Step One: Create a Goal to Work Toward
Obviously, traveling the world requires money, and money requires saving, but saving is far more effective when you have a goal. Where do you want to go? How much will it cost? While you do not need a day by day itinerary, it is a good idea to have an outline of the trip you want to take and a reasonable estimation of how much it will cost. This means looking into flights, hotels, attractions, etc. Once you have a number and a set goal you are working toward, saving begins to seem more meaningful/significant/easy/momentous/important. You will be able to see your progress, the trip will seem more attainable, and every penny saved will feel like a little victory.
Step Two: Set a Date (and someday doesn’t count)
If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, “I would like to go there someday,” I would be able to fund a lifetime of travels. Someday implies an arbitrary date in the future, and sadly, for many, someday just never comes. But why can’t someday be today, or tomorrow, or next spring? Setting a date is such a simple thing, but if you never get yourself to do it, you will miss out on a lifetime of memories, experiences, and adventures. My suggestion is to tie your date setting to your savings. Do some budgeting, find out when you will reach your savings goal, determine your when you can take time off, and voilà, there is your date.
Step Three: Take the Lead
We have all been there. You get on the topic of a dream destination with a friend, begin talking about your common desire to see it, and a plan takes shape. Both your hearts fill with excitement as you discuss all the places you just HAVE to see, discover you both have time off in January, and both continuously utter the phrase, “I’m serious! We are doing this!” But then you both go home, the magic wears off, and while you may comment about the trip again half-heartedly, it never actually happens. Do not fall into this trap! Take the lead, make the decision, and just do it! Start planning and saving. Take action. Form a plan with a budget and a date, and present it to your potential travel partner. When you do this, one of two things will happen. They will either be enthusiastic and excited, and start adding their ideas to the plan, or they will brush you off, letting you know once and for all that they are not serious about this adventure. In this case, proceed to step four.
Step Four: Don’t Be Afraid to Go at it Alone
One of the hardest things about traveling is finding someone to go with. Someone who’s travel desires, budget, schedule, and attitude match your own. But here is the thing: you don’t need them. Solo travel allows you to do whatever you want. There is no one else to please. Now, if the very idea of setting off into the great unknown by yourself is overwhelming and terrifying, you have other options. There are a multitude of group tours doing every type of travel in every corner of the world that you can join as a solo traveler. Going with a group eliminates the stress of planning, the fear of going alone, and the issue of having no one to travel with. These tours may also give you the confidence to go alone next time, introduce you to friends you can travel with in the future, or inspires someone back home to finally plan a trip with you.
Step Five: Research
My favorite step: research. You have money saved, a date set, now all that’s left is to plan. First things first, book your plane tickets. This gives you a beginning and an end to your trip, and ensures that you get the best rate by booking early. Next, fill in the in between time. Where do you want to stay? What to do you want to do, see, eat, experience? Use all the resources you can. Scour the internet, read guidebooks, and look at photos. Get inspired and excited. Read about the culture, history, and language. Learn everything you can before you go, and enjoy the building anticipation as your trip approaches.