How to travel more: Take the #Take12trips challenge

How to travel moreThere are 365 days in a year and 52 weekends. When you think of the year like this, it’s actually a lot of time. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be thinking it’s a lot of time to travel!

But how often does your time slip between your fingers and you’ve wasted entire weekends doing nothing?

You had good intentions for the weekend but you were so tired on Friday night that went home at 8pm to a takeaway and a bottle of wine. You spend Saturday running errands and a quick trip to the shops. You ‘pop to the pub’ (famous last words) for a quick drink and then, before you know it, it’s 2am and you’re stumbling home with a kebab. You spend most of Sunday feeling tired and hungover as you watch box set after box set until it gets dark. And then it’s 11pm and it’s time for bed and your weekend is over before it’s even begun.

Sound familiar?

If this happens to you far too often then maybe you should think about the 12 trips challenge.

I first came across the 12 trip challenge (#take12trips) via Clare, the lovely blogger behind Need Another Holiday. She decided to keep herself motivated to continue travelling so she set herself a challenge to take one trip every month of the year.

One trip every month, sounds achievable, right?

It’s actually a little more difficult than it sounds so I’ve put together some tips to help you travel more.

It doesn’t need to be an epic trip to the other side of the world, just a weekend away and the chance to discover something new and exciting.

It gives you something to look forward to each month without having to sacrifice your job or your social life.

And if you plan it well, the 12 trips challenge doesn’t have to be too expensive.

Here are my tips for anyone taking the 12 trips challenge and would like to travel more in 2015.

1. Prioritise travel

If you really want to travel more, you need to make travel a priority and stop making excuses.

A big night out will probably set you back £50 or more. If you live in Europe, you can easily get a return flight to hundreds of destinations for £50. I know which I’d rather spend my money on!

Stop using the ‘I can’t afford it’ excuse and make travel a priority. You won’t regret it.

The same applies to the ‘I don’t have time’ excuse. It’s not about having time, it’s about making time.

Save the excuses and start making time to travel. Here are my top tips to help you travel more this year.

2. Start planning ASAP

Get yourself a good old-fashioned calendar and start plotting birthdays, weddings and important events that you absolutely can’t miss. Work around these unmissable dates and schedule in your monthly holiday. Do it now before anything crops up or before you know it your weekends will be booked up.

 

3. Who will you travel with?

Don’t rely on just one person to be your travel buddy, even if it’s your BFF or your partner.

Mix up your 12 trips between holidays with your partner, you friends, your family, solo trips and maybe even groups you’re not that close to. My yoga class takes a yearly holiday together and I know other sports clubs often do the same. It’s a fun way to get to know new people and have a completely new experience.

I often find it’s difficult to arrange spontaneous trips with my friends these days as we all have plans and commitments. But if I said, ‘Who wants to come to Berlin for 3 days in July? £80 for flights and £50 for a hotel, let’s book it now!’ they’re all keen to get onboard.

Yep, sometimes you’ll need to be the organiser if you really want to travel more.

 

4. Book your flights ASAP

The earlier you book your flights, the cheaper they are.

There was once a time when last-minute flights were a bargain but those days are long gone. It’s all about the organisation in 2015.

I like to book as many flights as I can at the beginning of the year. This gives me lots of look forward to and something to do with those long, dark evenings in January.

Set yourself a big budget and dig deep into your savings account. It’s a big investment now but you’ll thank yourself for spending the money now so you can travel more throughout the year. Consider getting a credit card to book some flights and then collect air miles which can go towards other flights.

If you book your flights now, you’ll have no excuses not to travel later in the year. You’ll HAVE to save a little bit of spending money and you’ll HAVE to make time.

How to travel more | The Travel Hack

5. Finding bargain flights

If you’re looking for cheap flights, check out websites like Bravofly.co.uk or Skyscanner. These are great sites if you can be flexible with your time and destination or you’re simply looking for inspiration for where to go next. You can search for flights departing within a whole month or a whole year and can search for any destination and multiple departure airports.

For me, departure airport is the only option that really matters. If I can fly from my local airport (Liverpool) with no luggage, it makes everything so much cheaper, easier and faster.

When selecting your destination it can be fun to choose an entire country. Take a few risks and go to unknown destinations, these are often the most fun!

6. Book your time off at work ASAP

If you’re planning to make the most of public holidays, make sure you book the time off at work ASAP. Every company is different but there may be a limited amount of people who can get one day off and the August bank holiday weekend, for example, is always a competitive one.

Don’t let work be another excuse to stop you travelling. 

 

7. Find great value and unique accommodation

If you’re on a budget it can be difficult to find ‘nice’ accommodation when you travel and a fancy hotel will quickly eat away at your budget. Yes, you can find a budget hotel but they’re boring and it’s much more fun to find somewhere unusual.

Personally, I’ve never found a huge difference in price between booking 6 months in advance or 6 weeks in advance. Having said this, it’s nice to book things early so your travels are organised and no one can back out.

Here are some places to find cool places to stay:

How to travel more | The Travel Hack

8. Make the most of what you have on your doorstep

Let’s be realistic here; some months you won’t have the time or money for a full weekend away so start making the most of what you have close to home.

I live in Chester so I’ve recently started travelling in and around North Wales. I’ve stayed in a tree house, spent the weekend in a country manor, a yurt and a beautiful hotel next to a lake. All of these places were around 1-2 hours drive from home so we’re there by 7pm on a Friday evening but feel like we’re a million miles from home.


 

This is the first of a series of ‘How to travel more’ posts you’ll be seeing on The Travel Hack. If there’s something specific you’d like more information on, please do let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to include it in the series.

If you enjoyed this post and you’d like more information on how you can travel more, subscribe to my weekly newsletter for a summary of all my new posts delivered straight to your inbox.

Read more: How to travel the world with a 9-5 job (you’ll like this one too!)

How to save money to travel more

68 Responses

  1. Ashleigh

    I agree that a short trip doesn’t have to be a really expensive trip in some far-flung destination. I love having a couple of nights somewhere in the UK every now and then because there’s so much to see here!

    How to be a Wanderluster

    Reply
    • TheTravelHack

      There really is. My favourite trip of the year was the tree house. You can make an adventure out of anything, you just need to be creative sometimes!

      Reply
  2. Jessica C. (A Wanderlust For Life)

    I think this might be my favorite blog post of the year! I love a challenge that makes you think, plan, and seems attainable. I can’t wait to sit down and really think this over and see how we can do this. I’m so excited!!!

    Reply
    • TheTravelHack

      Ah amazing, I’m so pleased you enjoyed it!
      I agree about having attainable challenges. Lots of travel bloggers talk about saving up to travel the world. This is amazing but completely unattainable for most people.

      Reply
  3. Amy

    Fantastic idea and I’m very tempted to try it! I have three trips booked so far this year so that’s not a bad start 🙂

    Reply
  4. Clare

    Thanks so much for the lovely mention! I’m so glad so to see that #take12trips will still be going strong in 2015 – I’m currently writing a round up of all the bloggers who took 12 trips in 2014. Here’s to making the most of weekends and days off! Happy New Year Monica 🙂

    Reply
  5. Cathy (MummyTravels)

    I totally agree – I did the challenge last year, finishing in August (I’d started September 2013) and without that to spur me on, I got snowed under with work and suddenly four months passed with not a lot of travelling.

    So one of my travel resolutions for 2015 (post coming tomorrow!) is to take the challenge again this year. With only one trip booked, I need to get planning. But I love the look of Bravofly, I’ve never come across that before and it sounds fantastic – I’ve already found some flights I want!

    Reply
  6. Amanda

    My goal is go somewhere every month in 2015. Love the #take12trips hashtag/idea! These are some great tips on making it happen.

    Reply
  7. Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    I’ve seen a few bloggers who have taken on this challenge – a great way to make sure you travel! I completely agree with neding to prioritise travel if that’s what you love most – it’s amazing how many cheap flight and hotels are out there that will cost you less than a meal out or an activity in London, where I’m living! I keep reminding myself on what trips I might miss out on and that helps keep my spending in check!

    Reply
  8. V

    Ahh, I’m so inspired now!

    I need to get planning. I’m really fortunate to live in a part of the states where there is so much to see within a relatively short drive. I’ve yet to see Charleston, Nashville, and Orlando so I’ll add those to my goals for this year!

    For now I’m off to St Lucia!

    Have a lovely New Years!

    V
    http://www.lifeplus1.me

    Reply
    • TheTravelHack

      Lucky you, have an amazing time in St Lucia!
      It sounds like you’ve got some great places on your doorstep too! In all honesty, I think most people have amazing places on their doorstep, it’s just all about your attitude and realising you don’t need to travel to the other side of the world to have an amazing travel experience.

      Reply
  9. Domestic Goddesque

    Prioritising travel can be more challenging when you have small children and school timetables to work around- a lot of the bargain holidays aren’t an option. But Canopys and Stars may be my new favourite find! Thank you for sharing it!

    Reply
    • TheTravelHack

      I love Canopy and Stars, so many cool and quirky places to stay. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are if you’re staying somewhere amazing (even if it’s 20 minutes down the road!)
      And I can imagine it must be so difficult to travel with little ones. It sounds like you’re doing pretty well for 2015 travel plans but school timetables must be restricting.
      I’m already planning to travel as much as I can while my little one is a baby as I’ve heard it’s so much easier.

      Reply
  10. Jessica @ The Belle Voyage

    I love this idea Monica and Clare! It’s so easy to have the days and weeks fly by, and then turn around halfway through the year and wonder where the time has gone. I have a few trips planned so far but pretty much nothing for the second half of the year, so I need to get going before weekends get booked up.

    Have you ever looked at Google flights? It’s similar to Bravofly, but you just put in your home airport and it will show you (on a map) the cheapest flights to destinations all over the world. Pretty cool if you have a fixed budget but an open mind!

    Jessica
    http://www.thebellevoyage.com

    Reply
    • TheTravelHack

      I haven’t used Google flights but thanks for the tip, will definitely check it out. I spend hours looking at flights. Even if I’m not planning on booking anything. It’s like window shopping for a travel addict!

      Reply
  11. Sarah

    This post has helped me with where to start planning my 2015 adventures. I live in North Wales so really not far from Chester! I love exploring where I live.

    Sarah x

    Reply
  12. Monique

    Thanks for sharing these great tips! I totally agree with booking flights as early as possible, I’ve been caught out on this in the past. Didn’t know about the deals option on bravofly, will have to check that out 🙂

    Reply
    • TheTravelHack

      Same here. Booking last minute flights used to be so cheap so I think people still think they’ll find a bargain but in the last 5 years I’ve never had a last minute cheap deal!

      Reply
  13. Sarah Shumate

    I wish I were organized enough to book all of my flights at the beginning of the year! Then there would be so much more time to anticipate each holiday! As it is, we barely manage to get ours booked 6-8 weeks in advance. If we were better decision-makers, it would be easier, but we’re always torn about where to go. I have to say, we are improving, though. At least this year we’ve already at least talked about places we want to see! 🙂

    Reply
  14. Lucy

    I just finished off my #take12trips challenge year and it has been great – a really good reminder to get out there and see things locally too whenever I have some free time, rather than let time get swallowed up with work and DIY. Hope to carry it on to 2015 too!

    Reply
    • TheTravelHack

      Really looking forward to seeing how you get on Lucy. It’s so hard when you’ve got lots of different priorities. That’s why I like the idea of dedicating one weekend every month to travel or going somewhere new.

      Reply
  15. Teresa

    I’m an expat now, but I’m working long hours, six days a week, so I haven’t had much time to travel. I made a promise to myself at the end of the year to get away for one night every couple of weeks. I’ll see how that goes! You’re absolutely right that travel has to be a priority in order to make it happen.

    Reply
    • TheTravelHack

      And it’s so hard when you have lots of different priorities. I think it’s really important to plan things in advance, especially when you work from home. I work from home too and I often find myself working all the time if I don’t have somewhere to be!

      Reply
  16. John

    I think #3 is a really good point – you can’t always rely on your ‘travel buddy’ to be available, so it’s good to branch out a bit, which I’ve tried to do more of recently. It’s a hard life!

    Reply
  17. Gemma

    Happy new year!

    This is a great post and I love the idea of one trip a month. I will definitely be checking out Bravofly.

    Thanks for the tips.

    Gemma

    Reply
    • TheTravelHack

      I’m sure that’s part of it sometimes. Or maybe not a lack of initiative but just not realising it’s possible. If you’ve never met anyone or read about anyone who travels a lot on a small budget, you might not realise it’s an option.

      Reply
  18. Kristen Ellis

    I love this post! I’m from the United States and my fiance and I have a goal of traveling to all 50 states together. This post is so motivational and has made me want to sit down with a calendar and start planning our trips for the year. Your last tip about making the most out of what is on your doorstep was eye opening also. I lived in Maine for 21 years and never visited some of it’s most beautiful sites – those sites are going to make it onto my 2015 calendar so I can take full advantage of cheaper travel.

    Thank you for the motivation! Have a wonderful 2015 full of travel!

    Reply
  19. Colette

    What a great post, Monica! My 2015 resolution is to experience everything, and traveling is among that. I was thinking about traveling at least once a month if not every other month to a new destination. Tried to get my girlfriends on board, but to no avail – they all came up with the same excuses I could use: not enough time or money. So I am thinking of tackling this on my own and travel solo.
    PS: Just discovered your blog and loving it!

    Reply
    • TheTravelHack

      Solo travelling is awesome. And once your friends see you having an amazing time I’m sure they’ll want to join you on your next trip.
      And thanks! I’m so pleased you’re enjoying the blog 🙂

      Reply
    • TheTravelHack

      I take lots of long weekend holidays as my boyfriend has limited days off at work. We’ll leave on a Thursday afternoon and come back on a Sunday night and it can feel like we’ve been away for so much longer. Sometimes you only need a little break to feel like you’ve had a long and relaxing holiday.

      Reply
  20. Lauren Hughes

    Love this post and I can remember your post in the tree house making me so jealous at the time! I might save that one for the summer though 🙂 I’ve already been booking places for this year though to complete my 12 in 12 that I started last March. I have 4 countries to go and am planning a Canada, US, Caribbean trip for my finale… xo

    http://www.hikinginheels.co.uk

    Reply
  21. Gracious Store

    There are many of things that go into preparation for travels, money is one, time other and many other responsibilities. But at the end of the day ones priority is what matters.

    Reply
  22. Luke

    Great post Monica, I’m also from the UK and agree that there’s so many cheap flights around Europe now. I’ll definitely check out bravo fly

    Reply
  23. Allison

    Definitely agree about always having a person to be the organizer. The hardest (if not most daunting) part is to take on the responsibility of organizing everybody’s schedules. When I was on exchange in England, I was that person and I’m glad I put the effort into organizing. I made a ton of memories from it!

    Reply
  24. Sayli Deshpande

    I’m a regular follower of “the travel hack”. I think it is an amazing website and I really enjoyed reading this post on how to travel more in 2015.

    Reply
  25. Anurag Ajmera

    Love your post 🙂
    I am fond of exploring new places although haven’t explored much because of financial issues and now time bounding sick life. But surely after reading this blog i am gonna spend some time visiting some near to heart places.
    I also write blog on quikrpost and recently published a post on top Indian travel bloggers and blog. I am surely gonna add you in my next list of Top travel bloggers from around the world.

    Reply
  26. Julia

    A wonderful Post!
    I shared it on my Facebook Page because I think you gave some great advices. People tend to think that to travel means to be rich or to have an enormous amount of time… thats why No 1 is my favourite: Make travel your priority 🙂

    Oh, and congrats to you! :))))

    Julia

    Reply
  27. Jayne

    Great blog, lots of additional ideas. I have to work and be on hand for my ageing parents and new grandchildren so I work to holiday. That gives me a reason to get out of bed 4:45 every day!. So far this year I have done Brixham, Turkey, Devon, Ibiza, Venice, lake Garda, Milan, Budapest. Dartmouth. Still got two trips to the canaries October and December and hopefully a trip to Cornwall. Next year is a bit lean so far but have already booked Tenerife and Ibiza. Would also like a short break in Prague, so many places so little time. Keep blogging.

    Aggie x

    Reply
  28. Sam

    Right! That’s it! I’m following these advices and this year I’ll go to Barcelona, Italy to ski, France to visit friends and family and Iceland because I want to go back! And pushing harder I could even be tempted by Thailand towards the end of the year!
    Thanks! It helps getting motivated

    Reply

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