I feel like we got a little bit cheated out of the past two years because of COVID-19. But I also think that’s all the more reason to make 2022 your best, most epic travel year yet! Here are 10 ways you can do just that. If 10 is too intimidating, just pick one and start there. We’ll all get back to real life together, at our own pace. You got this!
10. Surprise Someone
This is one of the most fun things I’ve ever done in my travels! My then-fiance, Steve, flew to Burbank to surprise me and fly home with me to D.C. I got to take my younger brother to the Titanic Museum in Belfast for his 30th birthday a couple of years ago. I took my dad to the Dry Tortugas to explore the Civil War-era fort and do some snorkeling for Father’s Day this year.
It doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s the thought that counts! If you’ve been racking up credit card points during the pandemic, use them to bring your far away loved ones to you. They’re unable or afraid to travel? Go to them! This is the time to use those points and your time in a meaningful way.
More fun here: 5 Ways to Surprise Someone with Travel
9. Take That Trip of a Lifetime
Stop waiting! We all have that one trip we want to take. It seems unattainable, too far, too expensive. But you know what? Now is the time. Start planning. Buy the plane ticket. Book the accommodations. Make it reality. Dreams are important, but it’s sometimes more important that they don’t stay dreams! Make your trip of a lifetime a reality. You only get one life!
Read next: The Top 10 Life-Changing Trips
8. Go Carry-on Only
Who wants to waste precious travel time at baggage claim or hunting for lost luggage? Not me! I want to hit the ground running, and going carry-on only will definitely enable you to do that. We’ve all been forced to waste too much time not traveling, so don’t stay in that rut. Go carry-on only and live it up!
Must read: How to Pack the Perfect Carry-on
7. Make the Splurge
Yes, saving money is essential to traveling more often. But y’all, we haven’t traveled in so long! This is the time to make that splurge purchase, have that once-in-a-lifetime experience, eat at that Michelin-starred restaurant! Decide what’s worth it to you. Everyone else is free to think you’re wasting your money. But that’s the point isn’t it? It’s your money for your experiences. This is a time to celebrate and have fun! Make your dollars count for you.
More here: When Travel Splurges are Worth the Cost
6. Support Local
Small, local businesses all over the world were and still are affected by the pandemic. It will take a while for many of them to recover, but you can help! Seek out the small businesses. Pay that little bit extra for quality over cheap. Talk to locals to find out where they eat, visit, and shop!
Wherever you choose to travel, go that extra step and stay at a local boutique accommodation instead of a corporate hotel. Eat at that mom-and-pop shop instead of the familiar chain restaurant where you can eat back home. Shop at a small business instead of name-brand stores. Check labels for souvenirs that were actually made in the country you’re visiting. Support local as often as possible!
More details and a podcast episode: The Business of Traveling for Good
5. Go Solo
Don’t wait until someone can join you! There will definitely be people who are still afraid to travel. There will be people who have been out of work and can’t afford it–yet. There will be friends and family who didn’t want to travel before and still don’t want to travel because it’s not their thing. Don’t let that stop you!
If you’re ready to travel and ready to get back to whatever normal looks like for you–or if you’re ready to travel for the first time and finally have that adventure you always wanted–do it! This is not the time to wait for someone else to give you approval or permission. This is the time to live life like it could be taken away tomorrow. Because we know it has been taken away in the past.
4. Look for Little Things to Appreciate
Once you’ve been without something you love (travel) for a while, you start to miss the things you took for granted. The adventure. The crackly voice of the pilot giving you the weather report and expected time of arrival. Those tiny cups of water and a Stroopwaffle or bag of crushed pretzels. You might even find yourself missing the camaraderie of the mad dash to deboard the plane with your fellow travelers!
Take the time to slow down and enjoy the journey, enjoy the destination, enjoy your travels. It’s not about having a smooth trip. It’s about having the freedom to travel again.
Read next: How to Savor Your Travels
3. Decide NOT to Have Expectations
Things are different. All over the world, the pandemic made changes–some permanent, some lingering just for now. So to avoid disappointment, let go of any expectations you may have. You won’t regret it! When you let go of expectations, you find the little things to love and the fun things you might not have found otherwise!
More here: 5 Habits of Flexible Travels
2. Have a Backup Plan
The best laid plans don’t always work out. But don’t be discouraged, don’t give up, and please don’t just turn around and go home! Have a backup plan. Find out your second-best flight option so you already know it if your flight gets cancelled. The bus didn’t come? Have a backup plan to get around in a new city, whether that’s Uber, a cab, or walking. That museum you wanted to visit is closed on the day you wanted to go? Be adaptable so you’re not disappointed–do something else and go back the next day!
Have a backup plan. You can’t plan for every situation, but knowing how to make a backup plan will take you far–maybe even around the world!
Essential info: How to Be Your Own Travel Advocate
1. Start Playing the Points Game
Start now! Christmas is coming, and sales are already in the works, so we all know your credit card is about to make some big swipes. Why not make them count and get your kickbacks? Steve and I have used airline miles, hotel rewards, and credit card points to fly business class to Europe, stay at iconic and luxury hotels around the world, and pay for travel expenses time and time again. This game is worth playing!
The #1 rule is always pay off your card, in full, on time, and the #2 rule is never buy what you can’t pay for right then. Everything else is fair game! Not sure where to start? Pick an airline you fly most often, sign up for Hotels.com to earn rewards, and start earning points and miles with the no-annual fee, no-international fee CapitalOne VentureOne card with me! We’ll both earn bonus points when you sign up!
More tips are available on my Travel and Saving Page!
How will YOU make 2022 your best travel year yet? Comment below so we can all be inspired to do the same!
Want more travel tips and strategies? Check out my Travel Tips Page for all you need and more!
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