7 Ways to Stay On Top of Your Travel Goals

THE UNFORTUNATE TRUTH FOR travelers who lack trust funds is that we must spend a significant amount of time back home and at work to gather enough funding for our journeys. In this downtime arises a unique danger: a danger that we will fall into a rut of comfortable routines, a danger that we will unwittingly decide to blow our money on things and fancy restaurants, a danger that we will become complacent and forget what we really wanted to do with ourselves and with our lives.

The following tips are designed to help you avoid these dangers, and stay on top of your travel goals.

#1 Keep a Visual Reminder

Don’t keep an ambiguous image of white sandy beaches or an exotic mountain range in your office. Instead choose specific spot, find a photo, and keep it somewhere you’ll see it often. I keep a picture of South Korea’s Incheon International Airport (above) as my desktop background to constantly remind me of why I’m working so hard. (photo: d’n’c)

# 2 Buy a Map

One of the things downtime allows you is space to dream up your journey. Take a page out of Reason to Wander’s book and buy a good map, some pins and string and start planning where you want to go. Keep the map someplace in your house or apartment where you’ll see it and have time to ponder, like above a desk or in the kitchen. (photo: o2ma)

#3 Read Good Travel Writing

Keeping on top of travel goals is largely about keeping inspired, and spending some time with books by writers like Pico Iyer, Carsten Jensen, or Simon Winchester is a great way to do so. Lonely Planet also puts out compilations of travel writing regularly, and there’s always The Best American Travel Writing series.

Literature and poetry can similarly nurse your inner wanderer, so don’t overlook Thoreau, Kerouac (try Satori in Paris for something a little different), Whitman or even more offbeat authors like Haruki Murakami.

#4 Carry a Phrasebook

Knowing the language spoken at your destination is an invaluable skill, and will allow you to have a much richer travel experience. If you already know a foreign language, carry flashcards in your bag or purse. Otherwise keep a phrasebook handy so you can start memorizing when you have a few moments on the bus or at a cafe.

#5 Keep a Foreign Language Journal

Language classes or learn-it-yourself programs like Rosetta Stone are great, but keeping a journal in a foreign language is a really good way to make the language feel more like your own. Record your thoughts, keep clippings from travel magazines or foreign newspapers, do rough translations, and take it with you when you finally make the leap to where you’re going.

#6 Keep Tabs on Your Money

Keep a week-by-week spreadsheet on your computer and take a look at where your money goes. Coffee? Clothes? Figure out what you might be able to cut out and funnel into savings or a plane ticket.

#7 Talk With People Who Love Travel

Endlessly discussing travel adventures or goals with friends who aren’t interested can quickly rub them the wrong way, and won’t give you the support you need when you might be doubting. The travel blog community is great, but finding a group of peers you can talk with face-to-face will be an invaluable resource for travel advice and inspiration. Vagabonding talked about travel meetups back in January, and points to Meetup.com as a great way to find them. Otherwise, make friends with people at your local STA Travel or campus travel center, or make your own travel meetings by putting up a bulletin at a local cafe.


8 Responses to “7 Ways to Stay On Top of Your Travel Goals”

  1. 1 Kango Suz October 31, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    Awesome suggestions. I’ve done the reading thing and the online map thing out of habit for years but as I get older thing (wonderful things like family) seem to suck more and more money and energy and vacation days out of my travel plans.

    I especially love the photo suggestion. I think I’m going to find one to put on my computer desktop at work. I’ve always kept an ‘old’ travel photo from someplace I’ve been there, but the upcoming one will definitely help to motivate me.

    Another suggestion – I visit lots of online travel blogs, travel sites, and I write for Kango.com in between trips. This helps me continue to enjoy my trip even long after it is over and it psychs me up for the next one.

    Thanks so much!
    Kango Suz

  2. 2 Annette from Tropicaltravel.net October 31, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    Great tips. When discussing travel you always find people who have such ambitions and dreams for trips they’ve wanted to embark on for years, but when you ask when they plan on said trip, they reply that it may never happen, or “someday”, as the money isn’t good right now. Next time i find myself in one of these coversations i’m sure i’ll bring up your blog and the tips. I know i would rather miss out on a fancy dinners and things like that in order to experience another world on a trip abroad. In the end, we won’t remember the dinners we went to or movies we saw, but the places we’ve been and the people we experienced them with.

  3. 3 jen November 19, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    i actually have a photo taped in my wallet next to my bank card…makes me think twice about buying whatever unnecessary item i had in mind…

  4. 4 Travel Guy March 31, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    Wow, I think I’m just going to keep a printed copy of your article on my wall! Thanks, there’s some great tips here that I’m going to start doing right now. I need a vacation!

  5. 5 oatsy December 31, 2008 at 5:37 am

    I just got back from a trip to Egypt! As I was setting my New Year’s Resolutions I figured it was tine to set some travel goals. Great tips! Thanks

  1. 1 Keeping Travel in Your Thoughts (and Budget) « Less Than a Shoestring Trackback on November 1, 2007 at 1:37 am
  2. 2 7 Ways to Stay On Top of Your Travel Goals Trackback on November 5, 2007 at 7:01 am
  3. 3 BNT’s Best of the Week 11/16/07 Trackback on November 17, 2007 at 10:59 am
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