So you want to travel more? Don’t we all! One of the most frequent questions I get is, “how do you travel so much?” People assume that I have a ton more vacation time, disposable income, or some magic unicorn that’s getting me around the world. One of the main goals of Mari On The Map is to show you that the only thing that sets me apart from the average person is that I say “yes”.
What does that mean? It means that I’m a person who wants to have new and enriching experiences, so instead of finding a reason to say no—like time, money, general aversion to change—I find a reason to say yes. I want you to find the yes for you, so you can travel more! That’s why I’m dispelling typical reasons someone says “no” to travel to inspire you to start checking things off your bucket lists.
“I don’t have enough money.”
I hear ya. Travel can be very expensive, but I’ve learned a few tricks along the way to help make it more affordable.
The first is travel more to places out of season. Go to Europe in the winter (imagine how romantic Paris would be in the snow!). Hit up tropical locales in the summer. Visit just about anywhere in September, which is the lowest month for travel because there are few holidays and kids are back in school. You can get some great deals by not going during peak season.
Second, deal sites are your friend. I’ve used basically all of them, but here are of my favorites: CheapCaribbean.com is for all inclusive deals in the Caribbean and Central America. I booked with them to go to the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Panama. Travelzoo has all kinds of vacation deals (check out the Top 20 for the best deals). Fareness helps with finding the cheapest dates to fly to a specific destination or helps you choose a destination based on price/category. Cheap Caribbean actually gave me a discount on a subsequent vacation because it rained one of the days I was away, and they were doing a “no rain guarantee” deal. Amazing!
Third, know when to book your travel. The cheapest time to book a flight is between 89-151 days before you plan to leave. You’re literally wasting money if you book outside of this time period. Many sites like Kayak will also tell you to wait to book a flight when it seems like the fare is going to drop soon. And don’t forget to use a private browser or clear your cache/cookies. The Internet trolls are tracking you and will jack up the price of a flight if they think you’re likely to book—no worries, you can outsmart them!
Finally, put down the Starbucks (or whatever it is that you’re wasting your disposable income on!). Take a hard look at where your money is going and consider if you need that new shirt, skinny latte, premium cable channel, or whatever it is. Do you need it more than you need to swim in the Indian Ocean, snuggle a koala, ski the Alps, or <insert your bucket list item here>? If the answer is no, make a change and sock away those dolla dolla bills, so you can buy experiences not stuff.
“I don’t have enough time.”
This is one of my favorite travel myths to dispel because I once felt this way, too. As a recent college graduate, I once only had 10 days of PTO (sad and wrong—don’t settle for this!). I had tasted the sweet elixir of travel, and I wanted to travel more, but I had almost no time off of work. So I got creative.
We are fortunate in the US that we get a decent amount of long weekends around holidays like Memorial Day, Labor Day, Presidents’ Day, etc. Use these to your advantage. If you want to take a trip somewhere, plan it around one of these weekends to milk every last moment out of your precious vacation days.
If you’re willing to take red eyes, which I highly recommend for travel to Europe, you can leave after work on a Thursday, and spend Friday-Monday in Italy! (read: How to Avoid Jet Lag). Be willing to take quick trips, or use those free days off to save on a longer trip, making a weekend to weekend trip only four days off of work.
“I don’t like to fly.”
I used to be afraid to fly. As a kid, I was fine. But once I realized that I could actually die, I was like oh, sh*t, do I really want to do this? (read: plane crashes are highly unlikely, which you know because, like me, you are a logical being!). I’m not afraid to fly anymore. It’s primarily because of something simple a wise person once told me—think of turbulence like a pothole in the road. We go over them all the time in our cars, and the majority of the time, it’s nothing and you continue on your way. It doesn’t mean the plane is going down. Now, I’m more afraid to regret not seeing the world.
I realize something this simple might not work for everyone, so why not plan a trip sans plane? Road trips, cruises, and train trips are all amazing ways to see your country and other countries without ever having to get on a plane. Get creative, so you can travel more!
“I don’t like change.”
Now, this one is not something that most people are willing to say out loud. But for many, if you dig deep, this is the reason why you aren’t traveling. I get it—change is hard. We as humans are wired against change. That’s why so many people look back on their lives with regrets. There was a time in my life where I identified with each of the nays above. As I got out there more, I saw first-hand all the world has to offer. That will make anymore more afraid to not travel more and live life wondering, “what if?”.
So how do you learn to be a person who is comfortable being “uncomfortable”? The first step is making a conscious choice to face your fears. What is it about change that scares you? Is it a feeling of being out of control? Is it generally just a fear of the unknown? Whatever it is, conquering your fears starts with facing them. Sometimes the best way to do this is to start small.
So maybe you’re not going to book a one way ticket to India on your first big international trip. But think about where you could go that would check off all of the criteria to make you comfortable. For example, you live in the northern US, don’t like to fly, and you want to go somewhere without a language barrier. Okay, hop in your car and drive to Canada. For a city experience, Montreal and Vancouver are right over the border. If you like the country, check out Nova Scotia or Banff. It can be as simple as that if you just say “yes, I will travel more!”.
The Thousands of Other Excuses
There’s an endless list of other excuses, like “I’m too old,” “I have kids,” “I don’t like ethnic food,” “I can’t leave my dog,” and whatever else you can come up with. They’re all holding you back from living the life you want. Don’t let them! Be in charge of your destiny, surprise yourself, get out there and see the world!
You’ve already taken the first step by reading this blog post, so cheers to you! Now let’s move on to step number two. Identify where you’d like to go, and let’s add some checks to your bucket list. I’m happy to help: leave me a comment or send me an email!