Every wanderlust dreams of their first, next, or most wanted adventure abroad. Before I started my seemingly never-ending adventures in travel I remember sitting in front of my laptop at night & making lists of all the places that I would go if I had the time or the money to get there. I would tell myself that this year was the year & then, inevitably, that next year would be the year, year after year until my restless legs just couldn't take it anymore.
It was that feeling of "I have to do this now" that really got things ticking & that led me to change my New Years Resolution with just one little tweak. Instead of committing to the dream that "I will go to Thailand" I added an expiry date to that dream and vowed "I will go to Thailand in 8 months & this is how."
I can honestly say that setting out a plan & giving myself a deadline was what changed my entire future & in a lot of ways, what got me to where I am now having visited more than twenty-nine countries & traveling as a full time occupation.
So, I suppose that you are now wondering about the "and this is how" portion of that resolution. Achieving your goal will differ from dream to dream & trip to trip, but below are just a few examples of how I met my goal to save & travel to Thailand.
A GOAL WITHIN A GOAL
In order for me to achieve my dream of traveling to Thailand I had to save money, this was a given. There are a myriad of blog posts out there that will give you all the tips you need to save money in every aspect of your life, but these tips are rendered nearly useless if you don't know how much you need to save. The first step towards your dream trip (no matter your destination) is doing your research & figuring out exactly how much you will spend getting there & traveling around.
Hot Tip: A great rule of thumb for budgeting for your trip is to take the cost of your ideal accommodations in that city & multiply that by 3 for food and other expenses.
TRACK YOUR SAVINGS
No matter how you choose to save whether it be cutting back on nights out, buying no-name brand groceries or picking up extra shifts at work, be sure to know how much you need to save each week or month & track your savings to ensure that you meet that goal. If you notice that you're putting away more than needed each month you can re-introduce that daily Starbucks jolt, but if you're coming up short then you know you need to kick it up a notch.
Hot Tip: When I'm saving for a trip I like to hide my credit cards & pay for each expense in cash. Being able to see the money leaving my hands always encourages me to make wiser choices.
KEEP IT SEPARATE
As soon as I started saving for my trip I opened a separate checking account with my bank where I could deposit all of my money designated to travel. Being able to open my online account and see the numbers one above the other (how much I have for travel vs. how much I have for day-to-day spending) made it much easier to keep track of how much I had & how much more I needed to save.
Hot Tip: Banks like Scotia & HSBC have branches in a number of locations around the world. International ATM fees can add up quickly & banking with a bank who has branches in your travel destinations can eliminate those fees.
START YOUR BOOKINGS EARLY
Once you have begun the process of saving & are financially able to pick a date & book your flight - go ahead and do it. Booking your flight a few months in advance will not only save you money, but keep you motivated to continue saving.
Hot Tip: For my first dream trip I chose to start my adventure with an organized travel group. Organized groups are great because you know exactly how much your largest expenses will cost (eliminating the errors of guesswork) & you don't have to worry as much about emergency costs (like accidentally booking a non-refundable $100/night hotel in the wrong city, or getting scammed into paying double for your bus tickets.)