Think of all the ideas that bombard us throughout the day. The rat race. The bills. The to-do list that keeps growing. The insatiable urge to just get away.
Whether it’s a long-overdue whirlwind honeymoon, cross-country road trip, or a backpacking trek through Europe and Asia, where there’s a will, there’s a way. But not it’s not as easy as how you dream it.
Here’s what you need to do to get started:
Maybe you have a list of places you’ve always wanted to visit, found some inspiration from your favorite TV show, or perhaps you just closed your eyes and placed your finger on a world map. No matter how you spin it, your curiosity is piqued.
Every time you book a flight, the first question you need to answer is always “Where?” Your answer to this question is the first step that commits you to all that follows.
If you still have a jumbled up mind on where to go, create a list of the places you’ve been urging to visit and rank them by how much you want to go there and how soon.
Be specific. For example, you want to visit the colorful culture of South East Asia; where Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, Philippines, South Korea, and other countries reside. Within those countries are cities, provinces, or landmarks that offer different experiences.
Your choice of a destination sets everything in motion, so be sure to get to know all about where you’re headed. The internet, travel advisors, and your escape artist friends are there to help.
Of course you’d like to know when the best time of year to visit is, and “best” could mean anything from “cheapest” to “most beautiful.”
Learn about the food, language, culture, and laws. Also learn about the economy, especially the exchange rate and purchasing power of your currency in their country. This way you’ll have an idea of how much money you will bring.
What next? Make it official and write it down.
By writing it down, you make a commitment. Whether you post your destination on social media, stick it on your refrigerator, or talk about it at work, the more you do to internalize your goal increases your chances of making it come true.
Do the Math
There are a number of things to account for when planning your dream vacation: travel expenses, hotel stay, food, and shopping to name a few.
Look for travel discounts and airfare promos. Your airfare and hotel stay is heavily influenced by seasonal fluctuations in price. By following different airlines and travel agencies on social media, you can track these fluctuations in travel costs during the course of a year to get the best rates.
Once you’ve got an estimate on how much you need to save, calculate how you can divide this amount into a feasible monthly allocation.
Count the number of months or pay periods during which you need to set aside money for your travels. For example, say the total expenses you will need for your travel is up to $10,000 USD, and you need to be there in 12 months. $10,000 USD divided by 12 is equal to around $834 USD a month, meaning that this is the total savings allocation you will need to have per month.
Now this is where most people fail; saving enough cash for their dream destination. And this largely relies on how they set their monthly budgets.
Most of the time, we use this formula for saving:
Income – Expenses = Savings
Which, more often than not, leaves us just spare change to keep per month. And in order to accommodate the monthly budget allocation you need for your dream travel, you’ll probably need to do some rearranging.
You’ll need to modify that simple equation into:
Income – Emergency Funds (10%) – Target Savings (per month/payday) = Expenses
Notice how this new equation prioritizes savings over expenses. It’s time to change your way of thinking so that you save before you spend.
Take an honest look at your spending habits and make a list. This includes monthly expenses (such as fixed expenses like rent and utilities, to flexible ones like transportation, and food) as well as discretionary expenses. Compare these to your monthly income and see where you can cut down on expenses and start saving.
Don’t lose sight of the big picture. You’ve made your vacation a priority, so think long and hard about what expenses are taking away from your ability to save for your dream destination, and make your cuts. Whether that means cooking your own meals, making your own coffee, or downgrading your mobile phone plan, your list of expenses is a list of opportunities for you to convert into savings.
And if you’re prone to impulse shopping, stay away from sales at your local mall or shopping online.
What if your salary isn’t enough, or is barely enough?
For many of us who live from payday to payday, the math isn’t in our favor when it comes to the equation. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to call it quits on your dream destination.
Stretch your earning capacity.
The good news is that you could earn more than you already are. There are a number of ways you can make money, even if it means taking on another job. Online work is always an option, and you can leverage your skills and your time to earn enough money.
Look around your home and appraise the value of the things you already own. How many of those items still hold value to you? Do you think someone else might have use for them?
Gather up the things that you think would be in a well-enough condition to be sold. Open up that bulging closet and dig deep to the clothes you haven’t worn for a long time.
The most common way to earn money from this stash is to have yard sale, or join an auction to bid off some of your collectibles; but it could be time consuming, especially if you don’t have anyone to watch over it.
Luckily, with the rise of social media and the internet, it is even easier to sell your things online while still leaving enough time for your day job. From a Facebook shop page and a simple Instagram account, to a professional online clothing store, earning money could be a breeze.
Lastly, stoke the flames of your new passion for travelling by considering starting a travel blog.
Use this opportunity to tell your story, keep track of your progress, and gain followers that could cheer you on. With enough followers and a strong social media presence, your blog can lead to an income stream for your dream vacation. You’ll just have to know the ways to increase website traffic and how you can actually earn money from your blog.
Are your bags packed and ready to go? Let us know by leaving a comment below.