You’ve prepared your children to conquer the world. You’ve given yourself permission to explore it. Now what? Go!
What’s your travel personality?
Do you need a planned itinerary for your trip, or will you go with the flow and wing it? Knowing your preference will relieve a lot of stress, especially if you’re traveling with someone who views the adventure differently.
I admit it – I am not spontaneous. I make lists. I can’t just show up and figure everything out in real time unless I have no choice. I like to know where I’m going, where I’m staying, how I will get there, and everything in the vicinity. Kevin is the exact opposite – he can show up with no plans and have the time of his life. (The next time you see us, ask him about what The Very Tall Teen calls our “sketchy” trip to Turks and Caicos!)
Compromise is important. I know that Kevin is not looking forward to my dream trip to Ireland, but he’ll go because I’m excited about it. I have no connections or ancestral ties to Ireland, but Nora Roberts hooked me on the country years ago while I was reading her Born In series, and my desire to travel there has only intensified since then. (And… the fiber arts there are amazing. What stitches can I learn? How many sweaters can I buy without exceeding the weight restrictions on my luggage on the way home?)
My biggest compromise is on water. I get severely seasick on cruises, but I go on them because Kevin enjoys the convenience of travel, lodging, and food all in one place.
It’s also important to understand you don’t have to do everything together. Kevin knows I am not going traipsing through what he called “undeveloped beach property” to get the perfect sunrise shot (see reference to Turks and Caicos trip), but that didn’t stop him from getting up at way-too-early o’clock to get the amazing pictures he wanted before we left the island.
We love traveling together and know that part of the overall enjoyment comes from letting the other enjoy activities by themselves that we wouldn’t necessarily enjoy together.
Make a plan
When’s the best time for you to travel? Where do you want to visit? How long will you be there? How much money will you need for the trip?
We’re not quite empty nesters yet, so we’re still on an August to May school calendar. Our traveling coincides with The Very Tall Teen’s school breaks and summer vacation. And, for those of us who are not independently wealthy and cannot easily afford the price of a last-minute, spur-of-the-moment, nowhere-near-sale-price-international-flight-for-three today, we need to utilize every resource available to bridge the gap between where we are and where we want to be.
We’re beach people (Ireland notwithstanding). We typically like our vacations hot and tropical. I’m on a St. Kitts kick right now, so we’ll see how the flights pan out with my obsession for low fares. As do most Americans using paid time off, we vacation on a weekly basis so we’d only be gone for 5-7 days.
Now is the time to budget and save. We know we want to go to St. Kitts in April or June. Airline tickets average around $800 each. We try to keep our lodging costs to no more than $200 per night. Once you know how much airline tickets and lodging costs, then look for bargains and deals to cut those costs. We utilize sites like Scott’s Cheap Flights, Skyscanner, Google Flights, HomeAway, and Airbnb, and set price alerts.
I’m a big fan of lists and Nomadic Matt’s fantastic 17 Easy Steps for Planning Your Next Trip checklist takes you step-by-step through the process of trip planning, from deciding where to go, to saving for the trip months in advance.
A clearly defined plan will help you accomplish your travel goals and make traveling easier.
What are you waiting for? Stop making travel bucket lists and just go. You’re ready. Your dream vacation doesn’t have to be your only vacation. You’ve done the research. You’ve saved your money. You’ve packed your bags. GO! Enjoy your trip and start planning the next one!
Where are some of the places you’d like to visit?