Dust off your travel dreams and make them come true. If you don’t know where to start, here is a list of steps to get your dreams out of neutral and into drive. The process doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming. If you’ve traveled before, here are some tips to help you get back on the road.
Set realistic travel goals
- Write down a list of all the places you want to go.
- Consider your personal travel style (luxury vacation in Bora Bora vs budget backpacking trip around Spain).
- How much time do you want to spend at each destination?
- Choose one realistic trip based on your current income and circumstances (what kind of vacation time do you have available? Is anyone else going with you?)
- Will the trip require extra documentation? Do you need a Visa? Is your Passport up to date?
- Consider timing. How far in advance do you need to ask for holiday leave? How far in advance do you need to shop for your airline ticket to get the best deal? How far in advance you will need to apply for your Visa?
- Write down a realistic timeline to achieve your goal.
Create a budget
- Write a list of all your incoming payments and outgoing expenses in the budget. If you are uncertain, track your expenses for a couple of weeks.
- Identify unnecessary costs that you could cut back on (eating out, kiosk coffee, subscriptions or getting your nails done).
- Paying off any smaller high-interest debts (credit cards).
- After you pay off high-interest debts, set up an emergency fund. It is always a good idea to keep a certain amount aside in a savings account for emergencies. $1000 is a good goal to aim for.
Pay off debt and save money to travel
- Identify and pay off high interest and short-term debts.
- Set target dates for each pay off milestone (pay off your credit card by the end of April, save $1,000 for your emergency fund by July, etc. Shoot high and push yourself to reach your goals.)
- Calculate how long it will take you to reach the financial goal for your dream trip.
- Consider opening a savings account that has a decent interest rate specifically for travel. (Credit Unions are especially good for this.)
- Schedule automatic deductions from your accounts to help you reach your goals or have a percentage of your direct deposit to be directed into your travel savings account.
Review your progress and adjust your targets
- Review your progress faithfully to make sure you are still on target.
- If you don’t make goal, re-evaluate your goals, expenses and budget, adjust as needed but push yourself. It will be worth it.
- Repeat this process until you’ve met the financial goals for your dream trip. Save the funds fully before you fully commit to a trip and book any non-refundable plane tickets.
If you are a regular traveler, how do you set and meet your goals? Let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to like and follow this blog.