If there is one certainty in life it is that change is inevitable. When you first start planning your dream trip you will plan based on your current circumstances, such as how much money you expect to have, how much time you can commit to the trip, when you are able to go and the type of trip you want. Often one or more of these elements will change which may require you to opt for a Plan B, C or D.
Travel Bucket Lists versus Travel Options
I personally dislike the concept of a travel bucket list – in my experience you are setting yourself up for failure as it is easy to list many places to visit and subsequently not have the capacity to visit them all.
I prefer to have ‘travel options’ so that when I am planning a trip I can choose an option which will best suit my current circumstances.
Travel Planning versus Life Planning
Being mindful that life changes will affect travel plans, a logical outcome is that the longer period ahead you start planning your dream trip, the more likely it is that you will need to be prepared to change your plans.
We are in this situation at the moment. For the past year we have been planning to do a big 6-7 week summer trip to the USA and Canada in 2015. I have developed a rough itinerary and cost for the trip and we have been consistently saving for our trip. With a family of five the trip cost is significant which is why we have such a big planning lag.
Everything was tracking along well and then life changed… I have been offered the opportunity to take up a higher level position which necessitates us moving back to Sydney. As a secondary result my husband will be able to go back to his previous employer as a primary school teacher. The big problem is that my husband will now not have the ability to take a longer holiday in the USA summer. He will only get approximately two weeks off in that time period. So there goes Plan A… maybe… For now we will continue to save up for a big trip but we now need to revisit our plans.
There is still enough time from now to when we plan to do our big trip that life could change again and force us to revisit our plans.
How to Mitigate Disruptions to Your Travel Plans
When you start planning your dream trip make sure that you have options. If you are like us and are in the saving phase, make sure you have an open mind to change your destination. As a result you might find that great travel deal or have an opportunity arise and you are not so focused on a single destination that you don’t even consider it.
When planning our recent trip to New Zealand we were initially planning to travel to Morocco. But when we read the travel advisories we decided that perhaps we weren’t prepared to take our three young children to that country. Thinking about the long haul flights was also disconcerting! After exploring a few other options we eventually decided that New Zealand would suit us better, as a result of the shorter flight time and a safer environment for our children. We had a great trip which everyone enjoyed.
Be careful about committing absolutely to where you intend to travel – if discussing with family, associates and friends say you are thinking about A or B, but you will lock it in closer to when you need to book. This way you leave yourself options and are not at risk of losing face.
Once you are close to booking go and do some more thinking about where you would like to travel. Maybe your focus has changed since you did your initial planning.
Look up the typical pricing for airfares and revamp your travel cost estimates. Ask yourself the question of whether you can honestly afford to do the trip you initially envisaged. If the answer is no have a closer look at whether you can tweak your plan to cut some time or change to a cheaper transportation method. If the trip still won’t fit into your budget reconsider other cheaper destination options.
Once you are ready to make your bookings ensure you immediately take out a travel insurance policy which has good coverage of typical life events. And then get on with booking your trip!
Have you experienced life changes when you have been planning to travel? Please share your experience in the comments below.