No matter how big or small your travel goals may be, how soon you want to achieve them or how distant in the future they may seem, the sooner you start your journey towards reaching these goals, the sooner they will become a reality.
In Episode 12 of our Travel Podcast, we will discuss 5 important steps which we believe can help to make your travel dreams a reality.
To help you remember these 5 steps, Lisa came up with the (very cheesy) acronym DR CPR (the doctor that breathes life into your travel dreams!):
Define your travel goal (this is your where, why, when and what);
Research (the realities of your goal, budget required, practicalities, timing etc);
Commit to an achievable deadline/date and have this visible to remind you of its importance to you;
Prioritise (your spending, time and energy) - perhaps start a travel fund;
Re-evaluate regularly to keep yourself on track or adjust your goals accordingly;
So, how should you go about setting these 5 steps towards achieving your travel goals into motion?
1 - DEFINE YOUR TRAVEL GOAL
Defining YOUR travel goal is a very important start to your journey and one that is often overlooked or not given sufficient attention. No matter what you are setting out to achieve in life, the first step is to define that goal. Without a proper and well thought out definition of your travel goal, it will be much more difficult to focus your efforts in the correct direction. Establishing a clearly defined travel goal allows you to concentrate your efforts in order to allow you to reach that travel goal effectively.
We don't all have the same travel goals. Some of us may want to travel to particular places, some may want to travel once a year and others may be working towards a life of full-time travel. This is the time to reflect and ask yourself the following questions:
Where do you want to travel? Is this a particular destination, country or region? Do you want to travel close to home or further abroad?
Why do you want to travel? Are you in search of something or trying to get away from something?
When do you want to travel? Do you have a particular deadline or date in mind? Do you want to travel for short periods or full-time?
What do you want to achieve/learn from travel? Are you looking for a specific experience, adventure or cultural change?
Defining your travel goal in detail by asking these questions, will make achieving your travel dreams so much more worthwhile and rewarding.
2 - RESEARCH
Research is a very important part of both defining and achieving your travel goals. It is important to first research the realities of your travel goals in order to (for example) establish whether your travel expectations and your travel budget align. Initial research can also shed light on many aspects such as practicalities of your travel goals and may also influence the timing of your travels.
You can refer to our Travel Budget Reports to see what we have spent in various places while travelling. Or you can visit our Country Specific Guides cost section for up-to-date daily cost estimates dependant on your particular travel style.
Your research may include finding destinations most suited to you, or finding the appropriate season to experience certain tourist attractions such as the blossoms in Japan or the midnight sun in Iceland. It may include finding out what VISA requirements are for your nationality or what health risks need to be considered for your chosen travel destination. The list of research topics can potentially be endless, so perhaps consider starting with the following:
Travel time and cost to reach your destination (consider time zones and modes of transport);
Travel budget with regards to accommodation, food and drink, local transportation and sightseeing or activities;
Travel and health insurance including possible health risks and travel advisories;
VISA or entry requirements with regards to both cost and allowable stay duration;
Language and culture;
Influence of connectivity and social media;
The flexibility of your travel dates or the event that you are wanting to attend.
We have always put a lot of effort into travel research. This has resulted in us creating a very powerful travel search tool, which we call Where-To-Travel-Next. It allows you to search and filter for the most suitable travel destination for YOU - based on a wide selection of filter criteria which you can customise according to your very own preference. Be sure to check it out and give us some feedback!
3 - COMMIT
Once you have done sufficient research and defined a travel goal that you are happy with, you need to set yourself an achievable deadline/date within which to achieve your travel goals. As with many other types of commitment, it can really help to have this visible to remind you of its importance to you and to help motivate you to stay focused on your travel goal and the deadline which you have set for yourself. This may mean marking your departure date (or other deadline) on a calendar or perhaps even actually purchasing that travel ticket. This form of commitment, to your self and sometimes even to others, is a critical step to transforming your dreams into reality.
Having a visible commitment allows you to have something tangible to work towards. Remember, there is no calendar with the date of "oneday"...
It may help to share your travel goal and deadline with someone close to you. In this way, you can share your progress and excitement while also holding yourself accountable to your commitment. You may find that you are more motivated if you are not alone in your journey towards achieving your travel goal.
4 - PRIORITISE
This is the tough part! However, in our opinion, this is also the most important step towards achieving your travel goal. Depending on your chosen travel goals and deadline, this can be an ongoing process which requires focus and dedication. During this process, you will need to prioritise not only your spending but also your time and energy. Perhaps it will be useful for you to start a dedicated travel fund, where you can clearly track your progress and see yourself moving towards achieving your travel goal. However you choose to track your progress, the important thing to remember is that every small step in the right direction brings you one step closer to achieving that travel goal! No step is too small, and every step taken in the wrong direction takes you a little further away from achieving your dream.
As difficult as this may seem, prioritising does not need to mean putting your life on hold or sacrificing all fun and luxuries until you reach your goal. It simply means that you continuously make conscious decisions as to what is important to you, and then spend your time, money and efforts accordingly. This may be as simple as planning and saving your available leave days for a longer vacation, or arranging for someone to look after the children so that you can enjoy a second honeymoon. It may mean giving up a few small luxuries in your day to day life so that you can spoil yourself in a special destination.
For us, while we were working towards our long-term goal of full-time travel, we also wanted to continue to prioritise travel and not put it off until we were ready for full-time travel. In order to accommodate this travel priority of ours, we were prepared to give up many other luxuries on a day to day basis in order to still travel within a modest budget, while saving towards our long term full-time travel goal. We found that knowing WHY we were giving up these luxuries together with WHAT priority we were achieving by doing, made it so much more doable and rewarding.
5 - RE-EVALUATE
We often set out thinking that we know what we want. Then somewhere along our journey we may realise that what we thought we wanted and what we now want are two different things! This is completely normal, as circumstance and our desires may change over time. For this reason, it is important for you to regularly keep yourself on track by re-evaluating your dreams and then adjusting your goals accordingly. Sometimes it's simply a matter of expectations not aligning with reality which make you re-evaluate your travel goals. Other times it can be something outside of your control, such as a natural disaster or significant global changes which may cause you to re-evaluate your travel goals in order to once again make them achievable.
Reaching this step can often lead you back to Step 2 for further research to make sure that your travel goals remain relevant and will be a true reflection of your travel dreams.
We hope this article and Travel Podcast episode will inspire you to consciously take the necessary steps to make your travel goal a reality. We also hope that achieving your travel goals and enjoying travel, in general, will bring you as much joy and happiness as it brings to us!