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Plan an Epic Year of Travel in 4 Easy Steps

Plan a year's worth of amazing trips, and actually follow through!

a group of travelers jumping on the beach

Greetings adventurers! The New Year is quickly approaching! Everyone seems to be recapping their last year, dreaming about the next one, and putting the final touches on their resolutions for when the calendar flips in a few weeks. 

A resolution that seems to come up a lot in my social circles is wanting to travel more. And trust me, I get it! Everyone wants to see more of the world. You’ll never see me encouraging anyone to travel less in the new year that’s for sure!

The problem arises when these resolutions have to become actions. It’s very easy to dream big, and then stumble when reality sets in. Life gets in the way, and those travel dreams get pushed off with a “maybe next year.”

So let’s avoid that shall we? 

Goals (travel or otherwise) work best when they are specific, and strike the right balance between exciting and attainable. What does this look like with travel goals? Let’s do this together. Here we go!

Step 1 - Daydream

This is an absolutely essential step, so don’t skip it!

Sit down and make a list of all the places you’d love to visit in the next year. Don’t think too hard about logistics yet. We’ll get to that soon. For now, just make a list of anywhere that sounds awesome!

Be specific. Don’t say “a beach vacation”. Say “the Outer Banks, NC” or “Aruba.” Do some research if you don’t have an exact destination in mind yet.

Dream big and dream small. Make sure your list covers everything from that city in the neighboring state that you haven’t visited yet, to that two-week tour of New Zealand, and everything in between. 

Put it all down on paper! Daydream to your heart’s content! And when you have a good long list, move on to Step 2

Step 2 - Run the Numbers

a map with travel pins

Here’s where reality comes in. Sit down with your work schedule, your accumulated PTO, your pocketbook, your responsibilities and obligations… anything that affects your capacity for travel, and get real about the possibilities.

Then choose how many times you’d like to travel in the upcoming year. Would you rather take a few short trips, or one long trip? 

What is your travel budget like for this year? Do you have the funds for multiple flights and hotels? Can any of those flights be international, or is domestic more your jam this time around? Can you splurge on some luxury travel, or are you going to be looking for budget options? How many days can you spend on the road, and how much can you spend while you do?

Getting your ducks in a row on your resources is a crucial step that queues you up for Step 3!

Step 3 - Matching Games

snow covered mountains viewed from an airplane window

Now that you have both your dreams and your resources in hand, it’s time to match them up! How many trips does your schedule allow this year? Which destinations from your list are both exciting and within your means? Shuffle your potential destinations around until you have a set of trips you like! Compare one long trip to an international destination against two or three shorter domestic ones and see what sounds better to you.

For one traveler, the perfect setup for a year of travel might look like a single ten-day European vacation and a quick road trip to visit relatives for the holidays. For someone else, it might look like a four-day weekend out of town every few months. Sit down with your metrics and build a sketch like this that excites you!

Step 4 - Start Planning!

Sit down with a calendar and sketch out when you might want to take these trips. You don’t need to pick exact dates, but having a general range (ie: “I’ll go to NYC in late May” or “I’d like to take a cruise over the winter holidays), will help you with your planning and research.

It may be way too early to book some of the travel you’re looking at, but you can set up flight alerts to your top destinations, do some cursory hotel searches, and read travel blogs and tourism sites to gather ideas about what you’d like to do on these trips! I’m a big fan of making a new Pinterest board anytime I start planning a new trip to hold all my ideas.

And perhaps most important of all, set yourself a book-by date. Put a notification in your calendar or a note in your journal. I’d put this date 4-8 weeks out from your trip, depending on your destination. (Longer for international or high-tourist-traffic destinations, shorter for domestic or quieter destinations.) 

Whether or not you actually book on this day is not the point. The point of setting this date is to remind yourself of all these plans you sat down and made. This way, when life does what life does best and gets in the way, your calendar will remind you about the trip you wanted to take, just in time for you to take stock and do something about it!

mountains and desert viewed from an airplane window

Travel Planning is Easy When you Have the Right Strategies!

Meeting your travel goals is all about staying on top of your plans and sticking to what you want. Dream big, and good luck! See you in 2024!

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Love and Shenanigans,


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