How to Travel
So, you want to travel, but aren’t sure how to get started. What’s keeping you? Maybe it’s finances or fear of the unknown? Maybe you can’t afford to take time off work or you have responsibilities, such as family or pets. I have news for you. There’s always going to be reasons why you can’t do something. That’s between you, your fears, and how bad you want it. So, I will remind you of the old adage: “When you really want something, you’ll make it happen.” So, if you’re ready, but just need that final push, here’s how you do it.
Take a trip locally. What are some local attractions in your area? Plan a bike ride around a local park and have a picnic lunch. Make a day of it at the zoo or aquarium. Go canoeing or hiking on a local trail. Spend the day at the beach. Small steps do wonders for your self-confidence. Once you realize what a great time you had, you’ll be left wanting more.
Once you are itching to expand your horizons beyond the occasional day trip, move on to weekend trips. Are there interesting things to do and see a short drive away from your hometown? Go on an overnight camping trip. Spend the weekend in the city or by the beach. Rent a cabin in the mountains. Keep it short and sweet and you’ll realize that you didn’t need to spend any vacation days, and spending on a two-day adventure didn’t exactly break the bank. Better yet, invite friends or family to join you and you can split the bill for shared accommodations, gas, and food.
Now that you’ve mastered the art of the weekend trip. You’ve graduated to long-weekend trips. You’re still not killing any vacation time at work if you’re taking advantage of holidays, and you may even feel inclined to drive a little further now that you have the extra time. These pretty much work like weekend trips, only spending will be doubled. Keep costs down by planning activities that don’t cost a thing: sight-seeing, biking, hiking, swimming, window-shopping, etc.
Everyone needs a break from home every once in a while. So, if you’ve seen what there is to see in your area, try exploring places across state-lines. Sure the drive is longer, but these can easily be done over a long weekend, so again, no need to kill your vacation time. There’s nothing really new on this type of trip other than the drive is a little longer and the attractions are brand new, which in itself makes it worth the drive. Once you’re comfortable with visiting neighboring states, you guessed it: keep pushing boundaries. Finally cash in some of that vacation time you’ve been saving up and take a cross-country road trip, or if it’s in your budget fly to your next destination over a long weekend and save that vacation time! Short and sweet is the secret to frequent travel, and no less enjoyable!
Before you jump into international trips, take one more step to build up your confidence and visit states or U.S. Territories off the mainland, such as: Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Alaska (almost off the mainland). Visiting these places doesn’t require a passport, and these still fall under U.S. law, so despite their definitive exotic appeal, they also lend an air of familiarity which makes for a good transition into the unknown.
Finally, the holy grail of traveling internationally is within reach and your comfort level won’t need to be stretched too thin. Once you’ve gotten your passport in the mail and you’re ready to choose your destination, consider one where English is commonly spoken. The United Kingdom and Australia sound great, but they are also far away and expensive. For starters, try heading to Canada and visiting Niagara Falls, or taking in the sights in Vancouver. Next, try Europe; English is commonly spoken in many of its countries, and getting around is not too much of a hassle. Once you’re comfortable with international travel, it won’t be a reach to try places like Japan, Thailand, or finally Australia.
After 20 years of traveling the world, I’m still pushing my limits. Traveling further each time and to more exotic places where the cultures vary dramatically from my own. Some places on my bucket list include: Iceland, South Africa, Vietnam, New Zealand, and Peru. If you really have the desire, it’s possible. All you have to do is take it one step at a time, or if you’re up to it, skipping a few if you’re inclined to reach the end goal quicker. Soon, traveling outside of your comfort zone will be second nature and one exciting adventure after another! So, what are you waiting for?! Get going!