You can do it too!

The most common phrase I hear is “Another holiday! You’re always on holiday!” And to those who aren’t me, yes it probably does seem that way. This is then followed by a mixture of “I wish I could do that” or “how do you do it?”

The thing is, most people can do it, they just don’t think they can. The secret is planning. I plan 2 years in advance. When in South America for a year (which took 2 years to plan), I was planning my Trans Mongolian Railway adventure for 2 years later. 6 months before I left on the Trans Mongolian I had booked a trip to Antarctica for 18months later.

“I can’t plan what I’m doing tomorrow, let alone two years from now.” Well then, it will be difficult. Going on 3-4 holidays a year or saving for a 5 week holiday or saving for a year off work takes planning. It takes patience and it takes time. In Australia most people get 4 weeks annual leave and struggle to be able to take all 4 weeks at the same time. This is where the planning comes in. Talking to your boss, working out if you need to take unpaid leave and having your work covered are all easy ways to make things happen, but it takes forethought. These of course don’t need to be done 2 years in advance but quite possibly a year, so it will be no surprise to anyone that you’re jetting off around the Almafi Coast while they’re all suffering in their winter undies.

Another way to make more of your time off and not use your annual leave is to match it with public holidays. This is a no brainer but again it takes planning. Easter, Christmas and school holidays are a busy time for everyone, especially those with kids – so basically getting your leave in first is the key. Recently me and my bestie were planning a holiday in April (8 months from the planning date), we rang her work to check if anyone had booked leave, no one had, so she was easily allowed to take the time off. It also may be that you arrange to work one Easter or Christmas in order to get the next one off. (There’s your two years planning).

The main problem I find when talking to people who “just can’t possibly plan that far ahead” is their concept of time. My concept of time is simple, if it’s July then it’s pretty much Christmas and then it’s March 1 my birthday, then it’s July, and then the year has disappeared. Whether you think time goes that fast or not – the time will pass, it will be January 1, you will be saying “I can’t believe how fast the year went.” Don’t spend time not planning, not saving, not making a decision to take that “one day” trip you’ve been talking about.

Another very common statement is about money. “I wish I had the money to do that.” Here’s the secret, I don’t have the money either, but over the course of a year or two I do. Having paid off a few trips over time, I have a theory. It’s basically that my trips don’t cost me anything – they’re all actually free. My Antarctica trip had to be paid off three months before departure, so to me the fact it’s paid for well before I take off means come departure day, it’s free. I don’t miss that money, the money it cost is gone and no longer exists. I have my current pay cheque and that’s the only one that matters. Again, you may not have this concept, but in three months when I’m on the boat sailing through icebergs not handing over any money …that seems pretty free to me.

Simply having something booked will spur you on to save the money you need. Instead of buying the new whatever, you will say “no, I’m saving for Greece.” It will also actively help you look at where you can save money. At every point in our daily life we can save if we chose to investigate a little further. Not buying lunches at work, limiting the avo on toast at the café, waiting for the 40% off sale at Priceline. Not having any light at the end of the saving tunnel makes putting money away extremely hard and we give into our whims.

There’s also a concept that holidays need to be expensive. They don’t. When you start adding kids and family members then yes of course it starts adding up, but again as you’ve planned the trip you know how much you’re in for. In Australia we are so fortunate to have Tiger and Jetstar flying us around Oz and South East Asia for very little money. One way to Vietnam $125. I got a flight home from NZ for $100 on Jetstar. Today alone I saw Tiger advertise Melbourne to Hobart $59 and you only pay a $1 to return. The savings are out there and are there to be had. If you don’t take them, someone else will. Someone like me.

© The Universe’s Bike

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