In November, I spent 2 weeks in London, Paris, and Amsterdam. In January, I was in Costa Rica. In March, I made it to Fayetteville, Arkansas for a weekend. On Monday, I came home from New Orleans for three days before I drive to Omaha for a long weekend. Next weekend I am back in Arkansas, and by the end of the summer I will have been to Minneapolis and hopefully Spain.
This might be incredibly overwhelming, but you can really do it too. I promise.
Baby Steps to Big Travel
My travel schedule might overwhelm they typical non-traveler, but I am a lightweight compared to some of my travel heroes. I look to Chris Guillebeau, Nomadic Matt, and Jodi Ettenberg for my inspiration. They are on the road nearly full time.
I didn’t start traveling by jumping on a jet to Europe. I started smaller. I have taken road trips and flights all over the world. You don’t have to start that way either, pick a smaller trip. My trip to Omaha is going to be cheap. It is an eight hour car ride and two nights in a hotel.
Places like North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Maine might not sound exciting, but those states, and others off the beaten path are often full of hidden gems and are easy to get to and cheap to visit depending on where you live.
Steps to Bigger Trips
You do have to spend more than the $200 I am spending to get to Omaha for a trip to Europe, but you can replicate my trip to London, Paris, and Amsterdam on a budget. I used miles from my British Airways credit card to cover most of the flight. The flight took me everywhere other than a two hour train ride between Paris and Amsterdam.
We didn’t splurge for fancy hotels either. I did research and got in touch with people like Matt and Jodi on Twitter for ideas of places to stay in each city. I found hostels with great locations in each city. Just do your research first, and you will be fine with budget accommodations. You can also check out sites like airbnb and Couchsurfing for more budget options.
The Mental Block
People often say, “I wish I could travel like you.” I always ask what is stopping them. Just like making changes to your financial life, they are always BS answers. People can come up with time if they want to make it a priority. People can come up with money if they save and budget the right way. They just don’t really want to do it.
In order to do something different, you have to overcome the mental blocks. What is holding you back? What are you afraid of? Or do you just not want to put in the effort?
For me, travel is a life experience. Seeing the world is one of my biggest priorities. I am not letting a silly thing like time or money get in the way of that.
How Do You Travel?
What motivates you to explore the world? How have you traveled on a budget in the past? Please share your thoughts, experiences, and strategies in the comments.
12 thoughts on “Making Travel a Reality”
I think planning is key when it comes to travel (with a corporate job). Know how many dates you get off annually, know your obligations (weddings, reunions, etc), prioritize and go from there. Just do it!
I usually plan trips at least 3 months out. Even farther out for longer trips.
Go during the off months, take advantage of big sales, and use miles whenever possible! What I have the hardest time is quality over quantity. Its easy to take a weekend trip somewhere and see the ‘sights’, but its a lot harder to take a couple weeks off truly get to know a region.
I know of a few places that allow you to do this. Teachers often get the summer off. Also, I have a friend at Accenture – who after a couple years, was permitted to take off a summer and travel the world. But most don’t.
I wish I had teacher time off, but I like my non-teacher salary
I’ve used hostels and Couchsurfing, and even found a furnished apartment for $10 a night in Budapest. I like to fly into a major city like Dublin or London, then use a budget airline to get deeper into Europe.
You hit on a great point. So many people think it’s super hard or prohibitively expensive. It doesn’t have to be.
How did you like couchsurfing? I have a friend who is a big fan but I never tried it myself.
I am hoping to do a little traveling in November. Florida for a wedding and a 6-day cruise out of Miami before heading back. All air travel provided by my miles credit card, and cruise is on the cheap! I will say, it does get a bit more complicated when planning trips with young kids.
You can get cruises really cheap if you plan it right. Depending on how old your kids are, they might be able to get their own room for no extra cost. You pay for cruises by the person, not by the cabin, so older kids can stay in the room next door for free sometimes.
We traveled internationally about once a year in our 20s, but are slowing down a lot now. For the next few years we’ll travel within the US. There are so many places we haven’t been so it will still be a lot of fun.
One of my life list goals is to visit every US state. We have such a big country, there is a lot to see and do here.
Travel is a life experience and we make it a priority. I found paid work that requires extensive international travel that puts us on he road 2/3’s of the year. We travel a lot as a family when possible and stay for months at a time in countries all over the globe a couple times a year. We just Go for it!!!
That sounds awesome! What do you do that pays for your travel around the world?
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