Hello, everyone, and Happy 2018!
I apologize about my absence the past few weeks. I spent time with family and went on vacation at the end of 2017, so I took time off from blogging and writing. Then my site experienced some technical difficulties I had to sort out.
Thankfully, I finally got those problems fixed. (Thanks, Bluehost customer service!) So here I am. Ready to write. Ready to travel. As always.
One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions each year is to travel more. And I think it’s a pretty great resolution! We should always aim to get out of our comfort zones and to see more things.
To help all you travelers, or travelers-to-be, I’ve set up the ideal travel itinerary for 2018.
This blog post doesn’t just explain how to take one trip in 2018. It shows how you can make the most of the year by taking several different types of trips. Some short, some long. Some near, some far.
Readers know I’m all about budget travel, so this isn’t meant to be a list that will drain your bank account. That’s why some trips are simply weekend trips. But don’t worry, there are big ones on this list, too!
Everyone’s life is different, so take this itinerary with a grain of salt. Maybe you’re busy in May and can’t make that trip happen. Or maybe you want to flip-flop my suggestions for March and September. That’s fine! I want this list to inspire you to travel and to get ideas flowing about where you want to go.
Here we go. 2018 is our year!
***This post contains affiliate links.
2018: A Year of Travel
January: Save, save, save
I know, I know, “saving money” isn’t exactly the sexiest way to start out your year of travel. But hear me out.
I took a trip to Maine at the very end of 2017. Technically, you could say I visited Maine in January, because I woke up in the state on New Year’s Day and flew home that same day. I didn’t really, though.
You’ve probably just had an expensive December. You might have visited family for the holidays and spent a good chunk of cash on presents. Especially if you have kids or a large family.
So take this month to set money aside for this year’s travels.
Important note: YOU SHOULD HAVE A TRAVEL ACCOUNT.
Yes, a place you put money specifically for travel, which you don’t touch for any other reason. It can be a separate bank account. A shoe box. A jar of coins. Whatever. Just like with any savings goal, having a specific place you put your money helps you visualize your goal and save.
Also, keep in mind that you should try to save for travel all year long. January is just a month to recoup after the financially-strained holiday season. And a month to focus on contributing more to your travel fund than usual.
Maybe put the money your family gave you for Christmas into your account?
February: A long weekend
My destination: Memphis, Tennessee
For your first trip of 2018, take a three-day trip to some place that is not too far away. If you have Monday, February 19th, off work for President’s Day, leave town Friday evening and you won’t have to return until Monday night!
I grew up in Arkansas and live in Georgia, but I still have never spent much time in Memphis.
This makes Memphis the perfect destination! It’s about a six-hour drive from where I live now, so I don’t have to fly anywhere. My husband and I are meeting another couple there for the weekend. I am going to eat a shameful amount of barbecue.
March: A friends’ getaway
My destination: Destin, Florida
Whether or not you’re in college, the idea of a spring break is very valuable! At this point, you’re a few months into 2018, and you might be craving a change of pace.
Take a few days, or even a week, off work for a friends’ trip. If you’re in school and have a designated week off for spring break, this should be easy to arrange. If you’re in the work force, request a few days off work for a mental health trip.
This year, I am taking a trip to a classic “spring break” destination with some friends: Destin, Florida. I never took a typical spring break in college, so I feel like it’s a rite of passage.
April: A weekend trip
My destination: Nashville
Choose a nearby city/town to visit for a weekend. You don’t have to request any time off work. Just leave Friday evening and return Sunday evening. If you don’t waste too much time driving, 48 hours is plenty of time for a getaway!
I chose Nashville because it’s only a four-hour drive from where I live. Also, my birthday is in April! (Side note: I do accept pizza as a birthday gift. Pepperoni, please!) So my mom is meeting me in Nashville for my birthday weekend.
My destination: TBA
Dude. As a music junkie, I love a good festival. In 2011, I went to Bonnaroo in Tennessee. It was my first festival ever, and I was hooked.
There are all types of festivals. Choose one related to your interests. Music, food, art, beer, film … the list is practically never-ending!
May is a fantastic month for festivals in the USA. Here are just a few options:
- Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival – Knoxville, Tennessee (May 5)
- Electric Daisy Carnival – Las Vegas (May 18-20)
- Sasquatch! Music Festival – Washington State (May 25-27)
June: Visit family
My destination: Arkansas
Yes, I care about traveling. But as someone who has lived at least eight hours away from her family for the past six years, the importance of family is not lost on me!
In June, take time to travel to loved ones. In my case, I’m going to go home to Arkansas to visit my parents and brothers.
If you already live near your parents, think of other family members you might visit. Grandparents? Aunts or uncles?
July: Save, save, save
July and August are hot travel seasons. If it is extremely convenient for you to travel during these months (I’m looking at you, teachers!) then you might want to go ahead and book a trip.
However, for everyone else, I recommend resting during these months. Don’t take a big trip. There are two reasons for this tactic.
First, tourist destinations are usually extremely crowded during July and August. The masses could keep you from enjoying the experience or from seeing the authentic side of the destination you’re visiting.
Second, since these are popular months for trips, airfare is usually expensive. To get the most bang for your buck, it’s better to save money and travel during the off-season.
August: Save, save, save
Yep, keep saving! You’ll be glad you did when September comes around. (That’s the exciting month!)
If you’re having trouble saving, here’s a tip: My husband had the idea that we save every five-dollar bill we have in 2018. Whenever a clerk gives us change including a fiver, we put that bill in an envelope. It’s not even mid-January, and we already have $35 in that envelope!
You can choose to save that money until January 1, 2019. Or you may pull out those fives during one of your big trips. (In my case, in September or December.)
September: Dream international trip!
My destination: Western Canada
Some of you may know that a big trip to Canada has been on my Travel Bucket List for a long time. This year, a friend and I have planned to take a big trip to Banff and Jasper National Parks in Western Canada.
Taking a big international trip this year might seem out of reach for you. Maybe you don’t think you can afford it.
I chose Canada because it’s more accessible than Europe or Australia. I am also driving there with a friend, so we can split gas costs.
Another reason to take this trip in September is that peak travel season will have just ended. Crowds should be smaller, and if you buy at the right time, tickets should be cheaper.
For the cheapest ticket prices, check out Skyscanner!
Looking for more affordable international destinations? Look into Mexico, Vietnam, Guatemala, or Costa Rica.
October: A romantic getaway
My destination: TBA
I am choosing to take my romantic trip during October because this is the month of my wedding anniversary! The Husband and I prefer to give each other experiences, such as trips or concerts or nice meals, rather than gifts. I love traveling with The Husband.
We haven’t decided what we want to do for our anniversary yet, but we are open to suggestions!
A simple day or weekend trip gives you time to reconnect with your significant other. You can escape the stresses of family, children, and jobs, and just be with each other.
What fits your couple personality best? Maybe you want to go camping together. Maybe you want to stay in a romantic cabin at a nearby state park. Or you could explore a nearby city together. Tailor the trip to both of you!
Not in a relationship? In October, take a solo trip. That might sound lame, but solo trips are totally bad-ass. If there’s one thing I’ve come to appreciate as a traveler, it’s the importance of learning to travel alone.
November: Visit family
My destination: Arkansas
Keep in mind, November and December’s trip itineraries can be swapped. These are my suggestions, but everyone’s life is different. Do what works for you!
November means Thanksgiving. Travel to see your family for the big holiday!
If visiting the in-laws stresses you out, just remember … visiting family means free accommodation when you travel! That should ease the pain a little.
December: End-of-the year big domestic trip!
My destination: TBA
Once again, you might choose to visit family in December. After all, this is the holiday season.
However, I love the idea of taking a big trip at the end of the year. It’s a celebration of the year that has passed, and a way to gear up for the year to come.
December is also the off-season for traveling. Yes, people are traveling for Christmas. But they are going home to their families, not on a fun trip. For this reason, tickets to certain destinations should be discounted. Once again, look into cheap fares on Skyscanner.
At the end of 2017, I took a trip to Maine with friends to see a pal get married. I have wanted to visit Maine for at least a decade, mainly to eat seafood. It was so gratifying to finally take this trip!
I haven’t decided where to go in December 2018 yet. But I’m thinking a national park. I love a snowy park. Glacier National Park, anyone?