By: Brenda McGuire – ‘The Global Gal’
Are you dreaming of traveling again to far-off places (or getting started traveling)?
Ready to get back out there and travel the world but frustrated by all the challenges Covid poses?
Or, are you frustrated that Covid is delaying your travel dreams again and again…
Well, I hear you! Like you, I’ve been grounded far too long and frustrated by the continued delay of my travel goals and dreams. It isn’t always easy to get too excited about international travel with our ever-changing Covid world.
BUT, one day, I realized that Covid CAN’T stop me from PLANNING for my EPIC dreams trips. I COULD still have fun:
- discovering new places to visit
- learning about new countries and cultures
- researching ‘what’s possible’ to experience in my dream destination
While we don’t know what this year will bring (and maybe ready to book anything just yet), you can STILL DREAM about far-a-way places, create a bucket list, and start planning for your epic adventure so you’ll be ready to take off when the world opens up!
And, with a New Year, this is especially a great time to make your New Year (Travel) Resolutions.
So, join me in grabbing a cup of hot chocolate (or glass of wine), pulling out a world map, and dreaming away… To get you inspired and to get started to take some action, here are:
5 Tips for Planning New Travels in the New Year:
1. New Destinations – as you plan where to go, consider destinations that aren’t typical tourist places (such as Hawaii and the Caribbean). Consider places that are more off the beaten path or ones that, quite frankly, you’ve never considered. Or, check out a place you’ve secretly thought about. Dream big and remember that it’s a fantastic world with a unique smorgasbord of destinations to be experienced and explored.
A few years ago, I had a friend share all of her incredible adventures in Namibia, and the next thing I knew, I wanted to go there too (and even brought ten other women with me on a Global Gals cultural safari). It now ranks as one of my top destinations, and if it weren’t for my friend or my willingness to be open to visiting this lesser-known African country, I would have missed out on seeing one of the most amazing places on earth!
2. New Mindset – I find that one thing that holds people back from traveling is their mindset and how they view the world – whether it be too scary, too unknown, or too overwhelming. First, you need to know that millions of people travel the world each year (and so can you). And, from my experiences of traveling to over 85 countries, I find that the world is very kind-hearted, and I’ve never had a safety issue as a woman traveling (often solo) for the past 25 years!
Also, I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and visit a place that might stretch you. If so, you’ll be rewarded with experiencing a whole new world of opportunities. So why not take a big step into this small world and challenge yourself to go beyond where you might typically be comfortable.
Instead of going on that typical vacation to Disneyworld, consider taking your family to Costa Rica or Portugal or… (it may even be cheaper!) I remember pricing a trip for a week to Disney Animal Kingdom & Lodge vs. a deal I saw on an African safari. Can you guess what was cheaper? Going to Africa! (So don’t just assume that far-away dream destination is more expensive).
3. New Discoveries – The fun part of traveling is discovering the destination in the planning process. I suggest making yourself more familiar with the new places you’ve considered above by learning more about them – whether watching T.V. shows, buying guidebooks, reading travel magazines, speaking to people from that country, getting brochures, or watching YouTube videos. The more you know about the places, the more comfortable you’ll be and more likely to consider booking a trip to that dream destination.
Also, be open to destinations in places like Asia, Asia, the Middle East, or any outside your comfort zone. Before the world shut down, I took my mom on a two-week cruise of SE Asia – Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam – which became one of her favorite trips! Honestly, she wasn’t too excited about these ‘new destinations,’ and it took a bit of convincing, but afterward, she was so glad she went out of her comfort zone (in rural Iowa) to these exotic destinations. It also happened to be one of our cheapest cruises as we found a fantastic deal on Travelzoo.com (which included a 2-week Princess cruise & airfare for less than $2000)! To kick our trip off in style, I surprised my mom (for her Christmas gift) with upgraded seats to Business Class (using frequent flyer miles gained from a credit card sign-up bonus).
4. New Connections – When you plan on going to a new destination, consider reaching out to those in your local community from that destination. After all, they know about their own country, can offer tips and know the best places to go. (Plus, maybe they can connect you to their contacts in the country or region). You can reach out to international clubs, expat groups, cultural-related organizations, etc. Or, ask around, maybe your friends know someone from that country.
As mentioned above, I took my mom on a SE Asia cruise, and one of the stops was Vietnam. I was attending a multi-cultural reception in my community (in Des Moines, Iowa) when I met a guy from Vietnam who happened to have grown up in one of the ports of call we were visiting. He had a high school friend who ran a tour company there and connected. (He also gave me all the cool places to go that most tourists aren’t aware of). As a result of this one connection in my community, we were greeted at the pier with a name sign, and my mom and I had our own private day trip island hopping in our speed boat. I will never forget my mom’s smile as we raced across the water to each island – more beautiful than the next. A highlight was visiting a traditional fishing village where we chose our own ‘catch of the day’ to be cooked up! (And the bonus was that we could avoid the usual tourist spots where the thousands of other cruise passengers were).
5. New Priorities – During this Covid pandemic, many have confided in me that their priorities in life have changed. It has allowed us to reflect on what’s important and what we’d like to do in the future. For many, travel has been bumped up towards the top of the list, and many are itching for the day that the world will open up and they can FINALLY go on that dream trip or make magical trip memories with friends or family.
Making travel a priority is a personal choice, and I’ve never regretted making any of my trips a priority over the past 20 years. They have made me more open-minded, impacted my career in a big way, made me more culturally aware, and blessed me with memories to last a lifetime. One of my cherished memories was going on an African safari with my dad before he passed away. Thank goodness I made our trip a priority! While the timing wasn’t perfect nor the financial situation, we went. I’m so grateful we took that trip as he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer not long after. While in hospice, I remember him proudly showing his Africa trip photos to his nephew. Instead of saying, “I wish I would have taken that dream trip,” we could rather reminisce about the beautiful memories we’d created together.
So, as we begin a New Year, I encourage you to dream bigger about where, when, and how far you want to travel in this fantastic world. Or where you could explore closer to home. (After all, some of the best-kept secrets and hidden gems are in our backyard). Regardless of where you travel, I encourage you to travel this New Year or at least start planning for that epic journey you’ve dreamed of!
Need help with travel planning, tips, or inspiration? Then check out one of my courses at www.brendamcguire.com or at www.globalgals.com Think of me like a ‘global guide’ who is there to help you make your travel dreams a reality!
P.S. If this article has inspired you to take the leap to travel in the New Year, drop me a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know where you’re going (or drop me a line when you get back from all of the beautiful places you’ve seen and experienced).