This topic is extremely relevant to me at this point in time and actually to a lot of others I’ve spoken with recently as well.
I traveled to Peru in September and I’m currently planning a relatively large (and expensive) wedding and honeymoon–so to put it mildly, finances are tight right now. I literally fend off travel urges on a weekly basis and my last week of PTO is just sitting there taunting me as we speak. My next trip isn’t until May, so that’s almost nine months without a big trip to anticipate. I know I may sound spoiled, but the thing about it is that I spoil myself and I do it with my own money, and you can do the same—so don’t judge!
I’ve inevitably been forced to create ways to cope with the large void that is no travel. I’ve talked with a lot of people recently who’ve told me they’re feeling a similar travel itch, but for various reasons they can’t scratch it. So I think it would be beneficial to share the methods I’ve used to help ease the pain of immobilized wanderlust.
Take long weekends or road trips.
If you have a Monday through Friday nine to five job, take a look at the calendar. Is there a three day weekend coming up? Memorial Day, Labor Day, 4th of July? Or do you not have enough time off to take a full week trip but think you can swing three of four days? Great!
Think of places that are within four to eight hours driving from you that might interest you. In Michigan, there’s Traverse City, home of two beautiful wine routes, or if you’re looking to get out of the country, there’s some Canadian cities that give you that European feel without the overseas flight. There are trains that take you to Chicago, Toronto, or even Washington DC. Check flights to different US cities. Google Flights allows you to input multiple destinations for your dates and will bring back the most economical offer.
No matter where you are geographically, I’m sure there are some unique and interesting places within a reasonable distance that you could visit. The draw of travel is that you’re exploring a new place and it doesn’t necessarily need to be on the other side of the world to give you that same feeling of satisfaction.
When I lived in the Lansing, MI area, there was an annual event called “Be a Tourist in Your Own Town” that did something similar. You were given a stamp book with different points of interest and could collect the stamps over the course of the day or weekend. It got people out of their daily grind and helped them to explore their own backyards that they may have previously overlooked. Chances are there are museums, zoos, parks, and nooks and crannies of your own city that you’ve yet to explore. You can create your own weekend visiting places nearby that you’ve always been intrigued by but just never had the time or motivation to actually get out and do.
You’ll likely find something really cool that you can tell your friends about and it will also help satiate your thirst for travel in one fell swoop.
Scrapbook the trips you’ve taken in the past.
Go through your computer or camera and pick the best pictures from your last trip. Simply going through them brings back a lot of great travel memories.
Immediately after returning from a trip, you’re usually busy unpacking, catching up at work, and taking care of errands that may have been left undone a bit longer than usual while you were out of town. It’s likely that you didn’t get a chance to sift through all the pictures and process everything you’d just experienced on your adventure.
After taking a trip down memory lane and narrowing down to your absolute favorite photos, create a scrapbook or shadow box of your trip. It’s almost as fun making them as it is to go back and relive the amazing experience you had years down the road. It’s something you can keep forever. I like to arrange mine from the start of the trip to the end, but you can set it up however you want—the sky’s the limit!
Help others plan trips and live vicariously through them.
Being that I’m a travel consultant, this is actually my job (and one that I love), but it doesn’t have to be yours! You can still help people to create the experience of a lifetime without getting paid to do it if you want.
Do you have a friend or cousin planning a getaway somewhere exciting? Costa Rica, perhaps? Or Portugal? Get into it with them! You may not be able to cough up the cash at this exact time but you can certainly dream about it and maybe it will even help you in the future when you are ready to take that dream trip.
Looking up unique accommodations, reviews, and things to do is most of the fun of traveling, regardless of whether or not you’re going to be the one going on the trip. Or maybe you’ve been there or know someone who has. Your firsthand experience will likely help your friend with planning eons more than the internet or a book will—and it’ll be helping you feed your travel addiction at the same time.
Then, you can even ask your friend to share their pictures with you in real time while their traveling, so you can see all the excitement and planning come to fruition! It’ll be “almost” like the real thing—a cheap knockoff—but better than nothing nonetheless.
Plan your next trip.
There have been studies done that show that the planning stages of the trip literally bring about 75-90% of the joy of actually going on a trip. That being said, regardless of how far in advance it is, start planning your next trip NOW! There are many suppliers who will allow you to even just put down a small deposit on the trip and make payments until a month or so before the trip. While you’re chipping away at the cost of the trip, you can also be planning!
Making lists of the best places to eat near your accommodations, what you want to do, and all you want to see, is half the fun. And chances are this is also going to greatly enhance your experience while you’re on the trip itself because you’ve had so much time to find out what’s what that you’ll really be able to make the most of your time there.
Vacations seem so unattainable when you don’t think about them until a month or two before the date you want to leave. That’s because it’s unrealistic to drop that much money all at once. But if you give yourself a year or so to put into it, you know it’s coming and it’s less of a hit on your bank account.
Trust me when I say I know the pain of wanting to get out of dodge and seeing everyone else jetting off to their exciting destinations all the time. These are some of the methods I use to help cope with that pain until the time comes when I can really make it happen for myself. Hopefully these will help you too when you’re on a travel hiatus. Just try not to let that hiatus last too long… It’s a big world out there!
Keep On Keepin’ On!
CAITLYN WITHOUT A COMPASS