How To Take Your Dream Vacation One Year From Today
Do you need a vacation? Have you been dreaming of travel? Is there a place you’ve always wanted to visit? Paris maybe? Or how about Rome? Considering China? Let’s not forget Australia. There are so many amazing places to visit but it seems so hard to ever get around to taking those incredible trips. Which is why you need to learn how to take your dream vacation in a year.
Sure there are many good reasons why it is so hard to take a dream vacation. The two main being money and time. Travel is expensive (or so you believe) and you don’t have the time to take any trips (or so you tell yourself).
A dream vacation is like any goal or project in life — through proper planning and preparation it is possible to travel anywhere in the world you want in a year. Have you ever taken the time to plan out your dream vacation just to see what exactly it would take to pull it off? Didn’t think so.
Let’s Stop Dreaming And Start Booking
We also had to learn how to take your dream vacation. It was January of 2012 and my wife Joyce and I were taking a walk through our neighborhood in Old Town Fort Collins, Colorado, when we came up with the crazy idea of taking a year off to travel the world. This idea grew from our realization that for years we’d talked about travel and seeing the world but time kept slipping away while the pages in our passport remained empty.
We changed our dreams into decisions.
Deciding to take a year off to travel the world was a bit scary and overwhelming so we jumped right in and started planning what would become known as our “Epic Vacation.” On April 1st, 2013 we boarded a plane in Denver heading to Mexico and did not return back home to Colorado until June of 2014. On that vacation we visited 23 countries followed by a United States road trip through 23 states.
It took us just over a year to conceive, plan, prepare, and take a fourteen month vacation. Through all that we learned a lot, not just about travel, but about making big overwhelming goals and dreams happen. I’ve done my best to boil down what we learned through our experience into a simple system for anyone looking to plan their dream vacation.
I need to stress that this is not about long term travel like the trip we took. This system is about having the best two week, three week, or four week (maybe five?) vacation of your life. The kind of trip you think you need to put off until retirement. But life is short and there are no guarantees so the time to travel is now.
Of course it is not possible for me to go into great detail in this one article. My goal here is to lay out the basic framework of my system in order to give you a starting point. To show you the possibilities. If you’d like to learn more I’d encourage you to sign up for our weekly email that is designed to inspire you and teach you everything we know about travel.
So are you ready to learn how to take your dream vacation in a year? Good! Let’s get started.
How To Take Your Dream Vacation In A Year
Get A Passport
If you don’t have a passport yet make this the task you get to work on right away. A passport is required when visiting another country so get it sooner rather than later and don’t use not having one as an excuse for not being able to travel.
Decide On A Destination
Travel is like many goals we make for ourselves, we fail to achieve them because we don’t get specific enough. Take some time to decide where exactly you want your dream vacation to take you. This will allow you to focus all your planning on one destination which will go along way in making sure that dream vacation happens. Learning how to take your dream vacation means making some hard decisions in order to make it happen!
Start A Journal
Keep it simple. Get your hands on a cheap spiral notebook or a three ring binder. Basically you just need one place to keep track of all the notes you’ll be taking as you get ready for your trip. And of course magazine clippings, photos, and anything else you find that will keep you motivated and inspired.
Open A Travel Savings Account
You want a place you can safely save the money but not so easily spend the money you’ll be setting aside for your vacation. These days it is easy and should be free to open a savings account through an online bank or wherever you like to do your banking.
Draft A Trip Agenda
This is where it starts to get fun. Head to your local library or bookstore and find books on your chosen destination, write down places and activities that interest you. Also do some web research as you have time being sure to take good notes as you go. It is important you take your time on this step and invest in really digging into the research.
There is a good chance you’ll never be back to your destination again and believe me it is heartbreaking to learn of something you missed just because you didn’t know about it or went at the wrong time.
Plot out the schedule of your complete trip as best you can as you research. Remember at this stage nothing is set in stone, right now you are just researching the possibilities. Also be sure to make note of how much things cost which you’ll need for the next step.
Develop A Budget
This step is done in conjunction with the drafting of the trip agenda and its goal is to give you a number to aim for. Estimating just how much your vacation will cost is the first step is saving for it. Airfare and hotels will be a big part of the budget so be sure to start tracking those early.
Your budget is the core of making the dream vacation a reality. Through your research and planning come up with a number of what the whole trip will cost and then divide that number by the months until you’d like to go and you know what you need to save each month. Go further and learn what you need to set aside each week and you’ll begin to see it is manageable.
Gear, Luggage, and Apps
At some point you’ll need to start assembling your travel gear. Items like luggage or a backpack, clothing, and other travel related gear. There are also many apps available to help you with planning and navigating your trip as well. It is a good idea to try out the ones you can before the trip so you don’t learn too late what does and doesn’t work for you.
Depending on where you are going you might need to get a few shots or purchase some medications. And insurance is also something to look into, both for your health and your stuff. A good place to start is with the company that you have your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance through. They can tell you what is covered and what is not. And of course check with your health insurance provider to find out if your are covered while traveling.
Bring It All Together
You’ll probably find, like we did, that once you really begin to focus on a vacation things start to come together for you. Your excitement builds and you figure out all the things that once held you back from taking that dream vacation. Before you know it you’ll be taxing down a runway on your way to your dream destination being glad you learned how to take your dream vacation.
I know there is a lot more to it than what I’ve written here but I hope you see that taking a trip to anywhere in the world is as simple as deciding you are going to do it and then planning the vacation. You must begin before you believe it is possible because in the planning you’ll discover just how possible it is.
Joyce and I really want to help you learn to travel and experience the world the way we have so please do get in touch with us with any questions you have about travel and vacations. Click here to contact us.
How To Take Your Dream Vacation
Originally published over at Learning To Travel