Part 2 in our 5-part Summer Travel Series
(You can find Part 1 here.)
It’s easy for us to let the details get in the way of accomplishing our goals. We get overwhelmed. We can’t see the forest through the trees. This is especially true when we want to take a big trip somewhere. We let the logistics grow to become bigger than they really are.
Here we’ll look at 5 logistical obstacles you might face concerning travel abroad, and we'll discover a way to overcome each one.
1 | Making time to travel abroad
If you are in the 9–5 work world (or some variation of it), your vacation time may be limited. It’s hard for you to imagine traveling long distances when you can do so only in a week or two. You may secretly fear returning home to your job unrested, which seems to defeat the purpose of travel in the first place.
I can’t help you change your job situation, but I can help you change your perspective. What you do need to know is if you view the two-weeks off from work from a scarcity perspective, you will feel crunched for time. Instead, choose to see it as a gift, from a position of abundance.
“Yes, I get the gift of two weeks off!” A ten-day trip abroad – one day of travel each way, eight days “on the ground,” and a few days recovery before you return to work can work out quite well.
2 | Finding money to travel abroad
Yes, no question, it takes money to travel. But if you can shop for your tickets well online, you can often find excellent deals. Try Momondo or Skyscanner for the very best results (and make sure to open them in an incognito browser – which doesn’t solve all problems but helps). Also, take a look at this excellent article to learn more about your different options.
Some people also become skilled at travel hacking. I really haven’t done that yet, but I’ve got my eye on what it would take. Here’s a fantastic resource you might check out! (All of this guy’s stuff is top-notch!)
I have one friend who swears by the website Couchsurfing. (A friend of mine has written extensively about how well this can work for families.) Also another viable way to do this is using the resources at HomeExchange or you can join this group. You can step things up by using Airbnb or VRBO. And, if you take the time, you can often land excellent, discounted hotel options.
In both of these cases – the most financially challenging aspects of traveling – take time over a one or two-week period to continuously check prices. You likely will find days of the week where flights are cheaper if you do this.
3 | Traveling with little children abroad
Okay, I hate to put the little ones in the category of “obstacles,” but really – traveling with littles can be very, very hard. Until you figure it out. Then it becomes an adventure and opportunity to deepen your family ties.
This is the subject of an entire book, so I can simply scratch the surface here. But again, I would say the issue is mindset. Preparation comes a close second. We won’t deal with the latter much here (again, that’s a book!).
On the mindset front, the real shift (of yours) has to come down to viewing the experience as an adventure where you are seeking wonder at every turn. Putting yourself in the shoes of your little person – the thought of viewing everything new, from a fresh perspective, continually, can go far for you.
Also on the mindset front is knowing it won’t go perfectly – and that’s okay. Expecting the challenges and rolling with each one. This takes practice, but it can happen. You can choose to embrace those challenges with the mindset and attitude of the learner. And, when you have the occasional meltdown (of kid, or you, or both), learn from it! Nothing, ever, is wasted!
4 | Dealing with the stuff at home when traveling abroad
I’ll keep this short. Most stuff you believe will be an issue at home when you travel abroad won’t. Plants can get watered (hire a kid in the neighborhood, use automatic watering devices (available online or at home & garden stores), mail can be held, bills can be automated (if they aren’t already), most people can wait.
If you are a caregiver at any stage, you will need to work harder to find someone to step in, but most communities offer such services (or other family members sometimes do). The main thing in any of these cases is to be creative and inventive, and to look for options early.
5 | Conquering jet lag when traveling abroad
Time change – even a few hours – can get us all. Somehow, going east seems to be harder on the body for most people than going west. It can take a toll. But there are ways to trick your body, and once you understand those principles, you can use them every time.
- Wear a watch. Change it to your destination time zone the minute you sit down on the plane. Then pretend you are in the time zone from the get go. Fake your mind and body into it as much as you can, including how (and when) you eat your meals, whenever possible.
- If you are able, choose flights arriving into your final destination in the late afternoon or early evening. That way, bed is not long off. It does make a difference. Sometimes you have no option for this and just have to push yourself through another day with little sleep. If you do have to sleep, take short, timed cat naps only!
- Keep active during the day, especially during the afternoon, when you are likely to slump. You will feel that slump, but push past it If you need a bit of caffeine at that time, so be it! Watch alcohol consumption in the first few days. It can mess this process up.
My friend, you can do this! I believe in you! Of course, there are many more obstacles we could deal with, including simple fear. That’s a different article – and actually a book I have in the works – for a different time. Right now, we’ll stick with these five.
As you work to conquer these five “obstacles,” you can be sure a worthwhile travel experience awaits you. It is there for the taking.
How will you seize it?