Fulfilling your daydreams of traveling the world may seem impossible now that you have obligations like a full-time job. Luckily, your travel daydreams can become a reality with careful planning and creative thinking. Gunnar Garfors did exactly that when he accomplished his lifelong dream of visiting all 198 countries by the time he was 37, on top of being employed full-time back in his home country of Norway.
Feel inspired by this intrepid traveler? Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your vacation time:
Make use of holidays and three-day weekends
In countries like the USA, we are not fortunate in having long paid vacations like those available in some European countries, like Norway. What is the next best thing?
Take advantage of three-day weekends or longer holiday breaks like those that occur during Thanksgiving or Christmas. If you live in the USA, for a three-day weekend you can easily plan a trip abroad to a nearby country like Canada or Mexico. Depending on where you live, places like Curaçao are a short plane ride away from the East Coast. It is important to think of all the possibilities available to you during these holiday breaks, because usually you’ll be surprised by how many options there are once you do some serious brainstorming.
Tag a few extra days onto a business trip
Going abroad to discuss a new marketing strategy with clients in Japan? Add a few extra days to sightsee. Business trips are notorious for being short, and for being so busy that you barely get to see anything outside of the conference room and your hotel. Ask your boss if you can add a few extra days onto your trip to explore. A bonus is that it will help you to gain a deeper understanding of the culture of the people you are working with- and how could your boss say no to that?
Take advantage of your vacation time
You may only have 2 weeks of vacation time, but if you use it wisely you can plan a big trip abroad each year that will allow you to see the world bit by bit. Since you have limited time, focus on 1 or 2 new cities within a country and really get to know your new destination. It may be tempting to see 3 or 4 cities, or 2 countries within this short time span, but in order to have a memorable trip it is important to take it all in slowly.
Learn to budget wisely
Traveling is not cheap. That does not mean that it is impossible to save up for, though. Instead of buying lunch out a few times a week, make your own at home instead. Instead of getting that morning latte, brew it at home instead. There are numerous ways to save- and even saving a few dollars here and there will add up in the long run. There are also numerous budgeting apps available, like Mint, that help you to put away some money towards a travel fund.
Avoid the peak travel seasons
It might seem like summer is synonymous with travel, but if you travel during off-seasons you are more likely to find cheap airfares, hotel deals and discounted local activities. Winter is a budget-friendly time to travel and you can enjoy your destination without the crowds. There are also shoulder seasons, which are time periods that fall between the high and low travel seasons associated with a particular destination. The crowds from the peak season have usually gone home by this time and the weather is ideal. Say you have had your eye on Mexico for awhile, but want to avoid the crowds and high prices. Mid-November is a great time to go, because it is long after hurricane season, but right before the madness of when the holiday crowds arrive.
Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com