This is probably the most beautiful photo on my phone—Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation in the middle of the desert about a thirty minute drive from the heart of Las Vegas. I never dreamed I would see this or even be in Las Vegas anytime this year. As anyone who knows me knows, I'm not big on New Year's resolutions. I find that more often than not they drift to the back of people's minds and the bottom of their to-do lists. Rather than making a list of New Year's resolutions, I usually write a letter to myself trying to predict what will happen in the upcoming year and an accompanying list of year-long goals broken down into these categories: career, travel, wellness.
After getting back from my crazy Europe trip at the end of 2016, as soon as I got home I felt the travel bug start to itch. Right then and there I made a list of dream travel destinations for 2017. Since we're almost halfway through the year (how???) I thought it would be a good time to check in and see if I've been sticking to my travel goals, and share tips on how you can get to all of the destinations that are probably stored on a Pinterest board of yours. Besides, the more people you tell about something the more likely you are to do it.
My 2017 Dream Travel List:
Somewhere in the southwest USA
So far I have successfully checked Chicago and Las Vegas (southwest USA) off my list. I've bought my plane tickets to Nashville and am looking at London/Barcelona options for the fall.
1. Pick Semi-Reasonable Destinations
I don't want to put a damper on anyone's ultimate dream travel list (Bali, Greece, Seoul...sorry I'll stop) but the best way to make sure you actually make it to all of the destinations on your list is to make sure they're places you can actually get. Make sure you don't need a travel visa, that it's within your budget and that you can physically make it there.
2. Use your vacation days wisely
While it may be tempting to escape the cold in the early winter months, don't use all of your vacation days right away! You never know what may come up later in the year that will have you wishing for them back. If you freelance, congratulations, you can write from a beach in Italy for all anyone cares and sometimes I envy you.
3. Take advantage of long weekends
Long weekends (Easter, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day to name a few) are great times to travel because you already have a few days off from work. I did both Chicago and Las Vegas in four days and that was a perfect amount of time to get a taste of each city. My Chicago trip happened over Easter weekend so I took off Thursday and already had Friday off, and my Nashville trip is happening over the Fourth of July weekend, so I took off one day on the end of that long weekend to make it a five day trip. I was actually happy to take a travel break over Memorial Day weekend because I had been running around so much in the weekends leading up to it.
4. Visit destinations where your friends live
If you are traveling on a budget (aren't we all) take advantage of visiting cities where your friends live. Not only will they have a couch for you to crash on (thanks friends!) but they'll be your built in tour guides and show you all of the best local places to visit.
5. Travel with friends and/or family
Another way to save money is to bring friends and family along with you! A hotel room and appetizers at a restaurant split between two people will cost less than if you were by yourself. Plus, you'll have someone to take photos of you, which as we all know is a must for me.
6. Say yes to any opportunity to travel
I got to go to Las Vegas on a press trip for work, and even though it wasn't on the top of my list of places I absolutely had to visit, it was an opportunity to see a new city and of course I ended up LOVING it. I already want to plan a trip back out there with my friends.
What's on your dream travel list?