I’m a firm believer in the importance of traveling. I promote exploration any chance I get! I believe seeing new and different places helps to open a person’s mind. It’s actually quite hard to explain. Almost like if you live in a bubble – and by bubble, I mean stay in the same environment – anything outside of that bubble seems so foreign and far away.
When you travel and explore, you see and experience so many different people, places, and things. It naturally makes you a more well-rounded individual. It makes you understand that anything is possible for your life. Listen to episode 12 of the CGS Podcast: An Introduction to Travel-Hacking for more about my thoughts on this.
With that being said, travel and exploration are high on my priority list. I decided long ago that it’s something that matters to me, and now I prioritize it on a consistent basis. I’m sharing 5 ways I promote exploration in my life and budget. If you’re looking to switch up your environment, hopefully some of the strategies that work for me will work for you too!
5 Ways I Promote Exploration in My Life and Budget
#1 I save for travel on a monthly basis
The easiest way for me to promote exploration is saving for travel monthly. I have a line item in my budget called “Money Goals” and that is a hodge-podge of goals that I save for on a regular basis. They are things like travel that don’t have a specific amount or due date needed.
Currently, I’m saving $50 per month on travel. When I have a trip planned, I use the strategies from Vacation Planning on a Budget and increase the amount saved. I’ve traveled without planning and saving ahead, and I’ve traveled with planning and saving ahead. Trust me, the latter is a much better experience!
In addition to saving for travel, I also include Meals Out and Fun Spending categories in my budget. I like to use these categories to cover the costs associated with trying new things. This leads me nicely into the next point.
#2 I try new places in my city (activities, restaurants, scenic views)
Here’s the thing – you don’t need to travel somewhere far and foreign to explore. You can explore your own city! I recognize that Austin has grown a lot in the past few years, so there’s always something new to try, but even if it wasn’t growing as quickly, there would still be new things to experience.
When I don’t have any trips planned, and when I’m feeling the urge to explore, I like to try new things in Austin! I go to new restaurants, I take drives to enjoy scenic views, and I try new activities. Exploration isn’t just about seeing new places, it’s also about experiencing new things!
#3 I plan trips around places I’ve never been before
I absolutely love traveling to new places. This allows me to research and plan things to do in that place that will be a totally new experience. When the time comes for me to plan a trip, I like to plan around places I’ve never been before. In fact, I make it a point to go somewhere new at least once a year. That way, I’m making sure the exploration itch is scratched.
What has been happening lately is going back to places where my boyfriend and I previously visited and enjoyed. We’re constantly back in California (Los Angeles or Palm Springs). We’re also constantly back in Las Vegas. Obviously, these aren’t new places, but there are new things to do in the same places! This helps scratch the exploration itch as well!
#4 I research the best things to do and see when planning a vacation
Once I know a trip is coming and the location has been determined, the planning begins! I will start by researching hotels. I’m a Marriott Bonvoy member, so I like to stay with that chain to get all the points. Then, I research the best things to do and places to eat. After making my selections, I book any restaurants or activities.
I like to mix in some free time too. I’m very structured and itinerary-focused, while my boyfriend is very spontaneous and doesn’t like the thought of everything being planned out. This has allowed me to appreciate going with the flow in new places. It’s also allowed him to appreciate having specific places to be at set times. I recently took a trip to Italy and mapped everything out. Get a copy of my Italy Itinerary and Budget!
#5 I suggest new/different things to my inner circle
The final way I promote exploration in my life and budget is by suggesting new things to do or places to visit with my friends, family and partner. When there’s an option of going out for dinner and drinks with my girls, I like to research restaurants and bars I’ve never been to.
When my boyfriend and I want to switch up our date night routine, we like to do different things. We recently went to a paint and sip class together for a date night activity, and it was a blast! Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always love going to the movies, but it’s nice to switch things up every now and then!
Related: 7 Ways Traveling is Good for the Soul
The beauty of exploration is that you don’t have to go far! For most of us, there is so much to do and see in our current city that will keep us busy! That allows you to get the exploration “fix” while you budget and save for the bigger trips! Do you prioritize travel? If so, how do you make it work in your life and budget? Share your tips and strategies in the Comments section below!