A version of this article was originally published in the Love of Dixie Magazine.
Where are you headed this year? While many of us are reflecting on last year’s achievements and adventures and setting goals and resolutions for our lives for the coming year, are we including travel into our plans? What goals do you have for adventuring this coming year?
I have set two travel goals for myself in 2019. One, which I set a couple of years ago, is to take a writing getaway once each quarter. This year, I have included plans for two international trips. Hong Kong is already booked and I’ll be making plans for a trip to Tel Aviv later this year.
As I plan my excursions, I find myself thinking through when would be the best time to go, what is my budget, am I going alone or do I want to take someone with me, and other key factors that would help make it a good trip or rather, ensure it doesn’t become a bad one.
There are several share-worthy factors that I’ve considered. As you plan, asking yourself these questions will help you decide what adventures are right for you and how you can make traveling a realistic part of your 2019 goals.
Before you go, here’s what you need to know.
Where do I want to go?
- What is my budget?
- Do I want to go international or domestic?
- Do I want to visit friends? Do I want to travel with someone or would I rather go alone?
- Am I feeling drawn to city lights or open skies?
- Do I want to fly, cruise or are you more of a road trip girl?
What do I need to know?
- Climate: Will I get snowed in? Is it hurricane season? Monsoon season? What are the road conditions like during my trip?
- For my children and children where I’m headed, what school holidays do I need to consider? (International school schedules differ from ours in the U.S.)
- How far out do I need to book in order to get the best flight and hotel/Airbnb prices?
- What local events/holidays/festivals should I plan for or want to stay away from? (I’m headed to Hong Kong during the Chinese New Year holiday. This was purposeful for me but much of Asia shuts down during this holiday so it could hinder your excursions. Likewise, there may be something you’d like to experience that might not be offered during off-peak travel times.)
- It is always wise, especially for international travel to check the local Travel Advisory information for your planned destination(s). For domestic travel, check Homeland Security Travel Alerts.
- If traveling stateside you may need to know the gun laws for where you’re traveling. (This is a Texas women’s magazine, after all).
What do I need to do?
- Do I need to purchase advance tickets for tours, events, outings? (A great resource for tours and excursions is Viator.com.)
- Do I have ample space on my smart phone to capture all the pictures and videos? (Storing pics on Google Photos is a good option but will need to be done in advance.)
- If I’m traveling overseas, do I have at least 6 months on my passport before expiration for my trip date? Do I have ample blank passport pages?
- Will I need to apply for an entry visa? If so, how long will the process take? Will I need to send my passport off? And if so, will that affect other trips I might be taking?
- Do I have the medications I need for my trip? (Check TSA for medication guidelines.)
- Did I notify my credit card company/bank of my travels?
- Do I have a plan for getting local cash if going overseas?
- Will I need to check with my cell provider for international calling and data plans?
- Did I read the travel article in the previous edition of Love of Dixie Magazine for great travel tips?
What am I forgetting?
Oh, I’m sure I’m leaving out plenty but my last tip for you is to:
- Be flexible.
In all my travels, I’ve found that being flexible often reaps some pretty fantastic and unexpected rewards. It makes us friendlier travelers as well.
I hope this gets you excited about planning your adventures for this year. While planning might seem to suck some of the fun out of your life in the short term, it will enable you to have so much more fun on your trip.