• Denise Cartagena

3 Reasons You Should Plan Your Next Trip Anyway

A few years ago I went on my first international trip. It was totally spontaneous and I didn’t think much about it, but when that first plane landed, I caught the travel bug. My new interest led me to study abroad before finishing my schooling, and some months after I embarked on a 3-month backpacking trip. After some housekeeping throughout the year after I returned, I was ready to focus again on my love for travel this year. But you already know, that’s not how my year went.

I know so many people that say the same thing, “All I wanted to do this year was travel.” To our disappointment, international travel seems years away. But things don’t have to be so sad. Experiencing a crisis, such as living though a pandemic, can give us a new perspective and fresh appreciation for life and the things that make it worth living, allowing us to readily act when we are able to do those things again (Peterson, 2006).

So here we are at the end of summer. Who knew this year would unfold this way? Normally, we would be thinking of any last minute trips to take before getting back to regular life, but this year is a little different. Even though we might not be able to indulge in a far-away trip right now, we can still benefit from planning something anyway. Planning a trip will challenge our current spending habits, increase our happiness and positive emotions, and develop our interests, which will positively affect us in the long-term.

Think about how money is being spent right now by typical consumers. Money is being spent on supporting hobbies, new pets, and delivered takeout food amongst many other material things. Did you know that our wellbeing is positively affected by experiential purchases, more so than material purchases? When we buy material goods, we are happy because we derive pleasure from the new reward in our life, but pleasure is fleeting. However, when we buy experiential goods, such as investing in a trip, we “derive more happiness from the anticipation [and] waiting for an experience tends to be more pleasurable and exciting than waiting to receive a material good” (Kumar et al., 2014). So instead of looking for more clothing sales, invest that same money into a trip fund for when you’ll feel safe to travel again or supplies you'll need on the trip you're thinking of.

Now think about how time has been working for us. We judge time by the events we are experiencing - when there is a lot going on in our day-to-day, we perceive time as going slower because our days are filled up. But with the lockdown and other circumstances, we are unable to experience as many personal life events, making time seem as though it is flying by. Anticipation of something good coming up can serve us well. Research suggests that people who are anticipating a vacation or another exciting event are happier about their overall life and able to maximize their positive emotions because they are experiencing less negative ones (Gilbert & Abdullah, 2002)! Give yourself something to look forward to and you’ll be able to invite more positivity into your life, even if it’s seeming less than positive at the moment.

Lastly, let’s take a step back and think about life in general, outside of this pandemic-filled time. Traveling is an interest that allows us to put our issues into perspective, experience new things, learn an exponential amount, and appreciate life among other benefits. If you’re interested in travel, how might you develop that interest right now? Indulging in our interests allow us to be our best, giving us a sense of positive identity and supplementing our need to perform at our best, which is particularly important if we are unable to express that part of ourselves in other areas in our lives. For example, “no more than 20% of workers in the United States believe that their jobs allow them on a regular basis to do and be their best” (Peterson, 2006). This means that 80% of workers in the US are unable to be their best on a regular basis! Being our best fosters self-confidence and life satisfaction, so luckily, our interests are here for us!

When people wanted to hear about my backpacking trip, they would always say “how lucky” I was. Of course, I am fortunate that the stars aligned and I had the ability to make that trip happen, BUT it also took a lot of hard work, planning, and preparation. Those people were always quick to say that “life got in the way” of them traveling. But life is on hold in a way right now, so what’s getting in the way of developing that interest while there is time to do it? If you’re truly interested in traveling, you can make it happen!

I know times aren’t how they usually are right now, but don’t close your mind off to all the possibilities that still remain! We will get through this eventually, so take the time to plan a trip anyway. Challenge your spending habits, increase your happiness, and develop your interest. Put in the hard work of planning and preparation now so when the time comes that we can travel again safely, you’ll be ready! Invite some positivity into your life now, because you don’t have to wait!

If you’re ready to learn how to make your trip a reality, join me for my informational webinar! I’ll be covering all the things I did to prepare, insights on things I would have done differently, and materials/resources that made my trip easier! Get in touch to learn more!

Happy Growing & Best Wishes,



Gilbert, D., Abdullah, J. (2002). A study of the impact of the expectation of a holiday on an individual's sense of well-being. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 8(4).

Kumar, A., Killingsworth, M. A., Gilovich, T. (2014). Waiting for merlot: anticipatory consumption of experiential and material purchases. Psychological Science, 25(10).

Peterson, C. (2006). A primer in positive psychology. Oxford University Press, Inc.