I had that dream. To travel. To see great places. To spend time with family having the adventure of a lifetime. Last year, I made the dream real. My family and I spent 2 months traveling across the country, seeing great sights like The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park and so much more. If I can do it, so can you.
Here are the five steps needed to take the trip of your dreams.
One. Decide what you really want to see. There are hundreds of cool and interesting places. You may not be able to see them all in one trip. Focus in on the things that are most important to you. Make a list of all the places you want to go. Planning your trip will be easier if you pick one region such as the West or the Northeast. If you need some inspiration, there are many great books and web sites listing the top sites for different areas.
Two. Determine how you want to travel. We opted for a pull behind travel trailer and a crew cab pickup. That gave our family plenty of room plus flexibility. We could set up camp then use the pickup to go sight seeing. Later, we could use the pickup for projects around the house or towing a boat. Our camper has a queen bed and two bunks – perfect for our family. Having our own kitchen made it easy to eat what we liked while keeping our food costs reasonable. Other people may find that a Class A RV, Tent, or hotels work for them. Think about what would work for your situation and sketch out some options. Visiting an RV show is a great way to see a large number of models in one day. Bring everyone along so that they can share their ideas.
Three. Decide how much you can afford. while you don’t have to pay in cash for everything you probably also don’t want to borrow all the money for your dream trip. In our case, we saved enough money to pay for food, fuel, campground fees, and entertainment for our two month trip. Most campgrounds are reasonable. Your food budget on the road will probably be similar to what you spend at home. You can get an annual National Park pass that enables you to visit all the parks you want for only $80.00. Estimate your fuel expenses by planning your route, adding some sight seeing miles, divide by the miles per gallon your vehicle gets, and finally multiply the national average for diesel or gas. Don’t forget that you might not be getting paid during the trip – ensure to budget for your normal home expenses while you are away. Once you know how much this will cost, consider raising some extra money through a garage sale, ebay, or working extra hours if you can. Get creative.
Four. Create an itinerary. Using your list of places, put together an itinerary. Place your list on a map and consider how long you want to spend at each place and how you will travel from place to place. I like to stay in a place for a few days when possible. On travel days, some people advise traveling about 300. You can count on 500 days being the high end for a travel day. You can travel that far, but you probably don’t want to do it for too many days in a row. Consider traveling 500 miles, then stopping for 3 or more days to enjoy a place. A good road atlas and the mountain directories are great resources for planning your route.
Five. Arrange time off from work if needed. Go to your boss with a specific plan – let them know you are committed to your dream and to returning to work when it is done. Save up vacation time if you can. At most large companies, you can usually also take up to one month of unpaid personal leave. If you arrange your trip during a quiet time or between projects it really helps. If you can connect the trip in some way to a benefit for your company, that can make it easier to sell. You won’t know unless you ask. You just might be surprised at the support you get. But, if your boss isn’t supportive of your dream, you may want to consider if your current job is really the right place to invest your skills and talents.
Here are a few resources to get you started with your planning. I found these to be the most helpful as I planned my dream trip.
Recommended Web Sites:
I hope this post was useful. I would love to know about your dream trip. Have you taken it yet? Are you planning to go soon? Let me know by posting a comment.
Now Go! Have fun. Enjoy your trip of a lifetime.
Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.