If you read this blog, I’m probably preaching to the choir. You travel, and often. This week, as media coverage turns to Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, and the endless pursuit of the best deal, I get on my soap box about making travel a priority in your holiday budget. I hear it often, “I love to travel, but it’s just not in the budget.” Travel can be expensive, but it is also about making it a priority in your life. At no time is this more apparent than during the holiday season where people camp out all night at a store to fight the masses for a deeply discounted TV. These are the same people who say they can’t afford an overnight stay in a three-star hotel within driving distance of their home. Don’t get me wrong, I love to shop and snag a great deal like the best of us. But when you see pictures like this one above – it’s hard to argue where our priorities lie. If you are willing to fight the crowds to buy crap you don’t need and want to travel, please don’t tell me you can’t take time or the money to go on even a local overnight trip.
In a recent Vacation Deprivation study by Expedia, 28% of people said the single most reason they didn’t travel was they couldn’t afford it. This was followed by difficulty coordinating schedules with family and friends and work commitments. The study also found that we as Americans earn the least amount of vacation time, 12 days on average, but are only taking 10 vacation days on average, leaving two days on the table. 34 percent of us are taking work with us while we vacation – checking email, phone calls and staying connected to the office. Meanwhile, many of us are busier than ever, more stressed than ever, and feeling less connected than ever to the people and things that matter most to us. Does this tell us something about our priorities? Learn more about how vacation deprived we are compared to other countries.
Giving Time to The People and Places We Love.
Tomorrow, we will celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving starts the season of giving to those in need, spending time with those we love and being thankful for all we have. Many of us will gather with family and friends to celebrate. Around the dinner table, we will have conversations around our jobs, our families and places we want to travel to and share wish list of vacations – many of which, we will never take. With all the hustle and bustle of traveling, crowded airports, checking email and posting pictures and Facebook status, we are at risk of missing the big picture of the holiday season.
My hope is that this Thanksgiving, families will start to think about ways they can stay more connected as a family and make precious time with family and friends a priority in 2013. Here are four ways to prioritize giving the gift of travel this season to others (and yourself).
Here are 4 ways to make travel a priority in your holiday budget to explore more in 2013.
1. Set a Vacation Intention. Every great goal starts with the decision to make it. If travel is something you want to do more of, then decide to make it a priority. Where do you want to go? Make it measurable and go for it!
2. Create a line item in the budget just for travel. Even if money is tight, you can likely find ways to cut out little splurges. Pencil out the cost of your desired trips. What can you cut out to save to make it happen? If a big trip is outside of the budget, how can you find a way to bring in some extra income to fund your trip? We use Mint.com for planning trips – it has a cost estimator and allows you to input all of the anticipated vacation expenses including airfare, hotel and food/activities.
3. Give the gift of travel this holiday. Instead of buying your husband the latest gadget, or toys the kids don’t need, why not buy them a trip instead? For the money you spend on these things, you could either take a week somewhere exotic, or a weekend away this winter. It is all about where you allocate the extra dollars you do have and set your priorities.
4. Make a commitment to travel in 2013. Life gets busy. Unexpected expenses pop up. Kids get sick. Shit happens. If you need to alter plans and stick closer to home, then don’t be afraid to make changes to your plan – commit to taking that vacation time and making travel a priority in 2013.
What strategies do you employ to make travel a priority? Leave us a comment or share on our Facebook page.