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Turning Your Dream Trip into a Reality [Gal About Town: Fashion and Travel at Your Fingertips]

The other day Ernessa posted a blog about longing for her dream trip and regrets of trips not taken. It inspired me to write this blog. My husband and I have quite the list of dream trips that we plan on taking. We’ve already taken a few (Bora Bora, a summer in Europe, and a cross country road trip) but we have an extensive list, and being that life is short, we really need to get cracking. We know we will be taking a trip this winter…and we’ve saved up enough travel points to make it happen, but where exactly? That is what we are unsure of. Christmas in the Alps? Playing with the elephants in Thailand? An Outback adventure in Oz? Or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro?

As we work on making our dream trip a reality, I wanted to share a few ideas and tips to help get you that much closer to your dreams.

1. Paradise Falls: JP and I were inspired by the Disney/Pixar movie, Up. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out on some cinematic greatness. The protagonist couple of the movie is in love with idea of travel. Their dream trip is to visit a magical place called Paradise Falls. All their lives they scrimp and save to take their dream trip, but cars break down, and roofs need replaced, and they constantly need to break their savings bank. Sadly, they never make the trip together. After JP and I watched this movie, we made a commitment to each other that we wouldn’t let this happen to us. We set up our own savings account called Paradise Falls that is separate from all of our other accounts. It exists solely to pay for our travels, and is never to be touched, no matter how much we could use that money elsewhere. And since we created this account, we both look at money differently. Does momma REALLY need that new pair of shoes? ‘Cause those shoes are a day’s worth of snorkeling in Bora Bora. Does JP really need the new bluray of Star Trek: TNG? Because that is a ticket to the top of the Alps. Do we really need to buy a house instead of staying in our condo? Because really, I’d rather spend that dough going on an around the world cruise!

To start our savings, we first set an amount that would be deducted from each of our checking accounts weekly. For us, coming up with an amount was easy: having kids isn’t in the cards for us.  But we know they cost a small fortune to raise.  So, we looked up how much it actually costs to raise a child and made that amount our travel fund. When we began our savings we started with the cost of a newborn. But the cost of raising a child goes up with age. So each year we recalculate what our “savings baby” would cost to raise in regards to inflation, cost of living, etc, and our weekly deposit goes up accordingly. By the time our savings is ready to go to college, we will have quite the travel investment.

With this savings, we are able to more easily pay for our small and big trips. Yes, we end up pretty much emptying the account on the big trips, but we know that after another year, we will have saved up enough for some smaller adventures. We never take a trip we can’t afford. And we never fully pay for any trip; we use our travel miles and rewards points to help get us there. If you need help with this, check out a past blog series about it here.

To us, Paradise Falls money is sacred. We work to live. We live to travel. We don’t go out to dinner as often, but our passport book has more stamps because of that. Obviously, this plan won’t work for everyone, but its principles can be applied to your travel savings. It can be a hard discipline to carry, but we only have one lifetime in which to make a “trip of a lifetime”, and you never know when the chance to travel will be taken away.

I know time, money, and life can get in the way of adventure. But continuing to make your trip a top priority will help make it a reality.

2.Stay inspired:  Incorporating aspects of your dream trip into your daily life will help keep you inspired about the trip, and the discipline to make it happen. Keep that travel book on your nightstand to remind you when you wake up and go to sleep. Make your favorite photo of your destination your screensaver. If you find a great blog about the destination, make it your browser home page. Talk about the trip to new acquaintances and close friends. Having people keep you accountable always helps. Have inspiring constant reminders.  It will make you that much more determined to make this trip happen.

3. Commit! This seems to be the hardest step. You’ve done the research, you’ve talked everyone’s ears off, and you are itching to redeem all those points you’ve saved up. But, is it really worth all of this money? I mean, a new car could be nice. And 24 hours on a plane? What was I thinking? Just like a wedding, people often get cold feet when it comes to traveling. You’ve built this trip up so much, how can it ever live up to your expectations? You need to do your best to let these worries and excuses go. There is no better time than now, your kids will do just fine with grandma for a week, there will always be a better car, ipad, whatever out there for you to buy, etc. And once you make the trip, it will far exceed any expectations you had.  You will regret not taking this opportunity. You will always wonder “what if”. Be smart, be safe, don’t drink the water, and go. Commit to making this happen. But be prepared, once you’ve taken your trip, the adventure bug will probably bite you, and you’ll find yourself searching for your next Paradise Falls.

Now, where will you boldy go?

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