How To Transform Your Travel Dream Into Reality

Monument Valley, a place we intended to visit on our big USA and Canada road trip
Monument Valley, a place we intended to visit on our big USA and Canada road trip
The hardest part of travel is deciding to go. Have you been dreaming about a journey but not yet committed yourself? How can you take the step from dreaming to doing?

Monument Valley, USA

The hardest part of travel is deciding to go.  Have you been dreaming about a journey but not yet committed yourself?  How can you take the step from dreaming to doing?

Travel Dreams

If you have any interest in travel you will typically be periodically watching travel shows, reading travel articles and listening to friends and colleague’s travel stories with interest.  There may be a few trips or locations which really catch your attention.  You may have visited a travel agent and have a stack of brochures sitting in your cupboard.

But a particular trip has never crystallised into something you could commit to.

Travel Scoping

The two things which affect deciding to travel are money and time.  Until you have a good picture in your head of how much you need of each it is difficult to commit.

A good strategy to scope out both of these is to put together a rough itinerary which may take a few hours to research and put together.  My key tools to put together an itinerary are as follows:

  • A spread sheet to accumulate the information together,
  • Online flight website,
  • Google Maps,
  • Online vehicle hire or transportation websites, and
  • Destination tourist websites.

I can quickly take a travel idea from concept to reality by working out an itinerary, which involves checking flight options and costs and trying to make the trip fit within the affordable flight options.

Moraine Lake in Banff, CanadaFor example, I have just put together a rough itinerary for our planned trip to the USA and Canada which we are currently planning for approximately 2015. Have a look at our trip board on Pinterest where we are collecting ideas on places to visit.

The link below will open our rough itinerary so you can see the level of detail we use to estimate the time and cost of a trip.

USA & Canada Trip – Rough Itinerary – 2015

Travel Decision

Once you have scoped out your trip and have some understanding of how much money and time you will require, it is time to make a decision.  Work out how much money you can save each pay period and then calculate how long it will take you to save the money.  Set up a dedicated travel bank account and start saving.  Are there any habits you can change to help you save faster?  Plan your leave to enable you to have enough when you intend to take your trip.

The point you start actively saving the money is in my opinion when you have decided to go.  You may not make any bookings for a little while, and you may change your destination and trip length but you are already committed to going on a journey.

We have already decided to go on our USA and Canada trip and are saving in earnest.  The reason that the trip is still a few years away is that we have young children and currently only one of us is working.  As a result our savings timeframe is longer than we would usually prefer.  We do not borrow money for travel – the pain of paying off a loan for an extended period after a trip quickly diminishes the pleasure experienced on the trip.  We would also prefer our youngest child be old enough to remember the trip and large enough to go on the rides in Disneyland!  It is tempting to use the money we are saving to go on some smaller trips but the USA & Canada trip has been a goal for a while.

If your trip is a few years away it is important to maintain focus and not get distracted by other trip temptations.  We also try to maintain our travelling spirit in the interim period.  We find that actively exploring our local area helps to satisfy our travel cravings until the big trip is close on the horizon.

What has initiated you to commit to your next trip?  Is your focus on a particular destination or activity?  Or do you want to travel but do not know where you are headed yet?  I invite you to share your current thinking with us in the comments below.

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2 Comments

  • Great Advice! The hardest part is to commit and resist temptation to go on a shorter/cheaper trip instead of your dream one. But it is all so worth it.
    There are a lot of destinations I want to visit, so it is hard for me to focus on mapping them all out.

    • Yes, we are regularly tempted and so far have managed to resist. Our trip savings account has now reached the point where we could start to afford some more local options so the temptation becomes even harder as the account balance increases!!

      I think rather than mapping them out you should focus on the trip you MOST want to do next and plan and save up for that one alone. Over time I have found a ‘bucket list’ approach doesn’t work very well – because you have no focus for a specific trip timing or cost you end up doing nothing… or get tempted by something else which comes along and then go ‘I wish I had still done the trip to xx’.

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