Travel Dreams Part II
Travel Dreams Part II
So by now, you have decided where you want to go with a departure date and a return date and a rough idea of what you want to do in between.
Dreams require capitalization. Sad but true. So what about money ?
5. Travel Agents are the unsung heroes of our times as they essentially work for free receiving only a small commission on the back end from the various suppliers i.e. airlines, wholesalers, hotels, etc. Occaisionally they may ask for a service charge but only when the supplier does not offer commission. The only one I know who actually gets away with charging you to talk to him is Rick Steves.
You can surf the internet till your eyes go blind but there is no substitute for the knowledge and experience of a travel professional who's been there and makes his living dealing with all the various ins and outs of getting there and back again while keeping the stress and expense to as minimum.
As I mentioned in part I , one of the advantages is a travel agent can make all the arrangements and usually hold it for a small deposit, usually about $100 which most of us can come up with one way or another. If you're planning for next year, you can book as much as a year in advance thus giving yourself time to gather your nickels.
Delayed gratification is one method. Tell yourself that every $5. capucchino you pass up here will be one more you can enjoy in Italy. Same goes for dinners out, bar tabs, etc. All those incidental expenses that absorb our discretionary funds can be saved for our vacation.
Have a yard sale, start a special savings account. When I graduated from University I sold my car and all my stuff and was gone for a year !
It can be done, just requires reminding yourself that the beer you don't have here is one more you can enjoy while lying on the beach on the Riviera.
Don't worry too much about spending the money. Five years from now the money won't make a bit of difference in your life but the memories will last a lifetime and bring many happy returns on your investment.
10 steps to make your travel dreams come true. Part I
1. Decide where you want to go. " If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there." Some clarity is important, at least the general direction and hopefully the continent. What are your interests ? There are literally thousands of activities and destinations to choose from. What gets you excited! A couple of years ago on a flight back from Europe I watched " The Bucket List" about 2 old guys who were dying of cancer who decided to spend their remaining days traveling around the world doing all the things they had on their " things to do before I kick the bucket" list.
What's on your bucket list ? What would you be doing if you had 2 weeks to live ?
2. Decide when you want to go. All of us are equally rich in time. We all have the same 24 hour day, 7 day week but here in America it seems that time off is at a premium. Hard to believe that the world will still keep turning without you but trust me, it will. These days with lap tops and cell phones, you can be on top of Mount Everest and still keep in touch if you feel you need to. No one on their death bed ever asked for 1 more day at the office so take as much time as you can.
Travel season is divided into roughly 3 seasons; Low season which is traditionally November 1 through March 31 when prices are rock bottom and the weather is cooler. High season is June, July and August when the kids are out of school , the weather is hot and prices are the highest.
Shoulder season is the Spring and Fall, April / May and September / October. This is the best time as the prices are low, the crowds are gone and the weather is still nice.
One other peak time is the Christmas/ New Years holidays from mid December through the first week of January. Thanksgiving is a good time to go because no one besides us celebrates it so the only crowds will be other Americans with the same idea.
3. Map out an itinerary. You will need a start date and an end date and hopefully as many days in between as you can squeeze out. Decide what city you are flying into and flying out of, usually the same city but " open jaw " tickets are an option too. Book at least the first couple of nights and the last night as you will need the rest.
4. Call your travel agent ! By booking the air plus at least a couple of nights hotel you can book through a tour operator and get discounted air fares and hotels and reserve it with a small deposit. Most tour operators will let you reserve your trip for only $100. What are you waiting for ?
Stay tuned for Part II