Imagine yourself as an exceptionally posh, globe-trotting diva. Your conversation is full of adventure and you exude a well-bred confidence which intrigues everyone with whom you chat. Your style is impeccable and your beauty cosmopolitan. Who’s that girl? Well, it could be you! You can achieve this transformation by setting your sights on becoming well-traveled. Traveling demands that you absorb life in a different way because you break away from your usual routines. Journeys to distant locations (and even those that aren’t so distant) enlighten, expand and challenge our minds – building our intelligence and feeding our curiosity.
Most of us have dreams of traveling to exotic lands and seeing all that the world has to offer. For many, though, the process of planning, booking and actually taking a vacation or work trip is elusive. If that sounds familiar, you might be wondering where to start. I want to share with you my top seven keys to becoming a world-class traveler. This post isn’t about smartphone apps to download, travel guides to read or flight and hotel websites. This post is all about the fundamentals of adjusting your mentality to create the life of travel you’ve dreamed of.
1. Create your travel dream list.
If you’re ready to don your globe-trotting gear, the first step you can take is making a dream travel list. Document the places you want to see and your travel fantasies and turn them into legitimate future plans. Pull out your travel journal (or a notebook if you don’t have one yet) and begin to list all of the places to which you’d like to travel.
List any specific sights you dream of seeing. You’re just writing a list, so there’s no pressure. Don’t worry if you’re not sure how it will happen. For you, the list might include the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Canyon, the Mona Lisa, or the Statue of Liberty. When I created my travel dream list, it revealed what type of traveler I was. Your list will do the same for you. You might be a fashionista, a foodie, an art connoisseur, or an extreme adventurer. Whatever your bent, it will shine through.
Periodically take out your travel list and review what you have written. As new interests arise, add them to your list. The creation of this list marks the beginning of your new life with travel and fun adventures.
Ivanka Trump knows about the power of travel. She said “In both business and personal life, I’ve always found that travel inspires me more than anything else I do. Evidence of the languages, cultures, scenery, food, and design sensibilities that I discover all over the world can be found in every piece of my jewelry.”
2. Maintain travel files.
At this stage, you are getting pretty serious about enjoying a life full of extraordinary travel experiences. It’s time to do what the pros do! Purchase colorful, loose file folders or an accordion file. Label each folder with a destination on your list. Now, start collecting data on your dream trips. If you come across an informative article about an outstanding restaurant in a city you plan to visit, clip it and put it into your files. If a friend gets to one your dream destinations before you do, have them bring back postcards or literature and put them in your file.
If you do a lot of your travel reading online, you can keep travel ‘files’ on Pinterest as well. Create a board for each of your dream destinations and pin relevant photos, tips, guides and reviews as your come across them.
Working on your travel files prepares you for an opportunity that doesn’t exist yer, but believe me, preparation is never lost time. Due to your diligence, many of your dreams will come to pass sooner than you ever thought they would.
Dwight Eisenhower said “Plans are nothing, planning is everything.” Create your files and start planning this week!
3. Keep a travel journal.
As your travel dreams come true, the travel journal is an essential tool to document the wonders of your experiences. Journalizing is an extremely effective technique to pull together your thoughts and ideas. It improves your experiences by providing an accurate account of your memories.
My travel journal is so interesting to read through and look at! It’s almost become a picture book because I take so many pics and paste prints into my journal in addition to what I write. Aside from writing, you can include photos, ticket stubs, room keys or even a receipt from a special purchase. It’s a great place to keep the names of your favorite waiters, hotel staff and concierge as well. By using your own travel journal, you will be accumulating valuable information – thereby enhancing the quality of future trips.
The great St. Augustine said “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
4. Create a travel scrapbook.
This is like your travel journal, but not as intimate. This more of a coffee-table book for everyone to see. It shouldn’t contain your secret thoughts, inner discoveries of breakthrough ideas. Instead, pack it with photos and small captions that highlight your trips. If you only keep your photos in your phone or on your computer, you probably won’t go back and look at them very often. Having a beautiful, physical recording of your travels can be a great way to spend time with family, or a sophisticated conversation-starter when you have company. With a little effort, your scrapbook can blossom into an outstanding documentary of your travels.
Margaret Russell, Editor in Chief of Archictectural Digest, said it well: “The glories of traveling abroad can be grasped not just by the hands, but by all senses.”
5. ALWAYS have your camera
To be without your camera is a travel catastrophe. Some things can never be described, retold or recreated. When you’re traveling, use a real camera. Some smartphones have pretty good cameras. These are fine for taking selfies and everyday use around your hometown. When you’re traveling, though, you’re capturing moments that are pieces of your history. A good camera with a good lens can’t be replaced by your phone. Invest in yourself and your memories by purchasing a high quality camera before your next trip.
Model Lisa Snowdon has a great carry-on shortlist for travel, which of course includes her camera. She says “In my hand luggage I always have my camera, iPod, make-up bag, tooth brush, cleansing products, clean underwear, socks and a change of clothes in case anything goes missing at the other end – and of course my passport.”
6. Return home to an inspiring atmosphere.
No matter how beautiful or exciting my destination, the comfort and joys of home are always missed. Make arrangements to return home to an inviting atmosphere. Start early and be organized when packing so you aren’t forced to return to a house in disarray. If you have a cleaning service, schedule them to come just before you leave so your house is in pristine condition. If you don’t have a service, find the time to do the task yourself. It’s worth it to create a peaceful entry into your own pleasant surroundings as the perfect way to end any trip.
7. Create a lifestyle that allows you to travel.
The number one thing holding many people back from traveling the way they’d like to is their finances. The hard truth about travel is that it can be expensive. There are ways to save on your flights and accommodations, but the bottom line is that it takes money to travel well. On top of that, you need to have time off and be able to coordinate your time with your family or travel partners. For many working corporate or public sector jobs, this can be very difficult.
According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, 25 percent of Americans and 31 percent of low-wage earners get no vacation at all. This is an alarming statistic! As employers work to cut costs and increase margins, cuts to vacation time have been seen as as necessary in many companies. This is one of many reasons that I recommend entrepreneurship for anyone looking for financial and lifestyle freedom in the new economy. It’s the only way you can determine how much money you want to make, the hours you want to work, and yes, the vacations you want to take.
After reading this list, do your travel dreams still seem out of reach? Does the type of income and freedom that you’ll need seem like a far-fetched pipedream? Does the idea of entrepreneurship intrigue you, but leave you baffled as to where to start? I’m happy to report that there is help available for you. Enrollment for my premier business success coaching program, Success Mastery, is currently open (at the time of this writing). If you have an idea for a product or service, we can help you bring it to life in Success Mastery. You can finally create the lifestyle you’ve always desired, and known deep down that you deserve. You can read all the information, see the success stories and get all the details at StaciaSuccessMastery.com.