Hanging On to Your Motivation for Traveling Long-Term

When you want to quit your job and travel, it can be so draining to see other travelers out living their best lives on social media while you’re stuck at home on the all-ramen diet. Like…who’s paying for that? Is the Bank of Mom of Dad? A rabid feet pic fanbase on OnlyFans? I remember just how difficult it was to hang onto my motivation for traveling long-term. It took me years to save up enough money to quit my job and travel! Here is one of the big ways I kept that motivation for traveling going: mini-breaks!

Williamsburg Gardens 1b
Taking mini-breaks like a weekend in nearby Williamsburg helped keep my head on straight while planning my year-long round-the-world trip.

Saving enough money to quit your job and travel is a looooong haul and I hate the idea that we’re required to deny ourselves every small pleasure in service of a big goal. Super aggressive savings plans just aren’t sustainable!

When you cut out all of your fun spending and go cold turkey on the things you enjoy, you’re left feeling deprived and in my experience that feeling is where big goals go to die. In fact, this set back my long-term travel plans by an entire year! I lost my motivation for traveling long-term because I felt like I wasn’t making enough progress and the idea of a normal vacation now was too big a temptation compared to that grand ambition of a round-the-world trip that, at the time, I didn’t know if I’d really be able to accomplish.

I did go on to successfully quit my job and travel. I spent an entire year on a round-the-world trip and it was so worth it! But I didn’t get there by depriving myself of all travel opportunities while saving.

Instead of attempting to white knuckle my way through years of saving, I started baking travel mini-breaks into my plan.

I attended a conference all about career breaks in New York City one fall weekend. The following spring, I took a day off to attend my cousin’s wedding in Long Island. The next fall, I took a three-day road trip through West Virginia over Labor Day weekend with my boyfriend and a weekend in Colonial Williamsburg over the holidays. Shortly before my departure, I made time for a lake house long weekend to celebrate my sister’s graduation from college.

If I hadn’t taken any of these short mini-breaks, I would have had at least $1,000 more in my savings account… but that cost wasn’t worth the risk of not achieving my goal at all. And that IS what I was risking. It’s what you’re risking too.

Having a short domestic trip to look forward to kept me sane. And even though it meant spending a couple hundred dollars here and there, that release valve prevented me from succumbing to the temptation of dropping a few thousand dollars on a bigger vacation. It all made my work easier to bear and helped me recharge enough to make it to the next milestone. In sum, those mini-breaks were critical to maintaining my motivation for traveling long-term.

For most of us, picking up and leaving for a long trip just isn’t feasible. Not allowing yourself the flexibility to splurge a bit on small trips (or other little luxuries) once or twice a year is penny wise and pound foolish. So go ahead and schedule yourself a little trip out of the savings fund! You ARE actually helping yourself in the long run.

Like this long-term travel savings philosophy? Grab my Travel Savings Toolkit to build up your savings fund without sacrificing everything you love.

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