How Do I Travel So Often?

By Lynna - January 19, 2018


The number one question I get regarding my travels is: "How do you travel so often?!  Teach me your ways!"


This post is designed to introduce you to the answer to this question but it's a pretty loaded question and I realize that to answer this question, I would have to tell you about my entire lifestyle as a whole.

While there are a few different components to answering this question, and it may seem overwhelming, I can assure you it is very possible to do (I'm proof that it is!)  With that being said, let's move on to the first step, which I believe is the most important step of all...

  1. Prioritize your goals
    This first step is so important because as humans we can only focus on so many things at once, we have a reserved amount of willpower to divvy up among our goals in life.  Keep this in mind, while you prioritize the importance of traveling within your list of goals in your life.  While we may like to think that we can do everything and give everything our 110% time and effort, that's just not mentally or physically possible.  You must figure out where traveling is on your list of priorities, and then you can allocate the proper amount of effort, time, energy, and resources towards it.  For me, travelling the world has always been my second true love and dream in life -- the first being creating art.  So it has always been really high up there on my list which is why I was able to commit so much to make it a reality. Once you've figured out where traveling is on your priority list, commit to giving it the energy and resources in relation to where it is on your list.  After you've made the internal decision to commit, we can move onto the nitty gritty. 
    The feeling of prioritizing your travel dreams! (White Rock, New Mexico)
  2. Figure out how often you would like to travel
    This goes hand in hand with the first point.  Maybe you just want to travel once a year or once every six months. Once every season?  Perhaps you want to travel once a month (my current level of commitment), or perhaps you just want to travel full time, and just become a nomad of sorts.  This is important to determine just as much as the first point because again, this will help you to figure out how much resources you can allocate to it.
  3. Manage your money matters
    This is the number one follow up question to the main question -- How do you afford it? I'm not a millionaire and my salary is pretty average for a working professional living in Southern California. So how DO I afford it?  Again, it comes back to priorities.  You may have to cut out a few luxuries that you indulge in to be able to save up for travel.  But only if traveling is above those luxuries on your priority list.  Is it? Ask yourself if you can cut out or at least trim down some of these things: cable TV or other subscriptions, eating out at fancy restaurants or just eating out in general (instead of cooking), driving the latest model car, having the latest phone on the market, getting your nails and hair done every week, going on regular shopping sprees, your daily morning $5 lattes (these add up!).... the list goes on and on.  You must figure out what you can cut out of your life so that you can allocate that money towards saving for your travel goals.  Are these things less important to you than travelling the world?  It's your call to make.  And remember -- every penny counts!  As soon as I started doing this, I looked at everything in the lens of comparing things to the cost of travel -- would I prefer to go to this concert or book a flight to Vancouver?  Would this designer handbag bring me more joy than a week spent frolicking in the Caribbean islands?
    Pretty sure nothing comes even close bringing me this much joy... (St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands)
  4. Be smart about timing
    Sure, you may not be able to take off a week-long vacay from work every couple of months, but there are definitely workarounds. Utilize every single moment of your time off work.  And by that I mean weekends, holidays,  half-day Fridays, and my favorites: 3-day weekends.  A majority of my trips are weekend trips or 3-day weekends. Don't waste a single one of your precious 3-day weekends, especially if you know you're not going to be doing anything special for that holiday! I usually book weekend trips 2-3 months in advanced.  As for your 2 weeks of vacation time you can split that up however you'd like -- maybe 3 or 4 day trips once every few months, perhaps a week long trip out of the country every 6 months.  It's up to you, really.  What I really like to do is combine those vacation days and add them onto a 3-day weekend!  So bam -- suddenly you have a weekend trip turned into a whole weeklong getaway (bookended by two weekends!)  For my weekend trips, I usually hop on a flight after work on Friday and take a red-eye to my destination.  This is a little more extreme (and taxing) but it also gives me a full day on Saturday to explore.  Just remember to be smart about planning and timing -- that's all there is to it, really!
    One of my most memorable 3-day weekend trips (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
  5. Take advantage of the tools at your disposal
    • Google flights - This is kind of my favorite website ever.  It's a little embarrassing how much time I spend on here (basically every time I have free time...).  It's been my favorite tool so far to find flights because it shows you so many different options -- from travel dates to the most cost-efficient airlines.  Just play around with the different options until you can figure out the cheapest option for you that works with your schedule.  I sometimes even buy one-way tickets to a destination using airport or airline A, and then I buy another one-way ticket back home using airport or airline B.  It's like a game of mix and match.  You kind of have to play around with it a little bit to find the best deal.
    • Credit cards bonus miles - My favorite thing to tell people about is credit card miles because I use them for about 80% of my trips and they help save A LOT of money.  You can read more about which cards are the best for bonus rewards at this amazing blog that I personally read all the time.  My favorite cards are the ones where you can get bonuses of up to 60,000 miles just for spending x amount of money in 3-4 months!  
    • Plastiq - I use this tool to pay for my rent with my credit cards so I can easily reach those spending minimums on the above-mentioned credit cards and easily get my bonus rewards!   Just paying off two months' rent gets me to my spending minimums super easily and quickly.  The only thing to note is there is a 2.5% fee for using this service, but it's worth it for me because I'm not going to actually be spending $4000 in 3 months.  Don't have rent to pay? (Lucky you!)  Pay your sister's rent, your parent's rent, or your best friend's and just have them pay you back instead of sending in their monthly rent check.  You can pay a whole host of other things with this tool - tuition, car payments, utility bills, etc.  Again, it's all about being resourceful and smart about the tools we have available to us.
    • Airbnb - Need I say more?  I am heavily against spending hundreds of dollars a night at a fancy resort when I can spend $30 or $40 a night, stay at a local's place, get tips about the area, and experience the life of a local.  Plus, my style of traveling is to be out and about and sight-see as much as possible, so I'm not going to be using my place of lodging for much besides crashing for the night.  There's no point in dropping big bucks if all I'm doing is just sleeping there.
    • Expedia - same reasons as Airbnb - budget friendly lodging.  I really don't mind staying in motels and inns (I actually sometimes prefer them because it's just less of a hassle and easier for in and out access).  They also have really affordable car rentals that I also utilize often because I really enjoy road trips!
      Probably the most stunning Airbnb I've ever stayed in (Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico)
  6. Realize that other people have different priorities than you, and that's okay
    An excuse I get often from people who want to travel but ultimately don't is because they don't have anyone to travel with.  Their boyfriend / best friend / sister is busy doing X thing right now so they can't travel with them.  Unfortunately, the reality of life is that everyone is focused on their own goals and dreams so they're not always going to align with yours.  If yours is to travel the world, why wait on other people?  It's never going to happen if you keep waiting for people to align with your dreams, and it's unlikely they will want to spend their own resources to do something they don't want to prioritize in their life at this point in time. Which leads me to my next point, which is.... 
  7. The truth is, at some point or another, you will have to travel solo. Especially if you want to prioritize travelling in your life, and even more so if you want to travel often.  And the best part of all this?  Traveling solo is probably one of the best things I have ever done for myself.  It opened up a whole new world of possibility for me to follow my dream (I no longer had to wait for other people to be ready to travel with me), it empowered me and truly forged the way for my spiritual awakening, it made me feel endless, boundless freedom because I got to choose to do whatever the hell I wanted to do within each moment and I didn't have to ask anyone else what they wanted to do -- this basically sharpened my decision making skills, it made me truly interact with the people during my travels in a completely different way than how I did when I was travelling with another person (including meeting incredible people who have changed my life, that I would have otherwise never met had I not been traveling solo!!), and it made me fully immersed in my surroundings because I had no one else's opinions influencing my own when I was discovering something for the first time.  It's like listening to what your heart is saying purely without any other external biases influencing how you feel. It truly is a joy to travel alone because you learn to enjoy your own company, you learn to enjoy solitude and the beauty of being alone, you build certain qualities and skills in order to survive by yourself that you would not learn if you had someone else to depend on, you gain self-assurance and self-confidence... I cannot say enough good things about travelling solo, which is why I plan to write another blog post solely on this topic.  In fact, nowadays, I often even prefer to travel alone, especially during phases of my life where I feel the need for contemplation and deep reflection.  I use my solo trips as time for healing and reflection.
    Having the time of my life on my second solo trip.  This was where my awakening began!  (Boulder, Colorado)
  8. Commit, and take the plunge
    There's no time like now.  If your dream is to travel, why not just commit and take the plunge right now?  Not tomorrow, not next week -- today.  Start saving money today, start planning today, start prioritizing today. Once you've done all the above steps and made your commitments and decided you want to dive into this, start by picking a destination, a time frame, and a possible date you would like to go.  Then jump on Google flights, and find the best deal for yourself. As soon as you book that flight and make that commitment, things will start to unfold before your eyes, trust me.
So you've made the commitment and taken the plunge, now what?  Well first off, congrats! I'm so excited for you to be starting this chapter in your life.  It's going to be unforgettable.

Get ready to find yourself in situations you never thought you'd be in!  Like me -- on this train whizzing through the English countryside!
Next up, I'll blog about how I plan out my itineraries, how I pack super lightly, how to utilize public transportation, and other tips and tricks.  Stay tuned! Meanwhile, if you want, you can read my other posts about itinerary ideas based on destinations if you haven't settled on a specific destination just yet.

xx,
Lynna

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1 comments

  1. Love seeing all of your adventures! So inspiring! Thanks so much for sharing! I am so signing up for a miles credit card!

    Xoxooxox

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