10 Ways to Stop Making Excuses and Travel This Year
Millions of Americans leave their annual vacation time on the table each year. While being a workaholic may seem to increase chances of career success, drudging away with no downtime destroys productivity as well as your overall attitude. Make 2019 the year you finally mark a destination off your bucket list.
Whether you've been craving a relaxing spa holiday or dreaming of climbing Kilimanjaro, following a few simple tips allows travelers of any size budget or available time off to fit in some well-deserved R&R. Here's how to kick your excuses to the curb and make 2019 the year you earn another stamp in your passport.
1. Put in Time Before Takeoff
Many people fail to take vacation time due to financial concerns. As sad as it sounds, some workers get no paid time off, and taking a break may mean coming up a bit short on the rent that month.
However, everyone deserves to relax now and then. If money woes constitute your travel excuse, put in more hours at the office prior to getting away, or take on a temporary side hustle. Seek other ways to save, such as renting out a spare bedroom on Airbnb or brown-bagging it versus grabbing lunch on the go.
2. Place Vacation Savings on Autopilot
Many people struggle to save enough money for vacation as unexpected expenses eat away at their travel budget. If your excuse involves using your travel savings to pay for new tires, set up a separate bank account just for your getaway fund. Spend a few moments with your employer's HR department filling out the requisite paperwork to have a percentage of your pay direct deposited right into your vacation account.
Ideally, establish an account at a bank other than your primary banking institution and avoid linking a debit card to it. Forcing yourself to drive to a bank to access your travel dollars helps prevent the urge to splurge on other things.
3. Take Advantage of Off-Peak Pricing
Outside of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, winter remains the least expensive time to travel. This works to the advantage of many wanna-be travelers residing in chilly northern climates. Who among us hasn't fantasized about sipping cocktails on a sunny beach while the third blizzard of the season howled outside?
Take advantage of cheaper wintertime fares to get away. Many hotels offer discounts during the slow season, and bargaining for a cheaper room requires nothing more than a phone call.
4. Use It or Lose It
Many travelers earn travel reward benefits but remain unaware of when they expire. Likewise, many companies disallow the carryover of vacation days from year to year, so failing to use them means losing them forever.
If you're using travel rewards credit cards, be sure to note when your miles expire. Likewise, put in for your annual vacation time well before your departure date to decrease the chances of the request being denied due to lack of staffing.
5. Tackle Fear of Flying
Believe it or not, many would-be globetrotters stay grounded out of fear of flying. Despite the fact that flying is 200 times safer than driving, many still delay that trip to Thailand due to their phobias.
Stop using fear of flying as an excuse not to travel. Many doctors understand the fear many have of flying, and a simple trip to your primary care provider can net you a short-term course of anti-anxiety medications to soothe jitters. In addition, working with a cognitive behavioral therapist can calm nerves naturally.
6. Explore Alternative Lodging
Hotel room costs can break a travel budget quickly, but fortunately, alternatives to pricey suites exist. Check out home-sharing apps such as VRBO to connect with people in your destination city with a spare room to spare. Investigate hostels, particularly when journeying to European countries that cater to student guests. Lucky travelers with friends and family abroad can simply ask to couch-surf for a few days.
7. Map It Out
Plan affordable activities ahead of time by pulling up Google Maps and searching for free or low-cost entertainment near your destination. Likewise, newspaper websites offer lists of things to do for only a few dollars. Be sure to investigate child and military discounts to save additional dough.
8. Eat and Shop Like a Local
Many popular tourist destinations advertise trendy, yet costly, restaurants and shops. While there's nothing wrong with the occasional splurge, travelers on tight budgets should visit TripAdvisor to seek establishments frequented by locals. Natives know where to find good eats and quality products on the cheap. Once at your destination, stop at a convenience store or grocery and ask employees about their favorite spots.
9. Pick a Budget Destination
Popular vacation destinations such as San Francisco or Orlando cost a pretty penny, but swanky places make up only a small slice of the travel pie. Tons of worldwide destinations offer travel bargains at near rock-bottom prices.
Not everyone needs to meet Mickey Mouse or see the Empire State Building. Smaller towns often offer attractions and lodging for far less than more big-name spots, so think outside the box when planning an adventurous getaway or relaxing retreat.
10. Hire Cheap Help
Does the thought of leaving the daily grind make you vow never to leave the office lest you fail to catch up with your work? Identify lower-priority yet time-consuming tasks and evaluate what needs your attention and what you can delegate to an intern. Likewise, when it comes to house-sitting pets and plants, a reliable neighbor's child will often relish the chance to earn extra cash easily, so as long as you deem them trustworthy, opt to hire them rather than a pricier service.
Everyone needs to get away once in a while to rejuvenate. Travel broadens our outlook, overcomes prejudices and expands our knowledge of the world we all share. No more excuses — make 2019 the year you join the globetrotter club.