. We do use them to walk everywhere! But so many of us still do.
That’s why these compression socks from Comrad make such a simple yet perfect gift for the traveling man. They provide comfort, warmth, support, circulation, and can even prevent swelling. These really are a must-have.
HERSCHEL SUPPLY CO. BAGS
These Herschel Supply Co. bags most easily found at Nordstrom are the most affordable and durable bags out there. The duffel bag is ideal because it’s has all the room he’ll need but is still small enough to be a carry on. And the travel kit bag makes organizing easy by providing multiple pockets to make it easy for him find whatever toiletry or grooming accessory he needs in a flash.
I’ve actually used both of these bags and I really love them.
The Best Games To Bring Along On Your Next Vacation
Check out this short list of games that a great for any vacation.
Those of us with kids know how important keeping our kids happy and occupied is. Sometimes we’ll do just about anything to avoid a tantrum and save our sanity. And this is especially true during a vacation! That’s why bringing along a game or two is always a good idea. So check out this short list of games that a great for any vacation.
Bananagrams is just a great game. Kind of like a kid-friendly Scrabble. You similarly create your own crossword puzzle as you go, but you’re not constricted to a boring old board. And it comes in a perfect little travel bag that you can practically fit in your pocket.
PASS THE PIGS
I’ve played this one and, trust me, it’s a blast! And like many other games on this list, it’s small and easy to pack. It’s a bit like Yahtzee as you literally “roll” two miniature pigs as if they were dice, and based on how they land you’re given points. First to 100 wins!
MAGNETIC GO! CHECKERS
If the picture and the name weren’t clear enough, this is basically just an easily collapsible and magnetic checkers board. So it can be busted out and enjoyed under just about any conditions. In the car, on a plane, or in the hotel. Checkers is still a great game and this is a great travel-friendly version.
Funnybones is kind of like Jacks (does anyone even remember jacks anymore?!). But as old as jacks may seem, Funnybones was created years and years ago in Greece! It eventually spread around the world and has seen many iterations – all of them involving varies challenges of dexterity. But most importantly, it’s small and easy to pack!
CONNECT 4 GRAB AND GO
We all remember Connect 4. It’s a classic, simple, great game. This is just a compact version that can easily fit in a carry on bag. Great for delayed flights or rainy days in the hotel.
RACE ACROSS THE U.S.A.
What better game for a road trip than one about a race across the country?! What’s really fun about this board game is that you can get it customized! There’s a banner in the top left corner that you can have your family’s name put on. You can even personalize the player pieces to look like you and your family members! It’s also a simple and fun game that teaches kids a few things about this great country.
KURIO WATCH 2.0+
When it comes to distracting your kids and giving yourself a little peace and quiet it doesn’t get much better than the Kurio Watch 2.0+. It’s similar to your average smartwatch, but it has games on it! Some of them are even two-player games and watches can sync up if you want to get in on the fun. Plus they’re waterproof!
Ok, this one isn’t exactly kid-friendly. This game is definitely best suited for a girls trip! If you haven’t guessed by now, it’s exactly like beer pong but it involves 12 plastic recyclable champagne glasses and three pink ping pong balls. And, obviously, using Prosecco instead of beer is encouraged!
Life Lessons Learned From Living Abroad
Living abroad can be a very scary and very rewarding experience all at once. If you’re considering making the move yourself, read through these common experiences first.
For some of us, the thought of living abroad is a nearly unachievable fantasy if not a completely unappealing and crazy decision. But for others, it’s the most magical and exciting choice available. Regardless of what your personal opinions are about living abroad, there are plenty of positives and negatives that come with it. Here are some that anyone who has actually done it can agree with.
RELATIONSHIPS COME AND GO
One of the greatest things that comes from living abroad is new and wonderful friendships. Meeting people from different areas of the world with different experiences than yourself can be invigorating. It can help you learn more about yourself and give you a new and powerful perspective on life.
But on the flip side, moving abroad can greatly damage your existing relationships. Is it so hard to believe? Suddenly everyone you’ve ever known and gotten close with is halfway around the world. So naturally, you’ll lose some friends. Some of those losses will be organic, some will happen because certain friends are angry you left.
This can make the experience very difficult. But if you’re considering making the move don’t let this deter you. The most important people, the relationships that really matter, will always be there. And in some cases, it will even make the bond stronger.
SAY HELLO TO YOUR NEWFOUND CONFIDENCE
Deciding to move to a different country where you have little to no comfort zone can be very scary. How are you supposed to get comfortable in this new, foreign city? How are you supposed to just build a new social circle from scratch? How on Earth will you get comfortable?!
But dealing with those questions, and eventually answering them, can be an extremely rewarding experience. It will force you to know yourself better than you ever have and achieve a level of confidence and comfort with yourself that you never thought was possible. And you can take that newfound comfort and confidence with you for the rest of your life, wherever you may go.
GET READY TO MISS VERY IMPORTANT STUFF BACK HOME
This can be one of the hardest parts for anyone living abroad. There will be some many important events: birthdays, funerals, weddings, the arrival of a new baby, etc, etc. And you will most certainly miss at least some of them. It’s just impossible to travel back home enough to be there for every important moment. So it will be very difficult to pick and choose which ones you use your vacation days on.
But while you’ll miss lots of memorable events with family and friends, hopefully you can convince plenty of them to come and visit you for always enjoyable memories abroad!
BE PATIENT, BE WILLING
Many people, when visiting or moving to a new country, will remain in their own comfort zone and make very little effort to truly immerse themselves into the local culture. This is a sure fire way to make sure you move back home much sooner than expected.
It’s important to really make an effort to take in whatever city you move to in all its glory and imperfections. And, possibly even more crucial, it’s important to be patient and give yourself time to get comfortable there. It could take a while. Longer than you think. But if you give yourself plenty of time to adapt and get comfortable in your new city, you will eventually get the full experience you set out to get in the first place.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
The concept of “home” has a lot of different definitions for different people. For many people, it’s as simple as where they’re from – where they grew up. But for others, it’s as simple as where they live. Either way, it’s easy to move to a foreign city and find yourself missing that feeling of “home,” regardless of how many friends you have or how much you’ve immersed yourself in the culture.
This can be a very difficult emotion to live with and there’s really no perfect answer for how to deal with it. It will vary from person to person. But be sure to give it the proper amount of attention and really evaluate on your own time what “home” means to you and how important it is. Because that childhood home that you’ve barely spent any time in over the last decade may not be as important as it used to be anymore.
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