If your passport has been on lockdown for the past couple of years, there is no time like the present to bring it out of temporary retirement. How long have you been daydreaming about taking that hot air balloon ride over the Namib Desert? Or maybe you’ve been thinking about what it would be like to walk in the footsteps of Charles Darwin and go exploring on the Galapagos Islands. And if all you’ve been doing is working, sleeping and doing it all over again, somewhere idyllic like Bora Bora or Kauai might be calling your name. Wherever you want your once in a lifetime trip to take place, you’re going to need a little guidance to help you plan.
Decide Where You Want to Go (And Don’t Hold Back)
You know that totally far flung place in the back of your mind that you once saw flipping through the pages of a Conde Naste or National Geographic? It’s the place you’ve spent much of your lifetime hoping, wishing and fantasizing about. If you’re a visual person, put together a vision board of all of the things that represent your dream vacation, and display it somewhere you can see it in your home. Whether it’s taking the Mongolian Express, visiting the Gorillas in Rwanda or climbing aboard an expedition ship to Antarctica, there has never been a better time to think BIG!
Figure Out What You Want Out of Your Dream Vacation
You might think the destination is the most important, but that’s not necessarily the most important component. If you’re looking to completely relax, unplug, and enjoy a slice of heaven on earth, you’re not going to find it somewhere like Singapore, Honolulu, or London. Ask yourself ‘what do I need’? Are you craving a hair-raising adventure? Do you want to be surrounded by lavish luxury? Is nature, wildlife and ruggedness that you seek?
Talk About it to Friends & Loved Ones
Sometimes, we all need a little nudge when we’re trying to make a big decision. It could be purchasing a home, making a career change, or in this case, taking an absolutely epic, once-in-a-lifetime trip. We get really good at talking ourselves out of things, so the more you ‘talk it up’ with friends and family, and ask them to keep checking in with you on your travel goals, the more likely you are to drill down on your research, and start making tangible plans.
Hire a Travel Advisor (Hint Hint)
We don’t want to brag or anything, but those once-in-a-lifetime type trips are sort of our speciality. Travel advisors have extended networks of premium tourism brands they work with, on the ground experience, and more insider tips than you could possibly find anywhere online. When you’re planning such an important trip, you don’t want a single detail missed or a mistake made, this trip has to be perfect.
Focus on Value Not Budget
You know that saying ‘you get what you pay for?’ Nowhere is that more true than when you’re booking a vacation. Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean cheerful, nor does it mean you’re getting a good deal. Your bucket list trip may feel or seem costly, but rather than focus on the dollars and cents, understand what you are receiving in exchange for your investment.
Start Your Destination Immersion Before You Go
Once you’ve made that final payment, beyond dusting off your suitcases, there are a number of fun things you can do to hype yourself up about taking this incredible trip. You could download a language app, polish up on your conversational skills and learn more about the nuances of the culture you’ll be visiting. How about researching the local music and putting together a playlist? And if you’re a fan of literature, you could download a few audiobooks written about the place you’re visiting. It’s all about putting yourself in that dream destination state of mind.
Be Prepared to Be Flexible
World travel has changed dramatically in the past two years, and that means that we all have to adjust our expectations somewhat. We’ve been so used to traveling on somewhat iron-clad itineraries and anything from hurricanes, volcanic eruptions and world pandemics can throw us off course.The best way to approach travel now is to create some peace of mind by always making sure you have the best travel insurance, being ready to pivot your travel plans if necessary, and having some sort of back-up plan.
Planning that once in a lifetime trip means it should be everything you’ve ever imagined and more. Working with a travel professional will help you move through any barriers you may have, and help you bring your vision to life.