So it has been three months, three weeks, and six days (not that anyone is counting) since you last traveled. Three months since the last time you felt that rush, that exhilaration you get from being somewhere unfamiliar, somewhere exciting, somewhere where things are different from home. The overwhelming urge to travel has gotten just a bit ridiculous; you need to go somewhere, anywhere. But unfortunately, that pesky bank account of yours is not currently backing your insatiable appetite for travel. You should be saving. Hmm, go into debt for another chance to feel alive-or stay home, be responsible, and wait out the grim between-trips phase? You at least need a fix if there is to be any chance at survival. These five frugal, yet curative tips can help to stave off a severe bug-induced meltdown:
1. Dive Into A Great Travel Story
A truly well written story has the ability to transport you to another place entirely. It can make a place and an experience come alive, leaving you feeling a bond with the characters as well as the place. It can provide a glimpse into the true culture of a given location in ways that a simple travel guidebook does not. Wish you could be basking in the tropical sun on some remote atoll in the South Pacific? Or embarking on a spiritual quest through the depths of India? There’s a book for that. Pick one up and begin your non-journey journey.
2. Start a Travel Journal
Remember when that donkey chased your friend down the narrow, winding alleyways of the medina in Fes? A new surge of laughter begins every time you think about it, right? Reminiscing about past travel experiences is fun, it brings back the sights, smells, and emotions that defined that moment in time. When we stories, it is like getting to live them again. Write about it. Start a blog, write articles, or just keep a private journal if that is more your style. There are many other travel bug sufferers and aspiring travelers alike that will be thrilled to hear about your experience, however crazy/wild/unusual it may have been.
3. Explore Your Hometown
Your hometown is a destination too. Sure, you may feel like you know the place like the back of your hand; you know where to find the best ice-cream, the safest place to take your dry cleaning, and where your local teens most prefer to loiter. But where do visitors go? Have you been there? So often people live in a place for years and never take a moment to really see their city. Travel really is a state of mind. It’s about making a journey. Make a journey to local hotspots. Go explore. You’d be surprised, chances are you will discover something new.
4. Take a Road Trip
Pack up your friends, your car, some snacks, and hit the road. Can’t get much time off work? Can’t afford to travel far? That’s okay, even a weekend journey up the barren, cow-ridden I5 from Los Angeles to San Francisco, counts as a road trip. You never know what adventures, mishaps, or general hilarity is likely to take place on the road with your crazy friends/family. Go see something new, just get out of town. It might even be nice just to have dinner and drinks in a new setting. A quick road trip can add some inexpensive spice to an otherwise bland month spent twiddling your thumbs in a cubicle.
5. Plan Your Next Adventure
Doesn’t it feel wonderful when the time finally comes for you to head to your local book dealer and pick up that guide to wherever you are going next? Yes! This makes it real, this means you have a plan; this means you are ready to go. The thought alone spurs a feeling of exhilaration. Go buy your book. Who decided that planning a trip must take place relatively close to when you are actually going to go? Plan your trip anyway. This will give you ample time to decide on exactly what you do and don’t want to do, and to find the best deals on everything. This extra time and deal finding may even help you realize your dream trip faster, as now you may have discovered a more resourceful way to make it happen.
You can survive this between-trips phase. You will travel again and all will be right with the world. But for now, try your best to quell the urge. Your bank account will thank you.
Tara Donaldson is a Syracuse based wanderer striving to survive a life inflicted by the travel bug and writing along the way. Her travels have taken her on a journey to the center of the Earth, gotten her lost in an ancient medina in Fes, and found her so deep in the desert that sand dunes were the only things visible for miles. Read about Tara’s adventures and non-adventures at