I’m chilling out, dreaming about travel. Like this lovely little sea otter in Monterey, I’m just sort of lounging and day-dreaming of my next big adventure. It’s April and the start of the second quarter of 2018, and I’m involved in several major projects. I’m working on a new book entitled “Pose: A Dancer’s Guide to Making the Most of their Photos.” This book will be released in digital this summer and as a print book next fall. I’m also completely booked up through June in my costume shop! So that means I’m doing a LOT of dreaming!
When I’m in the studio, designing and sewing, I spend a lot of time planning my future travel. Sometimes it’s random dreaming, contemplating new places to discover, and old places to revisit. So how do I take a dream and make a plan? I put things on my travel Pinterest board, collecting blogs and vlogs with tips and advice that will help me make a more detailed travel plan.
Once I’ve decided where I want to go, I start a list in my journal. This list includes all the things I want to see and do, along with price estimates. I try to pick a “thing” to do for each day of the trip. I research the costs of that thing, what affordable secondary things there are to do in the area, thus planning a day’s itinerary. I’ll make far more “daily itineraries” than I actually would use in a single trip, but pick the ones that inspire me at the moment. I often travel with family and friends, so it’s nice to have lots of options, for them to choose from.
I’ve got about 70 daily itineraries for London. It’s been years since I’ve been to New York, but I’ve got about 25 “days” planned for the next time I get there. I have planned itineraries for practically every major city in Europe, just in case the travel opportunity arises! I currently use Google Docs to save these one or two-page documents complete with prices, links, and more useful information. So when I’m in full-on dreamer mode, I can “Save the Fantasy.”
Saving Every Month
Travel costs money, and it’s important to know well in advance how expensive a trip will be. I pay into my travel fund monthly, just like a bill. I enjoy the process of building my travel budget up over time and paying for trips in segments. I’ll happily buy a plane ticket 5 months in advance, pick up some Group-on deals 3 months in advance, and put money into gift cards to carry and use during the trip.
Having a pool of money means that I can spread out the cost of the trip over time, and reduce the risk of having to resort to using credit cards. Don’t get me wrong, I will use my credit card in an emergency! But I really prefer to use cash and pre-paid gift cards as much as possible. To help earn pre-paid gift cards, I use MyPoints. This year, I’ve answered enough surveys while hanging out and watching TV, that I’ve made $180 dollars in gift cards!
Carry-on Life: Under Seat Bag and Tote
I can take enough clothes for a week, and my latest project and work gear in these two bags. When I’m not traveling, I use this little mini-suitcase for hauling my belly dance costume to performances. The tote acts as my book-bag when I’m heading to the library or coffee shop to write. But I’m always just one laundry load away from being fully packed and ready to hop on the next plane, train, or automobile. If I return from a trip and something has broken, become problematic, or is simply missing, I replace the item ASAP so that I’m always ready to go!