Pack Your Bags!

Thanks Google Image for photo

When I was about six, I had a jewelry box I loved dearly. It was white on the outside and had turquoise blue satin inside. When opened, a ballerina would gracefully twirl in a circle to the tune of Around the World in Eighty Days. I’d rewind the key and open that magical box just to watch in awe while I imagined traveling the world! While I’ve yet to travel the world in one trip, I’ve traveled to twelve countries, many of them three and four times, and many of them independently, carrying everything in my backpack; staying at hostels.

Have you ever wanted to travel around the world? If it sounds like your idea of fun, here are some further questions to ask yourself:

In general, where do you want to go? Some parts of the world are less expensive to visit than others. How long do you want be gone? Three months? Six? A year? What sort of money do you need saved before beginning the trip? When do you want to travel?

Be realistic. You cannot travel Europe on $10 a day if you expect to ride a train now and then, or eat every day. (This may also depend on your age. When I was in my late 20’s I was quite happy to munch my way through a fabulous loaf of bread and a jar of mustard in Norway.) You’ll need to save money before leaving on the trip. If you plan a year away, can you save $18,250? (Fifty dollars a day.) You won’t spend $50 a day, but somedays you’ll travel, splurge on a meal or do something that will cost you more. Are you willing to travel alone if your partner or friend backs out? Twice I’ve had friends say they wanted to go with me on a trip. Both times, these individuals didn’t have their finances in order when it came time to buy the airline tickets. Both times, I went without them. I traveled alone and loved it! Don’t let someone else’s saying, “I can’t. I didn’t save” stop your adventure. Just bring your common sense with you. Now days people bring phones, text, email and blog during their trips. This could be fun—or a ball and chain. Think it through before the trip. I tell people I’m not sending postcards. That way if they get one, they’re surprised, and I’m not obligated to write everyone, taking my time and money. You can show a “Slide Show” of your best photos when you return.

When your priorities are clear, your decisions are easy. Daily, focus on your goal. Ask yourself, “Is this purchase or activity more important than one day on the trip?” These daily decisions will increase your savings with minimal effort. They become the difference between taking your trip—or not. They may include trimming back on things like cable (go to the library for movies on DVD, and while  you’re there, check out the travel books and DVDs. It’s a great way to get an idea of where to go if you don’t have an idea yet.) Other decisions toward saving include scaling back on hair and nail salon visits, or coffee, beer or wine purchases. It’s not about not having any of it. It’s about being conscious when you spend and save money. You may invite friends over for a pot luck, and B.Y.O.B. Let them know it’ll be a simple, but fun evening of friendship.

You always have options. You can sell your belongings before your trip. I did this once. For one of my year-and-a-half trips to New Zealand, I sold my car and furniture, and gave a lot away. What I had left fit in a closet at my mom’s.

There’s a good website by a couple who’s currently traveling the world together. If the idea of this excites you, check it out: Married with Luggage

It’s been said that anticipating an event (even Fridays) is a key element to happiness.Get out the globe, map, atlas, or get on line and start to take action on your dreams. Happy planning!


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