It seems like everyone wants to travel the world — myself included. But going wherever the wind takes me in a van that’s also my bedroom is taking things a little too far.
The good news is, there’s a world of adventure that doesn’t involve quitting your job, depleting your savings, or not knowing when your next shower will be. Responsible adventure exists, and we’ve got five tips for indulging in thoughtful spontaneity while still having the time of your life.
1. Make A Travel Bucket List
Adventure is calling — where do you want it to take you? It’s impossible to ignore the fact that life responsibilities like budgets and PTO exist, so making a list of your most sought-after travel destinations and ranking it accordingly is a crucial first step. Start with a list of your top 10 destinations, including both domestic and international locations. You can always go back and add or re-rank later. The rules for this list are there are NO rules!
2. Do Your Research
Once you’ve established your Travel Bucket List, you can start researching your desired travel destinations. Find out the best season to visit, the most popular activities in the area, and the hidden gems that can’t be missed.
In addition to the typical online searches and travel guide books, I like to do a deep dive including searching relevant hashtags on social media, finding travel blogs with a first-person POV, and asking friends and family who’ve already been for insider tips. It’s also a good idea to learn about the potential risks and emergency resources available in the area to be fully prepared.
(Spoiler alert: Some of your top travel picks may be out of your reach right now — maybe it’s too expensive, or it’s best to experience with a group and you’re looking for a solo expedition. Put it on the back burner as you save money or recruit a like-minded friend for the ride, and turn to one of the other amazing destinations on your list).
3. Establish An Emergency Fund
Having a financial safety net is a good idea for anyone, but it’s especially important for travelers. Despite careful planning, unexpected expenses arise due to medical emergencies, unpredictable weather, or frustrating delays. Saving just $10 a week can quickly add up, creating a financial cushion to ensure responsible decision-making even when you’re in a bind.
4. Stock Up on Essential Safety Gear
Depending on the destination or type of trip you’re planning, ‘safety gear’ may mean something different, but it’s still important to think about the type of equipment you’ll need for your travels.
Headed to Europe? You’ll need an outlet adapter. Going to Colorado in January? You’ll need a parka that’s more function than fashion. Traveling anywhere at all solo? Don’t forget a wireless phone charger, and be sure to purchase a local SIM card if you’re going international without carrier coverage. Carefully planning for your specific destination can help you avoid unforeseen speed bumps throughout your travels.
5. Find Local Activities & Day Trips That Won’t Break the Bank
Whether you know it or not, there’s likely plenty of adventure opportunities right in your backyard. In between hitting your top 10 travel destinations, don’t forget to explore day trips and local activities that are just a car ride away. You may be surprised by the number of parks, trails, and waterways nearby (weekend glamping getaway, anyone?), not to mention small but mighty entertainment venues like local playhouses and concert halls, many of which offer discounts to students. So what are you waiting for? Your life of adventure is calling!