It’s all about choices.
When I was about 5 years old I knew I wanted to travel the world. Fast forward nearly 40 years, and I have very little ticked off my global bucket list, I often wonder what happened.
I grew up in a family where travel wasn’t high on the priority list. My parents where both from large families who had struggled through post war times, where the white picket fence and a legacy were the focus – When an overseas adventure was suggested it was met with gasps, and advice of how money could be better spent. Work hard, buy a house, work harder, and buy a bigger house – That was the pattern I was encouraged to follow, so I tucked away my dreams for ‘One Day’.
I’m not complaining, I had a wonderful upbringing with a loving family. We had a lot of local family holidays, at the beach or lake, but spending money on international travel is just not what we did.
I’m now all grown up, and destiny found me working at Wyndham Vacation Resorts, where our mission is ‘Making holiday dreams come true’. We spend our days booking holidays for other people who do make travel a priority! And guess what? I’ve discovered that the little girl with the Wanderlust is still inside me, and I can finally give her freedom.
I’ve learned that travel is not exclusive to the rich and famous. I can make my own travel dreams come true, even while raising 3 kids on a single income.
And here is how it’s done!
Set a Goal
Use the SMART methodology of Goal setting – Make your travel goals specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-targeted.
If you must travel in School Holidays, then you must – but if you can, plan a ‘date range’, and keep an eye on prices, sometimes a difference of week can mean a significant saving.
I can’t stress this enough. VisitTrip advisor, browse tourism websites, read travel blogs, talk to others who have been. You may find your location offers a combo ticket for a lot of the main attractions at a discounted price – But check the list of attractions first, and work out if it really is cheaper to see what you want to see, or would you be paying for things you won’t be using. The best advice comes from those who have done it – My cousin Viv says it’s definitely worth paying extra for skip the line tickets if you only have a few days to tick off lots of attractions – and I have taken that advice on board!
Mock it Up
Once you have set your travel goal, do a practise run booking it for close travel dates to get a good idea of total price – Don’t just do flights and accommodation. Factor in the prices of the attractions you want to see, airport transfers, and even a daily allowance for food and shopping
Once you have a figure, you can work towards it – Open up a high interest online bank account, and set up an automatic transfer each week. To know how much you need to save each week, divide the cost of the trip by the number of weeks until you ideally would like to go . If you think the weekly amount is too high, you need to revisit your ‘achievable’ and ‘realistic’ goal setting stages. Maybe you’ll need to wait another 6 months, or maybe you are willing to forgo an attraction or two to make it happen sooner.
Be a Savvy Saver
Stick to your budget – Do not break into your holiday savings under any circumstances. Put extra aside when you have it – Make your lunch, don’t buy it. Consider second hand if the vacuum cleaner or washing machine breaks – Make tough choices – Do without Foxtel or a new pair of shoes. Ask yourself – Which do I want more?, and as silly as it sounds, put your loose change in a jar or piggy bank – it will add up!
If you can see it, you can do it – Stick an image of the location in your wallet – When you go to buy a coffee, when you could make one – It’ll make you think twice.
Ask for Donations
Well, don’t beg on the street but I mean when your sister asks what you want for your birthday – Answer… A deposit into my holiday fund! – you’ll appreciate that more than a vase or necklace. Set up a crowd-funding page and share it on Facebook – You never know if a cousin or ex-workmate is feeling generous enough to donate $20 to your fund. Its free and easy – so why not?
Sign up to rewards programs. Frequent flyer points can be earned at Supermarkets and petrol stations. It might take a while to make a difference but it all adds up. And when you do book your flights, make sure you to claim every mile you can, so this trip contributes to a future one. Sign up to Wyndham Rewards – and if you book an eligible Wyndham hotel for this trip, you earn points for every dollar spent and 15000 points gets you a free night, or 3000 points gets you a discounted night at one of over 7,500 locations worldwide in 66 countries under fifteen hotel brands.
Sign up to receive airline specials by email. Quite often the specials are either early bird or last minute, but look out for patterns. For example, I’m looking at travelling to London in 2017, so I’m watching when and what specials come out in 2016 to give me an idea of the cheapest time to fly.
Trust a Travel agent
It’s always better to book with an expert. Chances are you could book it online yourself and save a little on price, but the peace of mind that a Travel Agency gives you is worth the extra you pay – They are the experts who will stop you accidently booking the wrong flight, they will recommend suppliers from experience, and a licensed travel agency comes with added protection if things go wrong… and speaking of… you must book Travel Insurance. Not Negotiable!
Try to go to Travel Expos – They are great for inspiration, talk to the experts and take advantage of on the day specials.
The best way to make it happen is to book it. While you are still saving and planning, there is always a chance that something will crop up and hinder you from reaching your goal. Once its booked and you’ve made the commitment, you will be surprised at how much easier it is to make choices that help you get there.