The countdown to 2019 is on and your resolution game is strong. You’re going to exercise more, spend less, eat healthier, and of course, see the world! Sadly, 80% of these resolutions live a brief life, snuffed out by mid-February. With a little bit of strategizing however, your travel plans can fall within that 20% success rate. I know it’s easy to get discouraged – particularly for my Caribbean sisters – what with cringe-worthy airfares and various island Carnivals taking a big bite out of our budget from early on in the year. But we must not allow our travel goals to backslide. Be strong. Stay focused. And follow these 6 simple steps to make your 2019 travel resolution a reality. I’ve even included a few of my go-to resources to help you through several phases. Read on and travel far in the new year!
It’s one thing to SAY you’re going to travel more (or at all) in 2019. But it can only become a reality if you map out a comprehensive plan to make it happen. Determine how much can you afford to spend. Identify where you would like to go. Decide when you will be making this trip. Confirm who you will be going with. Do this all within the month of January, before the excitement wanes and other more mundane matters begin to make demands on your funds.
Useful planning resources for your 2019 travel resolution:
- Kayak Explore: If you don’t have destination in mind, just head to Kayak Explore to find the cheapest flights from your point of origin!
- Airbnb: I’m still warming up to the idea of using Airbnb for accommodation but it’s ideal for finding low-cost, self-contained accommodation that goes a long way in terms of making trips more affordable.
- Uber: Uber is everywhere and it can be incredibly cheap in certain countries so it serves as a great option for airport transfers. Prior to my trip I use it to estimate the cost of rides to and from the airport, as well as to places I won’t be able to access via public transportation.
Like many other things in life, travel isn’t cheap. You don’t need to be filthy rich to make it happen but “some money” is still the most basic requirement. So start saving – specifically for travel. Some people go so far as to set up an account exclusively for travel savings and I highly recommend it, but if you’re just starting out and starting small, you can simply carve out a fixed portion of your salary each month to put toward your trip(s) so it doesn’t feel like you’re dropping a whole chunk of cash in one go when the time comes to book your trip.
Useful resource for saving for your 2019 travel resolution:
So you have a plan and you’ve been saving, now it’s time to determine exactly how much you can afford to spend and how you’re going to spend it. Create a detailed budget that includes estimated costs for flight, accommodation, ground transportation, meals, activities, souvenirs and miscellaneous items. If you’re a stick-to-the-plan kind of person your allocation for miscellaneous expenses need not be more than 10% and it’s quite likely you won’t use it, but if you’re like me and can get easily carried away at the thought parasailing even though it wasn’t on the original agenda then you might want to allocate 20% and pray for self control.
Useful budgeting resources for your 2019 travel resolution:
- XE Currency: Use this currency converter to determine how much your funds will convert to in your destination’s currency. Bonus: It works offline so you’re able to use it to determine how much you’re spending in your local currency while you’re traveling.
- Budget Wiz: With this app you can set a total budget for each trip, then keep track of your expenses along the way. The app consistently calculates your balance so you know how much funds you have left. It’s also a great way to identify where you spent your money after the fact.
You’d be amazed at how much money you can save with good research. Particularly because of where we are located, I always advocate booking your flight early. However, when it comes to accommodation and experiences, I have learned there are always deals to be found if you take your time, dig deep and ask questions. Yes, it’s time consuming and can be discouraging at times but the benefits are well worth it.
Useful research resources for your 2019 travel resolution:
- TripAdvisor: When it comes to reliable reviews, TripAdvisor has never ever failed me! I always use it to help me decide on which tours to take, restaurants to eat it at, and sites to visit, even if I don’t use it to make a reservation.
- Airbnb: I’m still warming up to the idea of using Airbnb for accommodation but it’s also a great option to book affordable, authentic local experiences!
- Viator: Viator is usually more expensive than Airbnb when it comes to activities, however it’s a good resource if you’re looking to spoil yourself with at least one more high-end, all-day, all-inclusive experience.
- Instagram: Believe it or not, I discover a LOT of amazing off-the-beaten-path experiences on Instagram. Just search for your destination using the ‘Places’ tab and you’ll be surprised how many interesting locations pop up! Bonus: The more detailed Instagrammers tend to share money-saving tips as well.
Just! Do!! It!!! Stop saying you will pick a destination. Stop talking about booking the flight. Stop waiting for your boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend, mother, cousin, colleague to go with you. Stop hoping to save more money, get a better paying-job, or a more Insta-worthy wardrobe. If you really want to go out there and see the world, go do it! You don’t need to make it to Bali or Dubai or Morocco or any other trending destination right this minute. The Caribbean itself is chocked full of gorgeous islands waiting to be explored so keep your budget low, stay close to home and start living your best life!
Useful resource for committing to your 2019 travel resolution:
Sometimes plans go off track. Stuff happens. The money you saved today ends up getting spent on your car tomorrow. The time period you requested didn’t get approved. The friends you were supposed to travel with bailed. All of these hiccups are annoying and discouraging but don’t let it stop you. If the funds you have available can’t fund your top choice, then move on to Plan B. If your job didn’t approve your super-long vacation request, find a closer destination and do a shorter trip. If your travel buddies are no longer up for the excursion, find another partner or venture off on your own. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Make. It. Happen.
Useful resource for persistence with your 2019 travel resolution:
If it’s one thing I will always underscore, it’s that a life of travel isn’t cheap. Nor is it easy. But it is amazing and full of wonder. It’s a promise that you will never stop discovering or learning or falling love with new and exciting people, places and things. It is something that I wish every single Caribbean woman has a chance to experience, if even for a brief period in time – because it is possible. Even with our third world passports and currency, even if we’re working with limited time and budgets. So, follow these 6 simple steps and make your 2019 travel resolution a reality!