Too often, I see people dream of traveling, but allow various life situations prevent that dream from becoming reality. The dream is placed ‘someday’ in the future… after the kids grow up, after I make that promotion, after the house is paid off, after retirement.
The sad reality is that there will always be excuses, but not everyone will have time ‘someday.’ Many people nearing retirement find health issues limiting their ability to travel. I see people in their prime diagnosed with a terminal illness, asking “So why did I wait to live until it was time to die?”*
In this article, I show you how to make your dream vacation a reality, and why you should do it now.
Sometimes it takes a great tragedy to remind us: make the most of every day that you are blessed with. Spend time with your loved ones. Make memories to last a lifetime. Now.
And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. — Abraham Lincoln
Whether your dreams are to conquer Mount Everest, cruise around the world, witness lava from Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, or see emperor penguins in Antarctica… what can you do to make your dream a reality?
Here are 7 Powerful Steps to Make Your Dream Vacation a Reality Now:
1. Dream Big.
No one else will dream big for you. Don’t tell yourself ‘No’ before you explore the possibilities.
2. Write down your dream.
Physically write it down and keep it in a visible place: on your mirror, on your fridge. Visualize your goal.
3. Do your research.
What will it take to turn this dream into reality?
- List all the steps that you will need.
- List roadblocks to overcome.
- Get your passports and travel visas now.
- Work with a professional travel consultant — gain from their experience and valuable advice.
- Make sure you understand travel insurance options and what each policy does NOT cover.
4. Calculate the Costs. Create a timeline.
- Include airfare, rental car costs, hotels, insurance, food, entertainment, gratuities, and gas costs.
- Assess your current finances:
- How much do you have saved now?
- How much do you still need to save?
- Calculate a monthly savings goal, and how to achieve it
- Calculate how many months it will take to reach your goal.
- Or, alternatively, if you have a target date, calculate the monthly savings needed to reach that target date.
- Remember that the sacrifices you make now will get you closer to your dream!
- How can you raise additional funds?
- Working some overtime, doing independent projects that will get you additional income… get creative!
5. Maximize loyalty programs’ miles and points to get you to your goal faster.
- Sign up for free hotel and airline loyalty programs, and understand travel alliances.
- Use online shopping portals to earn points for your online purchases
- Know the best credit cards to earn you points towards your travel (but pay off all bills monthly and be cautious of annual fees)
- (Much more on this topic in a future article…)
6. Address any health concerns months in advance.
- Consult with your physician, especially if you are traveling internationally, to assess your medical fitness to travel.
- Particularly for travel to Asia, South America, or Africa, you may need vaccinations or malaria prophylaxis medications
- You can also review the CDC Traveler’s Health website at cdc.gov/travel
- Keep in mind that vaccinations should be started months before travel, so don’t leave this step to the last minute!
- If you have a fear of flying, fear of heights, fear of drowning, or claustrophobia – start tackling these now. They can improve with treatment over time, so you can achieve your goal.
- Make sure you keep your medications with you in your carry-on bag, and not in your check-in luggage!
Chronic medical conditions or medical disabilities should not automatically eliminate your travel dreams! With careful planning, your medical team and travel professional can still make your dreams a reality.
I have seen families traveling with a quadriplegic family member, children with autism, or a parent with cancer. They should be included to create cherished family memories together.
Don’t rule out your dream before you research all your options!
7. Keep working on these steps daily, monthly… a little at a time. Do not give up!
A big dream can have big costs. Don’t give up because it’s hard. Remember, this was your dream, right?
One of my mentors, Noah Elias, gives this advice: “Eat the elephant one small bite at a time.” It is a big task, but when you break the task into bite-sized pieces, you can get to your goal!
You only live once; but if you live it right, once is enough. –Adam Marshall
Live life collecting experiences, not things.
Make your life matter by connecting in your travels, and be transformed by those experiences.
Once you achieve your dream vacation, you can set your goals for your next dream vacation. That’s why it’s called a ‘Bucket List,’ right?
What are your big dreams? What’s next on your Bucket List? What steps are you taking to make those dreams a reality?
I would love to hear about your dreams and struggles to get there. Please share your comments below!
*quote from Superchick’s song “We Live”