Many of us might be experiencing the travel blues right now, but here are some good skills you can brush up on in the meantime while you’re not traveling.
We all travel on different budgets.
But for those of us who have to watch our finances a little more closely, now is the time to start financially planning for that next trip.
And if you’re someone who tends to overspend and struggles when it comes to saving, this is a great time to get a handle on budgeting.
If you have no idea how to start budgeting, then here are some helpful ideas.
~Make a list of all of your monthly expenses
~Decide how much it is you can and want to save
~Pick a budgeting method that works best for you
Choose a budgeting method
Use budget worksheets or journals to help you keep on top of your monthly expenses.
If you’re into the good ol’ pen and paper, just get a notebook and create a budget journal.
You can also just head straight to excel and enter all of your monthly expenses.
Seeing all your expenses written down can help you to see what needs to be cut out of your monthly spending.
The envelope method can also help curb overspending.
If you haven’t heard of this, don’t worry, it’s easy.
Just label envelopes with your monthly expenses like rent and groceries and put the necessary amount of cash inside each one.
Then when it’s empty, it’s empty.
No swiping of any cards.
This can help you to get into the routine of spending only what you need to spend.
If you’re more into using an app to help you keep track of spending then use a budgeting app like Mint.
Mint lets you link your accounts like your bank account and your credit card to the app so you can easily see your expenses.
It also lets you keep track of your monthly bills all in one place.
It even provides you with personalized budgeting tips and bill reminders.
I personally haven’t used this app yet, but based on the reviews it seems to have helped many save money and it’s free. (Note: I am not a Mint affiliate. It just seems to be one of the most helpful free budgeting apps out there.)
Decide on the best budgeting method that works for you.
And regardless of what you end up doing, just remember that it’s never too early to start saving for your next trip.
Plus being able to create a budget (and sticking to it) is just a great skill to have when traveling.
That way when you’re in the middle of your next trip you’re not wondering where all the money that was supposed to last you for another two weeks went (glad to say I’ve learned my lesson there haha).
Who doesn’t wish they could go to a foreign country and just start speaking the local language with little to no practice. Unfortunately for many of us, life doesn’t work that way.
But we can take steps right now to start learning a new language.
Or if you’re like me, brush up on a language you took for many years (and yet still struggle to hold a conversation).
Thankfully in today’s world, there are apps like Duolingo and Rosetta Stone.
While Duolingo is free to use, Rosetta Stone isn’t (although they do offer a free trial).
But (if you’re like me) and not a big fan of spending money on apps (or anything), then I’ll let you in on something I stumbled upon.
I recently found out that my library gives me access to Rosetta Stone for free. Check your local library’s website to see if they offer something similar.
3. Survival Skills
When it comes to traveling, you never know what’s going to happen.
The best thing you can do is try to be prepared.
It’s best to have a first aid kit handy in case of anything. Tailor your first aid kit for the type of trip you’re going on.
For instance, if you’re going on a hiking trip, and especially if you’re someone who’s not too used to hikes, then blister pads or bandages might be a good addition to your kit.
Of course, have it well-stocked in case anyone gets hurt or sick no matter where you are.
These are great to have in your travel first aid kit:
Antiseptic wet wipes
Topical creams like antibiotic ointments
Antihistamines (in case of any allergic reactions)
However, it’s completely up to you to customize your kit however you see fit.
And if possible, take a first aid course to learn how to treat small injuries.
It can only help if something happens while you’re traveling.
If you’re going camping or just trekking out into the wild, knowing how to build a fire or to make questionable water safe and drinkable could make all the difference.
Or if you’re going on a road trip, and you don’t know how yet, learn to change a tire so you’re not left stranded on the side of the road (or at least have a service like AAA on speed dial to help you when you need it).
And learning how to read a map can only come in handy if you ever lose access to GPS.
I recommend also researching how to be safe in the countries you’re planning on visiting such as finding out those common local scams.
And always make sure you have both digital and hard copies of all your important documents like your passport and driver’s license in case the originals get lost while you’re on your trip.
As you know, there are tons you can do to prepare in terms of safety before your next trip.
Any safety and survival skills that you can add to your toolbox will be invaluable on your travels.
4. Photography Skills (and poses!)
Now is also the time to brush off that expensive camera gathering dust in the back of your closet and learn how to use those other ‘fancy’ settings besides the default ones (I’m looking at you auto).
You can also Google how to make the best use of your smartphone to take those travel-worthy pictures we all love to see on Instagram.
Plus there are free photo editing apps like Adobe Photoshop Express to get your pictures how you want them to look.
And if you’re like me and have no idea how to do those cute, artistic poses, this is the time to get them down.
Search for images on Google or Pinterest for those poses you want to flaunt and practice them in front of your mirror.
At first, it will definitely feel awkward, but over time that feeling will disappear and you’ll start to own it.
And whether you’ll be traveling with friends or going on your own solo journey, you’ll feel much better when it’s time to get in front of the camera (and will love your newfound confidence working your angles).
5. Travel Hacking
Right now, many of us aren’t traveling which makes it a great time to find out all about travel hacking.
This is where those reward credit cards can be used to an even greater advantage. Learn how to rack up those points to get free plane tickets and accommodations.
Nomadic Matt is my go-to for all things travel hacking. He’s honestly a great travel guru.
I’ve even bought his books and they’ve really helped me to figure out how to up my travel game.
Learning how to travel hack can really pay off when the time comes.
There are many more skills you can work on and just like it’s never too early to start saving, it’s never too late to learn a new skill that can help you on your journey and make your next trip even better.