It's important to identify not just the difference between where you are and where you want to be, but to create a step by step plan to bridge that gap. Set SMART goals which give you a direction and help you organize and reach your goals. To make sure your goals are achievable, each one should be:
Your goal should be clear and well-defined so that you can focus your energy on achieving it.
Ask yourself: Who, what, where, when and why?
Instead of saying “I want to travel more” or “I want to go back to Europe," which are vague goals, clarify where, when and with who you want to go. An example is: “I want to visit Paris with my boyfriend for a week in May to celebrate our anniversary.”
It's important to have measurable amounts and dates attached to your goals so that you can track your progress and stay motivated, while feeling the excitement as you inch closer to your goal.
Ask yourself: How will I know when I have reached this goal?
Instead of “I want to stay for a week and spend less than $5,000” make your goal more quantifiable like “I want to stay for 8 days, 7 nights and spend xxx on flights, xxx on accommodations and xx on experiences.”
The goal should challenge you but not be entirely out of reach. It should be realistic and attainable to be successful.
Ask yourself: Do I have the resources and capabilities to achieve the goal? If not, what am I missing?
Choose a realistic trip to focus on first based on your current income and circumstances (vacation time, visas, distance, cost of flights, etc)
This step is about ensuring that your goal is important to you and that it also aligns with your other life goals goals.
Ask yourself: How much does this matter to me and is it worth the time and effort? Is it significant to my life?
Consider your travel style and how long you would want to spend in each destination. Does it make more sense for you to take a one-week 5-star vacation in Bali or a 6-month budget backpacking trip around South America?
Your goal should have a clearly defined timeline including not only your travel dates but the stages of saving, planning and booking your trip and milestones for each. This step helps to prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your longer-term goals.
Ask yourself: Is my timeline realistic while also creating urgency?
A good example is: We can save $3,000 in 6 months but need $1,000 for flight by January, $1,000 for accommodations by February and to book our activities by April."