Ringing in the New Year is all about making plans and setting goals for the year ahead. One resolution that seems to top almost everybody’s list is travel. Leaving home to experience different cultures, sample exotic food and explore new places — what could be better? Want to incorporate more travel into your 2015? Here’s how.
RESEARCH THE CHEAPEST COUNTRIES
Choosing the right country can be the difference between having a budget for two weeks or two months. Sure, it’d be nice to wander around the cobblestone streets of Europe’s romantic cities or soak up the sun on Australia’s Gold Coast, but how relaxing will your trip be if you’re stressing about going over budget the whole time? Take advantage of less expensive destinations. There are so many hidden gems out there that are overlooked by travelers. Go volcano boarding in Nicaragua. Explore ancient ruins in Cambodia. Kick it on the beach in Samoa. Do your research and find out which areas have backpacker hostels, safe and accessible public transportation and deliciously cheap street food.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF GOOD FLIGHT DEALS
Unless you’re living it up in the presidential suite at the Ritz Carlton (in which case, please take me with you!), chances are your flight is going to be your biggest travel expense. You can be the most frugal traveler in the world but international flights are still going to cost a pretty penny. Luckily, airlines occasionally take pity on us peasants (heh) and offer super awesome deals. Unfortunately, the best deals are usually scooped up quickly. To make sure you stay on top of it, set up price alerts through your favorite travel search engines. There’s quite a few websites, including Flight Deal, that update with the best airfare deals. Did you know Delta just had a sale with flights from the US to Europe? San Francisco to Moscow for $314 round trip? Yes, please!
HIT THE ROAD
Traveling doesn’t necessarily mean getting on a plane. If you’re short on time or need a more budget-friendly form of travel, consider taking a road trip. Sure, it may not seem as exciting as buying a flight, but road trips have a lot of advantages. Road trips are perfect because they have so much potential for spontaneity; your destination can change on a whim. Growing up, my family and I would pile into the car, choose a direction and just go. And let’s face it, road trip playlist + road trip snacks = automatic awesome times.
Whenever I go overseas I always meet foreign backpackers who gush about all the amazing cities and sights they’ve visited in the US. I usually just smile and nod, ashamed to admit that, as an American, I’ve barely visited anywhere in The States.
It seems like when we have a desire to travel, we forget about all the treasures in our own backyard. Before buying a flight halfway across the world, check out killer deals for cities in your own country. It may not seem as exotic as heading overseas, but you don’t have to spend your precious vacation time sitting on an airplane or dealing with awful jet lag. Plus you’d be surprised how foreign a trip to the other side of your country can feel. For example, the food, weather, accent and music in New Orleans is entirely different from my hometown of San Francisco. You don’t need to sit on a 15-hour flight to feel like you’re in a whole new world!
MAKE TRAVEL A PRIORITY
This may seem like a bit of a cop-out, but hear me out. If travel is one of those resolutions that you seem to be making year after year but never get around to, make this your year of travel! There are a million excuses we come up with that make travel seem impossible. We don’t have enough money, our job doesn’t allow enough vacation time, we’re tied down with obligations, or we don’t have anyone to go with. There’s always going to be some reason that stops us from traveling, but once we finally do it, we see there are a million more reasons to ditch those excuses and just go. Yes, it’s going to cost money, and no, there will never be as much time as we’d like. If we sit around and wait for the perfect time to travel, it’ll never happen. Instead we need to make travel a priority. Don’t have enough money? Forgo those $10 bar cocktails and start saving up. Don’t have enough time? Skip that week-long music festival and instead save up those vacation days for your dream trip. Ditch those excuses and just do it!
Whether it’s a weekend road trip or your round-the-world dream vacation, there are so many ways to incorporate more travel into your upcoming year.