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How to Prioritize Travel Even When Your Life Gets Busy

by Kayla Kirby

Sitting seaside eating fish tacos and fried plantains at a local Costa Rican cafe after taking a dip in the ocean, relaxing after a morning of yoga at a resort you saved to your Instagram collection a year ago (that you found through that blogger you just can’t help but stalk, in a totally non-creepy way), or getting out of your city to visit friends in another city, are all getaways we dream about but rarely indulge in unless we set aside the time and money, to do so. For most of us, traveling is the ultimate goal, but it can be hard to make time to escape with such busy schedules.

However, growing up, I was fortunate enough to travel often since my family valued experiences over material objects, so for birthdays and holidays, my gifts were typically booked trips to experience new things. Now that I’m older and living on my own, I try to prioritize travel as much as my family did, and make it a point to leave the country at least once a year, and a handful of times per year within the U.S. Travel is also a form of rejuvenation and self-care for me, especially when I’m feeling slightly burnt out from it all.

Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely times when I think to myself, “should I really be spending my hard-earned money on traveling when I have student loan debt, bills, and other expenses?” But in the end, I always decide it’s well worth it since traveling inspires me in ways that nothing else does.

So if you’re contemplating about ways you want to include travel in your busy everyday life, here are some ways I prioritize traveling, even when life seems too busy to get away:

Find What Motivates You to Travel

Finding your main motivation to travel is key to making the time and saving the money to go places. For me, traveling is a form of self-care, and I always feel refreshed and rejuvenated from each trip I take, sometimes mentally and other times physically. Maybe you have a desire to experience new things, or maybe you need a relaxing getaway with that special someone to (temporarily) escape your daily grind. Whatever your motivation, let that drive you to find the time to travel as often as you’d like, even if it’s multiple times a year.

Set Aside a Travel Budget For the Year, and Stick to It

Just like when you set aside a monthly—or even a yearly—budget for rent and groceries, setting aside a small budget for travel can be a great way to keep it on your radar. It also ensures that you remember to add to it, which makes it okay to take from it. I’ve found that by incorporating travel into my budget, I’m more apt to buy that plane ticket or rent that car to drive and see friends or family on a whim, because travel isn’t always perfectly planned. Sometimes we just need a quick getaway from it all or feel the need to take an impulsive trip to do something out of the ordinary.

Start a Travel Fund (and Actually Add to It)

Once you decide on a number you want to spend each year on travel, you can then make a point to save for it. If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to spend money on things that you don’t really need, but luckily, there are some helpful tools you can use to help. I’m a fan of Acorns, which helps you save by rounding your purchase to the next dollar amount, without you even really noticing it’s been subtracted from your bank account (you can read about it more here). Or if apps ain’t your thang, I would highly recommend

Photo via Vanessa Granda

Put Yourself First, Even When Work Tends to Take the Front Seat

Putting yourself first even when society tells you that you should grind 24/7 can be hard. Prioritizing time to get away and experience new things, even if it happens to be in the same place you’ve visited before (we all love our repeat vacation spots, am I right?), can seem daunting, and sometimes even impossible, but it may not be as hard as we think it is. For me, putting myself first is something I’ve had to learn to do for both my mental and physical health, and since one of the things I value most as a form of self-care is traveling, it’s easy to make it a priority.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely taken some time for me to get past the I-feel-guilty-for-taking-off-work-for-pleasure (aka. travel) phase, but after all our health is what’s most important, so slow down and take that extra trip, if not for anything else, do it for you.  

Travel on the Weekends

Even when you don’t have all the time in the world during your normally scheduled Monday-Friday routine, you can still do a mini getaway somewhere close that you’ve never explored before. While a two-day trip might not seem like a lot of time to actually call it a “vacation,” sometimes the simple act of traveling somewhere new is all you need to reset. Use apps like Hotel Tonight if you’re feeling the travel itch and you can book yourself a quick last-minute getaway in another town close by or simply for a treat-yo-self staycation without spending a pretty penny.

Have a Travel Buddy

Sometimes it’s easy to say no to travel when the only person you need to say no to is you. You may tell yourself, “Oh, I’ll just do this trip next year, I’m too busy to go anywhere” or “I shouldn’t really spend my money on this, I should save,” but you probably know deep down that you deserve a break.

That’s why having a travel buddy is a great way to hold yourself accountable because they’ll force you to travel. Sometimes we feel so swamped by our schedules that we forget that we actually have more control over them than we think and we just need that outside perspective to remind ourselves that we deserve to let go and have fun. Finding the perfect travel buddy should do just that.

Have tips for how you make time for travel with a busy schedule? Head over to @thechilltimes, and let us know ways you prioritize it.

Feature image via Vanessa Granda

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