In the first week of January, we all have a chance for a fresh start. It’s a new chapter, a blank page, a fresh slate. It’s the perfect opportunity to reflect on the previous year, what you gained or lost, what you achieved or what you maybe pushed to the back of your priorities, intentionally or not. And of course to focus on the upcoming year ahead and what your goals or aspirations are, what you want to review or change in your life and much more.
When it comes to travel, it can be all too easy to let the weeks and months go by without planning your much-needed holidays until it gets to the point where you’re desperate to leave the country or go on an adventure and you end up booking something last minute – as an easier or cheaper alternative to something on your real bucketlist.
All it takes is a little planning!
As it’s the first weekend of January, why not make the most of this fresh start to grab a travel journal, brainstorm some ideas and jot down what’s on your travel bucketlist. This is the fun bit! When it comes to actually planning it, getting the time off work confirmed, the logistics of the trip, and booking and paying for it, it can get tricky! But use the following pointers as a quick guide to swerve you in the right direction…
- Firstly, it helps to be realistic with money. What sort of budget do you have or can you put aside for travelling for the year? If you need to, a good way to start is by setting up some sort of saving fund. This could be a direct debit into your savings account – that way you will have a set sum of money leaving your account each month and this does add up, however small the amount may be. For more tips on how to save for travel, see my post here.
- Secondly, if you’re anything like me, your bucket-list will always be bulging and you’re never going to realistically satisfy your craving to see everywhere. Prioritise which places in the world you are most keen to visit and then plan accordingly. Also keep it varied if you can – I like to mix it up! If you’re planning more than one trip, perhaps you could do one city break, one beach holiday or week in the sun, and/or one more adventurous or challenging trip. And spread them out over the year – that way you’ll always have something to look forward to.
- Be weather-wise. Make sure you’ve done your research of when’s best to go at what time of year. You don’t want to be heading to Asia in their monsoon season or the Middle East in the middle of their summer. But having said that, sometimes the colder months in Australia or the shoulder seasons in Canada, for example, are sometimes when you’re going to get the best prices as they want to get people out there in the quieter months – and that also means less tourists and travellers around – win!
- Be accommodation savvy. It’s hard to give generic advice for this as it does depend so much on the destination, but make sure you do a bit of research and brainstorming – these days there are so many options it’s hard to know which way to go! For a city break, it might be best to get a hotel somewhere central for easy access for walking and to save money on public transport; if it’s a longer period where you’ll appreciate a bit more space for relaxing and cooking your own meals, perhaps opt for an Air Bnb; if it’s a longer, more complex itinerary or multi-destination trip, I would head to an expert travel agency to help you out instead of booking individual elements online.
- Choose your travel partners wisely. Think about what you want to do, see and get out of your trip. For a city break where you plan to see all the sights and attractions, don’t go with a friend who would rather shop or be happier lazing on a beach. If you’re heading somewhere out of your comfort zone which will test your limits, make sure you’re travelling with a friend who you’re close enough to share with and be comfortable them seeing you at your low points as well as your highs.
“Life is more vivid when you travel. Why? Because you’re leaving the known behind, entering the realm of the uncertain and experiencing the world in a heightened state of consciousness”
This is a quote by Lonely Planet which I came across recently and loved – I really believe travel is so important and everyone must experience it on some level if they are able to. Don’t wait for someone else to ask you along, don’t wait for the next flight sale or when you’ll have more time or money…go and actually book something this month!!!
What’s my year of travels looking like so far?
FEBRUARY – I’m spending my birthday weekend shacked up in a cosy cottage in the English country with a group of friends with a hot tub, prosecco by the crate, lots of good food and a couple of country pubs within easy reach.
MARCH – I’ve booked a long weekend in glamourous Dubai with the girls for a much needed dose of vitamin D, lunches, brunches, shopping, camels and desert trips – and a tad of partying on the side.
MAY – Heading to the beautiful city of Dusseldorf for my friend’s hen party weekend.
JUNE/JULY – Planning to spend a very chilled week in Turkey at my parent’s villa by the sea.
NOVEMBER – The month I’m most excited for! I spontaneously booked myself onto a trekking trip to Nepal with Exodus! Bring on the mountain air, teahouse accommodation and a good old pair of walking boots for those 8 hour-long walking days – not nervous at all…!