The Travel Dilemma

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In a little over a year from now I plan to make my next big trip. As a planner by nature I have been working on where I will be headed next. Last year when I went to Wales I was able to spend a day in London and now all I want to do is go back and stay in London longer. Since moving there at the moment doesn’t seem to be an option at the moment, visiting may be the next best option.

When considering travel there are many things that can create a problem. From finances, to schedules, to finding a travel buddy. However, my biggest issue currently is do I go some place I’ve never been or do I go back to a place that I’ve been but would like to explore more. My heart wants to go to London, but this world is so big, with so many things to see how do I justify returning somewhere?

I have some time before needing to make a decision, but there are so many places to choose from, so where do I go next?

How do you choose where to travel too? What is it based on? The people? The sites? The cheapest ticket?

-Elle

Tracking my Travel

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I always wanted to have a way to show where I have been. One of the ways I do this is that I always purchase a Christmas ornament (or something I can turn into an ornament) from every place that I have been. However, I still wanted something that I could show year round, without having random souvenirs cluttering the house.

I know there are a bunch of websites and apps and things that you can use to track where you’ve been and where you want to go. I wanted something more tangible that I could show off, a map that I could physically hang and stick a pin in.

I ordered a 24×36 Bulletin Board, a silver and black map of the world from Amazon and because I’m a little particular I ordered map tacks through Etsy. You can easily get them at Amazon and in multi-color packs, but I found a seller on Etsy that I could choose three colors for a set.

I chose my colors based on my favorites and what I wanted each to represent.

Purple: Places I’ve been.

Blue: Places I want to go.

Green: Places I want to return too.

I had to trim down the map to fit the board, and plan to paint the edge of the bulletin board once I commit to the color I want.

I also plan to add a quote to the corner, I just haven’t found the right one. Any suggestions?

Overall though I love this piece and it now hangs over my bed, and I cannot wait to switch out pins to mark the new places I have been!

-Elle

Flying Solo: Fighting your Parents Fear

Recently I have been talking with a friend who is heading to Australia for 3 weeks on her first big trip. Although she is excited to go and will be meeting up with friends, her mother is fearful of what could possibly happen flying to another country.

Now, my mother is on the opposite side of the spectrum, she is excited for me to travel (and would find a way to join me if possible). She has concerns, but has never considered that I should not go. Mostly because I inherited my travelbug from her, secondly because I am 28 years old and she can’t say no to me anymore.

The fact is our parents will always worry, especially when we head to far off reaches of the world where we will have little to no contact back home, you may choose to upgrade your phone to an international plan, or you may choose to use your trip to disconnect from the world and fully embrace your new location.

Some of us will choose to ignore our parents (or friends, families, roommates, co-workers) concerns, but there are a few things you can do that will help reduce some of the fear:

1. Itinerary: It is always a smart choice for someone to have a copy of your itinerary, flight numbers and times, hotels and addresses. If you are visiting other countries and/or cities what days you plan to go/how you are getting there.

You don;t need to provide a minute by minute update, but providing an overview will be helpful, especially if something happens someone will know how to get in touch with you.

2. IMessage and FaceTime: If you own an Iphone or Apple product, even if you choose to not get an international plan, if you connect to wi-fi, even with data turned off you will be able to send messages. I don’t plan to use this much, but I know being able to send a ‘Just landed! See you when I get back!’ message is helpful.

3. Do your Research: My mom isn’t as worried about me because she knows I’ve done my research, I’ve learned about the area, places to go, places to avoid, cultural references/sayings/words. This will also be helpful for you being in a new place. Know your surroundings.

4. Social Media: Give updates, most likely you will probably be doing this anyway throughout your trip, if your parent doesn’t use social media, have a sibling update them, or hook them up to instagram, twitter or a blog for the time you are away.

5. Have Fun. Don’t let the worries of others put a damper on your trip. Taking a few steps will save your family some sanity from their worry while you go out and see the world! Enjoy it!

Side Note: You as an individual may be the one that is fearful about taking your first trip. Everyday we see the news and hear about things happening all over the world. Know this: Crazy things will always be happening in the world. Do not allow that to deter you from living, from seeing the world. God did not give us a spirit of fear. Do not let it stop you. If you are fearful remember this passage, Isaiah 41:8-10

“But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Safe Travels!

Travel 101: Where do I go?

Planning your first trip is always exciting, planning any trip for that matter is, but there is something about planning that first trip and realizing that this is actually happening is like no other trip you will plan. If you are like me your list of where to travel is constantly growing. And with the help (and detriment) of sites such as Pinterest have introduced you to things and places you never knew existed.

Here are a few tips to choosing your first destination on that solo trip you’ve been dreaming of. These are in no particular order, but I hope they will help you on your way.

1. Where do you want to go?

When I chose where to travel internationally first, I thought of the places I’ve always dreamed of going. For this trip I thought of the United Kingdom and Australia, both of which I have dreamed of seeing since I was a kid.

I find that sometimes creating Pinterest boards for each location helped me to determine what type of things I wanted to do and helped me to see which place I tended to come back to more.

2. How much time do you have?

How much time you have for your trip when traveling internationally is a huge factor. I knew I only had a week for this trip, which meant Australia was out because the flying time comes close to a total of 4 days as well as losing time because of the international date line. So I aimed for a place that would only take a day each too and from that way I had 5 solid days in the city.

I also knew that although London has been at the top of my list 5 days just would not be enough to do everything I wanted, and I wasn’t willing to go for 5 days and be bummed about missing some things.

3. What is your budget?

Budget is a huge consideration, especially when you look at airfare. Also consider what types of tours and attractions you plan to see, if you are traveling to the other side of the world you want to be able to enjoy it, getting there and being stuck at your hotel because you can’t afford to do anything is never an option; it takes planning but you can find a trip to fit any budget.

Travel packages come in very handy for this.

4. How comfortable are you jumping into a new place and culture?

Nervous about your first trip and experiencing a whole new world? You may want to focus on somewhere that is a little more comfortable the first time out. Look for places that speak the same language or have a high ratio of English speakers so you don’t feel as lost.

Personally, I am not a city girl and the idea of London my first overseas trip was a bit overwhelming. The UK was still on the top of my list so I did a little research, with the help of the internet (and the Doctor (Doctor Who)) I found the city of Cardiff, Wales. One of the younger capitals of Europe it is a smaller city that is still full of history, many BBC shows have been filmed there (I love British television). Roald Dahl, one of my favorite authors from my childhood, grew up there, and there was a castle.

The more I researched the more I realized Cardiff was somewhere I would love to see and would be a great option for the first trip. It was also only a 2 hour train ride from London, which meant I could take a day trip without having to budget the higher prices of London or dealing with such a big city.

When you are planning your trip, you want to be try new things and leave your comfort zone, but that doesn’t mean you can have to jump in with your eyes closed. No matter where you travel it will be a great adventure!

5. When are you traveling?

Depending on when you are traveling, be aware of local holidays where attractions may be closed, festivals that cause hotel prices to rise. Pay attention to the weather and the seasons, if you don’t like winter going to Australia during North American summer is not a good plan since the seasons are opposite.

If you are going to a location because of a festival or event remember to budget it in, you will also have to book earlier as places tend to sell out quicker when something is going on in town.

 

You don’t have to over-think and meticulously your trip to enjoy yourselves, but being aware of things that will affect your travels will allow you to get the most for your money. Doing research ahead of time will also help your trip to run smoother so you are not overwhelmed when you show up at your hotel and find the whole place is full of a bunch of people attending the yearly beer festival.

6. Have Fun

The most important thing to remember when planning your trip is to have fun. Looking at all the places that you can travel to and learning about new cultures is amazing, bookmark places that you want to visit on another trip and use the resources available. Talk to friends, you would be amazed to find the people you know that have been somewhere you are planning to visit.

Enjoy your trip Flying Solo (or with friends)

-Elle

Travel can be affordable.

Finances often are the main thing that keeps us from travelling. The truth is that you do not need to be rich to travel, you just need to have the desire to go.

Travel isn’t just about saving the money, there is a lot to do in planning, and finding the right price. Before thinking of all that, the biggest hurdle to tackle is finances. For the longest time I told myself that when I had the money I would travel, but the truth is that we will always have bills to pay. Car Payments, Student Loans, Rent. They are a part of life, but they don’t have to keep you from travelling. I don’t advise putting travel onto a credit card unless you are able to pay it off immediately.

Last year I came across a savings plan on Pinterest that has allowed me to travel, it was very simple. The first week you start you put $1 aside, the second week $2, the third week $3 and so on. I attached a chart that will get you through the year. I found that listing out each week of the year and crossing it off as you go is helpful, if I had extra money one week I would cross off a larger week. After a year you will find that you’ve saved 1,378.00. My upcoming trip with hotel and airfare has cost me 1600.00. What I did was I started this savings plan in October and than a second separate in January. Throughout the year there is always temptation to take money out of your travel funds, but if it’s something you really want to do you will let it be until you are ready to travel.

There is no need to do two savings plans through the year, I found it beneficial because it has also allowed me to have spending money. It is also possible to find trips for less. Travel takes planning, it may mean waiting a year until you save up the money, but in the end it is worth the wait. And when you return you can start all over again!

Savings Plan

 

Elle

Flying Solo: 10 Reasons to Travel Alone

In less than two months I will be in Wales. The trip is only a brief visit that will hopefully lead to many more travels in the future. Visiting the United Kingdom has always been a dream of mine. Ever since I could remember I have had a heart to travel to see the world. In all my excitement and preparation for heading to Wales I hoped that others would be excited for me, and while the people that really know me were ecstatic others chose to question my decision and ask if it was safe, if my mom was ok with it (I’m 28! Really?!) and telling me that I should wait until I have a friend to go with me.

As a start to this blog here is my list of reasons you should travel alone at least once in your life.

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10. You are not bound by schedules: Unless you make them yourself

9. Drama Free: No need to negotiate with family and friends on where to go and not to go, where to eat or shop.

8. Enjoy being yourself.

7. You can go wherever you want, whenever you want

6. Cross things off the Bucket Lists: New Years in Australia, Lantern Festivals, Doctor Who Museums,The Globe, the entire world is there for you to explore.

5. Meet new people and learn about a culture different than your own.

4. Escape from life for a little while: Turn off the cellphone, leave the computer behind and truly embrace being in a new place.

3. An opportunity for discovery: culture, history, people, yourself.

2. It pushes you out of your comfort zone: Traveling alone takes you out of your comfort zone, placing yourself in a new place can be exciting and scary, it pushes you to try new things and see places with a new perspective.

1. Traveling alone is a confidence booster: You’ll try new foods, embrace new people and places, and do things you never thought you would.

 

-Elle