It was late afternoon on the Friday before spring break last year, and I should have been putting the finishing touches on my own packing, having already packed my two boys’ suitcases. We were heading to Taiwan the next day, braving 22 hours of travel and a 12-hour time difference, all in the name of a week-long adventure in the beautiful island nation. Instead of packing, though, I was feeling anxious because I didn’t yet have a trip planned for the summer. It didn’t feel good, and I needed something to look forward to after our trip. So I somewhat hastily booked a trip for the four of us to head to Aruba. I am after all a travel advisor, so I had everything squared away in pretty short order, and in time for me to travel to Taiwan, resting easier with future plans in place. Fellow travelers, you know what I mean!
Right now, many of us haven’t traveled internationally in a while. Also true: many of us had world travel plans on our calendars for 2020 and 2021 that were dashed. While international travel is definitely back, many travelers still feel like they are in a sort of international travel limbo. Either we have something already planned but are wondering what the new experience will be like, or our travel plans are still up in the air. It makes sense that we’re feeling a little out of sync. I'm here to tell you that it is great being back out in the world, and it is worth some of the new hassles to travel again.
For consummate travelers who haven't traveled as much as usual, we aren’t just missing travel, but we are missing being in travel mode. We’re missing having our next trips (plural!) predictably on the books. Let’s do something about it so we can get back to being more ourselves.
Here are my three recommendations for small steps we can take now to get us back into our traveler’s mindset, no matter where we are in our planning and traveling:
Small Step #1: Let’s accept that travel changes are here.
Travel has, of course, seen many changes over the past twenty years. We need only think of the security process we now go through at airports as an example. As a result of the pandemic, we will continue to see changes to our travel routines. Though they may be necessary, some things we may classify as annoyances (e.g., wearing masks for periods of time, obtaining health certifications), while others will be more welcome shifts (enhanced cleanliness, better air filtration, fewer crowded lines, reimagined indoor and outdoor spaces). Some changes will be temporary and others may become permanent, but change and innovation are certainties. Let’s take it mentally onboard that yes, things may be different here and there, but exploring the world has always been worth some inconvenience. Enriching our lives by getting out into the world (smartly) is worth the effort.
Small Step #2: Get yourself in gear...travel gear, that is.
I love using the hashtag “passport ready” in my social media posts. It’s true, when you’ve got your passport at the ready, you are one giant step closer to being out in the world. Take a moment to check your passport validity. If yours is expiring in the next nine months, I recommend getting it renewed now. Many countries have a six-month validity rule, meaning that your passport must be valid for at least six months past the last day of your trip.
Passport good? Then take a look at the rest of your travel gear: do you need a new suitcase? How about my top travel accessory, packing cubes? If you haven’t tried them yet, do yourself a favor and order a set.
My favorite new item of travel gear is a pair of black leggings that are super comfortable, but still look really put together when paired with a jacket and flats. The best part for travel is that they have a sleek pocket, making them perfect for cruising through an airport (Nordstrom, Zella High Waist Studio Pocket ⅞ Leggings).
Update your travel gear now so you’re ready to go. It's an instant mood boost.
Small Step #3: Break out the paper.
I am a huge believer in writing down my goals and plans. Nothing transports dreams to reality better than good old-fashioned pen and paper. So I say to you simply: write down your travel dreams, then plot your ideal travel dates on a paper calendar. (If you’d like an easy step-by-step process for mapping out an entire travel year with a calendar, check out my article, “How to have an epic travel year, stress free.”) Beyond the calendar, it’s also a great idea to pin up an inspiring destination photo on your mirror or refrigerator, especially if it reflects upcoming travel or a travel dream you want to realize.
Try taking these three small steps and let me know how it goes. Do you feel like you’re shifting back into travel mode? Being a true world traveler is more than just traveling, it’s a state of mind and a way of being, and it means you’re always looking forward to the next adventure. Here’s to living life in travel mode: let’s get back into it.
Happy Travels Always,
P.S. If I can be of service to make your travel dreams a reality, with peace of mind every step of the way, please reach out via my contact page.
Click on the photo to get your free guide to "Create your travel dream list." Easy steps to get your travel dreams and goals on paper!
Photo credits: Christina in Taiwan by Christina Schlegel copyright 2019 all rights reserved; resort by Sara Dubler on Unsplash; travel gear by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash; notebook by Carolyn V on Unsplash.