Everyday Living, Good Reading, Money Saving Strategies

Feeling the travel itch

My husband and I took a road trip last night up to the Twin Cities. Our trip translated to about 2 1/2 hours in a car and usually when we have this sort of time together we have no problem running out of conversation. (“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes – and ships – and sealing-wax – Of cabbages – and kings …”)

Many times, our road trips revolve around the question “what are we going to do with money?” or “what projects do we need to be allocating funds to?” And sure – conversations were had about things we need to do to our house – there’s a large 40-year-old pine tree in the backyard that should really come down someday before a storm takes it down. We took down part of our (rotting) deck a couple years ago and have a few boards that have remained because they seem to be built into the foundation of our house. (Oh, the joys of owning a house!) We need to finish up that project and figure out what we want to do with the spot – pavers? Concrete? Try to reseed it with grass?

But last night’s conversation was – how do we budget and plan for future travels? What are the priorities that we want to make so we can balance being “good” (fully-funded retirement accounts, emergency funds, getting ahead on bills, paying off my college debt) with doing something that we would really enjoy. Like driving the Pacific Coast Highway. (My original dream was to do that in a convertible, but let’s be honest – I’m extremely fair. I would like to enjoy a vacation, not be covering myself in aloe for the rest of the journey.)

So while we’re hashing out what we want to do and what we need to do to acheive some of our dreams (without using credit cards, because it would be counterintuitive to go on a vacation that we can’t afford) – I think it’s really appropriate that one of my favorite newspaper columns in the New York Times has gone through a staffing change. Matt Gross – The Frugal Traveler – had given the reins to Seth Kugel who is now writing this regular feature at the NY Times.

As Mr. Kugel has transitioned into the role, he has written some really solid “introductory” articles lately that focus on ways to travel frugally, as opposed to centering on frugal adventures in a location – like Greece, Romania, etc.

You may find The Frugal Traveler – Mr. Kugel’s current columns and Mr. Gross’s former columns – here. One of my favorite columns that have been written recently is here – one of Mr. Gross’s last columns – Three Things I’ve Learned About Frugal Travel (and the Things I Didn’t Do).

Happy reading, friends. And happy travel planning. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Feeling the travel itch

  1. All of my past vacations have been basically “wing it” on finances, which is usually bad. So this year we’ve started an ING account with monthly contributions from each of us, which we divide into various sub-“accounts” (it’s all one actual account but I have a spreadsheet to keep track of what is put toward what). Together we put in $500/month, $200 of which goes toward next car, $200 toward home improvements, and $100 toward next vacation. While it might not completely cover our whole vacation depending on what we decide to do, it may keep me from just taking off on vacation and dealing with the costs out of savings after the fact…and might even help me to want to plan the vacation better.

  2. It sounds like Paul and I do our vacationing exactly the same way. We wing it, it’s usually somewhat last minute….not researched, etc. This next time I want it to be different so….I’m putting money away too – in the hopes of going somewhere next year. Yes, it probably won’t cover all costs, BUT it’s a start. Now where to go…..I have a lot of suggestions from my 6 year old. Most include a giant mouse with big black ears.

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