Travel Goals for 2020
Travel goals always show up in people’s New Year resolutions. Whether it’s to travel more, travel farther, travel internationally, or maybe to finally travel for the first time out of their hometown! How do we keep those travel promises to ourselves? Well, I’m here to help! Here are some ways you can keep those travel goals within reach!
Before I jump into how to tackle your travel goals I wanted to share some of my goals. Every year regardless of what is going on in my life I MUST travel somewhere internationally! I always want to push myself to go somewhere more interesting and maybe somewhere that makes me a little nervous.
Reflecting on 2019
In 2019 I was very fortunate to visit so many places internationally and in my own country. I visited Lisbon(Portugal), Brussels(Belgium), Wales(UK), London(UK), and a couple cities in California when I did my Yosemite Half Marathon. Read about that here! I even got to go camping a few days in upstate New York. And to round out my year in travel I did a road trip to Minneapolis, visiting Chicago on the way.
2019 was not at all bad for me in travel. Hell, I have to say that 2019 was a great travel year for me!
All of those trips took so many months of planning! That road trip to Minneapolis with my friends was definitely a challenging planning venture. Solo travel is so much easier to plan! #solofemaletravel alllll the way!
For 2020 I already have a trip booked – I’m going on a cruise in April! It’s a hefty trip. A 15 day trip that hit cities in Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy. Definitely a trip of a lifetime. That was in the works since May of 2019. We planned about a year in advance of our trip date to make it happen. So, that ticks off my international trip travel goal for 2020. 🙂
Also for this year I want to do another half marathon in another state. Not sure which one yet. While the cruise is going to be amazing with my partner, I made a promise to myself to take solo trips every year as well. Now, let’s jump into how I’m gonna make all this happen and how you can keep your travel goals and promises to yourself.
I truly believe that this one is your biggest enemy, or best friend depending on how you look at it, and how you work it. If you give yourself enough time you can get a clearer picture of what you want. Knowing what you want is a big hurdle. It doesn’t seem like it, but deciding on things can be very tough.
Last minute travel always costs people tons of money. If you give yourself enough time you can research more and find those deals.
- Plan your dream trip at least 6 months in advance (where, when, and how many places do you want to go?)
- Book flights about two months ahead a time. (not too early because flights costs can drop) booking flight tips here
First things First!
The first thing you should do is look at your full calendar year. See where you can plan a trip during the year. Knowing that is half the battle for having enough time to plan.
If you plan your own trips you can save a bunch of money and be in control, but what you need is time to iron out all the details. Figuring out flights, accommodation, and things to do while you are there can be tedious, but just needs time.On the other hand if you book with a travel company, they do all the planning for you so, you don’t need much time at all, but it’s usually a bigger chunk of change. You basically just need to show up to the airport on the day of departure after you booked your trip.
There are things I don’t really care for when you book an all inclusive tour. One being how you’re locked into their itinerary. You have to go and do what they planned for you. I tend to want to do my own thing. That’s why I plan my own trips. I say to each their own, as long as you keep traveling!
Keeping that huge chunk of money in mind if you are the type to want the trip planned for you already and maybe you don’t want to pay all of that upfront you can use Uplift. I’m not getting paid to recommend their company, but I heard about them through my sister. It’s basically paying for a big trip monthly and not all at once. And if you give yourself enough time you can have your trip paid for by the time your trip date arrives.
Now, let’s get serious. I haven’t addressed it yet and you’re probably thinking “Why the hell did she not mention money yet?!” We have to be honest: without money you can’t travel. Time and money go hand and hand. If you give yourself enough time you can save enough for your trip. You also give yourself a chance to research more and possibly find better deals.
For example the trip I did in early 2019 was an 11 day trip. That looked like this:
Stopover in Lisbon
2 nights in Brussels
3 nights in Wales
4 nights in London
I started to think up this crazy itinerary September of 2018, I gave myself about 6 months of planning time.
This trip cost me less than $800 for accommodation (I did NOT couch surf) and all flights and buses. Add in any Ubers/taxi’s, food/drink, phone plans, spending money, and any random activities I wanted to do – this whole trip was less than $1500. I was surprised on how little money it all was once I added all of my receipts when I got back home.
I’m going to be completely honest, I don’t make a ton of money annually. I make a very modest living, and I broke this trip’s cost into many pieces as I could and paid for certain parts at certain times. I didn’t pay for my flights and accommodation all at the same time, and booked this trip one leg at a time. Lisbon happened to just be a bonus. TAP Air had a stopover option and I said why not?! Once that flight was booked I found my Airbnb for that night. Annnnnnd I found one for $26!
Moral of the story: Break up your trip into pieces to pay in smaller chunks so it doesn’t feel overwhelming!
Time of the Year
A little umbrella section under money is WHEN you travel. This directly affects how much money you spend.
If you want to save money:
- Do NOT plan trips around holidays (your country and the one you’re traveling to.)
- DON’T go to Europe in the summer.
- Do NOT travel during spring break.
- Don’t fly in/out on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays.
Anything that is in high demand or peak season will be a lot more expensive. Not to mention all these places will be a lot more crowded as well. I’m all about not standing in line for hours for whatever I plan to do. For the trip I outlined above I traveled at the end of February, and got back to the States in March. Things were more in my price range.
To get to the boring part of this. Knowing how much a trip is can be really a bit eye opening. You may say to yourself I want to travel to Ireland for 2020.
Things to ask yourself:
- When do you want to go?
- Who, if anyone is going with me?
- What city in Ireland
- Just one city?
- How many days?
- What level of luxury? (Staying with a friend? Hostel vs. expensive hotel)
Say you’re calendar allows for you to travel June into July. You want to go to Dublin for 10 days. Start plugging in those dates into Airbnb, or Google Flights to get ballpark figures. For the sake of this example you’re flying out of NYC.
Above is a screen shot of a quick Google Flights search. You know that for this time of year for a round trip ticket it’s going to be around $600. The next thing you need to start searching is accommodation. Those are your biggest amounts.
Then start thinking about how much you want to spend each day. How many days will you want to do a big dinner, or go out for drinks? Allow yourself a spending amount per day of your trip.
List of budget Items:
- Food and drink
- Souvenirs/post cards/postage
- Activities (shows, day trips, walking tours/touristy site seeing/museums)
- Toiletries (in case you aren’t the type to bring those)
- Ubers/taxi’s/subways/trains (you will take these more than you think)
- Unexpected (something always happens)
I planned out each day of my trip, and figured out what I was going to spend. Then I added a few hundred on top of that as buffer. If you have a better idea of how much your ideal trip can be you’ll know if you can actually take that trip and it won’t be that scary to start planning.
I should add, I prepay for as much of my activities as possible. For example I bought tickets way beforehand for a play in London, and I saw a concert in Brussels. Sometimes when you leave the day open you can spend too much money.
Knowing how much a trip can be is the most useful tool. You’ll know if you’ll need more time to save or if you can start booking right then and there. It’s not the fun part, but put a budget together! It helps.
Quick Tip for Saving Money
Anytime a place that throws in free breakfast – I love it! It just helps with cost. I usually just do coffee first thing in the AM and don’t eat till later, but if you eat breakfast getting a place that includes that will be great way to save money!
Please research! Outside of looking up flights and accommodation, look up how much train/busses/subway fares are to get around. Look for menus of some restaurants near where you are staying or want to go to figure out the average cost of meals and drinks.
***Please make sure you know the exchange rate for your money to theirs if you’re traveling internationally!***
I love looking up free things to do in the cities that I’m visiting. There’s always free things to do! The Atom Sculpture in Brussels is a perfect example of that. As soon as I got off the plane from Lisbon into Brussels I saw pictures of the Atom Sculpture all over the place. I put it on my list. I figured out that it was close to my Airbnb and just ran there and back. It was about a 5 mile journey altogether. They advertise going inside the structure. I had no interest in that, but I did want to see it. It is indeed free to look at!
If I didn’t figure out and research that it was close enough to run to I might have booked a tour to go there and spend about $75. I ran there and saw it for free! I know not everyone is a runner so, look up public buses. If buses freak you out and give you anxiety you can just spend the money to Uber there. Still cheaper than a tour to get there.
Once time and money are figured out there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be traveling. But keeping your travel goals take effort. It’s not easy to organize a trip. It’s hard. Researching flights, and cities can really suck sometimes. You start reading reviews and hearing horror stories you start to talk yourself out of traveling. DON’T let that happen!
You might also have other people talking you out of it. It could be your family. It could be a friend saying how he or she wants to go but can’t. Ultimately guilting you out of it. If it is a huge trip more than a month long those people who care about you will surround you with worry because they’ll be concerned for your safety. This will just multiply exponentially from all angles for any female trying to solo travel internationally.
There’s also some folk who will question how you can afford to do a trip like your planning. Frankly, it’s none of their business. You know what you can and can’t afford…but also don’t go into credit debt trying to go on a trip of a lifetime. Start small. Be smart about it.
Going into this beware that some of these things can happen to you.
If You Don’t Go You’ll Regret It.
If you set a travel goal for 2020 that means you really want to travel. It’s on your mind. Do yourself a favor and be true to you and plan that trip. At least one. Do it for you. Don’t let fear and worry set in. Keep your travel goals. You’ll be happier.
Do yo have any travel goals, or tips on how to follow through on your goals? Share them in the comments below!