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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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Mexico Travel Deals: Win 20 Years’ Worth of Free Caribbean Luxury Vacations

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One of the most affected industries due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic is tourism. To offset the heavy financial loss, a few places like Mexico and those in the Caribbean recently reopened their borders to tourists.

Mexico, along with other places in the Caribbean, is a favorite pre-COVID-19 vacation destination for a number of tourists all around the world. So, to enliven the tourism industry once again, they created the trending hashtag, #Come2MexicanCaribbean (and its Spanish equivalent, #VenAlCaribeMexicanoX2) to promote post-COVID-19 tourism in these areas.

To further strengthen this campaign, would-be tourists are encouraged to remember their memorable visits of the Mexican Caribbean region and the different things they might like to do there in the future.

The said contest awards a lucky tourist with a 20 years’ worth of yearly vacation to the Mexican Caribbean area combined with a 5-night, all-inclusive stay in any of the 4- or 5-star coastal resorts there.

Contest Sponsors

The competition is sponsored by several tourist hotspots including those of Cancun, Isla Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, and Tulum. It is also backed by top hospitality developer Atelier Group and the Quintana Roo Tourism Board.

How to Join the Competition

If you are interested in the said contest, here are several guidelines for you to follow:

  •  Contestants must be 18 years old;
  • You should be a resident of any of the following countries:
  1. US,
  2. Canada,
  3. Mexico,
  4. Guatemala,
  5. Colombia,
  6. Peru,
  7. Chile,
  8. Brazil, and
  9. Argentina;
  • You must have either a TikTok or Instagram account (or both);
  • Post a video or a photo that features your favorite Mexican Caribbean beach vacation/s;
  •  Include the specific tags, #Come2MexicanCaribbean and @Come2MexicanCaribbean;
  • Follow the said initiative’s TikTok or Instagram profiles, @Come2MexicanCaribbean;
  • Tag their accounts on either of the platforms mentioned; and
  • The post that garners the most likes, plays, comments, and shares gets to be the winner of the competition.

The contest begins on 9 November and ends on 27 November 2020. Entrants should be able to post their entries within the given period.

You can also read the full terms and conditions of the said competition here. You may also visit en.come2mexicancaribbean.com for more information regarding the contest.

Summary

Mexico’s tourism industry comprises 8.5% of the nation’s overall GDP. Last year, an approximate of 24 million tourists visited the North American nation. Despite reopening its borders to visitors in July, the country’s roster of resorts and hotels still find it difficult to alleviate the effects of the lengthy lockdown imposed by the government earlier this year. The rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission is yet to slow down and the government aims to find more effective ways to flatten the curve.

The #Come2MexicanCaribbean aims to remind travellers of the country’s long-held tourist industry and the enticing spots that used to be go-to vacation areas in the region. It is their hope that by doing this initiative, the height of tourism will come alive again once everything goes back to normal.

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How Travel is Ruining our Planet

Travel is a good thing. I’ve encouraged people to do it in countless blog posts. But, in the rush to get people to travel, we often over look the negative impact of it. We talk about how travel can be a force for good- breaking…

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Let me preface this by saying that I’m not against travel, I write a travel blog for Pete’s sake. I have been telling people to drop everything and travel, and in my haste I’ve neglected to mention the possible environmental implications. Travel makes people better for doing it and that is a great thing, but we don’t talk about the repercussions to said travel. So, the question asked is; do we travel too much and is this travel adversely affecting our planet?

If you are a reader of mine, then you know that I constantly push for people to travel, so this will sound out of character but these are my reasons to not travel.

 

Destruction of local customs

The increased technology and constant metaphorical shrinking of our planet, we have created less cultural identities. We used to travel to explore new things and see corners of the planet yet seen by our eyes. But with technology, we have seen the planet from our computer and TV screens, so what are we exploring? Now with traveling to distant cultures we are inevitably bringing our culture with us and in so devaluing others. McDonalds are popping up all over the world so we all can be destroyed together.

 

Travel Trivializes Culture

Tourist traps are ruining our planet one trinket at a time. It’s sad when cultures are simplified down to some terrible stereotype that we have created to sell T-shirts. Originally people traveled to see parts of the world and experience different cultures, and now these experiences are being manufactured for our pleasure.   Children are being forced to accept that their reality is now selling trinkets and playing a part in some traveler’s fantasy of a culture, it’s sad.   It’s more of a problem of our planet’s globalization rather than anything else.

 

Local economy

Travel essentially destroys local economy by taking the tourist dollars and funneling it all to corporations. Locals don’t own the big hotels, huge conglomerates do and they profit form cultural destruction, essentially.

 

Environmental disaster

Travel is terrible for the environment and we don’t seem to care. More people are flying, driving, eating, shopping etc than ever before and our waste is just piling up. We constantly consume and consume but never really stop to think about what our excess usage really does to the environment.

 

Economic Issues

Tourism is centered on striking while the iron is hot, meaning that its not worried about the future, it’s all about the now. You see it in history and its repeating it self now. Towns go boom or bust with tourism and when that bubble burst, the town is left holding the bill. Look at the Salton Sea; it’s a tale that is all too familiar. A small town is suddenly thrust into a feeding frenzy of tourism money, then when the tourists stop coming, the town suddenly dies. The Salton Sea was a California hot spot in the 60s and 70s and now it’s a desolate ghost town.

 

Don’t make this stop you from traveling but allow this to open your mind while traveling and think about the possible repercussions of your actions. Maybe if we travel more consciously, we can fix our planet.

 

Check out the original article at Nomadicmatt

 

 

Photo courtesy of BoredPanda and FoxNews

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Visiting U. S. National Parks For Free

The family road trip is a summer rite of passage for all Americans. The memories made when you pack up the car and stuff the whole family into it to take off on the open road are unforgettable. And there is no better destination than…

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The family road trip is a summer rite of passage for all Americans. The memories made when you pack up the car and stuff the whole family into it to take off on the open road are unforgettable. And there is no better destination than one of the many United States National Parks.

With over 50 National Parks in 27 states it isn’t hard to find one close to home. This year is a great year to visit one you haven’t been to yet because The National Parks Service has announced that in 2017 they will waive fees in all parks on 10 dates. 

On 10 days you will be able to visit, for free admission, any of the National Parks that regularly charge a fee. The dates for free admission are:

January 16 – MLK Jr Day

February 20 – Presidents Day

April 15 & 16 – National Park Week

April 22 & 23 – National Park Week

August 25 – National Parks Service Birthday

September 30 – National Public Lands Day

November 11 & 12 – Veterans Day Weekend

In addition to these free days, the National Parks Service offers other discounts year round. Admission is free year round for active duty military and citizens with a permanent disability. The “Every Kid In A Park” is a program for 4th grade students to get a free pass and U. S. Citizens 62 and older can apply for a $10 lifetime pass. Take advantage of these special offers, and take the family to a National Park you have never seen before. 

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