I wouldn’t be able to fit in as much travel as I do yearly if it wasn’t for the planning I do at the start of the year.
Here are the steps I take to plan my travel goals:
Pull out my calendar – I live and die by my Google calendar, I’ve got both my personal and work commitments listed. Luckily, I know what’s going on at work in 6 month chunks so there are rarely surprises that I have to account for.
Make a list of travel for family purposes – Weddings, birthdays, holidays, general family time trips that I know I will need to take, these go on the calendar first. For me, family is a priority so these trips/commitments get top billing on my calendar.
Make a list of dream trips – These are destinations that I would love to visit, they can be both international and domestic. Don’t limit your list, write them all down. Even if you don’t get to them all this year you can reuse this list in the future. Get your FREE Travel Goals worksheet.
Assign value to the dream trips – Roughly how much time and money will each destination need? When is the best time to visit? For example a trip to Australia is going to be more time and money than a trip to Marfa TX.
Prioritize the dream list – Now that I have assigned a time commitment and rough budget to each dream trip I can categorize them. Which ones are big trips? Which are small weekend trips? And which ones are huge once in a lifetime trips. Bonus: Because I am married but also solo travel a lot, my husband and I talk about which trips we both want to go on and which ones I will be taking by myself.
Now I take a look at my calendar and find the holes in between work and important personal commitments. Where can I take a weekend? Where can I take a week or more? I block those stretches of time off. And here’s a secret, I might not actually know exactly which trip I want to take but I’m putting a hold on my calendar because traveling is a priority to me. At this stage I also consider what my PTO looks like, I’m lucky that I do have quite a bit but it’s still a factor I need to consider.
I’ve got my list of trips with their rough time and money commitments and I know where I can fit trips in my calendar the next step for me is a bit of a waiting game. I love to deal hunt and now I know what destinations I’m looking for and the dates that are available to me (if you want to see my tips on booking cheap flights, check out this post). Once I see a flight deal pop up for one of my desired locations within my dates I’m able to immediately book it because I’ve already done the research to know how much time, money, and when I can go.
I hope this helps you make your travel goals for the new year a reality! And don’t forget to get your FREE Travel Goals worksheet.