How do you stick to your travel goals when doubts creep in and override your confidence? Money, naysayers, and schedules are just a few obstacles that can derail any plan. By sticking to these simple steps, you’ll be high-fiving yourself in no time as you head off on your next adventure.
Write out your travel goal.
I’m notorious for creating lists of adventures to far-off countries. Filling notebooks with destinations that tug at my itchy travel feet are my coping mechanism during Chicago winters, but there’s more to it than empty indulgence.
By documenting these destinations, a plan starts to take shape. Writing out this goal acts as a pact with yourself, shifting your daydream into a reality.
Put pen to paper when it comes to outlining your travel goals. Image by Jill Robinson.
Articulate the why of your goal.
Now that you have narrowed down the “where” of your travel goal, the honeymoon stage of planning has begun. You start following appropriate travel bloggers on Twitter and watching any Anthony Bourdain “Parts Unknown” episode related to that destination.
But to move from being just a daydreamer to a do-er requires an important step: understanding WHY you are committing to this travel goal.
Now, whether your goal is to Teach English in Colombia in order to understand its evolving educational system or to attend an epic Full Moon party in Thailand is up to you. The point is, whatever your goal, OWN IT.
Being able to articulate your reason for a trip will give you footing when people start to impose their fears onto your awesome travel plans, and help you get past any moments of doubt.
This isn’t only about the mind being able to navigate how you’ll achieve your goal, but also using your heart. When you’re passionate about your dreams, you don’t need to constantly assure yourself that you’re making the right decision. It just FEELS right, and that is a powerful defense against naysayers.
This understanding will also help you discuss a possible career gap with your employer. An added bonus of understanding your motives could possibly earn you a sabbatical if it relates to your current job.
Even if employment isn’t a priority, you might need to explain your travel gap in your next interview. Since you’ve already outlined this (ideally in writing), you’ll be able to nail an explanation, no problem.
Keeping in mind the rewards of your travel adventure will help you get through the rough spots. Image by Kyle Trebotich.
Commit to a timeline.
For me, this is the toughest part of keeping a travel commitment. I can barely commit to a hair appointment eight weeks in advance, so deciding on a date to book a flight that might happen seven months in the future is enough to cause me anxiety.
To help you finalize a departure date, be realistic about a few things:
How much money you’ll need to save
How many weeks you’ll need to negotiate with your employer or to put in your notice
If there are holidays or seasonal factors to take into consideration
Plan far enough in advance to confidently check off the tasks leading up to your departure. This will eliminate unnecessary stress and offers a concrete timeline to help prioritize your finances and planning.
Now that you have an idea of how much preparation time you’ll need, it’s time to get that calendar out and circle your final departure date with confidence. Ideally, this will be done with a colorful Sharpie for emphasis, but everyone’s private celebrations vary.
Make it official once you have done your research. Image by Jill Robinson.
Celebrate with a community.
After you have toasted yourself a few glasses of wine for committing to a trip, it’s time to be held accountable. The further out your travels, the more important it is to have a cheering squad.
Inevitably, there will be a time when you start second-guessing your decision. When you start hurling mental insults and justifying why it’s best to take it all back, you’ll need to rely on fellow travel enthusiasts to remind you how amazing your adventure is going to be.
By sticking to these steps, you will not only successfully commit to your travel goals, but be an inspiration to others to go after their dreams.
What are your tips for sticking to a travel goal? Share your success stories below!