You see everyone’s pictures on Facebook or Instagram. Like it or not, you are just a little green with envy. Happy couples smiling for their selfies with the Eiffel Tower in the background, or maybe the view of the beach from their hotel room.

You want to go, but something keeps holding you back. Whether it’s your budget, not wanting to travel alone — although more women are traveling alone — or just not having the time to get away, here are seven suggestions to help you break out of your comfort zone and have the vacation of your dreams.

Ways to Break Out of Your Shell to Travel

1. Just Outside Your Door

Snowshoeing while it's snowing in Glacier National Park Montana

You’ve heard the vacation buzz word “staycation”, and while it might sound boring, it can be more fun than you think. Even if you have lived in your hometown since childhood, chances are there are areas you have haven’t yet explored. Contact the local or state tourist board and get their latest brochures. Find a park, museum or historical site that you’ve never been to and play tourist for a day.

2. Pay It Forward Vacations

Bucket List Goal: Pay it Forward
the community matterspartnership

You’ve seen all the local sights but still want more without breaking the bank. Reach out to a charitable organization and sign up to volunteer. Habitat for Humanity can always use an extra pair of hands even if you don’t have construction experience. Animal shelters love to have someone walk dogs or play with the cats to help socialize them. Have a green thumb? Offer to plant flowers or trees at a retirement community or a senior center. Better yet, plant a vegetable garden that will help offset some of the costs.

Does your library need someone to start a reading hour for children? Maybe the local homeless shelter can use help serving meals or baking cookies. You can also look for opportunities at Together for Good, a non-profit that highlights volunteer opportunities for vacations. Not only will a volunteer vacation help those in your community, but you’ll also probably make new friends in the process.

3. Set Free Your Inner Child

The night sky - stars
tom hall

When was the last time you chased fireflies in the dark or laid on your back looking for shooting stars? Breaking free from the sometimes-overwhelming stress of our day jobs to let loose and have fun in unexpected ways can be just what you need.

It doesn’t have to mean going anywhere or spending a lot of money. Just disconnecting from your cell phones, social media and electronics can give your brain the reboot you need at the end of the week. When was the last time you rode a roller coaster and screamed at the top of your lungs? Releasing stress in healthy ways can be the difference between life and death.

4. Living Green (and Not with Envy)

hiking flickr
gezy-pics

If you think you are being environmentally conscious, join the crowd of 79% others who are doing their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by taking a vacation close to home. While cars still contribute some greenhouse gas emissions, airplanes make up about 10% of the emissions.

Reduce your carbon footprint in your local community and leave the car at home. Pack a lunch, dust off your bicycle or hiking boots and set out to find new sights just around the corner. Not only will you see the area from a different perspective than just through car windows as you drive by, but you will benefit from the exercise as well.

5. On the Road Again

The road to Kalispell in Montana

You’ve done all the day trips and now you are ready to step out a little further. With your pin on your hometown, draw a circle around your house that would be a two to four-hour drive. Pack an overnight bag, pick a destination and make hotel reservations. Make your drive a slow one, stopping along the way to see whatever catches your eye. By making the drive a leisurely one, knowing you will have somewhere to spend the night whenever you arrive, you take the “are we there yet” question out of your vocabulary. When you are ready to leave the next morning, take a different route home.

6. When Being Spontaneous Isn’t Flammable

Airplane on the runwayMikhail Chekmezov

If you have the flexibility to drop everything and go, sign up for last minute deal alerts on travel sites such as Expedia, Kayak or Priceline. Cruise lines, hotels, airlines and even passenger trains hate empty seats and rooms. You can save 50% or more on tickets and package deals if you like the element of a “slightly” planned getaway. Even if you do a little bit of research before you go, a spontaneous trip can still give you a sense of adventure.

7. A Face in the Crowd

Taking a rest while snowshoeing in Glacier National Park Montana

Guided tours are a perfect way to blend in if you are still looking for the ultimate vacation but are unsure of traveling alone. While you may have to initially pay for a double room or cabin, you can often request an upgrade to a more expensive suite at no cost if there are empty rooms available.

Traveling off-season can also save you on the price of a ticket or room. River cruises, such as those offered by American Cruise Lines, Uniworld or Viking River Cruises, are on smaller boats than typical cruise ships so the guest to crew ratios are smaller. If you book your trip for a holiday week that is usually spent with families, such as Christmas, you may wind up with more crew than guests. By the end of the trip you might even find yourself with a new extended “family.”

No matter what you feel is holding you back from using that vacation time you’ve been banking at work, it’s time for you to get out of your shell and spend time in the world around you.

Guest Post By . . .

Kacey Guest Post Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective. Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.

The Drifter Collective: An eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Follow on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.