By Susan Farewell
Photograph by Layne Kennedy (taken in Iceland)
Okay, so we’re in the New Year now and unfortunately, it's just a matter of time before resolutions slowly start to fall apart. Over the holidays, you talked about going to the Galapagos Islands, maybe finally getting to Greece, and in the mix…you mentioned how someday you want to do a safari—see lions, cheetahs and elephants in the wild.
Dreaming about travel is like being an understudy for an actor. You can only imagine what it must be like to really be on that stage. But the true glory (as well as the challenges and growth) only comes when you’re actually doing it.
Here are a dozen tips to make travel happen in your lives in 2015.
1. Burn the Bucket List. It’s so easy to talk about where you’d like to go…the so-called “Bucket List.” But ask yourself, is this a list of places you want to go? Or is it a list of places you know you’ll never go, but you get credit for saying you want to go?
2. Stop Talking about It; Just Travel. I find a lot of people get caught up in the talking-about-it phase of travel. The hard part is converting the fantasy to reality and that’s where the challenges inevitably come in. Time constraints. Money issues. Difference of children’s ages and interests. The way I see it is that the best travel is like a good piece of fish, delicious but full of bones.
3. Stop Saving Travel for Later. This is very old school as far as I’m concerned. Many baby boomers grew up with parents that traveled when they retired. Sadly, those days didn’t always come or problems got in the way (often health or money). If you want to travel, do it while you can.
4. Get Real with Your Traveling Companions. You want to go to trace your family roots in northern Sweden, but your husband wants to see the gorillas in Uganda. Your kids? One wants to go everywhere, the other doesn’t want to leave her friends. And then there’s the one who has to travel for soccer. I’ve seen many families take turns (one year it’s Dashiel’s choice, the next, it’s Allison’s). The important thing is to sit down with them all and discuss the possibilities.
5. Vacation or Travel? Make a decision. If your life is such where every minute is programmed, you might just need to go somewhere and crash by a pool. Many people opt to take trips that are far from relaxing when it’s what they need more than anything else. Of course, you can always combine the two—just needs to be planned accordingly.
6. Put a World Map on the Wall. And while you’re at it…an atlas or travel magazines in the powder room and a globe in the family room. The more your family members are reminded that there are places to see out there, the more they’ll want to join you in making it happen. You might also choose colored pins with each pin marking on the map the places you have been. I have a friend in Sweden who has done this for more than 30 years, spanning the lives of his children's early years to now grandchildren. Quite impressive.
7. Stop Thinking Travel is a Luxury. Travel can be expensive, but there are also countless ways to save money on the road. Finding the best prices, whether for air, hotel or restaurants, can be a very satisfying sport.
8. Travel is an Investment for Your Kids. This is the mantra in our household. I’ve said it many times in articles and in presentations I make. Every penny you put into travel for your kids is going to come back.
9. Don’t Follow the Herd. Travel is hugely personal . While your neighbor may adore going to luxury resorts in the islands, you may prefer hiking and roughing it in the mountains of Colorado. Stick to your gut when it comes to choosing where and how to go.
10. Commit to Dates. Seems painfully obvious, but I find the minute I have a date in mind, the trip starts to gel. For example, if you know you want to go to Iceland this summer, and the best time for you is mid August, you can start actually planning once you have the dates.
11. Stop Worrying. We’re always hearing about the scary things that happen in the world—several of which have happened literally in my backyard in the last year. I follow the advice of author Nancy Hammerslough, a friend who says “Anything can happen to anyone at anytime, anywhere. “ Of course, you never want to put yourself and your family members in harm’s way. But don’t deny yourself and your traveling companions what I find is one of the greatest pleasures of life. Traveling.
12. Lastly, Get Professional Help. Planning trips seems like something we should all know how to do or certainly, it should be easy enough to figure out, right? Well…something tells me I could figure out how to paint my own house but in the process, there’s always a chance I’ll mess up or worse…get hurt. Travel professionals such as myself think about travel 24/7. We know when you’re going to find the best airfares. We know how you’ll save money. We know which are the places that are overly touristic and the ones that are truly worthwhile. And we know that if you come to us and you want to go somewhere, we can make it happen.