Christmas is officially over! We survived the stress, the last minute shopping, and the family gatherings. Congratulations! Time to move on to the next panic inducing celebration. New Year’s resolutions start off as promises to be a better person. They begin as daydreams of what a fantastic person you’re about to become, rock star attitudes, and inflated egos. Let’s be honest. We usually fail. We fail hard.
Not being able to achieve a New Year’s resolutions doesn’t mean you’re a worthless failure, even though it may feel that way sometimes. It just means that we need to chill the hell out and cut ourselves some slack.
I often get asked how I manage to travel as much as I do. It takes a lot of planning, preparation, and yes, I pay for everything myself. My typical answer to this question is, “Well, how do you afford 2 kids, a mortgage, and a car?”, which are all things I don’t have. That helps to put it into perspective.
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I’m not going to give any lame-ass advice about saving a dime a day, quitting your job, or selling all your belongings and becoming one with the earth. For most people, those goals are unrealistic and are bound to set you up for failure. I don’t want to be the one to blame when you move back into your childhood room with no money and broken dreams.
Here are 17 realistic New Year’s resolutions for 2017 that will help you travel more:
Get an idiot proof piggy bank
Feel free to come up with a better name for your piggy bank. For me, a separate bank account just doesn’t work. Too many times, I’ve woken up after a night of beer and besties only to have a foggy memory of saying “It’s okay! I’ll just dip into my travel funds and put it back later.”
Later never comes.
My idiot proof piggy bank (lovingly referred to as my Praguey-bank) can only be opened with a can opener so I (the idiot) am unable to “borrow” from it.
I don’t do a dollar a day or have any set plan on how to save. If I have a $5 bill at the end of the day, I chuck it in. If I take out $100 and only end up spending $70, I chuck it in! If I find a frozen, dirty quarter behind the dumpster of my apartment building…I chuck it in! Every bit helps!
Looking up flights has become a bit of an addiction of mine. The good news is, sometimes I find really great deals or get new ideas for places I’d like to go! For me, it helps me realize that it’s more affordable than I thought before looking into it.
Get an Airbnb account
I like privacy, comfort, and, admittedly, a bit of luxury. Since I’m 28 now (ancient, grumpy, and falling apart), I can’t bring myself to sleep in an 18 bed dorm room at a party hostel like the young and spry 22 year old me could. I also can’t dish out $200 a night on a hotel.
Spontaneously buy a ticket (because damn, you crazy)
Bus ticket, plane ticket, train ticket! One of my favorite pieces of advice (likely because it’s highly irresponsible) is to buy a ticket and figure out the rest later. One time there was a huge sale on flights from Dublin, Ireland, to St. John’s, Newfoundland so I bought a one way ticket and said “I guess I’m going to Dublin?”. That spontaneous ticket gave me the motivation to work, save, and go on a four month trip to Europe.
It doesn’t have to be to the other side of the world! Check out a nearby town that you’ve never been to! Buy a ticket to a sports game in another city. Get creative!
Play tourist at home
Acting like a tourist in your own hometown is fun! Not only does it give you the opportunity to explore your own backyard in a different light but it just might spark the motivation you need to go further and see more.
Follow a blog
Like this one. Follow me.
Social influencers are called social influencers for a reason. Looking for some motivation, ideas, tips, and tricks? Check out some of my favorite travel bloggers:
Follow travelers on Snapchat and Instagram
Like mine. Follow me.
Following travelers on Snapchat and Instagram provides you with in your face motivation. They’re easy to find! Just do a few hashtag searches!
Practice a language
I’m currently learning Czech and it’s super easy*.
*It is not super easy.
Talk about traveling with friends
Talking about your ideas and plans will make it seem real! Don’t talk to negative-nobs, though; talk to the people who will encourage and support you.
Don’t sell all your stuff and live in a box. Just don’t go on shopping trips for 7 new shirts that are going to sit in your closet with the tags still attached for the next year. You don’t really need that much stuff and you’ll start to save a lot of money as soon as you figure that out.
Learn to cook
This is hilarious coming from me because I’m not a very good cook. Even if you don’t cook, granola bars and peanut butter sandwiches are still cheaper than eating out every day.
Do more things alone
I don’t have a lot of friends that I travel with. Since my first big trip, I’ve met a lot of travelers and therefore have people to meet up with, but I understand that it can be discouraging to want to travel and have no one to go with. Don’t let this stop you. Travel alone! Start doing more things by yourself. Get comfortable with sitting alone in crowded places and making your own decisions. As scary as it can seem at the beginning, solo activities are really liberating!
Pick a destination that is a ‘must’ for you
Without a destination in mind, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Where do you want to go? Good. Start planning!
Practice your photography skills
Post-travel you will thank you.
Host couch surfers
Getting to know other travelers is a great source of motivation and information. Also, if you’re up for couchsurfing, you can save a pile of money that would otherwise be spent on accommodations.
Sedentary lifestyles and travel do not go hand in hand. You’ll have a much better time if you can keep up with your itinerary without collapsing!
Stop saying “I can’t”.
Just stop it.
What are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2017?
Excellent list! I particularly loved the idiot proof piggy bank and your last piece of advice – stop saying ‘I can’t!’. I need to work on the others as well. Inspired to make my own list now. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂
I’m the WORST for taking money out of savings and promising myself I’ll put it back! Haha 😉
Go make that list! 😀
These tips are really helpful for first-time travelers. Thank you so much for sharing them, Irish. To have an eventful 2017, full of traveling and adventures, one needs to step out of their comfort zone first
Excellent, Cooper! Enjoy your fun-filled 2017!
It is interesting Post! I like the enemies to achieve my goals.Thanks a lot for your valuable Post