Shoestring Dream Trip – The Plan

Like everyone else out there, the concept of just getting up and going somewhere on a whim sure does sound good…in theory. But the reality for many, including myself, is that I simply don’t have the resources to be able to do that. Most people don’t and if they do, well consider yourself lucky. I still complain about the few extra dollars on my water bill, ignoring the fact that we probably use more water. That being said, the plan for traveling on a shoestring budget is that you better know what a good deal is when it comes to pulling the trigger. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in a bind after you get back. It’s bad enough you have to go back to work, but to catch up on a trip? That really sucks to use my best English. There are a few ways to make it easier to pick the right trip at the right time, and it all comes down to taking a few minutes a day to research. That’s really all it is. I’ve said this before on earlier posts but here are the essentials:

  1. Make your short list- Pick out the destinations you could see yourself traveling to in the next 3-5 years and include some of those you may not think possible. (Several places we’ve visited over the last few years seemed not too realistic until we booked).  Dream big on the places you’d like to go, you never know what can happen in the future.
  2. Begin signing up for email alerts on each of the trips planned. There are many sites that will do this for you. Some have limits on the amount of places you can enter at once so you may have to get a bit picky. Some that I have used include, and a host of many others. I typically receive daily updates on airline, hotel and car rental pricing for each location. Why go through the trouble of teasing myself? Well, by knowing what the prices run on every leg of a trip over the course of a year, I can not only identify which time of the year has the best offers, but I can also recognize a great deal when I see one. These great deals don’t linger too long, so you knowing can be a real game changer when booking. The sinking feeling when you hit “purchase” is not a good one, especially when you see an even bigger price drop a few weeks later. A few minutes a day of research can mean hundreds of dollars less when you travel, especially if you’re traveling with the entire family. It can get pricey in a flash if you don’t watch out!
  3. Know the places you’d like to travel. Learn about the places you want to visit, mainly just so you can get a feel on what happens at different times. When to go, when to avoid. Will you need a rental where you are going or is there good public transportation? How far is your destination from the airport? These questions are not as significant as the travel pricing itself but it does cause your overall budget to increase, sometimes much larger than anticipated. I always like to say that I really pinch on the travel so we can go on the trip worry-free and spend as needed. See, I’m not as miserly as I appear on paper.

Coming next- The Flight

Serenity Now!
-Frank & George Costanza

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