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Setting travel and financial goals

Setting travel and financial goals

We recently shared our blog goals for 2011 but long before we started Don’t Ever Look Back, we set travel goals for ourselves based on our dreams and aspirations. Once those travel goals were in place, we were then able to do our calculations and set some lofty yet achievable financial goals to make sure we could make our travel dreams a reality.

The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.
– Benjamin Mays

Many would agree that setting goals (and having the motivation to achieve them) is the key to success. We hope that a lot of our readers already have their travel goals set for 2011 but if you haven’t thought about it yet, we’ve put together this two-step guide to help you put some attainable goals into place and get started on the path to achieving them.

After all, the objective of Frugal February is to help you achieve your travel dreams sooner! How can we help you do that if you don’t know what your short-term dreams are?!

Eiffel Tower

Do you want to visit the Eiffel Tower in 2011? Then make it happen!

Step 1: What do you really want?

The first step is deciding what you want to achieve with your travels over the next 12-18 months (and beyond). For us, it was to embark on long-term travel and incorporate North America, Europe and Asia into our itinerary which became our travel goal for 2011. We’re on track to achieve this goal and can say from the experience that if you know exactly what you’re saving for, you’re much more likely to achieve your travel goals.

So have a good long think about what you really want. Here are a few examples of travel goals if you’re stuck:

  • Visit a new continent in January 2012.
  • Travel internationally before the end of 2011.
  • Explore your own backyard in the summer of 2011.
  • Climb the Eiffel Tower in August 2011.
  • Attend a major international sporting event (eg. 2012 London Olympics).

Remember to make sure your goal is a SMART goal – that means it’s specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time based. You’re much more likely to achieve it if you follow these criteria.

So set your travel goal, write it down and think about how delighted you’ll be once you achieve it.

US Dollars

You’ll need money to reach your travel goal, but how much?

Step 2: Create a plan

Now you know what your travel goal is, how are you going to achieve it? Like most things in life, it will ultimately come down to money.

Firstly, calculate how much it will cost to make your travel goal happen. Consider the following major expenses in your calculations:

  • Accommodation.
  • Entertainment/Tours.
  • Food and Drink.
  • Shopping.
  • Transportation (airfares, bus/train tickets, car hire, etc).
  • Travel Insurance.

Budget Your Trip is a great starting point that can help you estimate many of these costs. Let’s take the ‘Climb the Eiffel Tower in August 2011’ goal and use that as an example for a 10 day vacation.

Expense (per person) Unit Cost Total
Return Flights (Melbourne – Paris using Kayak) $ 1669.00 $ 1669.00
Average Daily Travel Cost (via Budget Your Trip) $ 162.80 x 10 $ 1628.00
Travel Insurance (via World Nomads) $ 65.00 $ 65.00
Total $ 3362.00
add a 10% buffer just to be safe! $ 336.20 $ 3698.20

Now that we have a figure to work with, calculate how much you need to put away each week/month (base this around your pay cycle) to reach this goal by August 2011.

Calculation Amount Needed
Monthly Savings $ 3698.20 / 6 months $ 616.37 / month
Weekly Savings $ 3698.20 / 26 weeks $ 142.24 / week

Can you afford to put this much of your income into savings each week or month? If so, that’s great – you’ll easily be able to achieve your travel goal.

If you’re not far off, our Frugal February tips and advice over the next 4 weeks will hopefully be enough to put you over the line! But if you still don’t think you can reach your goal in the timeframe you specified, you may need to re-evaluate and either give yourself extra time to reach it (the Eiffel Tower will still be there in October and you miss the peak crowds!) or reduce your travel budget (spend less nights in Paris, save money while traveling in other ways).

Tips to help you achieve your goals

  • Write them down! This is the first step in making it happen.
  • Keep a constant visual reminder of your goal (eg. print off a photo of your dream destination and keep it nearby).
  • Keep track of your savings progress – print off our progress chart and highlight/mark off each time you pass a $100 milestone.
  • Reward yourself at certain milestones – you’re much more likely to achieve your big goal if you give yourself small rewards throughout the process.
  • If you encounter a setback along the way, don’t give up! Remember – one step back, two steps forward.

In future posts we’ll discuss specific strategies to increase your likelihood of achieving your goals so keep on following us during Frugal February. You can do this by subscribing to Don’t Ever Look Back in your RSS reader or subscribing via email to get the posts directly in your inbox.

What are your travel goals for 2011 and beyond? Have you made a plan on how you’re going to achieve them? Share your thoughts and advice in the comments below.

Flickr Photos: angietorres, idreamofdaylight, mynameisharsha