I know your cautious about travel in 2021. There is a lot to consider. The future of travel has never been more uncertain and out of our control. (We recently shared our top travel trends for 2021)
BUT, a future of travel is always certain. It’s been happening since the beginning of time and will find its feet to return again. There is no way humans will drop something that brings them so many internal rewards.
And is it really out of our control?
In some aspects yes, when you consider COVID restrictions, however, travel can happen in your own towns, and even in your own homes.
We’re going to use the start of 2021 to prepare for travel. There is no reason you can’t be ready to go when it’s time to go!
Here is our 11 step plan. We have been implementing these steps for the past couple of months. It’s definitely helped us feel confident and excited. And it’s bought us much joy as we wait.
1. Do the Bucket List already
What are you waiting for? This is the most important step.
Trust me. I found an old list one day – a quick scribble scramble of my heart’s desires that was quickly shoved in a cupboard.
Four years later it was found and 80% of what was on that list had happened. The next year it was fully complete.
If you don’t dream it, it can’t happen.
If you shut down the dream with an “I can’t because…” then all possible doors (that you can’t see) to making that happen will close.
Open your heart. Allow the doors to slide right open.
Pour it out now.
- Where do you want to go?
- Why do you want to go there? (don’t miss this. It’s the fuel for creation)
- What experiences do you want to have?
Remember the mantra:
Anything is possible
(if you just get out of your own way)
Read More: Why Create a Travel Bucket List
2. What gifts does travel give you?
If you want to make something a priority in your life, understand the value it offers you.
Think long term here, beyond the restful break lying on a beach sipping margarita can give you.
I’m guessing if you hang out with us, your travel experiences go way deeper and more purposeful than that anyway.
Think of everything travel GIFTS you.
How it helps you EVOLVE and opens the doors of your awareness and perception so that in the future you can create something better.
It’s one of the best investments ever.
You may not be able to directly use an algorithm to show a number figure of ROI, but it’s HUGE leverage into other areas of your life that can create that.
Plus, memories are infinite.
They continue forever and are the things that elevate us to greater experiences of joy whenever we are down and need something to lean on,
whenever we’re with those we experienced the memory with and get to relive it again through laughter and recollections.
THAT is the joy of life.
Read More: 8 Benefits to travel
3. What do you REALLY want?
I know what you’re thinking here, “Why is she asking us to do this again? We just did the bucket list.”
This one is subtly different.
What you REALLY want, is less about “going on safari in Africa,” and more about connecting to your value of AWE and WONDER.
If you don’t get clear on what you really value in life, it will always feel like it’s wondering around in circles mostly reflecting uncertainty, fear, hopelessness and so forth.
Getting crystal clear on your values makes it EASY to create experiences that align with it. You know what to say yes and no to and you can hear the callings of your heart easier AND have the courage to follow them.
So, do this now. It’s empowering, fun and enlightening.
I did this exercise about 8 years ago. Coincidentally it was around the time my life turned around for the better and has flowed with magical experiences and a constant stream of joy (and representation of my values)
It’s not co-incidence. It’s co-creation. And so darn simple.
What makes your heart sing? What gives you a deeper connection to self, others, and Mother Nature? What fulfills and enriches your life and offers you reasonable comfort, security, and joy?
Here’s what my unwavering core values are. The only things that give me life meaning.
- AWE | WONDER
- LOVE | PASSION
Can you see how well these align with travel? Or more exact – why travel has always been the focus of my life.
What are your unwavering core values?
Read More: Aligning your Values to Travel Purpose
4. Get your finances in order
We can no longer deny it – you do need money to travel.
That doesn’t mean you need oodles now – there are so many creative ways to hack into travel.
Time to focus on how you allocate your finances.
1. Remember you values: if your spending doesn’t align with that, get rid of it.
See how knowing our values make EASY and EMPOWERED decision making.
For those things you really don’t want to pay for, HAVE to, like your rent – think about how you can possibly reduce that.
All the while feeling grateful for the roof over your head it’s offering.
2. Scan through each of your bank/credit card statements. Record every expense for the past two months.
What categories do they fit under? Where are the holes? What subscriptions do you have that you can get rid of? How can you join two expenses or transfer it to another company that offers greater value?
I just found two Google Play subscriptions on auto payment and I had no idea what they were. Thankfully, I caught them before they were due to renew and deleted them.
One thing I’m struggling to reduce are the streaming services. They so quickly add up. I know 2020 has been the year of isolation and binge watching, but do I really need nearly $100 in streaming services each month in 2021? No thank you!
3. From that spending create a new budget.
Play a game with yourself to see how much you can lower your expenses each month. Reward yourself with treats that don’t cost anything (go back to your values. Maybe a walk with a friend in the forest. LOL. Or a movie marathon with those streaming services you pay for!)
If you go over budget, then punish yourself with something awful like 100 burpees or a 5-mile bike ride in a hilly area.
Note how those punishments – whilst painful – do help your body. A bit like saving for your dream trip.
4. All the extra surplus you now have can go straight into your travel savings bucket.
If you don’t have that, then start it up right now. YOUR dreams are that important.
Read More: Useful content on Money and Travel
5. Create a savings plan
How much will you need for your dream trip? How much will you need for the most doable and immediate trip?
Write out the figure and then work backwards. How much do you need to save each week?
Don’t worry if you can’t spare this amount each week.
Do the best you can, save what you can, but have the intention to increase that amount.
Intentions help you think more creatively and apply the commitment to do it.
Keep looking for ways to decrease your expenses and increase your income.
Read More: Tips for Saving Money for travel
6. How can you hack into travel?
Let’s see if we can reduce that amount you need for your dream trip.
But here’s what I want you to do – still save for the top-level amount. Anything you save is bonus – either to spend on experiences on your trip, or to put away for the next one.
We’re learning a lot about travel hacking i.e. using credit card reward points to get free travel!
We’ve been collecting them the past few years, being sure to utilize high sign on bonuses for big points. We have nearly a million now to use.
We’ve barely used them before now as we’ve done so much domestic travel and have not needed to.
It’s so exciting to search through the flight options, see what deals are on and decide where we can fly for free. We may even be able to use them on hotel stays too.
Credit card hacking works so well for Americans. If you haven’t started now do this now as your first step for 2021.
Our top resources here:
- Johnny Jet has a ton of free content on the best credit cards. See his top recommendations for best credit card offers in 2021.
- Families Fly Free is a private membership site I am a part of that has helped me outline a solid Southwest strategy.
- Travel Freely is a great free app for staying organized and tracking card bonuses and benefits with lots of great tips and recommendations.
Only spend money on items you normal daily living costs and you have money for i.e. groceries, fuel and bills. Do not get yourself into debt over this. That is not the strategy and will only cause you pain.
Read More: Here’s how we have created a life of travel – lots of hacking tips
7. Start researching
Okay, going back to our bucket list – I don’t care about any of your reasons or excuses as to why you can’t make these dream trips happen – no money, no time, no one to travel with… yada yada yada.
I know they are real.
But this is not where we let real in.
This is planning as if your trip is REAL.
Nothing will be created in your life until it’s created in your mind first. Mull over that today. Nothing is created that is not first imagined.
So, start researching.
Record it all down in a spreadsheet, Notes Apps, or Maps, or like me scribbled on pieces of paper you can never find again.
It doesn’t matter. Research and start discovering what will thrill you and what is possible.
To reduce you overwhelm choose 1 or 2 booking platforms that you know, like and trust. Spending 5 hours to find the best deal through the 100s of platforms available to save $50 is just not a good use of your time.
- What countries/regions are open for travel and your nationality?
- What visas are required and how you can get one?
- What vaccinations do you need?
- What COVID requirements are now in place?
- How to get there
- Things to do
MAP IT OUT
Nothing makes sense to me until it’s mapped out. This is an often overlooked, yet particularly important step. Mapping it how help your minds see the bigger picture – how you can make it work from a logistical perspective.
Watch this video on how to use My Places in Google Maps. I love it!
REMEMBER: Good feelings create good experience sand more of it. Make your research and travel planning feel good. Because it is. It’s fun. You are creating the dream. Put on your favorite tunes, grab a glass of your favorite drink: smoothie, coffee, tea, cocktail. Whatever. Give a whooping wahoo randomly as you do it. You are living the dream. You are making IT happen.
Read More: 15 Steps for Planning a Trip
8. Act as IF – immerse yourself in it
This one can be a ton of fun! Now you know where you want to go, immerse yourself in that experience and act as if you are already enjoying it.
For example, back to our UK road trip. We are:
- Reading Clanlands – to immerse ourselves in the Scottish experience
- Watching travel shows on the UK and Ireland
- Reading our Lonely Planets on these destinations and scribbling in the margins. With each new – “Oh that sounds awesome, I want to do that,” I picture myself doing it and how it will feel. (I’m bookmarking and mapping at the same time)
- Drinking Guinness and Irish coffees
- Doing Irish dancing as a family in our dance room and teaching Savannah some moves. (You can see it on Tik Tok – our new account Savannah is running @ytravelblog)
- Binge watching movies and TV shows set in these locations, so we feel like we’re actually there viewing them ourselves.
9. What makes the most sense
Now you’ve done the research you can figure out what really makes sense for your first trip, then the next one.
You’ll have solid data for what is possible
Don’t be disheartened if it’s only the lowest trip on your bucket list. It’s what possible for you now and that is awesome. It’s going to give you what you desire from travel – circle back to your values.
So really it doesn’t matter where you go if you get to FEEL those values. You could go down to the newest Turkish Café in your neighborhood, drink apple tea and smoke Hookah and be on your best travel trip yet!
Check it all off.
All the small trips and good feelings grease the wheels for the bigger things to come through those unseen doors.
If you don’t show up with something to let the Universe know it’s important those doors won’t open for you.
Because the Universe only opens for what it knows is in your heart.
So, start from wherever you’re from and let it build.
NOTE in 2021: you will have outside circumstances impacting your decision. We can’t make COVID-19 disappear. Go where you feel safe and comfortable.
10. Look for the deals
This step will kind of work alongside the previous one. Now that you are crystal clear on what you want and have done your research and know what is possible, you’ll be ready to grab a deal.
So, while hiking in your local state park at the bottom of our list seemed more feasible than Costa Rica sitting at the top of your list, when that all inclusive post-Corona deal appears in your Facebook feed, you can cry out “Oh My God, dreams really do happen.” and book it straight away.
You are prepared.
luck is where preparedness meets opportunity.
Right now, UK road trip is at the top of our bucket list, so we’re preparing for that, all the while not being completely attached to it. We’re okay with the fact it may not happen next year.
A NO is not always a slammed door it’s just means it’s not ready for us YET.
So, I have Costa Rica and Puerto Rico hanging around on the list. I’m not attached to either one. I know both will give me what I desire – a winter break in a warm, tropical like vibe with beaches, jungles good food and different culture.
Right now, Puerto Rico is winning because the deals coming out are way cheaper than Costa Rica.
I can fandangle and maneuver these dreams around as to what makes sense as know what I want, I understand the feelings I want out of the experience, I know what my finances can handle, I have a hacking strategy in place and I’m unattached.
Be prepared but also be flexible.
11. What will you need to make the trip awesome?
We want you to be ready to go.
That amazing deal and opportunity could appear tomorrow. You don’t want to have to turn it down because you got complacent in renewing your passport thinking that the dream was too far off. You don’t have control over that.
So, get ready. What will you need to go at a moment’s notice?
You need way less than you think!
Consider all aspects from clothes, to equipment, logistics, other people, and personality traits.
Here are a few essentials to cover:
- Open mind
- Passport – you need at least 6 months validation. Renew it now if you need to.
- Vaccinations (some may need to be administered several weeks before you visit a destination)
Yes. You want it. It’s bloody annoying. I know. It’s a small cost that protects your investment in the dream.
Too much can go wrong that is out of your hands. we’ve seen that with COIVD. WE got lazy with renewing our annual travel insurance. $1000 later we walked out of the hospital with 5 stitches in Kalyra’s chin.
Things will be different and changing all the time in the travel insurance space next year because of COVID-19. So, stay up to date.
Look for polices that will help cover you for cancellations because of COVID-19. Cancel for any reason are policies some insurance companies are putting out. Allianz Travel Insurance (who we are ambassadors for, will announce their evolving policies soon)
Many now have their heads together to come up with a policy to help cover you in pandemics.
Go with travel insurance companies that have a good rating and record, a good customer service experience and easy claims process.
If you plan on traveling several times a year, you may wish to get an annual travel insurance policy. It will be cheaper and then you can travel on a moment’s notice and never have to worry about remembering to get your policy.
Comment: How are you preparing for travel in 2021? What trips are on your bucket list? Tell me three things you’ll do to prepare for them.