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Travel Bug Confessions: How I Plan & Book My Holidays

It will be no surprise if you know me well, follow me on Instagram, or you are a regular blog reader, that I absolutely love to travel and explore. I feel as though nearly half my life since I left home has been spent on airplanes, boats or cars.

From camping to local overnight breaks or once in a lifetime adventures, I crave them all. For me personally, nothing feels better than the opportunity to explore and discover all that is brilliant about a place or culture that you have never experienced before. I feel fortunate that I am able to regularly do something I truly love and get so much happiness from.

In an average year, I will likely take:

  • Two longer haul adventures (flights over 6 hours)
  • Three city breaks
  • Three to four UK breaks
  • Camping at least once

The reason I am sharing this post is that often I will be asked how I manage to fit in, afford, and plan so much travel every year whilst still holding down a full-time job and living. It’s not intended to be an essay to brag about my well-travelled soul, so if reading about how to explore more isn’t your cup of tea, I don’t mind if you don’t want to read on.

So below, I am going to debunk some regular travel ‘myths’ and also share my top tips on how you too can really adventure more, if you have the travel bug too!

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I have no time to travel

Because I am away regularly, people often assume that I either don’t work, or have some extraordinary leave package. Although my employer is generous with their leave policy, I don’t get bounds more than the average full-time worker and I definitely do have a job.

What I have discovered is that if travelling really is your ‘thing’, you will be able to make time for it. For me, it was working out what my five priorities were in life. Then, as long as most of my time was spent fulfilling one of those, I would be happier and more content.

Try not to take time off to do gardening or decorating if you really don’t have to. It takes us longer to renovate a room as we just use weekends, but I would rather it take four weeks and get to travel then take five days and lose an opportunity to explore.

The worst thing you can do with time is have nothing planned and accrue your leave and end up just taking ad-hoc long weekends near the end of the year. I am guilty of this, I have done it before, and although at time the break feels amazing, I often see it as a missed opportunity when I look back.

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Travelling is too expensive          

So this leads me onto the next common question I get. Okay so you have got plenty of leave put aside for travelling, but how on earth do you afford all your trips?!

Firstly, I find this question quite an interesting one. It seems travelling is one of the only ‘things’ that where we are happy to challenge someone’s financial and budgeting situation. You wouldn’t dream of saying to someone, ‘nice new house, how on earth did you afford that?!’ or ‘another expensive haircut, just eight weeks after the last?! Wow you must be loaded’.

However I do regularly get this question, and in the spirit of debunking travel myths, I am happy to be open and honest about how we fund our adventures.

Step One – Work.

We are both full-time workers in jobs we are passionate about and work hard at, and although I wish I was paid to travel alongside my main job, I am not. Some influencers you may see on social media may have this blessing, but this post is for anyone else with a less curated social media feed that wants to know how they can explore more whilst funding it.

Step Two – Be minimalist with your money

I live a fairly minimalist life, so rather than buying new clothes, the fanciest car or the biggest house our money will stretch to, we choose to instead live way below our means. By making this conscious choice, to not ever ‘need’ anything material, and be happy with what we have and not keep up with the Joneses, wasn’t easy. Every piece of advertising and media will try and convince you otherwise.

It has been a four-year journey, but it has meant we have more disposable income for the things which really do make us happy. For things we remember and cherish. Travelling, experiences with friends and family, and time to pursue our hobbies.

If you find you want to travel more, but can’t work out how, list all the things you have purchased over the last two months. Now think of how many of those you ‘needed’ to exist. How many made you happy, and how many looking back you probably wouldn’t buy again. Include your takeaway coffees and more in this. Everything.

Step Three – Shop for deals

When booking a trip I go through a process. It begins with where I want to go. If I don’t mind, and just want some sun, then I use SkyScanner to find me the best option in a month when I can go, and then AirBnB and booking.com to find accommodation. Oh and I really try and avoid anywhere I have seen many travel writers or bloggers heading to over the last year, as I know that’s going to be pricey. I can always go the year after when a new destination is ‘in’.

This route is obviously the most purse friendly, as you follow the deals. If you are quite open to where you want to explore, you can get several shorter breaks in a year using this method. This is what we do for our city breaks three times a year.

If I however have a set destination in mind, I set up flight alerts usually around three months before I HAVE to book to inform me of flash sales and deals. This way, I am ready to secure the best price when it pops up.

Finally, when booking accommodation I tend to go with somewhere with a cancellation waiver, and then check regularly in the run up to my stay for any last minute price drops or better options. This way, you can cancel without a fee and bag a bargain at the same time, whilst knowing you have a reserve booked just in case!

Lastly, although we all love the internet for travel deals, sometimes the agents can be your best friends for longer haul trips. STA Travel and NetFlights have both found better deals than me in the past for my trips. All I did was call and give them some details, then they do the bit you don’t have the time for (searching all options to get the best prices!) and call you back when they find it for you to book.

Finally, when it comes to Christmas or Birthdays and people want to get you a gift, I tend to ask for vouchers for travel over something material. These can bring down the cost of any adventure quite substantially.

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I don’t know where to go

This is something I hear often. How do you choose where to go to next?

As you can see from the above, sometimes I don’t, I just let the airlines pricing algorithms tempt me. Otherwise, I use my travel bucket list which I am slowly working my way through for inspiration.

Follow top travellers on social media, talk to your friends and family to get top destination tips, and always remain open-minded!

Overall, if travelling is something you truly are passionate about, and you have decided you want to do more, then my best advice is save, book it, and get going. Don’t let life, a new pair of shoes which cost the same as a flight, or any worries get in the way.

You won’t look back.

 

 

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