Ah, the promise of new beginnings and a clean slate with the New Year! Some people love the challenge of making New Year’s resolutions. Others have given up on them altogether because they never seem to pan out. So often “travel more” ends up on our New Year’s resolution list, until the reality of life floods in and those travel dreams end up taking a backseat to other things.
What if we ditch the typical vague New Year’s travel resolutions and get down to the business of setting realistic travel goals this year? Read on for 5 motivating ways to get started.
Identify Your Travel Dreams
Do you ever simply give yourself time to dream? Be kind to yourself by allowing the space to dream about what your travel dreams are – and then make them a priority. Many of us don’t allow ourselves to explore the possibilities when we’re in the midst of the daily grind. Or, we just assume it could never happen to us.
Think about these questions to get started:
- What takes your breath away? What makes you feel relaxed?
- Where would you go if you had several weeks?
- What would you do if money was no obstacle?
- Who would you travel with and why?
- Do you dream of several long-weekend-getaways or an extended time away?
- What kind of travel would inspire you?
- Do you like to be busy, spend time relaxing or a combination of both?
Take All of Your Vacation Days This Year
If you have vacations coming, by all means, use them! Way too many Americans go all year without taking a single day of vacation time. Some even wear it as a badge of honor! Friends, this is crazy. So many studies show the importance of taking time off and the long-term benefits of travel. Taking vacation time reduces stress, makes us happier, renews our positive outlook on life and even makes us better employees. If there’s one goal you can check off the list this year, it’s taking your vacation time.
Think Outside the Travel Box
Have you always wanted to make an impact through travel? Using vacation time as a reason to travel with a purpose is on the rise. You can make an impact through medical missions, refugee outreach, joining a non-profit team, disaster relief – the opportunities are endless to make a difference in the life of others.
How about a vacation where you learn a new skill, book an adventure trip or take in a history-focused vacation? How about staying at a farm or vineyard to learn about the process? Perhaps it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and explore new ways to get inspired by your vacation.
Consider What’s Important to You
Each vacation will look a bit different and can reflect what’s important to you as a person.
- Is eco-friendly and sustainable travel important to you?
- When you go shopping, do you prioritize buying local?
- Do you want to see tourist highlights or go off the beaten path?
- Do you like to be on a schedule or have the freedom to go when you please?
- Do you want luxury or bare bones?
Use S.M.A.R.T. Goals to Increase Success
Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals aren’t just for the corporate office. They can be useful for achieving personal goals as well. Try using this method to narrow down how you will achieve your travel goals.
- Specific – When setting your travel goals, be specific. This first step is about identifying who, what, when, where and why. This step isn’t for how you’ll meet your travel goal, but rather pinpointing the basics.
- Measurable – When it comes to travel, it helps to break the goal down into measurable steps. You need to have a way to measure progress along the way. For example, if you’re planning a series of long weekends, break down your list into measurable action steps. Same goes for longer vacations.
- Achievable – To make your vacation dreams attainable figure out how you will make them a reality. Use this as inspiration to motivate you. Do you need to take on a temporary side gig to raise the money? Have you set aside time to do research, explore options and travel deals? This is the step where you think about how you will accomplish your travel goals and how you’ll get what’s needed to attain them.
- Relevant – With this step, you consider if your travel goals are in alignment with your overall life goals. Do your travel goals support what’s important to you? Whether that’s volunteer travel, gaining quality time with those you love, or de-stressing by yourself, your goals should align with what you believe in.
- Timely – Realistic timing matters. Give yourself a target date for each measurable step. If it will take you 4 months to plan that European vacation, jot down your steps and give yourself deadlines for completing them. If you want to take that long weekend a few weeks from now, break it down with due dates. Giving yourself time restrictions creates a sense of urgency, making it more likely you’ll accomplish your travel goals.
Now it’s go-time. Don’t just stop at the dreaming stage. This year, you can make those travel goals a reality. We can’t wait to see the places you’ll go!
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