I’ve been seeing articles posted on Facebook about what people regret most as they get older, and usually one of the top regrets is that they didn’t get to travel more. I am doing my utmost to make sure that if I get to that ripe old age where I just can’t do it any longer, I’ve got no regrets. I’ve put myself on that plane, plopped my butt in the seat, and bye bye amigos!!!
But even so, I know I will still have left tidbits on my plate of regret. There’s so much world and so little time/money to take advantage of. Do you have any travel regrets?
Here are some things to think about.
1) You are working your tail off for two or three weeks of vacation a year. Consider taking off a longer period of time to see more of the places you travel to. Ask your boss if you can make up time or take off a few days no pay.
2) If you are just signing on for a job, make *sure* you tell them you have an “x” week vacation already planned. They typically work with you on that. Even if you don’t have a trip planned… you’ll have the time set aside.
3) Have a travel savings plan. Whether it’s a jar on your table, an account at your bank, or some other method, calculate what you need and put in the account what you need from every paycheck.
4) Visit friends. This can help save you money plus allow you more time with people you love… as well as people who are local and can give you tips on touring in their area! It’s fascinating to see other countries through the eyes of people who live there.
5) Share where you live with others by offering your home to out of town/country friends or by taking some tidbits they couldn’t get in their country with you as gifts if you are going to visit them. Be a travel ambassador! One year, some British friends came into town and we had a blast! I took them to Galveston, New Braunfels, Greune, Bandera, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston. They didn’t have to pay for lodging at my house or at my sister’s when we stayed there, so some of their lodging and much of their transportation/food costs while here was covered. Another year, I drove some friends to see Disney World… what a mad trip that was!
6) Ask if any of your friends might be willing to drive you part or all of the way to your next destination. In my trip this year, one friend is heading from London to Manchester, and is kind enough to take me to a train station that puts me into Wales much more quickly than picking up the train from London. Another is taking me from Leicester to Norwich. Not only are you getting more time with your favorite chums, you are saving transportation dollars, getting to see the countryside, and maybe finding unusual places or things along the way.
7) Study the language/dialect and customs of your destination so that you will feel more comfortable about tipping, asking directions, or finding the local pub! This is especially helpful if you’re going to Paris where the Parisians can be a little testy if you don’t know French. I was in Scotland once, and a travel companion rushed up to an unsuspecting couple walking their dog and loudly proclaimed her love of their country, their dog, their home… they seemed overwhelmed by her enthusiasm and vocal range! I remember being with a friend in an antique shop many years ago (in England, the antiques can be several hundred years old). She was picking things up off the shelf to look at them under the scowling eye of the proprietor. Knowing when to look but don’t touch would be good to know about.
8) Knowing the history of a place might narrow down the places you want to visit on your trip… or add to them! Study the great battles that took place, the kings (or queens) who ruled, and the sites erected to their memory. Of course, this could backfire and give you WAY more places to visit than you could ever dream. If this happens, see #1 above and ask for more time.
9) Talk with people. You will never truly learn about a country if you stick to yourself. I love hearing people’s stories and telling them mine. It’s like sharing a world you’ve never seen before. I was in a pub once (feeling sorry for myself because of a rental car snafu), and ended the day having met four locals who made me laugh til my face hurt! Or the world famous artist staying at our B&B who told me of a secret place to visit near Tintagel that turned out to be the best part of my trip one year.
10) Set aside the part of your brain that says everything must happen “just so”. I have found that no trip happens as you’ve planned it. Delays at the airport? Missed the train? Lost your rental car keys? Having had all that happen to me (and much more), I can say with honesty… it will pass and all your fretting over things will not make it pass any more quickly. Set your mind in vacation mode and let time fly by and through you… things will settle and you will live to travel to some of the most fantastic destinations!
In summary, I’d just like to say that there is truly no time like the present. There is no need to regret not having traveled. Anyone can do it! Whether you travel a few miles or a few thousand miles… make your life an adventure with arms and heart wide open.
Until next time… bye bye amigos!