Sharing Travel Experiences is off on a new journey – exploring the lifestyle design side of travel and how to afford vacation. Yes, travel isn’t just something you do without thought when you have some time away from work or school. Deciding to travel, where to travel and what sort of travel experiences you want to have all need to fit with who you are.
For example, Andy often travels alone on several week trips. That’s not something I would enjoy or even consider doing. I’ve tried traveling alone and don’t like it. I also prefer to travel in short bursts, returning to my home base after at most three weeks.
In a new series of posts, fellow lifestyle design expert DeeAnne White and I will explore the non-practical side to travel – the reasons for, the thrill of and the blocks to discovering the world beyond your armchair.
Get out of that armchair!
Money, Money, Money
And speaking of blocks, money is generally the number one obstacle to vacations. “Afford Vacation” is almost a curse word. Whether it’s money to pay for the trip, money to cover debt, money to pay for current bills or money to pay for future expenses, the lack of finances stops people from not only going away but even from taking a break from work and not going anywhere.
Time to stop that way of thinking right now and time to travel more. You’re reading this site because you like to travel, but only a small portion of the population in any country has their passport. In the United States, it’s something like 18% of the population.
So, given that you want to travel more, this post isn’t for you. I’m certain, however, that you know others who have never left their country, let alone their province or state.
This post is for them. Email it to them, or use the arguments I list here to pry them out of that armchair and into an airplane, train or car.
Avoiding Future Regrets
When they say they can’t afford vacation time, as them to consider how they’ll be able to afford living when they burn out from not taking a break. Or how they’ll be able to afford the loss of passion for life when they realize that they’ve experienced nothing beyond work and the TV or Internet.
Don’t think that’ll happen? Think again.
How many stories do you hear about people who work all the time with no breaks? How many Hollywood movies and TV shows carry this theme? There’s more to life than the day to day routines, even when the person loves those routines.
Planning a vacation isn’t just wasting money on frivolities. It’s investing in oneself. Whether going away or having a stay at home vacation and not spending a thing, time away from routine recharges and re-energizes. Plus when people take a break from their regular life, they give their subconscious mind a chance to reflect on things that have been troubling them and when they come back the solution is often suddenly apparent to them.
Refreshing the View on Your Life
And if that’s not enough incentive to take a vacation, think about how things we repeat become so commonplace we don’t pay much attention to them any more. For anyone who’s living in a routine for any length of time, they begin to pay no attention to the things and people around them, taking for granted or totally being unaware of their surroundings. They live without thinking and engage the autopilot. You can assume that you can’t afford vacation time or assume that you don’t want/need it, whether its true or not.
When people travel more – outside their normal boundaries – they return to their daily life with fresh eyes and see more clearly the things they no longer need and become aware of the actions and behaviors that no longer serve their goals. If they never travel, they’ll never grow and never turn off the autopilot.
Creatively Financing a Vacation
With that out of the way, let’s look at the financial side of a vacation. Traveling does not have to cost much. In 2009, I made very little money and yet I traveled all across Spain (where I live). Vacations don’t have to be expensive. We took an 8 hour over night bus trip down to the south coast for a wedding and stayed with friends. Our costs for 5 days in Valencia included contributing to food in the apartment and 3 meals out plus a few drinks. Between the two of us we spent maybe $150 more than if we would have had we stayed at home. Relaxing doesn’t have to mean five star hotels in luxury tourist zones.
Check out the travel specials of the Sharing Travel Experiences website for ideas on inexpensive places to visit and get that reluctant traveler excited about visiting some place other than the local grocery store.
And to pay for it? Well, that’s an easy one – no matter what your income you can save something – drop a dollar in a jar or piggyback each night before you go to bed. At the end of the year that’s over $350 to spend on a vacation of some sort – more than enough to have lots of fun away from home, even if it’s just at a hotel spa in the next town over.
So, you afford vacation time now, right?