I grew up hearing about the hopes and desires of friends and family members to travel. Oh how my family wanted to go to Ireland, how they were all going to plan a trip there next summer. That was 25 years ago, and none of them have gone. The same yearly plans are expressed with enthusiasm and authenticity, but every year the moment passes them by. Friends who talk about places they want to go, but never do. Hell, I can’t say I haven’t fallen into this pattern of talking about what could be but then find that, because of my unwillingness to act, it never will be. Let us all be honest, traveling is not easy, it is not convenient, and it is rarely cheap. Of course there are those who have remarkable resources that allows them to go wherever whenever, but lets agree that that is the minority. I’m talking to the majority of us. Those that have a difficult time finding how they will get the days necessary off work to be able to go on a trip. The people who can’t seem to find where it is that they will pull together the funds to go where they want to go. It is hardly ever convenient to go on a trip and it is unlikely to be an expense that can be explained sensibly to your financial advisor. Traveling is an experience. One that you can’t put a dollar value on. Sure, the tickets will cost money, the food and lodging cost money. That can be assessed a value. But the experiences you gain are absolutely priceless. I learned a long time ago, that if you are always going to wait till every thing in your life lines up perfectly before making The Purchase, you may be waiting a very long time. You do not want to be an old man or an old lady, sitting with aching joints and a constant need to nap, wishing you had gone on that adventure you so desired, but never found the time to do so. Regret will be a miserable burden, so rid yourself of it now. I understand it may be scary, you may not know how you will manage it, but just do it!
Let us tackle a few of the typical barriers that keep people from moving forward with their adventure and the steps necessary to finally break through the procrastination and make the trip happen. This works for more things than just travel, but that will be our focus. First thing you need to do, above all else, is set the date. Go into your calendar, go a few months out, and pick a bloody date. You know what you have planned? Probably nothing. Unless you have a remarkably unique job, you likely don’t have your weekends scheduled six months out. So go into that calendar and pick the dates. Whether it is for a camping trip a few hours away or a multi-week overseas trip, pick the dates. Of course, the dates might change with availably of fights, but at least you are making honest plans to be going somewhere. And if there are other people involved, it makes the even much more concrete. Putting a date to something makes it real, more real than just talking about the obscurity of a “one day we should go” conversation.
Secondly, buy IT! Oh how this is the most exciting and frightening of moments. The "Come To Jesus Moment”, if you will. What about the hotels, or the food, or if I will rent a car, or blah blah blah! Stop it, will you!? What is “IT” you ask? IT is the plane ticket for the trip that you always put off, the tent and backpack you need if you ever want to start muti-day hikes, the tickets to the show that you have been waiting for, whatever IT is to make your adventure happen. The details of your trip often become the excuses to why we don’t act. The purpose of making the move to buy IT, is to force yourself to act. Buy your roundtrip ticket. Do IT! You know what this does? It forces you to figure the rest out. Once the flight is booked you have no choice but to find a way to make the whole thing work. You will find that it isn’t as complicated as you may have made it out to be. You are more resourceful and more capable than you may give yourself credit for. Once booked, there is no turning back. You are going. Worst case scenario, you go there with no plan at all, and get lost in the city/country. That’s fine! Some of my best experiences have come from allowing my self to get lost, as I often proclaim. Your first night in a hostel will undoubtedly provide you with plenty of advice from fellow travelers and employees. The whole purpose of just buying IT, is to eliminate excuses and procrastination. You will figure out the details later, and you will figure out how out how to budget for it. Why? Cause you bloody well have to, cause you are going! No changing that now. So light that fire under your ass, and buy the damn thing! Buy IT!
Money. Oh curse it. The burden of finding a way to budget for a trip. It can be so daunting and seemingly impossible to find a way to fund a trip. The purpose of this post is not to show you exactly how to budget and fund a trip, that will be another full post; however, I will provide some information that may help you eliminate the trepidation that is keeping you from acting. Traveling, as mentioned earlier, will cost money. There are plenty of ways to find the cheaper flights, the best value hostels, and cheapest rental cars, but it will still cost money. My first recommendation to tackle this obstacle is to get a travel credit card. Venture One from Capital One and the Chase Sapphire cards are solid. They work for anything travel related; like flights, hotels, shows, rental cars, trains, etc. As long as you are responsible and pay off your credit cards, these are great options that have provided me dozens of free flights and travel expenses. FREE MONEY for the responsible spender!
Now, If you booked your flight for six months from now, lets see how easy it is to save money for this. A coffee a day, two lunches out a week, one dinner out a week, two six packs a week, etc. These are all things, that if one was eliminated, could provide you nearly 1k for your trip. It is about prioritizing your money. Little things can add up. I started putting every $5 bill I got into my travel bucket, and most trips I go on I have enough money in that bucket to pay for all my food and most of my activities for that trip. Between my travel credit cards and my putting cash aside, most of my trips don’t end up being anything that dents my bank account. Jayme and me put this to work for our trip to Morocco, Portugal and Spain next year. Both of our flights were free and we will have enough money put aside using this trick to pay for our rental car and 75% of our lodging and food for the three weeks. I make coffee at home rather than buying it out and I eat out two less days a week. These small moves are paying for our trip. So please, prioritize your spending, put your five and single bills away, and if you can, use a travel credit card for your purchases.
Final note. I am writing this post to try and get everyone to act. A simple process can help give you a life of adventure and not one of regrets and stagnation. Set a date, and buy IT. Don’t wait. DO! Buy the bloody ticket, the backpack and gear, book the camp site, and go on your merry way. You won’t regret it, not like you will if you wait. Trust me.
As always, comment below. If you procrastinate on your adventures and can’t seem to be able to pull the trigger, share with us. We all need a swift kick in the ass sometimes. We may be the right foot for the job! If you broke the procrastination cycle, I’d love to hear what you did to finally end the hesitation and pull the trigger.