In theory, most people would probably like to make traveling a priority. While baggage claim is toe-tappingly annoying and those stingy airplane dinners are a little on the sad side, the destination makes it all worth it. Imagine ditching your city right now and settling into a cozy seat in a Parisian cafe, nibbling on croissants, and enjoying summer in France. Or wandering the winding streets of Italy. Or exploring the hills of Ireland. These are what daydreams are made of. And those who get to actually experience it are lucky, right?
Wrong. Those that get to experience that on the regular make traveling a priority and that's why they then to have vacation pictures that put yours to shame. They skip the morning coffee lines, take the bus to bars rather than Ubers, and make some impossible decisions when it comes to walking away from fab pairs of shoes on sale. Life is all about choices, and if you have a goal or dream in mind, you have to pick accordingly to make it happen.
It doesn't matter if you have a tight budget or a colossal one, you can make it work. Below are 11 ways to make traveling a priority — get ready for adventures!
1. Figure Out Your Motivation
Once you nail down your motivation for starting a project or making a life change, it becomes much easier to stick to and sacrifice for. So in that vein, figure out why traveling became a priority for you. Do you want to take the predictable-ness out of your life, or become comfortable stepping out of the box? Do you want to focus on new experiences, or maybe you want to meet new kinds of people. Whatever it is, hold onto that reason. Lifestyle writer Carrie Smith Nicholson of business blog Careful Cents offered, "Whatever your motivation and inspiration is for seeing the world, make sure it’s at the forefront of your mind everyday. Find photos from past travels or places you want to go and hang them in your bathroom, kitchen and office. Set up a vision board or Pinterest board to display all the places you want to visit." Constantly keep your goal in mind.
2. Make Your Savings Automatic
Instead of having to rely on your willpower to save, make it automatic by setting up a direct deposit every month into a traveling savings account. Travel writer Laura Lynch from travel blog Savored Journeys advised, "Create a direct deposit from your paycheck that funnels money into a dedicated 'travel' savings account." That way your fund gets built automatically, and it won't be in your hands whether you spend your paycheck on shoes or a plane ticket.
3. Weigh The True Cost Of Things
Say you've been dreaming of going to Greece for years now, but just can't seem to find the extra funds to go. But you have them — you've just been spending them on lattes, Uber rides, and pretty summer sandals. It can be hard to let go of those day to day luxuries, but in order to make saving easier, start weighing the true cost of things. For example, say you need $30 a day to live comfortably in Greece. Next time you want to buy $60 sandals, you can see them as two days on a Grecian island and make your decision from there. Travel writer Lauren Juliff at Student Travel offered, "Whenever I did this and realized I could either spend $50 on a new coat or I could have an extra three days on a tropical beach in Thailand, there really was no question."
4. Change Your Social Habits
Tell your friends that you're trying to save for traveling and scale back the activities when it comes down to hanging out with you on a Saturday night. Travel blogger Kate McCulley from travel blog Adventurous Kate offered, "Instead of going out for dinner with friends, we’d go out for coffee or just hang out and watch movies at home." You can also agree to only go out for appetizers, hit places that offer Groupons, drink a bottle of wine at home rather than at the restaurant, or go out only during happy hours. It's doable!
5. Grit Your Teeth, And Do What It Takes
If you don't have an obsene amount of money coming in at work, than plopping down a couple of hundred dollars for a round trip ticket can be difficult. But if you want this to work, you need to come to terms with the fact that sometimes you'll have to roll up your sleeves and do what it takes to make that money stick. Nicholson explained, "Life is all about choices, and to get what you really want means you’ll have to sacrifice a few things to get there. That might mean putting off purchasing that new TV, eating out less and spending more of your time working to make extra money." Skip the morning lattes and walk dogs on Saturdays if you have to.
6. Make Your Credit Cards Work For You
If you're going to whip out plastic to pay for your margaritas and tacos on Friday night, you might as well make it work for you. As in, get a card that gets you airline miles! Lynch suggested, "Use a rewards credit card for all purchases to rack up airline miles that can be used to book free flights. (Just be sure to pay off the balance every month.) We’ve saved thousands of dollars by using miles to book flights." If the flight is free, why wouldn't you go, right?
7. Get A Weekend Job
Whether it's freelancing or working at a coffee shop during the weekends, the extra dough coming in will make it so much easier to budget for your travels. Travel reporter Alexandra Talty at Forbes offered, "Picking up a part-time job can be a great way to ramp up your savings. Whether it be tutoring or helping people move, there is a marketable skill that you could put to use." Hit those listings.
8. Turn Everything Into A Mind Game
If it's hard for you to cut back on the fun frills in life, start playing mind games with yourself to make travel your true priority. Jackie Nourse Laulainen from travel blog The Budget Minded Traveler suggested asking questions like, "Would I rather go out to dinner with my husband tonight or in six weeks when we’re in Europe? To the grocery store we go to cook dinner at home… " Same thing goes with other situations: Would you rather go to the bar on Friday night, or enjoy a drink in New Orleans next month? Would you rather splurge on a pasta dinner in downtown, or get to eat real pasta in Italy in a few months? Play those mind games.
9. Dabble In Weekend Trips
If saving up for that Europe trip is difficult, you can always break up your travels into smaller, easier-to-budget trips. Nicholson recommended, "If your time or limited budget won’t allow you to take off a whole week to travel, try getting away for the weekend instead. Not only will it cost less money, but it could be just what you need to refresh and recharge your mind." Try picking a spot you can road trip to, or a place that is having plane ticket sales for. Then take advantage of the weekend and go visit!
10. Be Flexible With Your Destinations
If you love traveling, chances are you don't care where you go as long as you go. Keeping that kind of open mindedness can help you score some excellent deals. Talty explained, "Be flexible with your destination city and use a site like Skyscanner to search for fire sales to certain destinations. Blogger Liz Carlson scored a $390 round trip ticket from Washington, D.C. to Turkey that way." Not too shabby, right?
11. Put A Pause On The Love Life
Alright, this might not be a cake walk for everyone, but if you rather walk the streets of Paris than go on another lousy Tinder date, than this is something to consider. McCulley explained, "I used to be on OKCupid and go on dates all the time. While most of the guys insisted on paying for everything, I’d always chip in for our second round of drinks or more food. That added up quickly." Save yourself hundreds by taking up cat lady status with pride.
Keep these tips in mind and you can be on a plane three months from now.
Images: @emmahill/ Instagram