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DIY Travel Every Year

Updated on November 10, 2014
Teapixie LM profile image

Tea Pixie writes her way around the world drinking tea, eating scones, & capturing inspirational images. I. Love. Travel. I. Love. Life.

Travel Plans Made

It's time for you to make travel plans, especially if you're not planning to travel immediately. With the ideas I have for you, you will probably learn how to live your life so that you get to travel every year, with a little planning.

My family and I work hard every year to plan for at least one vacation. We have discovered that if we start early with a clear vision of what we want to do, then we have enough time to create and carry out a clear plan to bring our trip to reality.

Even at the worst of times, when it seems like our family is struggling to get through the daily grind, we focus our attention back on our vision and our plans, and our actions begin moving us forward again.

I know it sounds like travel is only an opportunity for those with a bank account to accommodate the expenses, but I'd like to talk about how we work with our budget each year to carve out an escape from our daily responsiblities -- to give you some ideas and incentives to do it yourself.

All Photos and Writing are Copyright by ME - Teapixie! :)

The Little Choices

It's a lifestyle thing. Firstly, we look at our coming year and analyze our budget; is it to be a different continent kind of year, or is it a road trip kind of year?

Be realistic about the big decisions and you'll find more satisfaction in sticking to your plan because you can envision yourself meeting your travel goals. To assess the flexibility in your budget, you will need to look honestly at your daily budget.

Do you regularly buy a coffee or tea? Or do you go out for lunch 3 days a week? Or what about your driving habits? What if you stopped buying your hot drinks at the local coffee shop, cut back to 1 lunch out a week, and decided to ride the bus, or better, ride your bike to work on sunny days (maybe you only ride to work one day, take the bus home, and ride home another)?

I know it might seem too simple, or too little, but when looking at the small decisions you make regularly, or the habits you have adopted, you may begin to realize that there is more elasticity in your budget than you initially thought. It's when you realize that you can modify your behaviours, that you are able to put together a plan that will help you to achieve your travel goals.

Sticking with an action plan does require you to stay consistent in your daily decision making. As a true tea drinker, I am careful about how many times I go out for tea because, in the end, it's all just dirty water! But really? I focus on my dream of drinking tea in a different city and then I chose to invite friends over for a slurp and a nibble.

In order to stay consistent, you have to keep the goal in mind, so write it down. And be specific.

Where do you want to go?

How long can you go for?

What do you want to do when you're there?

Who do you want to go with?

How much money will you need?

And I can't stress it enough, you have to be realistic in setting your travel goal. Maybe this year it's a camping trip, or a house swap and next year you can rent a house for a week. Even if you are doing a driving trip that takes you 4 hours from home, you can rent a small cottage or swap houses. It's often much cheaper to take this approach because you don't have to eat out - it's also less stressful because you are not searching for a restaurant to eat at, every single day.

How To Carry Stuff When Riding To Work

Bicycle cargo trailer
Bicycle cargo trailer
Yes, you like the idea of riding your bike to work, but how will you get all of your paperwork there? Sometimes a pannier isn't enough.

Affordable camping gear now!

Are you trying to determine the minimum you need to take on a camping road trip? It's not always easy to edit your load, but it's always necessary.

Only take what you need. Consider borrowing items from others, with the intent of replacing those items if you damage or lose them.

Planning Ahead


To make travel happen every year, you must plan ahead. Consider opening a travel-only bank account where you deposit the savings you are making from your 'light' living choices. If you aren't drinking that coffee out everyday, make sure you calculate your savings and put the savings money into that account. Watching the account grow will reinforce the decision-making plan that you put in place.


Start many months in advance. If we are traveling in August, we start talking about our plans in November of the previous year. It takes time to save money and the more time you have, the greater the chance that you will modify your habits enough to change your spending/saving patterns.


Once you've written down your vision, write down an action plan (how you will achieve your vision). Include an estimate of how much money you will need to make it possible to travel. Then, think backwards. Is that crazy or what? But it's real. Think about this question: "What is the last thing you will have to accomplish to make this vacation happen?"

Each time you write down something to accomplish, think about what you would have to do to accomplish that last item. For example, if I want to go to Hawaii, I could write down, "Arrive at rented condo on the beach," and then above that I would write, "pick up rental car." Every step backwards will identify the order of your actions to make the holiday happen, including saving the money, and identifying the necessary budgets.

3) a.

Make a list of all of the things you could choose to do differently each day, in order to save money. Be reasonable. If you create unreasonable lifestyle limits, you may not be committed enough to your vacation to make the changes required. Also recognize that some of your decisions may not, initially, appear to affect your spending, but there are many lifestyle decisions that do. For example, you may do a clearing of your house every spring (some people actually do, I'm not one of them).

When you clear items from your house consider having a garage sale and advertise it properly. As you identify items for sale, think about why you purchased them in the first place. Perhaps you can identify different ways that you could modify your purchasing habits. These kinds of changes will actually result in making your life simpler. Imagine - more money, less stress. It is possible!


Research. Research. Research. There are ways to travel that are less expensive. Yes - less expensive. This kind of travel is about experiencing places and getting to have a trip.

It doesn't mean that you can afford to go to all-inclusive resorts or stay at hotels with stars. About fifteen years ago I changed my perspective of what travel looks like, and I now hate getting stuck in a hotel "box." The box is the uninspired room that creates distance between my family and the culture we want to visit.

It's so amazing to find houses, apartments, or cottages to rent or, better yet, house swaps. We have made new friends by renting from wonderful people and by opening our house to people who care for our animal while enjoying the city we live in.

In terms of research, go the distance. Learn about health insurance, travel insurance, and home insurance (if you are swapping). Learn about cancellation procedures for transportation and accommodation you book. And research the place you want to visit - what do you need to know to keep yourself safe? What do you need to know to ensure you are financially prepared? And what about activities and events?

I make a point of finding the local library (I use google maps for this) so that I can email friends and family for free, and I research local market days and grocery shopping opportunities. I have met some of the most wonderful and inviting people while shopping for groceries.

Books To Guide Your Visioning

As you read through all of these notes, you might recognize that there are ideas here that you could apply in your daily life - no matter your goals. Below are books that might help you in creating a fuller life for yourself, from waking each morning to slumbering each night.

Revisit Your Vision

You've been saving money for 4 months and you don't think you can make your goal.

Now is not the time to quit. Instead, create a new game plan! Maybe you weren't honest about how much you could reasonably save for your trip and your vision is greater than your bank account. Now is not the time to give up - just envision something you can achieve. Some years we talk about traveling to another continent but end up in New Mexico. It's still a trip!

The best part is that you have been changing your behaviours, so you know it's possible. Maybe next year you start sooner and you can end up in France, but this year, the budget just won't stretch that far. Your success in making travel opportunities for yourself will depend on your ability to transform potential problems into opportunities.

Interesting Discussions About Daily Consumption

Do you drink alcohol?

Do you drink coffee?

Do you smoke?

There are some pretty big costs associated with over indulgence of any item, be you regularly consuming alcoholic drinks or regularly buying the latest shoe style. If you are really serious about changing your life to achieve what you really want, you will seriously assess the decisions you make, habitually, every day.

I have been digging around and I'm presenting you with some interesting information that should help you to think about your own habits and how you could modify your daily behaviours to make travel possible, and possibly extend your life!

Making the Commitment

Do you have travel plans?

Or are you inspired to begin planning for travel this year?

Have you decided to cut down the number of order-in, take-out, or meals out by one less per week?

Do you have money-saving habits (other than "don't spend!) that you can share? Let us know!

Will you make changes to your lifestyle to ensure that you travel this year?

See results

Travel by Air!

Getting on a plane is so fantastic - on in one culture, off in another - and it usually takes less than a day.

Are you a dedicated traveler with unique ways of saving or raising funds? Or do you always go into debt to take a trip? Have you ever considered changing your pre and post travel habits to avoid creating debt?

How Do You Make Travel Happen?

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    • Teapixie LM profile imageAUTHOR

      Tea Pixie 

      8 years ago

      @dumpstergourmet: Your savings approach is awesome and I love the way you developed your travel opportunities. The more people who have international hosts, the better, for so so many reasons! Thank you so much for dropping by.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      We facilitated a lot of traveling by working as English Teacher's in South Korea. Other than that, we set aside a chunk of money every month dedicated for travel. Big Bonus: the more you travel, the more you meet folks and those relationships can lead to having hosts in new cities and countries making travel more enjoyable and affordable!

    • profile image

      shawnhi77 lm 

      8 years ago

      Wonderful lens. Love all the travel ideas.

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      8 years ago

      I don't do much, but am planning my first long train ride.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      9 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I really want to take a short trip to the mainland this fall.

    • Teapixie LM profile imageAUTHOR

      Tea Pixie 

      9 years ago

      @JoshK47: Yes, I hear you! Do you know where you want your adventures to take you when you go?

    • Teapixie LM profile imageAUTHOR

      Tea Pixie 

      9 years ago

      @anonymous: Ooooooo - Yes! Where do you want to go?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Lately I've not been able to - but this time next year, it's happening, no matter what.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I would love to be able to travel to far places I want to see. :)

    • Teapixie LM profile imageAUTHOR

      Tea Pixie 

      9 years ago

      @dessertlover: Glad to be part of the motivation for planning. It's wonderful to hear about your vision! Thanks for contributing.

    • Teapixie LM profile imageAUTHOR

      Tea Pixie 

      9 years ago

      @PaulaMorgan: Emerald125 - those are great options for changing your financial situation to allow for travel. Thanks for contributing!

    • PaulaMorgan profile image

      Paula Morgan 

      9 years ago from Sydney Australia

      I have the exact same philosophy! We take in a homestay student for 6 months or so when we want to take a big trip - this can add about $1000 a month to the bank account. I have also given up designer anything, $4 take away coffees and salon hair colours. We have managed a trip every year for the last 5 years. It is soooo worth it.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens! My husband and I were just talking about this. We wanted to take a trip to the Caribbean next winter but we've got to start saving! Helpful tips here!


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