3 easy mindset changes for obtaining more affordable travel
I often hear about how people wish that they could afford to travel more often or even at all. I am always surprised to hear people, especially gainfully employed people, say those words. Over the years, I’ve seen some of the poorest people, traverse the world like they are rock stars. I believe these travel tips will go a long way to start changing your mindset about travel. Add to your mindset changes, a little planning and taking action on the plan. Anyone can travel, anywhere, for less than they think. I am standing firmly to say that the only one holding you back from traveling is you.
Mindset #1 Prioritization and Diligence
I find that if someone wants something bad enough they will make it a priority in their life. That goes not only for travel but relationships, activities, hobbies. People find a way to get the things they want when they are motivated to do so. If you really cut through the excuses and BS that you tell yourself you know what I just said is true. People make things a priority in their lives that they WANT to. It’s pretty simple.
Let me ask you this question. Do you really want to travel? If the answer is an emphatic “YES!” Please read on. If it is a whiny, uncomfortable sitting, scared little letter yes, then return to your regularly scheduled programming.
If in your heart and soul you heard an emphatic YES! Pick a destination you have always wanted to travel to. Ask yourself, “Is this vacation, at this fabulous destination really what I want to do? What would I be willing to change in my life to achieve that?
You may have to make sacrifices
Do you go to Starbucks or Dunkin Doughnuts and get a large coffee at $4.00 – $5.00 every day? Or eat at the corporate cafeteria every day? Perhaps regularly eat out at restaurants multiple times a week? Or have multiple subscriptions to gaming, movies and television program viewing that can be downgraded or eliminated? Do you carry a gym membership that you only use in January? Look for things that are something that can be reduced or eliminated in your everyday spending habits. This is the diligence part; you need to take that money you saved and squirrel it away, not to be touched for anything other than your dream trip.
Let’s say you can live without your daily coffee run and opt to make your coffee at home. And you save $30.00 a week that is $1,560.00 a year. I can get you to almost any destination in the world, except for maybe Antarctica, for that money easily.
Accelerate the process
Let’s say you want to accelerate that savings process, I’ve seen people save their coin change, put that away in a jar and save that. Do the same thing with money made with cans and bottle returns. Don’t be proud, ask you friends and family for those bottle returns, especially if they normally just throw them away. Now you are not only achieving your travel goal but you are being a good recycling do be. You will be surprised how fast that money accumulates.
The bottom line is, you have to make a conscious decision to make a plan and work towards the plan whatever that is for you. Just as importantly, you have to revisit the plan often, to keep it top of mind and fresh as a reminder that this trip is a priority for you. Keep a few pictures around you, one in your car if you are eliminating the drive through costs and one next to your bed to remind you that this is something you are working towards. If you don’t keep a reminder often, I’d say daily; you will be living vicariously through everybody else’s travel adventures.
Mindset #2 Planning
Like the old Girl Scout and Boy Scout motto’s go, Be Prepared!
Ensure that you have all the necessary paperwork like passports already in hand. Do not try to book a trip to an international place and not have your passport ready. Just don’t. If this trip is a priority and it involves international travel then make it a priority to get that passport. Your costs are greatly reduced, if you do it well in advance of any travel and passports are good for 10 years. You will pay a premium to expedite passports. It also shows commitment to the travel destination you have picked. No one wants an empty passport without at least one stamp in it, so it will motivate you to complete the plan to get that stamp.
If you know your resources are limited, then you have to watch for the good deals. You need to know how much that destination normally costs. Once you check multiple sources for cost information, you will start to see a trend. If you have done your homework, you will know immediately when a good deal shows up for that destination. When that happens, you have to be ready to book it immediately. Chances are, there are 1 million other people wanting to go to that destination, on that same good deal as you. That means that the money needs to be in the bank ready to go and you have to be prepared to book it no matter what. NO HESITATION, NO WHAT IF’s – just book it. Otherwise, you will miss the deal.
Find a partner for the road
SOLO travelers: This is a little trickier for the SOLO traveler. You have to plan additional resources ahead of time. Traveling alone is great, but it normally doesn’t help you getting the good deals. The tour operator (unless it’s me) normally will not help to set up two solo travelers in a room which means you will be required to pay per person double occupancy.
If you have someone that wants to also go to your destination as well, then you can travel together. That does not necessarily mean that you have to do everything together. This is an arrangement of convenience as well as a money-saving agreement. If you find someone to travel with, you need to either consolidate your money in one place and ultimately agree upon the terms like when, where and how to travel ahead of time.
Otherwise, you need to be ready to communicate quickly and transfer money to the other person immediately. If you do not have anyone that you routinely like to travel with, then start making friends with people on social media on travel sites like my Facebook group “I Love Travel” which was designed with the hopes that it would to bring people together that would like to travel.
Whether you are a SOLO traveler or not, I’ve seen great travel deals sell out in a matter of an hour. You need plan it out and be ready and willing to book it immediately.
Mindset #2 Lecture 101 or, know your wants and needs
My family will laugh at this portion of the blog because my father was always giving us the same lectures, year in and year out, and his most famous opus was the Wants and Needs lecture. I finally labeled them into something like college courses. Lecture 101 was the wants and needs lecture. You can just ask any of my siblings the question “What is Lecture 101, ” and they will immediately respond “Wants and Needs.”
Knowing your wants and needs will really hone in what is important and what is not. Instead of focusing on a destination, ask yourself what do you want from your next vacation adventure. People often have a one track mind for a destination and are often missing out on opportunities because they are too rigid in their thinking.
Let’s say you want to go to Aruba for your vacation, during prime time. I’d automatically say, you will absolutely pay a premium for that privilege.
Find your motivation
If your resources are limited, I’ll challenge you to look at what is motivating you to want to go there and analyze what it really is that you need to do, see and experience. Let’s say the reason you want to go to Aruba is because your best friend or colleague tells you “Man. you just have to go there it’s so great and relaxing.” Then you see his vacation pictures, and you really want to go there. I get it, I do. Then reality sets in, and you realize there is no way you can afford that vacation.
Again, I challenge you to change your mindset and say to yourself what it was about these pictures that makes me want to go there? You will probably say something like, “I want to experience white soft sand beaches, blue water in a tropical setting, with some rum drinks given to me in a pineapple as I swim up to the poolside bar to rest and relax.”
I can tell you that you can go to many beaches along the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, Texas, and Mexico as well as many Caribbean islands on the east coast and for the West coasters the Baha Peninsula, to obtain the same results for a fraction of the cost that a trip to Aruba would cost.
(By the way, that is a picture of Tulum Mexico)
Don’t forget, the exchange rate between the Peso and the dollar have always been very favorable to the dollar. You can get a lot for your money in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Believe me, everyone will be just as envious at your vacation pictures as they were of your friend’s Aruba pictures. He might be more envious that you can do 2 or 3 trips to a destination like that, in the year, opposed to just the one because you spent much less money.
Consider Europe, as that must do destination. Let’s take the example, I like to use a lot. Let’s say you want to go to France, Italy or Spain or any of the sexy European destinations, but you can’t afford it. What is it that you are really looking for. If you are looking to experience a different culture apart from the United States, see ancient or old European architecture or ruins, hear different languages, see dramatic land formations, and taste amazing food. Well, I’d say go to the Azores.
A little slice of paradise
The Azores are a chain of volcanic Islands only 4 hours flight from the east coast of the United States and has all the fabulous culture that can be experienced in Europe plus being volcanic islands, has a landscape that rivals Iceland, Maui and New Zealand.
Everything is super inexpensive there. A typical dinner is $11.00, hearty breakfast typically comes with the hotel stay. I have gone to the Azores for $499.00, that includes round-trip airfare, hotel and breakfast. It’s an outstanding value. With a deal like that, it is hard to argue that you have no money to travel. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Once you are on the Azores, there are jumper flights to mainland Europe for as little as $30.00. So if you have your heart set on France or Spain or Italy for an extra $100.00 you can just hop on over and back to enjoy.
Suppose that even that won’t work for you because you didn’t plan and you don’t have the money or the passport, some towns in the US like St. Augustine Florida and New Orleans have that European flair plus a little something extra.
Let’s say you do have your passport but don’t want to go so far away, well you can always go to Old Quebec City in Quebec Canada or Old Montreal. Both cities are beautiful and contain a lot of old style European architecture, and of course, French is spoken there. Or if you were hoping for more of a Scottish feeling vacation the maritime provinces in Canada are perfect for you. The exchange rate is sometimes favorable to the US dollar as well.
Maybe you didn’t know that these were viable destination options that had all the stuff you were looking for at a rock bottom rate or you were unfamiliar with the destinations themselves. A few well written google searches will help with the discovery process. You just might find another location that is even cooler than your one destination.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, being flexible and open to changes in thought patterns about travel will help you to obtain more frequent opportunities to enjoy traveling the world. I have no doubt that you will be pleasantly surprised.
I will be continuing this series on additional tips for how to obtain more affordable travel, in fact, dare I say FREE travel. For now, start the planning process and if you get stuck, let me know, I can help. I have 35 years of project management expertise to help you devise a plan and break it down into digestible pieces so you can get to your bucket list destination.