5 Little Mindset Shifts That Will Help You Travel More
I hear a lot in conversations with friends and strangers alike that most of us generally want to travel more, but. There’s always a “but” (a big fat one, am I right?).
I want to travel more, but I haven’t had the time.
I want to travel more, but I’m unable to save that kind of money.
I want to travel more, but I’m really focused on my career right now and I need to stay put.
Maybe, if you’re reading this, you might be in a position where you really can’t travel right now. Maybe you just had a baby, or you just got a brand new job, or you’re immigrating to a new country. If so, that’s completely understandable. But for most of us, that but is not a real, legitimate reason. It’s an excuse! An excuse that I myself have made countless times. However, I do know one thing. You don’t need more time (we all have 24 hours), or more money, or even a career change to make it happen. What you do need is a mindset makeover, and the willingness to approach all your travel goals with a new, more determined perspective.
A few years ago, all I ever did each year was go one 1 small vacation (maybe) and spend 1 week at home visiting family in Hawaii. It wasn’t until I completely overhauled my mentality and my attitude towards traveling that everything changed. Last year, I took 15 trips in a year while working full-time! I’m not making significantly more money than the year before. I didn’t quit my job. And I definitely didn’t add more time to the 24 hours we’re all working with. I changed the way I think about the opportunities that are out there, and new doors started opening up that I never even noticed before. If seeing the world and fueling your life with more frequent adventures is high on your priority list, here are 5 little mindset shifts I’ve noticed in myself that will help you get there.
5 Little Mindset Shifts That Will Help You Travel More
1. What You Might Think: Travel is a Plane Ride to a Far-Off Destination
What You Should Be Thinking: Travel Can Be As Close as a Car Ride Away
I’m not sure whether or not this is a mindset I adopted because I grew up on an island, but for the majority of my life, I associated travel with being on a plane. Of course, jetting off to a faraway destination definitely counts. But what if you are strapped for time, or trying to be frugal so that you can take more trips, more often? Two of the best things I ever discovered when I moved to California 8 years ago were road tripping and train travel, and they’ve honestly become some of my favorite ways to see the world. As soon as I started realizing that a 2-hour drive could take me to new cities and towns worlds away from the one I live in, I was hooked.
Since then, one-day, two-day, and long-weekend trips have become my secret sauce. People might think because of my social media that I’m always traveling and never home tending to my ‘responsibilities,’ but really, it’s because I squeeze in quick trips every spare weekend I get, even if it’s just a car ride away.
2. What You Might Think: Travel is Expensive
What You Should Be Thinking: There is Always a Way to Travel No Matter What My Budget May Be, and Getting Where I Want to Go is Worth Saving For
There are so many resources to help people travel cheaply these days, that this ‘but’ might be the biggest of them all. I truly believe in the saying ‘if there’s a will, there’s a way,’ and if you want to get out and see the world badly enough, you will have no problem making it happen. But of course, I know that a lot of common modes of traveling are a bit costly. Here are some ideas that might help spark a new perspective:
Consider other modes of transportation: car travel, train travel, bike travel. Not every trip needs to start and end with a flight.
Stay in hostels (cheap) or try couchsurfing (free)
Be a shameless deal seeker: For hotels, try Booking.com or HotelTonight to seek out deals. For flights, check out secretflying.com or sign up for a cheap flight watchdog like Scott’s Cheap Flights. Subscribe to newsletters for the airlines or hotels you know you want to stay at well in advance so that the moment they drop a good sale, you’ll be ready to pounce.
Be spontaneous and flexible: sometimes the best travel deals on the resources above won’t always be to the Parises and the Londons of the world. If you’re more focused on the journey than the destination, being spontaneous can help you land some of the best savings on travel to places you might’ve never expected, but that could very well end up being experiences of a lifetime. Just last year, I went to Alaska with my mom because I found a crazy flight deal just 6 weeks in advance. Within 6 weeks, my mom (who lives in Hawaii) and I met up, flew to Anchorage, and had the most amazing long-weekend trip ever on a whim!
Be honest with your goals: if destination is your top priority and you have a very specific list of places you want to go, that’s great! Set up flight price alerts on Skyscanner or Google Flights. Do research well in advance to get a realistic idea of the amount of money you should be saving (try BudgetYourTrip.com and read blogs specifically dedicated to saving money on the road, like NomadicMatt.com).
Read some of my posts specifically aimed at helping make trip planning easier and more affordable:
3. What You Might Think: That’s On My Bucket List
What You Should Be Thinking: Where Am I Going This Year?
We all know the word: someday. Someday is a dirty, dirty word. I feel like saying that you’ll get something done ‘in the undefined future’ is another way of sending that thing to the idea graveyard. So, while I like the sentiment behind bucket lists, I also kind of reject it too. Rather than adding something to a bucket list, I’ve started asking myself where I can go as early as next year, or this year, or even this month. It might not be a far-off destination, but you open up your horizons to other opportunities and experiences when you stop thinking about dream trips only, and start thinking about attainable opportunities that can enhance your present rather than just your future.
4. What You Might Think: I Have No One To Travel With
What You Should Be Thinking: If I Want to Go There Badly Enough, I’ll Make it Happen No Matter What
There was something incredibly freeing about taking my first solo trip, but it took a lot of guts for me to rip the bandaid off and go for it. I was 19 years old studying abroad, and just the day before I was supposed to get on a RyanAir flight to Lisbon, I had a scary encounter with a stranger who tried to mug me while I was walking back to my apartment alone. I was shaken up and worried about whether I could handle a full weekend alone in a new city. But once I got to Lisbon, I felt like an entirely new person. I love how being in new cities can transport your mindset and your personality in ways that everyday life cannot. You really can be whoever you want to be and do whatever you want to do. But I think that that feeling can only really be felt if you go new places, and put yourself in unfamiliar situations, solo. Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling with my friends, my parents, and my boyfriend, but they aren’t always going to have the same schedule, budget, or desire as I will. While I still prefer exploring new places with someone to share it with, I’ve started to get better at being okay with finding alternatives. Since that trip to Lisbon, I’ve traveled solo to different states and countries, tried out traveling on group tours, and extended work trips to explore new cities.
I understand how scary it can seem to think about traveling by yourself. But the thought of missing out on a life-changing opportunity or an experience because no one else could come is, in my opinion, downright terrifying. There are so many ways to travel on your own that are easy, safe, and liberating. I’ve written about all the ways I’ve tried solo travel here.
5. What You Might Think: My Job Is Holding Me Back from Traveling More
What You Should Be Thinking: How Can I Make my Travel Goals Work Better with My Career Goals?
The general sentiment in the US for most people – myself included, sometimes – is that a 40-hour workweek is a barrier to being able to travel. While I agree that traveling while working a full-time job can be challenging, and that the US doesn’t get as much paid time off as we deserve, more often than not, your job is not what’s holding you back from traveling. Sure, it feels like these days, the only way to actually see the world is to quit and turn into a full-time nomad, but that’s not true and that’s definitely not a lifestyle for everyone.
In fact, your job is enabling you to travel, because you likely have at least 2 weeks of paid vacation, and you are earning a salary that helps pay for your gas and your plane tickets.
There are several ways to travel more without quitting your full-time job, from extending work trips to explore new cities, to taking more road trips closer to home. I actually wrote a post about all of the different ways I do it here.
But beyond maximizing your PTO, it’s equally important to reframe how you think about your job when you’re actually in the office!
Can you have a candid conversation with your boss about the importance of traveling and your lifestyle, and brainstorm ways you might be able to work together to create more flexibility and opportunities in your schedule?
Can you work out of a satellite office in a different city?
Can you negotiate your salary by asking for increased vacation days?
Can you take unpaid time off or a sabbatical?
Can you come up with ways for travel to fit more seamlessly into your job description? Maybe you can do this by volunteering to represent your company at conferences, or seeing if there’s a niche or role in your company that requires more travel. I did this personally, and it’s worked incredibly well for me (maybe I’ll talk about this in a follow-up post!)
Can you work so incredibly, tirelessly, ruthlessly hard when you are on the clock (and even when you’re not) that your coworkers don’t even worry when you do actually take time off?
At the end of the day, traveling more is not always a priority for everyone. That’s perfectly okay. There is absolutely nothing wrong with loving the hell out of your home city or country (and I could go on and on about how I love my home states of Hawaii and California).
But if you are reading this and hoping to get out and see the world, and you feel a burning desire to travel more frequently, you don’t need to have all the money in the world, quit your job, or even have a travel buddy in order to go anywhere.
It all begins with a mindset and a hunger to make it happen, no matter what.
What do you think? Do you agree that traveling more begins with mindset? Was there anything I missed? Let me know below!