Maximizing your Travel Bucket List in 2015
2015 is the year of the Goat, a symbol for peace, harmonious existence and tranquility. At least that’s what the Chinese say, and since they gave us Confucius (who I’m pretty sure is the originator of one liners) then it must legit.
My bucket list this year is a mixture of travel goals (I know, how original….what did you expect?) and personal goals that will grow not only my business but up my travel experiences. I am working on time management, which means less time searching on the google and more time utilizing the resources I already have. I also have planned to read more and watch less on Bravo (those housewives are addicting!), but less about me and more about how you, my amazing travelers, can take advantage of traveling in 2015.
The first step to maximize your bucket list is to plan ahead. Write out a list of destinations that you want to travel to in 2015, and don’t be afraid to list travels that may seem too farfetched at this time. The goal here is to have an A list, which includes everywhere you want to go, and a B List, which are the destinations you actually can afford to go given your time and budget constraints. If this process seems familiar, it’s probably because it’s the same strategy you use when planning out your wedding guest list, which usually starts off with inviting everyone you knew since birth, and typically gets whittled down to just family and close friends time you realize the cost involved (seriously, why is it so expensive?), or if you’re like me, you call it a day, throw out the list, and elope on a secluded beach in paradise with the waves crashing behind you at sunset! Don’t be jealous…
The second step is to get out your calendar and start comparing your work schedule, school schedules (if you have kids) and any other important events planned to see when you have time available to get away. I know that everyone thinks traveling at the last minute gets you amazing deals, but when was the last time you ever bought an airline ticket at the last minute and saved a buck? Probably the day before NEVER. You need to plan ahead to get the best deals on air, and availability at resort destinations. You may be able to grab a room at a fabulous all inclusive at the last minute, but there’s a high chance that room comes with a view of the housekeeping quarters. No Bueno, trust me. I can pull a lot more strings for clients when given ample notice vs. a last minute booking, which is why you’re booking with me in the first place!
The third step is a no brainer if you have a normal life with a 9-5 job. Utilize your free holidays. I don’t mean Christmas day or New Year’s, you might have those days off, but it will cost you more to travel anywhere at that time. I’m talking about Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, and even Presidents Day if you’re lucky enough to get that off. The key is to mooch off of days that are already given to you to be able to afford the 7 – 9 night vacation that you really want. I can send you on a 4 night cruise that is mediocre (actually I probably wouldn’t book this, but for the sake of this blog let’s pretend) or I can put you on a fabulous 7 night cruise departing from St. Maarten on Windstar, cruising around the Caribbean on a small sailing yacht, entering ports too small for any large cruise liner to even attempt to get into.
The fourth and final step is to come up with a budget you would like to spend on travel for the year. I work this way for my own travel, because I know that if I can look at the big picture when it comes to expenses, then I can plan accordingly and change my plans to be able to afford the big trip that I really want. That may mean having a cheaper family spring break vacation to afford the big anniversary trip in the fall. I have no problem robbing from Peter to pay Paul if it means a better experience. I know that for our trips with our son, I need to take a lot more money to go towards food, because anyone with a toddler knows, they snack a lot (why they don’t get full is a mystery). We’re going to Disney this fall and I booked us in a club level to be able to take advantage of all the extra snacks and beverages they serve throughout the day. This may cost more, but it beats the whining of a hungry toddler and preserves my sanity. It also means that this spring when we go to Cancun, we won’t be partaking in extra excursions because we have bigger needs when it comes to our Disney trip. You pick and choose where to spend and scrimp. It’s that easy.
The last step is to send you’re A List and B List to your travel consultant (that’s me!) who can help you navigate and plan towards your travel goals for the year. While you may assume that you can’t afford Tahiti, I may know of the incredible deals that can be found in at its sister island of Moorea. You just never know until you ask! Consider me your financial planner for travel, and together we can tackle 2015 while utilizing your time and money efficiently.