Incorporate travel planning into your busy life

Incorporate travel planning into your busy life

I’ve heard it a lot. “I really want to go to Greece someday” or “I really want to go to [insert destination] someday.” I believe traveling is more in-reach than many people think it is. One of the biggest barriers for people who I have heard this from (friends, family, strangers, etc.) is that their life is so busy! One thing that can be time consuming is the planning process. I created a list of ____ items to incorporate travel planning into your busy life.

I used to dream about traveling to another country. After spending 12 months of my life living in Poland as an 18 year old, I had wanderlust — hard! (Read what I learned from 12 months living in Poland as an exchange student.) There was no going back! When I was younger, many of my travels were through a program (ie. Rotary youth exchange, study abroad, service). The great thing about these is that they rarely cost you money and so much of the experience is organized for you. But when I got older and started traveling as a ‘traveler’ I had to learn to prioritize differently.

People put lots of barriers up to traveling: its too expensive, I don’t have the time, not sure who wants to go with them. But there are many solutions to this.

Check out some more travel planning resources at the end of this post.

Now, let’s get into it!

Kruger National Park — incorporate travel planning into your busy life

Tips to incorporate travel planning into your busy life

Mark it in your calendar

So you want to plan a trip! OR, you just bought plane tickets to the place of your dreams! Now the reality of planning the rest of the trip sets in… When will you do the research? It might feel overwhelming.

My first tip is to block time off on your calendar. Do it in a way that works for you. Maybe it’s once morning a week or 15 minutes a day. Do what works for you, but prioritize this time. Make it a commitment by marking it on your calendar.

Make an arrangement with your partner, friend, spouse, parent, etc.

One reason planning a trip is so overwhelming is that you are probably busy! You have many things going on in your life. You may not live alone. You might have kids that you have to work around. It can help to work with your spouse/partner to keep this commitment of travel-planning on your calendar.

Maybe they can make sure to preoccupy the kids for 30 minutes every Saturday morning so you can just sneak in some research or a booking.

If you’re traveling with a friend, let each other know when you will spend time thinking about the planning process.

If you’re traveling alone and live alone, it can still be helpful to tell a friend when you’ll do your travel planning. All of this helps hold you accountable.

When will this be enjoyable for you?

One of the most important questions to ask yourself is when planning will be enjoyable for you. If you’re anything like me, I could travel plan all day! I could research or brainstorm all……..long…..

But some people just don’t enjoy planning like I do. And when you’re so busy this can get put on the backburner.

But, when you’re trying to block off time on your calendar, consider when travel planning will be the most enjoyable for you. If you know you won’t enjoy doing it during the busy week because you have so much on your to-do list, try to find a time you’ll be more relaxed. On the other hand, if you want to build in a little inspiration every day — because you’re so excited — building in a little time every day might be the way to go!

Pay someone

If you truly don’t think you have the time to do the planning, OR you just really dislike planning, you could consider paying a travel advisor to do this for you.

That said, I am a big advocate of doing the planning yourself. It can be so empowering! Your trip will feel that much more personal.

One person I like to follow is the Blonde Atlas. She is a travel advisor that you can pay to do some travel planning for you. She also plans group trips for women with her business Atlas Adventures. Check her out!

Ask someone else to do it

If you can’t pay someone, there are plenty of people that might enjoy doing the planning for you! Maybe one day — I would do it for people. But maybe you have a friend that lived in Turkey or Spain or [insert the country of your dreams]. You could ask them what they would do or if they would mind making some arrangements for you.

Then you could bring them back a souvenir or anything they want from that place.

Remiscing on Cape Town — what you can imagine when travel planning

Capitalize on your lunch break

I don’t know about you — but I regularly take an hour lunch break. I work a 40-hour work week. The culture in my workplace is that many people take an hour lunch break (think 30-minute paid lunch plus 2-15 minute breaks). I love this! I usually walk and get my exercise in for the day during my lunch break.

But consider making this your trip-planning-time! Consider reserving 15 minutes or 30 minutes of your lunch break to make that hotel reservation or book that excursion you keep seeing!

Commit to just 5 minutes

Consistency is the key! If you’re really that busy, just commit to 5 minutes — but regularly. 5 minutes before you go to bed, 5 minutes when you wake up, or 5 minutes before dinner. Starting small is okay!

Get up early

You might not be a morning person, but if you’re really complaining that you don’t have any time, this might be the only opportunity you get. Consider setting your alarm 15 minutes early. Get out of bed and sit down to make that reservation or do some inspiring research before your day gets chaotic.

Attach it onto something you already do

A great tip for any new habit formation is to attach it to something you already do. If you do 20 minutes of yoga in the morning, consider spending an extra 10 minutes to research something about Argentina or Norway — wherever you’re going!

Maybe you cook every night and you tend to bake something for dinner. While that chicken or salmon is baking use this time for your travel planning. This is a great way to incorporate travel planning into your busy life!

Take some pressure off of yourself by finding already-created itineraries

Check out my itinerary page to see if any destinations interest you! (ie. Croatia, Colombia, Michigan).

If these aren’t the destinations of your dreams, I’m sure a sample itinerary exists somewhere out there!

Commercials are your friend!

We like to watch a tv show in the evening. We are YouTube TV-ers. I actually like commercials! Sometime it’s nice to have that break to keep cleaning after dinner or to go put on your pj’s. It’s also a nice time to do that research for your trip!

Maybe get out of the habit of fast-forwarding through commercials. Use that time to do a little research!

Libraries and coffee shops

It can help to get out of the house (or the office)! Plan a weekly date at your favorite coffee shop or the local library. Sometimes it helps you get in the exciting mode of planning the trip of your dreams!

Not to mention — if you have kids or you get preoccupied with your spouse — a third space can do wonders to your attention span.

Pick one day a week

Chose one day a week that you know you have the most time, you know you’ll feel your best. Then you can focus on your to-do list every other day. For some people committing to the same day every week can be what they need.

Leave for work 15 minutes earlier or stay 15 minutes later

If you work out of the home, consider leaving for work 15 minutes early or staying 15 minutes later to do your travel planning. The great thing about this is that you won’t notice a big difference in your free-time. You can still go home to just relax and shut off at the end of the day.

Building that time into your day might just be the key to making sure you reserve that hotel on time. It might be the perfect opportunity to message your friends that are going with you.

Be intentional

This is something I have to remind myself. I could travel plan all day LONG! But I shouldn’t. It can get a little obsessive…..

So my tip for everyone, is to be intentional about your travel planning. Make it something you look forward to! But don’t over-do it. Keep it intentional, keep it short and sweet, keep it productive. Keep it intentional.

Make it fun!

Finally, keeping it intentional can keep it fun!! Even if you don’t love planning, you can make it fun! You’re going to the place of your dreams! Your travel planning deserves to be fun!! Maybe you can put a movie on in the background that takes place in that country/state. Play a podcast or music in the background to inspire you for your trip.

Or go get that Polish beer while you dream about Poland!

Find ways to make it fun! This should be the number 1 tip!

Check out some other planning resources to help you plan your dream trip:

How to save and travel with less money

How to travel when you only get 12 vacation days a year

Resources to plan for your next trip


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