When the Wanderlust is Real – ways to keep the travel bug under control

The wanderlust is real and after my big trip to Australia last year I need something in the pipeline to keep those itchy feet at bay. Does anyone else struggle with not travelling as much as they’d like to?

Here’s what I’m doing to quench my thirst for travel while I save and plan for my next big trip.

Barriers to travelling

There’s so many demands on our time and wallets that it’s easy to get a bit down in the dumps and envious of the constant travel inspiration coming through on your Instagram feed.

If it’s not the mortgage/rent, the cost of the commute or escalating bills then life will send an unexpected curveball to drain the last few precious funds in your bank account. It’s ok, I feel your pain, I’m in exactly the same situation.

Of course I do try and save but, if something unexpected happens then, the first thing to go is any saved up buffer money.

For someone who loves to travel it’s extremely difficult to balance the person that wants to jet off around the world and the person that is committed to a 9-5.

What are your barriers to travelling – is it money, time or something entirely different?

I find it really frustrating and it’s something I’m constantly having to adjust my thought process on.

Beating the travel blues

Instead of getting down about what I can’t do I decided to look at the things I can do, and that are within my power to change, to keep my inner explorer satisfied.

One Saturday morning I sat down with the biggest bucket of coffee, I grabbed my notepad, and started to write down how I was feeling so I could pin point ways to manage the more restless part of my soul.

I then drew up a list of all the things I can do regularly to help me feel like that part of my personality is feeling nurtured and those needs are met.

Explore the local area

Fulfils the need to travel (ish!)

I live in Hampshire on the south coast of England and it’s an insanely beautiful part of the world with a lot of history on its doorstep and plenty of places to watch incredible nature, don’t get me started on those magical sunsets!

At the moment I’ve not been making the most of my local area and while I’ve travelled about to many of surrounding cities and locations I’ve still barely scratched the surface.

It doesn’t cost a lot to do this and often makes for a brilliant day out. I’m lucky to be surrounded by plenty of green space, historic buildings and a National Park that’s just a short drive or train away.

Ways to explore your local area

There’s lots of way to make exploring your local area even more affordable too.

Buy an annual membership to a national organisation

Fulfils the need to discover new things

Even though it’s been six months since my birthday my Mum had held off of getting me a present until I’d discovered something I really wanted.

When I was talking to my Mum about wanting to travel more but not having enough money to do so, she asked me how often I went to all the wonderful places in Hampshire and the surrounding counties. Of course, my answer was ‘not as much as I’d like to’ because each one of those places has an entrance fee.

I’d just bought an annual membership to The National Trust for my boyfriend’s parents for their wedding anniversary when my Mum suggested that she did the same for me.

I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this before, for a one off cost you can visit as many places as you like UK wide that fall under The National Trust family of sites which, by the way, is extensive!

While it may be an institution for family day outs across the UK and not necessarily the first option for a young traveller, it’s an affordable way to travel locally. It  gives me an outlet to plan trips without breaking the bank.

It’s the perfect solution, I’ve already planned my first day out. Having a little trip planned has instantly helped control the travel urges because I am travelling, I’m just doing it where I live.

There’s plenty of other cool institutions to join to like English Heritage, Art Fund and The National Museum of the Royal Navy if you’re looking for annual passes that allow you to explore multiple locations. Not only do you save a lot of money when initially buying a ticket, the more you use the membership the better value it is.

Check out local cafes and restaurants

Fulfils the need to spend more quality time with people I love

Eating out can be expensive but it’s a great way to explore the local area. It’s a real treat, avoiding the washing-up is good for you sometimes, it helps support local businesses and often helps you discover more places.

Recently when I visited Jersey, I ended up chatting to the man running a local coffee shop. He told me all about some amazing food places to try that weren’t very visible online or in the touristy brochures at the hotel. He also told me about some cool beaches and attractions off the beaten track too. These recommendations totally made our mini-break and our trip wouldn’t have been the same without them.

A long lazy brunch, lunch or dinner spending quality time with the people you love is really important. There’s something about reconnecting over food that makes it easier to talk about things, and allows more difficult situations to be talked through. This time is really important to me and you can’t always recreate this environment at home. Plus, did I mention no one has to do the washing up?

Look at travel blogs, tourism websites and Trip Advisor

Fulfils the need to discover new experiences and get valuable insights and recommendations

I learnt so much planning Australia from people’s comments and recommendations. Plenty of people had written about the fairy penguin experience on Philip Island in Melbourne and this helped guide me to find which ticket time and package was the right one for me.

It also helped me realise what experiences were seasonal and the best times of day to go to certain attractions.

The insights were so incredibly valuable and it allowed me to be a lot more efficient with my money. I found I didn’t waste money on experiences that weren’t my cup of tea or visiting at an inconvenient time.

While Trip Advisor is fantastic, it’s important to be critical of people’s reviews and remember lots of fake reviews are posted on it too.

Research for the next trip

Fulfils the need to think about future travel

My trip to Australia took a lot of planning. I mean months of meticulous planning. When you’re travelling with time and budget constraints and you know you want to cover a lot of ground, you have to plan everything, even the rest time, to make the most of your trip.

By starting the research now, by the time you’ve saved the money you’ll be able to book immediately.

As lame as it sounds I set up a spread sheet and record all my links, and the cool excursions and iconic landmarks I want to fit into my visit. I also note down the best times of year to go, opening times and other useful bits of information that make booking and deciding what to do easier later down the process.

While I love to plan, I still leave plenty fo room for the spontaneous activities too – full days and half days are left blank so there’s plenty of room to do things on a whim.

Make the most of your surroundings

Often the place you live is very familiar but, how well do you really know your local surrounding towns, cities and countryside? Have you explored what sits an hour to two hours away?

Stonehenge isn’t far from where I live!

I’m planning lots of little tiny trips to all of the places locally I can reach to make the most of the truly amazing English history, art, culture and countryside.

The list is full of all those ‘I’ll get round to visiting it one day’ places and some new discoveries that I didn’t even knew existed so close to my home.

These are just a couple of the things I’m doing to manage my chronic wanderlust. I find it’s really helpful as it’s a welcome distraction to the constant travel narrative that runs through both my subconscious and conscious! It’s a very powerful inner voice, one that’s very hard to keep at bay.

Reviewing how I was feeling, and making some positive changes to address those feelings, has ultimately made me feel so much better about how often I manage to get away and explore. It’s also reminded me just how bloody marvellous the UK is!

What are your top tips for managing your inner travel monster?

9 thoughts on “When the Wanderlust is Real – ways to keep the travel bug under control

  1. I know exactly how you are feeling, and your tips are amazing 🙂 I was lucky enough to see many beautiful places, but the world is so big and wonderful and I constantly wish to see more. Even if I am always busy (work, responsibilities, and constantly dealing with my mother’s problems) … I try to find a bit of time to travel abroad or check out a cool place around the corner that makes me feel like a tourist in my own city.

    1. It’s a good balance to find, it’s so difficult to manage though. So many pressures – and I get so sick of the articles that say you can give up your job and float around the world or work constantly from your laptop – for 90% of people that’s not realistic!

      That’s why I’m looking at ways to explore where you live, as that niggling feeling is really hard to get rid of once you have it.

      I love feeling like a tourist in my own city or near where I live – you’ll find plenty of new places to explore. And, since I’ve started I’ve found so many lovely pockets of areas I didn’t know existed! It also massively keeps the pangs of wanting to travel more at bay because you are actually travelling!

      1. One of my best friends is a travel blogger and I hate it how they only share the best moments, and not the hard times also, making it all look very glamourous and dreamy for a reader. Only friends get to hear about those bad times. For that very small percentage of people, moving around and blogging is something natural and easy to do. But it also helps that they either managed to save some money from a good job before or they have a safety net somewhere (an understanding former boss with an open offer or maybe parents that can help if things get hard). For most people though, this is impossible.

      2. Such key points! You are right, most of the people in that position have family support or great previous jobs. There’s often so many hard moments, once in California my housing plans fell through and I went up and down the 16 mile beach for a whole day in the blazing sun trying to find somewhere new to stay while carrying all my luggage for 2 months. It was horrific. But you’re right, no one shows that side of it!

        Also, I feel like there’s some shame behind saying that you can’t afford to live some constant travel lifestyle. I should be more grateful for the travel I have managed to do, not guilty that I can’t afford to travel more. Despite not having lots of money I live a very privileged life and sometimes I forget that!

        I need to remind myself of my favourite quote ‘comparison is the thief of joy’. And, make the most of the wonderful moments and trips that I do have or get to go on. And…find ways to manage those travel bug feelings!

  2. I love this article Rebecca! ❤
    Being a travel buff myself, I could relate to this article so much. Great tips to calm travel buff, especially the one about exploring your local area. That’s something even I do when I so want to go on a trip but time and money constraints makes it impossible to plan a trip.😅
    Btw I really love the GIFs. They are so funny and perfectly depicts how I feel. Especially that wine one. Hahaha😂

    1. It’s so hard isn’t it! I’m so glad you liked the post and it’s nice to know I’m not alone. I think sharing the feeling is part of the solution too. Often Instagram is so glossy – I mean it’s great but sometimes a little isolating. I’m trying to find the joy in the little things in my day too. Small moments of discovery to help stop my itchy feet!
      It’s really helped me feel less restless, and I’m excited to know my local area better. Tomorrow I’m headed to a hidden coffee shop that’s been there for years but is one of those ‘best kept secret places!’ And despite being a local I’ve only just discovered – crazy! It’s definitely giving me that fun discovery vibe.

      Oh and the wine gif is so funny, it’s definitely me too. 😂

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