If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you pick? This is a common question at dinner parties or among friends over coffee. But while it is always posed as a dream, it doesn’t have to be.
With a little bit of initiative — and some savings — you can go anywhere you want. It will take a little bit of imagination, a little bit of planning, and little bit of time. But you really can make it happen.
And the following three top tips will help get you there.
1. Plan Properly Over Time
There is definitely something to be said for spontaneity. Some of the best trips of your life might be last-minute getaways with a romantic partner or close friends. But a larger-scale epic trip is best done with proper preparation. You want to think about where you really want to go, set aside money over time to make the most of it, and research the best way to experience the place.
You don’t have to know everything about a location. But having the lay of the land and making a list of the top 10 things to do will help you prioritize and figure out what will fit your desires. That way, you won’t waste too much of your precious time on the ground learning things you could have easily learned months ago just by reading a few pages in a Lonely Planet guidebook.
2. Explore Your Options
While preparation is great, you can also over-plan. Don’t box yourself in too tightly and leave no room for exploring the locations once you arrive. You may fall in love with a specific neighborhood in Rome and want to spend an entire afternoon just walking around. You may go to one museum and then realize you would rather spend time outside on a beautiful day than go see more artwork.
There are always going to be some changes and new opportunities that arise once you get there. You may even meet another traveler — or better yet, a local — who can show you something you never even knew existed. The goal should be to go in with a lot of knowledge and some idea of your top highlights — while remaining open to alternative sites and experiences to enjoy.
3. Bring Backup Resources
While travel is amazing, it isn’t always perfect. Things can go wrong. And when you’re so far from home, even somewhat small issues can become a bit more complicated. If you lose your mobile phone at home, you can call your company and have a new one shipped to you in days — or overnight. If you get the flu, you stay home and maybe consult your long-time doctor.
But when you’re hundreds of miles away — or on another continent — solving such problems can be a real headache. That’s why you want to makes sure you at last have some backup resources to take care of things as easily as possible. Beyond the funds you’ve budgeted for the trip, be sure to have a great credit card, like one from USAA designed for military members and vets. Now, even if you run into problems, you’ll have a backstop to help you get out of a jam.
Make Travel Dreams Turn to Reality
More and more, people are starting to realize that using your money on incredible experiences almost always beats tangible purchases. Things are nice, sure. But you will grow and learn so much when you travel. You just can’t put a price on memories.
There are a few things you need to do first, however, to turn your travel dreams into reality. Make sure you plan properly to make the trip as epic as possible. Explore all your options and remain open to impromptu changes. And keep yourself safe for anything by having backup resources on hand.
With just these small steps, you’ll be ready to roll. You can now stop dreaming and start living the life you want.