Sometimes the distance from your office desk to a place you’ve been dreaming about, like Spain, can seem further than the moon. Sure, you want to go places but how do you actually get from that desk you’re reading this from to those far-flung destinations? It’s easier than you think and it’s not your wallet, family, or job that’s stopping you.
Narrow Down To Get Out Of Town
The hardest part psychologically of any task is getting started; yet ironically, that’s exactly the best way to combat procrastination. Sounds quite easy but you’ll need to create short, artificial deadlines to get yourself moving. When it comes to travel, these are the first fun steps to overcoming your mental obstacles.
- Where do you want to go? Everywhere isn’t an acceptable answer, even I had to define that for myself.
- Make memorable lists. The average human short term memory can only hold 5-9 items at a time and we tend to chunk items into groups of 2 or 3. A short travel list (and short lists in general) help you stay focused and let you visualize your traveling goals – a tactic that greatly improves your problem solving skills according to Penn State University [PDF]. Pick 3-5 countries or cities and we’re on to the next phase.
- Your death is not an appropriate deadline. Pick a better time frame than some vague concept of a “bucket list” and then shorten it by 25%. Much like backpacks, our plans tend to fill all of the time allotted for them.
You now know roughly where you want with have a timeline for when – putting you about 90% closer to actually hopping on that bus, plane, or train. To increase your chances of success further, tell your friends the specifics you’ve come up with. Peer pressure is a powerful motivator for a social species like ours and using Jume.in you can share your goals and progress with friends online.
Stop Convincing Yourself You Don’t Have Enough Money
Our brains are frightfully biased and we tend to only see the information that confirms we’re right. Think you don’t have enough money to travel? You’ll probably convince yourself just that while smoking a cigarette before heading to the mall to buy a new pair of shoes you don’t need. Two tactics from above will help us get over that monetary hurdle – getting some actual costs and chunking the total into short goals you check off along the way.
- Get Relative Airfares – With Kayak Explore you’ll get an idea of what it costs to go where when. More importantly it will reveal cost-effective connecting cities so you can potentially use a multi-city flight to see more places for less.
- Flying Isn’t The Only Way To Travel – Check Seat 61 for train routes and Eyeflare has a handy rundown of major bus companies in many parts of the world.
- Use Frequent Flyer Miles – Get set up in 8 minutes, complete with a
fakevalid-but-not-your US mailing address for credit card point hacks.
- Beat The Airlines At Their Own Game – Using a very powerful tool you’re likely starring at right now.
Wait, I’ve Got A Job!
Well, good for you! Jobs typically pay us in stuff called “money” which can be exchanged for cool things like flying in hot air balloons. Having a job generally helps you travel due to disposable income it can provide you with. That said, it might be a good time to ditch that job altogether with a career break you can put on your resume to get a better job when you return. Those of you in the United States can get personal peer pressure (the good kind) with the Meet Plan Go! events happening across the country on October 18th.
Only You Can Do What’s Due
Digital assistants like Remember The Milk can keep you focused and get you traveling by tracking your planning-saving-traveling process but only you can put those tools to use. National Geographic’s travel photos of the day can keep you inspired on those long days at the office before a trip and Boss Key can make you seem more productive than you really are.
Just don’t slack on yourself or the future. Traveling is enlightening. And nobody returns regretting having seen the world.