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Want to travel more? Avoid these 5 common mistakes

Want to travel more? Avoid these 5 common mistakes

What if you could take 15, 20 or 30 trips a year? Imagine if you could be looking out of the window of the plane as you land in your dream destination right now…

I know it might seem far off, but traveling more often is within reach. And, may be a lot more doable than you think.

So what’s keeping you at home? Let me guess…

Time? Money? Juggling schedules?

I get it, intrepid young professionals (like you and me) want to build meaningful lives, and not waste time. But we’ve got jobs, bills and responsibilities. But there’s a way to transform your lifestyle.

I spend 60-80 days of the year traveling for fun, while working my full time job and people always ask me, “How do you do it?” Well, first things first, I make it a priority. Next, I plan my vacations to maximize my time and money. And, I can show you how to do the same!

If you know that traveling more often would be your dream come true, let’s talk about how to make that happen. I going to share five common mistakes that make it hard to travel and give you my secrets for overcoming them.

1. Traveling during your destination’s high season  

High season for a destination is the time of year when the most tourists are visiting. When the demand increases at that time of year, the prices also go up…way up. If you travel during high season,  airfare, hotels and activities will cost more.

If the high cost of travel is what keeps you sitting on your couch, then let’s talk about timing your trip. People book trips on auto-pilot, traveling when it’s most convenient for work or school. But, everyone’s traveling at that same time, so you pay more and travel less often.

The budget for a single high-season trip could cover two or three trips during low season. That means you’d be able to afford twice as many trips.

Generally speaking, the times to avoid are holidays and mid-summer. Around Christmas and New Year’s, pretty much everywhere will be more expensive. While it’s convenient to travel over the holidays to use less vacation time, it will cost you. If possible, travel in the first two weeks of December or last two weeks of January for better prices.

For winter-sport destinations like Whistler or Vale, you’ll see a price jump in the winter. You’ll also see a price increase in sunny spots, where people go to escape the cold. Destinations like Hawaii and the Caribbean see big spikes.

Summer is peak season for much of Europe, Asia, North America and South America. But many parts of Africa and the Middle East experience low season because of the extreme heat. If you can stand the temperatures, you’ll get a great deal.

2. Assuming you have to pay for your entire vacation up front

Looking at the price tag for a trip can be intimidating, so much so that people stay home! While there are costs to being able to travel, remember, you don’t have to incur the entire cost all at once. Don’t avoid booking a trip because you don’t have all the money set aside already. If you’re planning ahead for a vacation (as most people do), you’ll have weeks or months to fund your trip.

Here’s how to approach planning the trip if you don’t want to pay for it in a lump sum. List out the expenses (airfare, accommodations, food, etc.) and any deadlines. Keep in mind what’s best to book in advance and what you can buy right before or during the trip.

Paying a few hundred dollars toward your trip a month will feel much more manageable. In the first month you can buy your airfare. In the following weeks start putting down deposits on your other expenses. You can reserve hotels, rental cars and activities with a deposit and pay when you arrive.

Once you know your total expenses, add in estimates for the cost of food, souvenirs and an emergency fund. Then break that down into monthly or weekly savings goals. You can also make hitting those savings goals much easier by getting a side gig.

3. Always traveling with a big group of people or avoiding solo travel

I love traveling with my friends and family. We always have an amazing time once we arrive, but scheduling the trip is a different story. Oh, scheduling a trip with a group of people is the worst.

I’ve been in many a group chat where everyone was on board for a trip, but when it came time to book no one could commit. They had to check vacation days, confirm with SOs, get a dog sitter or align all their chakras before saying “yes.” More often than not, something would fall through or the deal would expire. The amazing trip we planned became another passing conversation.

Don’t let that keep you at home!

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t travel with friends. I’m suggesting you mix it up so you can travel more often. If you want to travel, find one good friend who is as committed as you are to making it happen. Or if you put an invite out to your group and only one says “yes,” move forward as a duo. You’ll only have to juggle two calendars, which will make taking action easier.

If you’re willing to take it a step further, try solo travel. Going alone means you can travel as often as your schedule allows. If you get special holidays or have a quiet season at your job, take advantage of these by planning a solo trip. I swear you won’t regret it.

4. Being ultra picky about your destination

Flexibility is the golden ticket to make nonstop travel possible. If traveling the world is your ultimate goal, be open to new and interesting destinations. If you’re too picky you may end up staying at home because you never find the “perfect time” to visit your dream locale.

While ticking off places on your bucket list you can mix in places that you can see on a great deal. Look for inexpensive destinations or short travel time, rather than an exact location. I like to say “instead of picking your destination, let your destination pick you.” If you are flexible about your destination, you can double or triple your time and money for vacation.

Start by making a list of 15-20 places you’re interested in visiting. Then sign up for newsletters like The Flight Deal or TravelZoo to get daily alerts on travel deals. By expanding your horizons, you increase the probability of finding deals you want.

A few years ago I came across a great deal on flights to St. Petersburg, Russia. I never had any intention of visiting Russia, but I was open to the experience once the opportunity arose. I bought the ticket and got to live it up in St. Petersburg and Moscow for 10 days.

5. Leaving vacation coverage planning up to your company or boss

It’s easier to take vacations and get more time on them when you take a proactive approach at work. Do yourself and your team a favor by planning ahead for your new jetset life. Starting now.

Don’t rely on your company or boss to have a good plan for how to cover your work while you’re away. Most companies don’t have good solutions and everyone scrambles to pick up the slack. But, if you plan ahead it provides time for you to prepare your co-workers, and a path to taking more time off.

In Europe, employees are cross trained to ensure several people can complete a task. This involves training an employee to do a different part of the organization’s work. It’s good for managers because it provides more flexibility to get work done. And it’s good for employees because it helps them learn new skills and increase their value to their firm.

You can propose implementing this type of program at work. But your you don’t have to wait for this to become your company’s policy! Start a program among your team or within your department.

This will benefit everyone and ensure vacations aren’t disruptive. This approach could make it easier for you to not only take the time you have, but to ask for more. Meaning everyone can travel more often!

Keep reading… now that you know the 5 travel mistakes, I’ve created a DETAILED, free cheat sheet to help you with your first (or next!) trip…

My wish for you is that you spend less and travel more. If a life of nonstop adventure sounds appealing to you, then you’re in the right place.

If you’re curious about how to make your travels more affordable, this is where to start. I’ve compiled a list of 5 instant ways to spend less on your next trip. Click here now to get that list!

Natasha co-hosts the No Foreign Lands podcast, and has yet to meet a carb she didn't like. She hails from the Pacific Northwest, a.k.a., home of the best seafood, the best apples and the best ode to booty ever. Natasha doesn't believe in snow or too much hot sauce. While she's usually too busy living inside a moment not taking pictures to save it, you can sometimes find her on the net @heynatashaboo.

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