I don’t have cable TV at home but whenever I’m somewhere that does, nothing sucks me in faster than HGTV. Not the travel channel but the Home and Garden network. Even though they primarily air shows about buying and selling homes and I’ve lived in my home for 11 years with no intentions of moving it still provides life lessons. Here’s how I apply HGTV lessons to my travel life…
- Go minimal! When you’re selling your home (according to the HGTV experts) you need to downsize your clutter. You need to live differently when your home is on the market than you might otherwise. You’re supposed to pack up the non-essentials and aim for a more minimalist existence so that others can see the true beauty of your home. Travel works like that too. At home I have a giant make-up case with 32 flavors of eyeshadow and my closet is bursting at the seams. But I travel differently. I pare down to the essentials so that I can see the true beauty of my travels and am not weighed down (literally) by junk.
- Think about your must haves. When house hunting, people are encouraged to make a list of what they really want most in their home. A good real estate agent will take those must haves and then pull together options that meet those key criteria. I do that for my travel. When I asked my daughters what they wanted out of a vacation one wanted to see mountains, the other wanted to see the ocean, and they both thought the Grand Canyon sounded cool. That’s how a road trip past the Grand Canyon to California and home through the Rocky Mountains was born. For my recent trip to Miami I decided that I wanted to go someplace warm for the time of year, with an ocean and that I could afford. So I started typing different cities in North America into an airfare site and found out that flights to Miami were the least expensive. Miami it was. Miami hadn’t been on my to-go list before but I had a great time and actually enjoyed the city as much as the ocean.
- Don’t get hung up on paint color. It drives me batty to see people look at the perfect home but get cranky about the colors of the walls or the dated window treatments. Big picture here, people! Likewise, in travel you can’t let the little things get you down. Roll with the punches and focus on what’s important and meaningful. And just like buying a home with rainbow striped shag carpeting (BTDT) will make for a good story, so will some of the little hiccups of your travel IF you don’t let them destroy the whole experience.
- Get on the same page as your partner(s). We’ve seen the episodes where one person wants to live in the city and their partner wants to live in the country, right? It’s not pretty. It’s important when you’re traveling with others that you are on the same page about what you want from the trip, what your priorities are, and what your budget is. If you’re not, it might be better to go it alone at least for part of the time. Fortunately, traveling is far more temporary than buying a home. I may have to share a piece of real estate with my husband and come to consensus on the bathroom tile but we don’t always have to travel together. If you’re traveling with a group of friends don’t be shy about splitting up for awhile so everyone can get what they want most.
- Budget high. Home improvement projects and travel always cost more than you think. Always.