I’ve long held a romantic notion for “dreams.” I think I can safely say it’s been fueled by the likes of Walt Disney and friends.
Cinderella croons to us, “A dream is a wish your heart makes…”
And, Jiminy Cricket shares the wisdom, “If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme.”
The beauty of dreams is they can be this romantic notion, or we can take steps to make them into our reality. Walt Disney himself said, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” So, I want to know what your travel dream is and what you need to pursue it!
As the Travel Monster Charmer, my aim is to keep the travel monsters wrapped up so they’re not invading any part of your vacation. And that includes the dreaming stages before the planning even begins.
Based on my experience, I’m going to guess your courage to pursue your dream vacation may be stunted by one of three things – or maybe a combination of them: time, money, or overwhelm. In honor of Make Your Dreams Come True Day on January 13, let’s dig in and tackle each of these hurdles.
Something I hear from hopeful travelers is they can’t figure out a time to travel. They’re too busy at work, the kids shouldn’t miss school, their kids aren’t the “perfect age,” or there isn’t a good time of year.
If you’re anything like me, you may be hoarding your vacation days for the “right” day to take off. You may want to use them strategically for the best weather, saving for a mental health day, or holding onto them until late in the year “just in case.”
Take a deep breath and know work is going to be there before, after, and during your travel. It will continue on despite wracking up vacation days. Your coworkers and team can support your work while you’re out. So, use those days!
Missing school can be challenging. If your kiddos are young enough, embrace the ease of travel during the school year while you can. Work with teachers to get homework in advance and spend a little time each day doing it. My kiddos love to talk about the time they did homework (second grade) while listening to live music next to the pool on their Disney Cruise Line vacation. Was it hard to sit down and spend an hour doing the work? Yep, it was. But, it also gave us a chance to pause from the hustle of vacation, connect as a family in a different way, and create unique memories. Plus, they progressed just fine into the next transition of class subjects and school year.
Waiting for your kiddos to become the “perfect age.” Guess what – they’re already there! They’re not too young to remember it, too old for the magic, or too in between to be blasé. Truth? Our easiest Walt Disney World trip was when our kiddos were just over a year old. They soaked up all the magic while we experienced it through their eyes. Even now they love looking back at photos and talking about that trip. Yes, they’re retelling the stories that we’ve shared with them, but they’ve adopted them as their stories and memories too.
As for a good time of year to travel, that depends on preferences. Crowds, weather, availability, and cost can all be impacted by time of year. This is where working with a travel professional can be a big help. We’re experienced and knowledgeable for knowing peak travel seasons and how those impact crowds. We can advise about weather at different times of the year and in different locations. Plus, we can check availability/pricing to best fit your travel needs.
Speaking of pricing… One of the biggest things I hear about vacationing is it’s too expensive or a future traveler wants to wait a year to see how the pricing changes.
We can tell you how the price will change – it’s going up. Each year the cost of travel increases as suppliers update their ticket fees and stateroom prices along with rising airfare. In fact, some vacations from five years ago have already nearly doubled in price. Waiting to see how the price changes will not result in a cheaper vacation to the same destination.
Yes, travel can be expensive (especially when looking at the overall lump sum). This is usually where Ang Ziety travel monster kicks in. How can I pay all this money for one thing? How can we afford it?
It’s important to keep in mind the lump sum often doesn’t need to be paid right away. For many vacations you pay a percentage or smaller deposit and have the ability to make payments along the way. Spreading out the payments makes it more manageable with a family budget.
Here are a few not-so-sneaky ways to start saving in small ways that add up fast:
Skip the weekly family dinner out. For a family of four that’s an average of $50 per week or $2,600 a year! You’re halfway to vacation!
Enjoy your daily specialty beverage at home. I’m an iced chai fiend. One large “to go” at a chain coffee shop is about $7. Times that by a couple visits a week and it adds up fast. At just three visits a week, cutting out this drink is another $1,092 toward vacation. And, I can still enjoy my favorite drink at home for about $4 total across a week to a week and half!
One final tip is to set up a savings account specifically for vacations and have money automatically deposited each payday. If your home is anything like mine as soon as money is in it is already spoken for with bills and responsibilities. Or, if there is money left then I forget about saving and just spend it (on those chai lattes and eating out, among other things). When that money goes straight into vacation savings, there’s no temptation in spending it. It’s already been accounted for. The first couple pay periods may seem really crunched, depending on how much you auto deposit; but, you’ll likely find yourself adjusting to the change very quickly and perhaps increasing your deposits over time. Try $25-50 every pay period. Assuming 26 deposits a year, that’s $650-$1,300 in saving.
Combine all three methods to build your travel savings to nearly $5,000 in just one year!
That leaves just one more thing blocking your courage to pursue your travel dreams – overwhelm. It can be challenging to navigate the landmines of information related to so many destinations with each one having their own unique experiences, requirements, and more. That’s where your travel professionals come into play. Lean on us for expert guidance, real-life experiences, destination expertise, and additional resources to support your travel dreams. It’s literally the purpose behind our profession!
If you’re ready to embrace your courage and start planning toward your dream vacation, it would be my honor to fight off those travel monsters and start turning your monster mayhem into monSTAR memories. Or check out the whole host of Reach for the Magic Destinations planners. Together we’re ready to turn your dreams into reality!