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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Resolve to Travel More

The New Year is upon us and who doesn't want their 2019 to be awesome? I know I do. If you aren't already traveling the way you want, maybe you should resolve to travel more. Travel makes people happy, and being happy makes you healthier, so it just makes sense. You have all those vacation days. Try to use more of them this year. In fact, that can be your New Year's resolution.

So, how do you actually travel more? It's easier than you think. I'll give you some steps to ensure that you follow through. You just need to be dedicated to living a happier, healthier life where you go places.

Make a plan

White a list. Where do you want to go? Which seem reasonable? Anything nearby that you've already visited can be crossed off, unless you really want to go there again. Don't go just because you think it'll fit into your budget. Chances are, you can go further or for longer for the same money. Figure out your top three places and do a little research to see how much they will realistically cost. Maybe just take a week instead of two, or go on two one-week trips, instead of one long trip, because it gets you out more and gives you more to look forward to.

Start saving

Even budget travelers need to save. You may think it's too hard or you can't do it, but you can! 
  • Open a checking or savings account specifically for travel. Leave your debit card at home, so you can't spend these funds on a whim. 
  • Set up automatic deposits into this account with each paycheck, so you don't miss the money. They can be any amount. Even $50 will make a difference.
  • Stop doing things that make you unhappy or that you aren't using. Do you subscribe to multiple streaming services? Do you use them all? If not, unsubscribe from those you don't and put the money you save into your vacation fund. 
  • Use easy ways to save. there are tons of apps and extensions out there to help you save money, including Ebates, Swagbucks and Honey. These all are completely free and offer cash back and promo codes. I am also a fan of the app Qapital. It lets you set up rules for yourself and moves money from your bank account into a separate account to help you save for any goals. My favorite rule is the Round Up rule, where every purchase you make is then rounded up to the nearest $2 and that difference is moved to your Qapital account. You can easily move your money back to your bank or use the Qapital debit card to use those funds. 

Invest in yourself

While we're eliminating things that make us unhappy, let's talk about doing more that makes us happy. If you need to get out of the house more, try using Groupon and Living Social to save on your outings and dining. Get half-price manicures, go to escape rooms with friends, go have a lovely brunch, and then pocket that money you saved on it.

Look for ways to save

Set your realistic money goal for your vacation at what you would pay full price and then look for ways to bring that cost down. Sometimes you can save just by booking things online (like you can with Universal Studios' tickets), sometimes you can find coupons online, some cities offer passes that give you a decent discount off their most popular attractions. Check out CityPASS and Smart Destinations

You might look into traveling in the off season, because hotels and airfare can be reduced by half compared to the high season. Even shoulder season can save you money and can save you time, since you won't have to deal with long lines and crowds of tourists. 

Look at bundling your vacation. Many times purchasing a package that includes airfare and hotel together can offer you deep discounts, so it's like you're only paying for one.

Don't sabotage yourself

Stop saying "someday" or thinking you don't have time to plan a vacation or that you'll never save enough to go. You do and you can. You just need to make travel a priority in your life like you do other things you accomplish. My best friend has a family of 8 and they just went to Hong Kong and Thailand with everyone and were shocked at how little they spent, even though they had a driver and went to Hong Kong Disneyland. They'll be doing more than just driving to California in the coming years, because now they know they can. 

Resolve to travel more and travel better and be happier and do the things you keep putting off because you think it's too hard or will cost too much. Make a plan, stay on course, set a budget and do it!

What's on the top of your travel list?

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