You know who you are, sitting there in your cubicle with one eye on the “to do” pile and the other on Kayak.com. The desk is littered with trinkets from exotic locations and your computer wallpaper is a photo of your favorite beach or monument.
When a co-worker returns from vacation, you’re the first to start the Q&A session. Sound familiar? You may be suffering from Travel Separation Anxiety.
Being chained to a desk is tough when you want to trade the suit for a suitcase. It seems everyone is out traversing the globe while you languish in corporate prison.
But whether it’s financial or personal commitments that keep you grounded, your inner adventurer doesn’t have to become a casualty of the cube. Keep the dream alive by planning your E.S.C.A.P.E.
Map out your ultimate game plan. Do you want a killer week-long vacation or a year-long nomadic journey? Consider buying a notebook or journal to jot down your ultimate travel fantasy to map out the steps toward reality. Estimate your budget, timeline, re-entry needs, flights and lodging. This will put all that Kayak.com practice to good use!
With a budget in place, it’s time to watch the savings grow. Deposit your cash into a safe place like a savings account or flexible CD with a high APR (annual percentage rate). Check out www.lendingtree.com for help finding the best one for you. If you are super organized, break down how much you need to save each month to reach your goal. (If you’re an ultra-Type A, put it in an Excel spreadsheet).
Finding money to feed your hungry savings account can be tricky. Take a look at where you spend your money. Can you trade that daily latte for a regular coffee? You just saved yourself $2/day, $14/week and $60/month (also known as $730/year and $7300/decade, cha-ching)!
Try cutting your cable habit for a few months (or forever!) Call up your bank and see if they offer a ‘Keep the Change Program’, like Bank of America, which deposits your leftover cents into savings. Speaking of change, save it!
Market your skills and pick up a part time or freelance gig to put a few spare hours a week to use. Also, check out some websites like www.bootsnall.com for discussion boards with creative tips on fundraising.
A-ppease The Travel Gods
All travel planning and no fun make Jack (and you) a dull boy. Exercise your travel skills by noticing adventure in your own backyard.
Wander around town, visit a park, or head off on a day trip to somewhere new. Notice the smells, sights, sounds and recognize the personality of the place. Grab your camera and carry a journal to record your experiences, just as you would if you were a thousand miles away.
Time passes quickly! Don’t let your travel plans falter in the pit of poor planning. Make a list of things that require preparation.
Check your destination for visa and immunization requirements. If you have bills that require payment while you’re gone, set up a checking account or direct bill pay service to make sure you don’t fall behind (and make sure there’s enough money in there).
Spare your loved ones unnecessary worry – give them your contact info and a flexible itinerary so they can track you down. And finally, keep a credit card or extra cash handy to use in case of emergencies.
Chances are good that someone (or everyone!) will spout off reasons why you should put the travel plans on hold. But the only person you need to impress is yourself. Trust your desires and abilities to see your travel dreams come true.
So, cube-dwellers, there it is, your very own escape plan from the desk to the destination. You can thank me by sending a postcard.