Over the last ten years I’ve been planning for and traveling more. In my twenties I couldn’t afford to travel much but did visit London and Scotland two or three times while my sister lived there. In my thirties, when I was married, we seemed to vacation in Orlando, Florida often. One year we cruised to Bermuda and another year to St Maarten and St Thomas but inevitably we would wind up traveling south to Florida more times than not. No offense Walt, but I have no desire or need to visit your park anytime in the near future, not when there are so many places I haven’t seen.
In 2008 when I was convinced I wanted to move to Colorado, sight unseen, I spent a week in Denver and Boulder. I loved Boulder and wanted to move there immediately. Having a house to sell in a down market and a job to find in same down market I couldn’t pull the trigger, got cold feet and stayed put. I’ve also wanted to live in Scotland, entertained the idea of marrying one of my sister’s friends so I could work there, and every other place I’ve seen (except FL) regardless of location…Chicago, DC, Philadelphia, Stockbridge, Plattsburg, you name it, if I’ve been there I’ve fantasized about living there. Some fantasies are fleeting, some take more shape, have a firmer hold on me for a time. I have wanderlust but practicality and fear have always won out.
Inside the Colosseum in Rome. Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius
Since meeting Bill we’ve cat sat in San Francisco, spent two weeks touring Italy via bus, hiked Zion, Bryce Canyon and Escalante State Park and will be hiking in Yellowstone this summer. In between these big trips we’ve spent long weekends in NYC, Boston and Florida (yup, but nowhere near that mouse), we’ve hiked near the Hudson River and in the Adirondacks and have gone on a few other overnight stays. I also plan an annual trip with my sister and mom and another with my friends. I like having a trip to look forward to, keeps my restlessness at bay.
All of these trips cost money and if I didn’t have a plan I know I’d be scraping together some cash the week before my trip or racking up my credit card. To insure I have enough money to visit the cities, states, countries on my life list I have put a plan in place.
I don’t drive a new car, don’t have a car payment. I am not a big consumer; I don’t have a smart phone or twelve pairs of jeans, buy clothing a little at a time when it’s on sale and have no problem wearing last year’s (or 2012, oh my!) outfits to work. This is how I chose to live and am happy for people who can have it all. I have basic cable and sometimes I have a tenant. My biggest expense is my house and everything that goes along with owning. At one time, newly divorced with a larger mortgage after buying my ex out, I was married to my house and didn’t have any extra income; I’m now fortunate enough to have some breathing room with my finances.
Each pay period I have money automatically deposited into a vacation savings account. The amount doesn’t matter, what matters is that I am consistent and the amount fits into my budget. It’s a separate account specifically for travel so I have no guilt around spending it. I am realistic, know that I can only take one big vacation a year. For now. My dream is to travel throughout the US, as well as, another country every year but work restraints and my budget keep me from my goal. For now.
I like to travel with a guide. This might cost a little more than mapping out our own itinerary or be less adventurous for some but I know I would never see all the sights I’ve seen without a guide. I would have begged Bill to turn around if the two of us had ventured out alone on a 25 mile dirt road drive and mile hike to get to the slot canyons in Utah. It would not have happened and I would have missed it. The guides are experts and offer up a lot of information that I may or may not have found out on my own. When I was younger I didn’t appreciate the history of a place; I do now and the guides help bring that place to life for me.
I have a credit card that generates points. I pay my bill off monthly to avoid any interest and accrue the points for hotel rooms or airfare when I can. I’ve also been lucky enough to benefit from loved one’s generosity and have been gifted with room accommodations or flights.
These are some of the ways I am able to travel throughout the year. If I think that being responsible, living a traditional lifestyle with the commitments associated with that is a bore I just need to remember that this life is funding the fun times.
How do you save money to travel?