Quitting my job is not an option, nor a desire [at this time]. That doesn't mean I can’t travel. It simply means I must consider my commitments as an employee while planning. However, the universe does sprinkle some fairy dust my way from time to time. For example, I didn’t think I'd make it to the land of the rising sun, but then my agency issued a mandatory furlough. So there I was with a week off, plenty of personal leave and an invitation to Japan. I booked a flight and a month later was walking along Tokyo Bay!
NYC on the other hand was a bit different. It was the height of the tourist season and the accommodations needed to suite both of our work schedules. Planning for a week long stay was meticulously. We took full advantage of the Google applications and I watched Rachel Ray: $40 a day. I also found a blog that post a daily list of restaurants serving free lunch/dinner. The neat thing about that was discovering places we would have otherwise over looked. We also took advantage of museum coupons and other discount options. For example, The International Center of Photography has Voluntary Contribution Fridays 5:00–8:00 pm. So instead of paying $12, we donated whatever we wanted. Those small savings came in handy, b/c when it was time to visit 5th Ave, we indulged ourselves and escaped without buyers remorse.
Spontaneity can make or break a trip. Some of my best memories weren't planned. They just happen to happen, but I think research is important as well. "Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000 percent Return on Energy!" Brian Tracy. Now I know that sounds a little formal for travel plans, but it has proven to be helpful to me. In 2011, my best friend Kia and I will turn 30 and have decided on South Beach as our celebration destination. That’s 1.5 years away, so every now and then I'll do some research to get a feel for the best time to visit the city, AAA lodging on Ocean Drive [ or the street behind it], best place to snorkel and over time the trip will start to take shape and before we know it, we will be ♪♪ lying under the sun until our skin change ♪♪ [Gotta love Diddy].
So aspiring excursionist and fellow travelers, I shared all of that to say this. It may take a bit of creativity, planning and sacrifice, but we can still pay the bills, save for retirement, purchase a new hand bag, score the latest ipod and see the world. Domestic or International. 5 Star Hotels or Hostel. Road Trip or Amtrak.Tour Guide or Independent. I say go for it!