My Travel Cost Guidelines

Today I have a new problem–it is called ‘indecision’.  Yes, I know, it seems clear that I’ve been struggling with this issue for years now.  Case and point–my lack of a summer vacation plan.  But today, said indecision reached a new level.

I found a fare sale for flights to Phoenix.  I really want to go to the Grand Canyon, and Phoenix is where you fly into to do so.  I got all the way to the point where you click ‘buy now’, and then I closed the window.  Why?  I’m thinking the answer is either ‘fear’ or ‘indecision’.

Something must be done.

Next year, I’m going to travel.  I’m taking an entire year off from work to travel.  I’m traveling next year, damn it.  And my main travel plan is ‘go places where I can afford to go’.  Clearly, a $117 round-trip flight to near the Grand Canyon fits into those parameters.  But there are other things to take into account–for example, how much is a rental car going to cost?  ($600 for two weeks)  How much will lodging cost?  (at least $700 for two weeks, if I’m very lucky and very cheap)  Total cost for said trip–$1417.

Is it worth $1417 to be in Phoenix and the surrounding area–namely Sedona and afore mentioned Grand Canyon–for two weeks?  Yes.  Yes it is.  Clearly I should have booked it.

Did I mention that something must be done?  Well, I’m going to do something.  I’m going to come up with my own travel cost guidelines.  Observe (and note that I’m coming up with this as I type it)…

A good airfare is…

1.  Less than $150 if in my own time zone.

2.  Less than $200 if at least two time zones away.

3.  Less than $250 if coast to coast.

4.  Less than $500 if international AND outside of my time zone.

5.  Less than $250 if international AND inside my time zone.

But, as I stated above, a good airfare does not a good decision make.  The trip also has to be worth the extra costs–lodging, car rental or other transportation…the list goes on.  Thus, I need to come up with some places that I need to go.  I made a ‘dream travel list‘ back in December, but those were dream trips.  I need to think about what I want to do that is within reach, that I’d be willing to do alone, and that are examples of great family destinations–as my main goal is writing about how to make said destinations educational.

I will travel to the following places if they fall within the airfare cost guidelines…

-anywhere in Europe, particularly England and Iceland.  And…Paris.  Because I need to go back.



-Anywhere drive-ably close to a national park


-San Francisco



-Costa Rica



-Anywhere with a major cruise port

-Vegas (because I’ll need a break from making things educational)

I’m open to other suggestions–though I feel as though number four really allows for lots of destinations…like, oh, I don’t know…Phoenix!


8 responses to “My Travel Cost Guidelines

  1. GOGOGO!

    • I think I hesitated because I’m not sure of dates. I know I need to be in Orlando for a good part of the fall, and adding two weeks in Arizona to that same time period may be too much. I need a few more weeks to figure things out. But really–I should have booked it. Maybe the deal still exists?

  2. Ah… but you COULD make Vegas educational- think of it… statistics (odds), art (all those signs, giant sculptures, etc.), energy/eclectricity (more signs), architechture (how can you make a functional building look like a ___ {pyramid, castle, etc.}, history , music, weather, dessert flora and fauna, geography (Grand Canyon and other nearby stuff like Zion Nat’l park, etc). Really -I think it would be a great idea (and that makes Vegas a tax deduction…..!!!!!!!)

    • i know…and i love vegas (thus it is killing me that i can’t go there as part of my research!) but it just isn’t a family destination–or at least it shouldn’t be. i have a moral issue with kids in vegas–which is strange, because i really don’t have a very defined sense of morality!

  3. Yes- but parents are going to take their kids to Vegas anyway… so why not capitalize on that and at least maybe some of them will try to make it a “profitable” trip for the kiddos.
    Also, you should SERIOUSLY think about coming to Charlotte to research one of your books. There is the NASCAR Hall of Fame/museum, the Mint Museum (uptown and near the edge of town), The Bechtler art museum, The Harvey Gant Museum, Discovery Place (science museum), Carowinds amusement park, Reid’s Gold mine (about 30-40 min. away), etc., etc., etc.

    And Myrtle Beach would make another great book /chapter…..

    …. just saying!

    • true. i guess i should do vegas. wait–that wasn’t said with enough enthusiasm…i meant ‘i guess i SHOULD do vegas!!!!’ yay! i get to go to vegas!

      i will absolutely come to charlotte. what time of year would you suggest? i’ll be driving through in the fall on my way to orlando, and i may (should) be down in july for a writing retreat in the mountains (near marion–which i think is only an hour or two away. and flights there are quick and VERY cheap from my home airport…though then i’d have to rent a car. but yes–i’ll definitely be checking out charlotte sometime soon. (can you tell i’m getting REALLY excited about my year o’ travel?)

  4. July can ve very HOT and humid, but still fun. That would be a great time if you are wanting to also head towards Myrtle Beach. But fall can be amazingly beautiful. Especially if you can add some time for a trip up towards Asheville for the fall leaves. The October NASCAR race is not quite as big as the one in May, but there are still lots of things going on in the city around the race. Plus there are Panther’s (football) and Bobcats’ (basketball) home games- and both the stadium and arena are in uptown (walking distance from the 2 uptown hotels we own). Carowinds does close down at the end of the summer (I think around Labor Day) but does a “Scarowinds” Halloween theamed limited time “run” with special “scary” stuff. If it is more towards Nov., there are usually church BBQs around election time (the Mallard Creek Presb. Church one is HUGE and attracts politicans and eaters from all over- I think they fixed something like 3 tons of BBQ pork last year). Looking forward to seeing you….

  5. I know the same feeling, there’s so many times when I’ve found cheap deals on flights and wanted to much to buy them and have no real reason not to do so. In fact, my last trip probably wouldn’t have happened if we’d spent one more day thinking about it because you always think of reasons not to book and regret them afterwords.

    Also making an airfare budget sounds quite good, although I know if I try and stick within a certain price then I’d never visit anywhere outside Europe because it’s the cheapest flights. I’d definately recommend Iceland though – my sister went a few years ago and it sounds amazing, I’m hoping to visit at some point, although I’m hoping to visit a lot of places so imagine will probably be quite some time before I manage!

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