After months of travel restrictions and mobility limitations, you may already be feeling frustrated and itching to book your next flight out of the country. Instead of wallowing in despair, think of this as a good opportunity to really plan and save up for that trip of your dreams – that bucket list worthy travel experience that you never had a chance to fulfill before because of your busy schedule.
While waiting for borders to open up and travel restrictions to ease a bit more, you can start your preparations in making your dream trip into a reality. Here are steps you can take to help you get closer to that bucket list trip:
- Narrow Down Your Options
Like everyone else, you would surely want to go everywhere and do everything when you think of traveling. But having such a broad target will only make it more difficult for you to set your plans in motion. It is better to list down all the things that you want, then separate the must-haves from the nice-to-haves.
First, consider what kind of travel experience you want. It can be a solo trip, where you get a chance to discover new things about yourself, challenge your boundaries, and maybe get to meet interesting people along the way. Or you can have a wellness-centered travel, immersing yourself in the wonders of nature or exploring new a territory in your spiritual journey.
You may also want to take this opportunity to bond with your extended family through a multi-generational trip where you can spend a special holiday together after being separated by the pandemic. Or if a private trip of a lifetime sounds appealing to you, hiring a luxurious private jet could be just what you are looking for.
- Set A Budget
Of course, it would not make sense to have the time of your life for a few days or weeks, only to go home bankrupt and buried in debts. So before you fall in love with the vision of your future travel, force yourself to get back to earth by setting a realistic budget.
Be honest with yourself and write down how much you can comfortably spend without sacrificing your future needs. If your target travel date is still a few years down the road, you should also list down your estimated income and regular expenses in the months leading to the date, including how much you need to save in order to reach your goal.
If you want to stretch you budget and splurge a little more on your trip, given that it’s your bucket list, you can also start looking for supplementary sources of income to augment your savings. You can take freelance jobs or one-off projects in your field of specialization, as long as it does not come in conflict with your regular job. This will enable you to execute your travel plans in style and comfort.
- Research And Plan Ahead
Whether you plan to book a tour or wing it out yourself, it is still best to get yourself familiarized with your target destination in advance. Read reviews from fellow travelers and pay attention to feedback about transportation, food, convenience, and most importantly, safety.
There are always risks when going to an unfamiliar place away from friends and family, but you can have more control of your activities if you arm yourself with plenty of information. List down important contact information both in your home country and all the places you plan to visit so you know who to contact if you need help. Note down the addresses of nearby hospitals and police stations that you can run to in case of emergency.
After covering the basics, look for recommendations on places to visit other than the textbook tourist destinations. Check local forums for restaurants, activities, heritage sites, and other remarkable attractions that travel sites don’t usually talk about.
- Check Available Deals
Do a little online window shopping before you confirm any booking. Compare prices, offers, and other benefits, so you can be sure to get the best value for your money. Take advantage of travel rewards and air travel points that are being offered by other service providers like credit cards and other financial institutions.
Some airlines and railway companies offer much lower rates when you book months in advance, which you can enjoy once you are sure of your destination and travel date. Note, though, that these kinds of promotions are often non-refundable and also cannot be re-booked, so you do run the risk of losing your money should your travel plans change or get canceled.
Off-season prices are also usually lower, and if your time is flexible, this could be a viable option for you. This applies not only for transportation and accommodation, but also for some museum, tourist spots, and top attractions.