If you've followed my misadventures, you know that I am a huge proponent of traveling. Travel is essential to personal happiness and enrichment, whether it’s taking a gap year post-school or a gap year anytime (or a 2-year gap year like Mr. Misadventures and I did with our RV).
But don’t take my word for it. Traveling is scientifically proven to benefit your health. Studies have shown that travel boosts moods, improves health, enhances creativity, lowers the risk of depression, and reduces stress.
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But travel does come with some responsibility. You need to travel, but you need to be respectful to the area and cultures you’ll visit and plan for your travel both before and after your trip. Too often, people plan a trip and forget about their responsibilities once they get home. But before we talk about that part of planning, let’s talk about the fun part of planning your trip.
Planning Your Travel Responsibly
You’re thinking about traveling and getting excited about all the possibilities. So where do you want to travel? Are you interested in going to see Yosemite during the summer or traveling to Brazil during Carnivale? Maybe a trip to Paris and the rest of Western Europe is in the cards?
[Also, if you are planning a long trip, there are other considerations to make.]
Here are more articles on family trip planning:
- Traveling With Your Family: 8 Things you Should Remember
- The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Perfect Kid-Friendly Road Trip
- Family Travel Packing Tips
Whatever you choose, planning will take your trip from fun to extraordinary. Here are 4 steps you need to take as you plan your travel. They are: creating an itinerary, a home plan, budgeting, and finally, packing!
Packing: The tendency is to overpack. When you pack, you should have multi-use garments that allow you to make multiple outfits. Otherwise known as a capsule wardrobe. Also, you need to refill your medications and prescription information and make copies of your IDs. The general rule is to pack your bags and reduce the items by at least 10%.
If you are packing for Paris, I have packing lists for each season!
Itinerary: An itinerary is a basic plan that details your trip's when, how, and where. You want to create an itinerary that includes your travel times, where you will be staying, and when you plan to return. It is a shareable document so that in case something happens, people know where to find you to communicate with you.
Home Plan: A home plan helps organize everything at your house ahead of your trip. This includes putting your mail and package deliveries on hold. Also, having the pets looked after and someone to water or check on the house from time to time.
Budget: Budgeting for your trip is crucial. You need to know what you have available to spend before your trip (such as airfare and hotels) and during your trips, such as dinners, sightseeing, and souvenirs.
Here are more articles on budgeting and saving:
- How to Save on Summer Travel This Year
- 7 Ideas To Save Money On Your Travels
- Tips To Save You Money on Travel
- 4 Ways You Can Fund Your Travels While On The Move
- How to travel Europe on a budget
- 5 Tips for Budget Travel in Mexico
Planning for Post-Travel Life
Here’s where people forget to plan. People typically forget to prepare for post-trip life. It’s easy to do as you get caught up in the excitement of an upcoming trip, going on it, and then figuring out what’s next is ok for some but not ideal for most people.
Work/Life Balance: Once you get back home from a trip, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed at work and try to do too much once you get started. That’s not healthy and adds a ton of stress. Instead, ease back into your work.
It survived your absence during your trip. You don’t need to be caught up in a day immediately. Keep the balance of work and life you had during your traveling, and you’ll be alright. Remember, you are responsible for your happiness!
Family: Planning for your trip was one thing. Planning for your family long-term is a whole other thing. What would your family do if you couldn’t help with the bills? Adding a layer of protection such as life insurance will give you some sense of security that if you weren’t around any longer, you could still provide some form of financial assistance.
Finances and Career: People often travel to get lost in themselves and discover important things. The danger here is going into debt with high-interest credit cards or carrying onerous student loans. Some debt is considered a good thing. It helps establish credit with future lenders.
On the other hand, long-term debt can be seen as problematic for lenders, so paying off high-interest credit cards and loans is really important. For example, you may want to buy a home in the future and aren’t sure if you could qualify.
Some lenders will look at your credit rating and see that you carry high-interest credit cards. Those cards will impact your rating, and while some lenders are ok accepting as low as a 620 credit score, they will charge you higher rates of interest on your mortgage than if you had a higher credit score.
This is the single most important thing to get a handle on in your adult life and there are so many more tools available today than when I was a young adult!
You may ask why this matters and how is it related to traveling? Good question. It relates because you don’t want what should be a defining moment of your life to weigh you down in the future.
Also when considering credit cards, look for ones with good interest rates AND great travel benefits. In the Misadventures household we have Southwest Visas, Marriott Bonvoy and Delta American Expresses, and Capital One Quicksilver (I've had this one since I was 18!)
Traveling is a life-enriching adventure that will impact the rest of your life. Be sure to plan responsibly so that the impacts after you return are just as valuable as the experiences of your journey. Happy travels!
How about you? Have any additional tips to share about travel planning or post-travel life? Do tell!
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