Have you ever wanted to travel to somewhere new but, did not know where to go? That is not an uncommon question that I hear from many people who are getting ready to take off for parts unknown.
There are so many things to keep in mind when deciding what to do and where to go. Lets start with the basics.
How much money do you actually have to spend? If you have been reading my blog all along it is all about comfort before, during and after vacation. If you have to take out a small home equity loan to fund your trip. Well, does that make you feel relaxed? I do not recommend taking the dream vacation of a lifetime only to find out it has become a nightmare to pay back.
Everyone knows what their personal budget is. If you have money to burn and luxury is your mode of travel then break open the bank and jump in with both feet and if you are able fly in a private jet. It is not bad if you have people to share the cost with.
If that is not your plan and you want to have the trip of a lifetime on a shoe string then it also has its challenges. I have read about people who have finally done away with money and travel in a van and use solar power for heating and washing. They also sleep in their van in various and sundry places around the North American continent. If that makes you feel like you have landed the lottery go for it.
If you are somewhere in the middle you need to decide. How much money can you afford to take that vacation? You can have the vacation of a lifetime if you plan. I know that is boring and self gratifying immediately but, if you plan the right way you can have the most amazing journey no matter where in the world you would like to go. If you are planning as a solo traveler, couple or family each has its own set of unique circumstances and goals.
Do you want to fly or is it worth it to drive 18 hours to Disneyland and save the hassle of the airport, luggage fees, eating at the airport, baggage pick-up, car rental pick up , car rental drop off and all of that outside noise. For families it can be challenging to drive a long distance but, look at the perks. You stop when you want. You can pack any food you want. You can pack as much or little luggage as the car can hold. You get to take your time and have your car to drive.
Of course the down side will be the miles you place on the car and wear and tear on your vehicle. The positive is family time or friend time. You can plan that trip and then hit Disney or where ever and not worry about missing a flight. You just have to plan properly so you will have enough time to drive home.
Think of it this way. By the time you read this blog look at the clock 18 hours later. Where are you now? Most of us are still home or at least in the same town , state or country they started in when they first read this. I always say to people so if it takes 18 hours to drive where would you be anyway 18 hours from now. A road trip is amazing if you do not put pressure on yourself. Not highly recommended for people who do not know how to relax in life or especially during vacations. For those of you who like to relax it is an amazing journey.
So its all about the cash to start. You have to plan on what your budget allows or increase your focus and have the goal in mind and plan. So what if it takes you a year or so to get to Fiji. If it is all paid for and you have money to spare who is having the best vacation of all?
What do You Love to Do?
That is the other part of the puzzle. What do you love to do? What would you really like to experience. I have been on vacations that I reluctantly took with one person and never did we ever enjoy the same thing. It was like going to the dentist and having a drilling without novocaine. Honestly, my idea and their ideas were so off the mark. I enjoy off the beaten path type of things to explore. The person I was with was not one to explore new things and booked every excursion and event that I never was ever interested in. Granted, you can find the good in all things but, this did not add to the vacation at all.
You need to know what it is that you are willing to compromise on if you are traveling with someone and what is a deal breaker. You will be going to places you have never traveled to and what do you want to experience. Make it something that you cannot do at home! Why look for a chain restaurant or deli to go to. Really! Where is your sense of adventure. Ok now I am just expressing myself but think about it. When I was in India I decided to go exploring. Maybe not the best idea alone but, I was safe and saw things that no one in my group knew existed. I took the advice of the person at the hotel and went on a journey to see simple things and they have stayed with me to this day.
When Are You Able to Do This?
When is a good question. If you think outside the box and travel during the off season you will have bargain airfare, hotels, car rentals, etc.. If you are going to Europe you need to be aware of the exchange rate. Possibly pick up money ahead of time when the Euro to Dollar conversion is in your favor. Just keep watching the exchange rate. One thing to make sure of is to call your credit card company and let them know you are going to Europe so you are able to use your card. Make sure you can use your ATM card as well. It will save you lots of time,money and headaches when you return home.
Exercise a great deal of care when handling your money. Know that smaller bills are appreciated in shops, taxis, restaurants and most places. It is not uncommon to receive a look of disgust in Europe if you do not have smaller bills. So insist if you are picking up money at your bank that they have smaller bills. Word of caution. The exchange rate at your bank is usually done with a 10 per cent increase. They are legally allowed to charge you for the conversion rate. My recommendation is take out approximately 500 Euro or less. Have it as emergency money and use your card for the rest of your purchases. You just never know when an emergency might pop up.
Zombies are everywhere! So think about where you want to go. Dream- LARGE. It is your life. You get one shot at having fun, exploring and learning new things. I also highly recommend learning key phrases in the languages of the countries you are going to visit.
If you are going around the United States find out where you want to go. I recommend all the states. I love Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Maine,Texas and Florida. In Europe I enjoy Spain, France and for the UK- Wales, Scotland and England. There are more places in the world I have seen and places I love to visit. I enjoy Scuba diving, hiking, wine tasting, exploring and just general knocking around the Earth. I have plans to see Australia, New Zealand, and places beyond. Fiji is on my radar screen. Where do you like to go and when will you get there. Enjoy your life. Dream big everyday and remember to just explore where you live. Hope to hear from you soon. You are the best person you know. Remember to create a list.
Remember first and foremost. Before, you go out on the next big adventure of your life. First write down a list of what you are grateful for right now. That is right my friend. Right now! If you are not feeling it just do it anyway. You cannot go anywhere in life if first you are not grateful for where you are. Who you are! What you have already in your reach!