We are into February of 2020, and hopefully, you are still on track with the New Year's resolutions you made on January first. Along with the big ones of losing weight, eating better, and going to the gym more often, a lot of people told me they planned to vacation more. That is music to my ears both in helping them plan trips and what traveling more means to different people. After hearing this come up a few times, I decided to think about the way I plan to "travel more" in 2020. And here they are.
1) I am a planner, no surprise, so my husband and I discuss one or two big journeys we want to take each year. These usually happen in the summer and at the end of the year. To have the most flight options, we think about the trips a year in advance. We then look into flights and try to plan it so that our longest flight comes first and then add a flight or train ride to our final destination. Since the flights are yours as soon as you purchase them, it is a good idea to do this part of your trip first. Because if you have flexible dates, you can always add on or take away a night at a hotel to get the best routes and prices when flying. Our big trips for 2020 include China and a Danube River cruise.
2) Next, I think about some shorter trips. These can include a short cruise or a long weekend, either driving or flying in the USA. For us, this will consist of a cruise on the new cruise ship Scarlet Lady by Virgin Voyages. The whole point of this cruise is to relax and unplug from work. We have another long weekend trip in the works for Napa Valley and maybe Austin, Texas, or New York City. The critical thing to remember with these trips is to plan some downtime. We pick one site or a couple of dinners and then leave the rest of the time open to walk around the city, or relax at the hotel. Some people can take these types of trips at home, a staycation, but make sure you are not building a massive chore list for yourself. If you do decide to stay home and relax, do it! Pick a place in your hometown that you have never been to or don't often visit and check it out. My husband and I will schedule a cooking class in our hometown and treat it as a mini-vacation because it is different and allows us to get out of the house, but not have to worry about traveling too far or booking a hotel room.
3) The last thing to think about is your MAJOR trips! For me, this would include an African safari, Antarctica, Dubai, and the South Pacific. This list is continuously changing as I talk to people about places they are traveled and read articles and see pictures of amazing destinations. These trips take time to plan not only in terms of budget and time but also what do we want to see and do. What things do we have to see in the location, and how is the best way to do them. I have files in my office and on my computer for each of our MAJOR destinations. I treat these trips as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I want to be aware of as much as possible so that we can decide our list of priorities. People often ask how are these types of trips feasible if you take other trips throughout the year. The reason we plan our travel schedule out so far in advance is so that we can adjust our travel lengths and take a few shorter trips and then have one MAJOR trip that year.
I treat a vacation just like any large purchase, such as buying a vehicle or a downpayment for a house. If that is my end goal, what do I need to do to get there? For me, I know I need to set aside time and money, but I also need some smaller goals and breaks along the way. Traveling provides such a great reset, and I think the anticipation of a trip is just as much of a mood booster as the trip itself.
"Traveling more" is different for everyone. I think the first step is to have a plan and start with those MAJOR trips! Think about when you will be able to fit those into your life and do it. But along the way, don't forget to take a shorter trip just to relax and stay curious about the world.