Is this the year you embark on the road trip that will change you forever?
Have you been saving your pennies to travel, but can’t figure out how to make it happen?
Are you always telling your friends that someday you will travel the country and explore those amazing places you’ve only read about?
Well, guess what, friends? That someday might never come unless you start planning to make it happen today.
We live in a society where there is no perfect time to drop everything and hit the road.
We are overworked and underpaid. There are kids to raise, meetings to attend, and mortgage payments to make.
You will always be able to find an excuse not to follow your dreams. If your dream is to see the country or even the world, you have to work to make it happen.
Our Big Road Trip Story
Several years ago we got an email from an aunt in California who we had been longing to visit since our kids were babies.
She asked if this was the year we would come out for a visit. “Not this year,” I replied without even thinking about it, “we can’t get off from work and we don’t have the money to make such a long journey with two kids.”
Well, she was not so easily dissuaded. She wrote back that if we kept putting off the trip, then soon our kids wouldn’t even want to travel with us; that there was nothing truly standing in our way.
I’m not sure if this sentence was absolutely true at the time, but it did make me think long and hard about what was really holding us back.
Of course, there were obstacles – money, or lack thereof, being the most critical, but what we finally realized is that we would never think we had enough money or enough time.
We simply had to take a leap of faith.
So that’s what we did. We bought a small used car that got really great gas mileage, worked longer hours, and saved every penny.
Our budget was really small, but it was the only way we could make the trip happen. We vowed to camp every single night and cook all our meals to save money.
We would live out of our car for the summer, and sleep under the stars.
We spent that summer driving across Canada and the United States, without much of a plan except to be together and go swimming a lot. We put 10,000 miles on our tiny car in three months and discovered some of the most beautiful places on earth.
My kids are young adults now, and although they still love to travel with us, they are busier than they’ve ever been, and each trip takes more and more advanced planning.
It’s what we love, so we have made it work, despite the obstacles.
We also discovered a deep love of camping, hiking, and adventuring — things that we tried because we wanted to save money, but now do all the time because they are part of who we are.
What Can You Do To Make Your Travel Dreams a Reality?
First, dig deep into yourself to find out what it is that is holding you back from your travel dreams. Is it money, your job, your pets, or your little kids?
Once you have a clear picture of your goals and your obstacles, you can take steps to make your dreams a reality.
It’s all about intention. Here are a few practical and not-so-practical tips for achieving your travel dreams.
- Set a date – It’s amazing how much more you will accomplish toward achieving your goal when you have a date on the calendar. If part of your trip involves booking a flight, at least pencil in the week you want to embark on your trip.
- Visualize your journey – Planning and saving for a big trip is hard work. Keep yourself on track by visiting your destination(s) in your mind as you go about your days.
- Save, save, save – Money and work-related obstacles are often the biggest hurdle we have to overcome in order to travel. What small steps can you take to save for your trip? Are there small luxuries you can give up? Can you work longer hours to earn more money?
- Travel on the cheap – How can you make your trip more affordable? For us, it was camping and cooking our own food, but for you, it might be taking advantage of airline miles and staying in budget motels or hostels.
- Bring the kids – Unless your travel dreams mean indulging in a second honeymoon on some deserted beach, bring the kids along. Children will encourage you to travel slowly, wake up early, and be frugal. Here are some more benefits of traveling with kids, courtesy of Full Suitcase.
- Start small or start big – just start now – Planning a life of travel, or any big change for that matter, is a lot of work, but truly the first step is the hardest, and that’s making the decision to do it.
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Tara is a freelance writer and travel blogger with a passion for outdoor adventures. She is the co-author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes in Vermont and currently blogs at Back Road Ramblers and Vermont Explored, where she shares travel tips, adventure destinations, and vacation ideas for the wanderer in everyone.