On this exact week last year, I hand wrote out every trip I wanted to take in 2011 with some sample prices on how much everything would cost me. I had been tracking flights to Peru for almost a year and asked some friends how much a ticket to Chicago should cost. I wrote down how much I wanted to spend for some certain big ticket items and when I expected to pay them off, hoping to live only on my paychecks and not have to dip into my savings too much. All this also depended on everything staying the same in my every day life, so I could afford it all.
As the year went on and all my bookings fell into place, I loved crossing off items on that list, which I carried around with me in my paper organizer every where. And I like to think because of my planning and list, every big ticket item I listed, came in nearly under budget. I put aside $250 for a ticket to Chicago and got one for around $160, thanks to Spirit Airlines. I put aside $600-$700 for my ticket to Peru and got one for just under $600 on Taca via Orbitz. I put aside $500 for my plane ticket to Hawaii and ended up paying just over that ($524) on Continental, not really caring about that extra $24 as the flight was EXACTLY what I wanted, so I was willing to go over (plus, because I had saved so much on my flight to Chicago earlier that year).
The downside was that it left little room for anything spontaneous (like when my sister told me I was invited to her friends wedding in October in San Francisco of which she was officiating and maid of honor and I sort of had to be there) and it was a little depressing knowing in January what the next 12 months of my travel life looked like. Like when the LA Travel show came around early last year and so many booths made me want to go so many places and I sort of couldn’t. Oh well, there is always 2012 I’d tell myself. And now it’s here! But between my busy 2011 and new pet, 2012 looks like it’s going to be a bit of a bust. But that is usually how my life goes anyway. One year, exciting, the next, a bit down.
My current passport expires in July and I am seriously considering waiting a year before I renew it. There is some stuff I want to do in the US (get PADI certified on Catalina Island, just off the coast of LA and/or raft down the Grand Canyon (never been, shocker considering how close it is, but it’s one of those things, you know)) so I will probably stick close to home this year. Not a bad thing, just different. And these are things I want to do. Who said you need a passport to have fun? Plus, if I do the Grand Canyon, I’ll do a tour and who knows, maybe it will be filled with Aussies and Europeans and I’ll feel like I am traveling overseas with barely leaving the time zone!