Almost exactly two years ago (January 20, 2018) I posted “Places to Go” here in my blog.
For memory sake, I listed a top 10 list of places I wanted to go before I leave this world and they were:
2. Petra (Jordan)
Ireland – December 2019
Scotland – May 2019 this trip took place, though I do want to go back and see more!
I’m happy to say it’s time to update that list a bit! As my priorities (and places visited) have changed – I think there’s a new order and I might as well plug new places where the others were crossed off! – Also – I felt it should be a bit more specific so I added some cities in particular if they weren’t there before:
My UPDATED list now looks like this:
1. Paris & much more of France (Food, Fashion, Art & Wine!)
2. London, England (Looks like such a fun city!)
3. Rome, Florence & Venice, Italy (I imagine it is gorgeous and the FOOD)
4. Athens, Greece (I just want to see some beautiful old ruins)
5. Munich, Germany (Helllooooo Oktoberfest?!)
6. Amsterdam, Netherlands (Picturesque little city and I hear good food!)
7. Barcelona, Spain (Food and wine again are my focus!)
8. Ireland – But in Summer/greener weather! (Scenic views and great beer)
9. Scotland – Highlands! (Whiskey, scenery and maybe trick my mom into coming)
10. Petra, Jordan (Someday that cool little Indiana Jones city will no longer be there, so I want to see it before it’s too late)
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Now – Let me be transparent – I am NOT wealthy/rich and I do NOT have a secret trust fund or anything of the sort. Travel is a priority for me – so I put mechanisms in place to be able to do so:
1. Save for it! – This sounds like some “no-brainer” – but many people SAY they want to travel but yet don’t save for it. Of course if some great deal comes along, but the money isn’t there, they won’t be able to go.
For me, saving for travel/trips is a two fold process:
a. I have a set amount that I save, automatically, from every pay check into a special savings account that is labeled “travel fund”. These transfers happen before I even get my paycheck via allotment, and it ensures that every 3 months or so I have roughly $1000.00 saved JUST for traveling.
b. I have a credit card that gives double points for travel and dining – which means hotels, restaurants, airline tickets, etc. These points can then be used toward the NEXT trip. SO when the time comes/that deal appears – I book it on my credit card and then immediately pay that credit card off with the money in the travel savings account. Typically I buy tickets 3-4 months in advance – so that means by the time the trip comes around I can have already shopped around, paid in advance for lodging, set up a budget for my estimated spending and have the money saved (or at least know when I need to stop spending!).
2. Make a plan! – My friends will attest to the fact that I probably go a little further than most with my planning HOWEVER – you can take as much (or as little) inspiration and run with it!
Before every trip I make an excel spreadsheet type budget. I make an itinerary sheet AND I make a budget sheet.
I do simple excel calculations to estimate food/drink costs based on how many meals/drinks I think I will have each day based on a local average amount.
These spreadsheets help me see/plan my time, my money AND I provide copies to my family/emergency contacts so my safety is never in question. It eases their minds and mine – while ensuring that if something WERE to happen, they would know where to contact to start the search!
3. Don’t be scared to go alone! – In my experience – the more people you try and coordinate, the messier, more frustrating and expensive a trip becomes. People will SAY they want to go and are SOooooo excited – but when the time comes, more often than not they don’t follow through or bail after the fact. I get it, which is why I very rarely plan trips with more than one other person anymore. Going alone can be scary – but it really is quite liberating. You get to do what you want, at your own pace! If you’re tired, then sleep that day. If you want to go get an expensive spa treatment, you can without feeling guilt for not inviting the friends along OR for feeling like they are bummed because something isn’t in their budget. Traveling with friends (specifically) can be great or awful – but traveling alone is always guaranteed to be as good as you want the experience to be!
I have been fortunate enough to travel to some really cool places and I plan to continue throughout my life. Traveling, meeting new people, eating different foods, experiencing different climates and observing different cultures have broadened my horizons in so many ways – there’s no turning back.