January, even the mention of that month can bring on cold shivers. A typically cold, dark and dreary month, January follows the highly anticipated holiday season of sweet treats, presents, parties and all things magical. It’s no wonder that when January arrives we feel a bit let down. We’re feeling the “January blues.” Aside from the lack of sunshine (which affect some people very seriously), January means back to reality. We may feel the pressure of resolutions waiting to be fulfilled or a body to whip into shape. We need something to look forward to. Enter travel planning.
Here are five ways to get moving and planning, making the most of this first month of the year.
1. Start Saving
As we view our year ahead, January is an ideal time to plan our spring breaks, summer vacations and perhaps even our next holiday season travel destination. Take out a calendar and let’s look at the year. How much can we save from each paycheck? This is a whole other blog post, but starting to really think about what we want to be spending our money on, and cutting out the excess is a great start. We’re not talking about basic needs here, but things like cable, lunches out, needless shopping (how many black dresses does one girl need?), and anything else we value less than travel should be cut.
2. Book Vacation Days at Work
If our job allots us with a certain amount of vacation days each year, January greets us with what can seem like a windfall of vacation days just waiting to be used. Best to get our days locked in before our colleagues do, especially if our workplace allows only one or two employees to be on vacation at the same time.
3. Take Advantage of Flight & Accommodation Deals
By booking accommodations months ahead of time, we have our pick of accommodations and don’t have to settle with what’s left over at the last minute. Sometimes hotel rates can be cheaper at this time, as they are competing with others for your vacation dollars, even for travel that’s months away. We can use websites such as Kayak to alert us to cheap airfare and wait for the deals to roll in between now and our holiday, because we have the time to wait for the best prices. If we need a little destination inspiration, there are some really great Facebook groups that focus on travel deals from a particular city that are worth checking out. Travel blogs and Instagram accounts that feature travel and destinations are another favourite.
4. Travel with Friends
Because we are booking so far in advance, we can invite friends or family to join us, if we so desire. Sometimes the thought of traveling alone can be a bit scary, but there are more than a few people out there who would welcome the opportunity to travel with a friend, given enough time to organize and plan. Taking the time to contact a friend or two may result in us being pleasantly surprised by the way a trip can unfold. Alternatively, we can look into group travel sites such as G Adventures, Intrepid Travel or Contiki. We just can’t let the fear of traveling alone stop us from taking a trip.
5. Something to Look Forward to
We book a couple of vacations for the year ahead and all of a sudden we may not be feeling the “January blues” as we were before. We’re googling information on our destinations or leafing through guidebooks, spending our free time dreaming in anticipation of the year ahead!
January can be cold, dreary and blue but it really is the perfect time to sit back, do some planning, and look forward to seeing somewhere we’ve always wanted to visit. Happy travels!