Longing to get away? Scrolling through your Instagram feed and wishing you were the one in Europe, the Dominican Republic, or at this year’s Austin City Limits? Here are five tips for making sure your next trip satisfies your case of wanderlust.
1. Check in with your boss.
If you’re thinking about taking days off for travel, start by running the dates by your boss to make sure there won’t be any major conflicts at the office. In most cases, when your boss has two to three months advance notice, your time away can be accommodated even when important things are going on. But when you randomly spring the dates on your team and chuck the deuces, you come off as inconsiderate, and you might even create some resentment while you’re gone. Ultimately, before you start making concrete plans, clear your dates with your boss. In the end, this small step will free you up to make plans and take your vacation without worrying about work.
2. Make a plan.
Typically, the biggest piece of your budget will be your airfare, so start by researching flight costs online using sites like Cheapair and Google Flights. Cheapair recently published that the best time to buy your ticket is 54 days before you want to fly. After airfare, the next big cost will likely be your accommodations. This is where you can find a solution that works for you. Instead of staying in a hotel, maybe you crash with that friend from college who moved to a new city. I can’t tell you how many of my trips have been the result of a friend moving to some new place and inviting me to come visit. Or maybe you find an Airbnb rental. Or you invite a friend along, so you can split the cost of a hotel room. If you want to travel, don’t assume you can’t afford to. If it’s a priority, you can make it happen. I know several people who spent $200+ on tickets for the On the Run tour. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But $200 was also the cost of my plane ticket to and from New Orleans last month. So it’s really just a matter of how you want to spend your money.
3. Pack light. (cue Erykah Badu’s “Bag Lady“)
Most people are shocked when I tell them I travel for weeks at a time with just a carry on. But from my solo trip around Australia, to a safari in South Africa, to my honeymoon in Italy, all I brought was a carry on. It might sound crazy, but there’s no replacement for the ease and peace of mind that having a small bag gives you. There’s no worrying about lost luggage. And there’s no stress when you’re moving between cities, up and down subway stairs, on and off trains, or in and out of tiny rental cars. If you want to travel – particularly internationally – know that smaller spaces are more the norm around the world. So stock up on those travel-sized bottles and toiletries, plan your outfits so you can mix and match items on different days, and wear your bulkiest pair of shoes on your travel days. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
4. Plan to unplug. For real.
If you want to make the most of your vacation, set your out of office notification on your email (work and personal), and commit to being present in the moment. Resist the urge to get caught up in social media and what’s going on back at home. You’ll be better for it when you get back, because you’ll be truly refreshed and ready to jump back in.
5. Keep an open mind.
One of my favorite quotes is, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” And that’s probably the best thing about travel – it opens us up to a new way of seeing things, both around the world, and even in our personal lives. If you’ve been in a rut or down about an aspect of your life, a trip to someplace new might be just what you need. You never know what new thing or people you’ll discover. Or what new thing you’ll discover about yourself.
Jessica Rice is a communications consultant whose goal is to live life to the fullest. When she’s not working with her clients, Jessica can be found planning her next travel adventure or eating her way through New York City. Jessica documents her adventures on Instagram @jmojacks.