You decide that you want to go traveling, and sit down to write your travel bucket list in an excited frenzy, full of whimsical eagerness. You begin to think to yourself: I could go there…. or here!, and suddenly, the earth becomes a numbered list of bullet points on a piece of paper.
Yet, even after completing this exercise, you are most likely sitting at home in the depths of mid-winter, wondering if you will ever make it out of the country again. You declare to yourself (and all those around you) that you will and then proceed to sit down to write your plans. But turning those plans into a reality is more difficult than you think.
Although you can now ‘impulse’ buy holidays on the internet, the nerves and doubts can still make you reluctant to follow through with the final step, especially if you are traveling alone for the first time. You start to doubt yourself. You procrastinate (as always). So how can you make this process easier on yourself? Here are my five pieces of advice to help you get started.
1. Don’t write a bucket list.
As I mentioned earlier, a bucket list is full of whimsical hopes and dreams. Instead, write an action plan. Just the word ‘action’ inspires ‘doing’. Figure out how long you plan on traveling for, where you are going, and what you want to do. Make concrete plans instead of incoherent wishes on a piece of paper. This makes everything seem more achievable, and you can still be as impulsive, reckless or as free with your plans as you like!
2. Do your research.
If something is holding you back from traveling, then you need to solve the problem. Simply look up the solution on the internet, use a book (if you can find one!) or just ask around. Someone, somewhere will know the answer. Talk to people, find out their experiences, plan failures and then plan successes. Any traveler is more than willing to share his or her experiences (just count the number of blogs around).
3. Make a phrasebook.
Worried about all the difficult languages you may encounter? Not great with your gestures and charades? Write down all the essentials to take with you. You don’t even have to buy a phrasebook: just sit down and copy phrases from reputable websites (there are many).
4. Have a realistic idea of your budget.
If you know how big your budget is, what you are going to do with your money, and how you will earn money as you travel, you will most likely not end up on the streets of New Delhi. Planning ahead will ultimately give you more confidence to spend when the time comes.
5. And finally, Carpe Diem.
I don’t want to hear any of this YOLO rubbish. Opt for the Latin alternative! When the time comes, you’ll want to be on your death bed. swinging out to some Frank Sinatra with no regrets and a boomerang or tribal mask on the wall.