Category Archives: Travel Planning

Decision Time

I’ve asked for input on the Paris plan here and elsewhere, and I’ve received a lot of feedback.  All of the feedback is good and helpful.  However, it is all contradictory, and now I’m torn.

Yet it is time to make a decision.  I have the contract for the Paris apartment rental I’m considering.  I put a lot of thought into my lodging decision, and I think it is a good option.  Now I just need to fully commit to Paris.

Did I mention that I’m torn?

Tune in tomorrow, when I will post a breakdown of all the good advice I’ve been offered, and come to a final decision.


My Big Fat Stupid Travel Announcement

This is as close as I got to the Eiffel Tower

I’m going back to Paris.  That’s right, you read that correctly.  I’m going back to Paris.  Next year.  In April/May.  By myself.  To Paris.

For those of you who have been reading this blog since last summer, this may come as a shock.  Hell–it came as a shock to every single person I know.  I didn’t like Paris at all.  Yet I’m returning, for reasons that I will eventually divulge.

But the point of this post is this–given my last summer experience, what should I change?  What things did I do wrong when planning my Paris trip, and how can I fix them?  I’m very, very, very open to suggestions!


I realize I’ve been slacking with my blog posts.  This is the first time I’ve had such an issue since I started this blog almost two years ago.  So what’s going on?  Several things.

Thing one is the fact that I’ve started two other blogs and a website–all travel related.  And those are taking up a bit of my time.  But don’t worry–I will not forsake Blog on the Run.  It was my first child, if you will, and as such it will always be my favorite.

Thing two is that I’m also working on a book proposal, which is taking much more time than I ever imagined.  Thing three…well, thing three is the biggest problem.

You see, I typically get all excited when I book a trip, and then have to write all about the trip planning.  However, lately, I’ve been having some trip-booking issues.  It is April 23rd, and I’ve not yet even decided upon a summer vacation destination.  We’re still all over the place, pricing Caribbean cruises and flights to Spain or Germany.

But this is soon going to come to an end.  I’ve officially begun the process of planning my next year’s travels, as that’s what next year is all about–traveling.  And so I have some exiting news…that I’ll save for another post, because it’s just that exciting.

Additionally, I have several trips coming up in the very, VERY near future.  I’ll be ‘traveling’ to NYC next weekend–traveling in quotes because I only live 70 miles outside of the city.  The week after that, I’ll be in Walt Disney World (again) and Universal Orlando (for the first time).  A week after that, I’m back in NYC.  I plan to maintain my live blog whilst on all of these mini-adventures, so feel free to follow me on Virtual Passenger.

I also hope to come home with many great educational ideas for each destination, which will be shared on my edu-travel blog, The Suitcase Scholar.

Stay tuned for my big fat stupid travel announcement for next year.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll totally rub your hands together with evil anticipation.

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!

Summer 2011 Trip Plan Number…?

We are now considering doing a cross-country road trip.  Will we EVER make a final decision?  Man, I hope so…

One of the great–and awful–things about blogging is that it provides a record for me to look back upon.  And looking back, I can see that exactly one year ago this coming Saturday, we purchased our flight to London for last summer.  This year–not so much.

What with airfare sky-high, teachers being laid off left and right, and my almost-single-minded book-writing focus, we just don’t know.  Of all of the trips we’re thinking about, which would be the most fiscally responsible?  Which would benefit my writing the most?  Which would be the most relaxing for my husband, who is working most of the summer this year?

Is it a Canada road trip?  A cruise–or two?  Should I still be tracking fares to Europe?  I actually re-added Barcelona to the list of possibilities.  Or what about a Mexican all-inclusive? And weren’t we looking at Iceland?  I still have that Hawaii book on my end table.

Or, worse, what if I combine any of the above?  A cruise to Bermuda AND a week in Reyjkavik.  Driving to Canada and a few days on a beach in Cancun sounds lovely.  What about a shorter road trip, and yet another visit to Vegas.

I.  Just.  Don’t.  Know.

But thinking about it makes me focus less on the awful things–like my need to get my book proposal written despite a serious lack of time, or the fact that we may be living with my mom should ‘the state of public education’ continue to be ‘freaking scary’.  So…that’s good.  Right?

Cheaper than Bermuda

Do you know what is less expensive than a seven-day cruise to Bermuda?  Seven nights, airfare, and all food and alcohol at Privilege Aluxes on Isla Mujeres, Cancun.

Now, I know what you are thinking–Mexico?  Really?  Didn’t your husband put it at the top of his no-go list?  Well…yes.

And then we watched Top Chef the other night, and they were in the Bahamas, and he was like ‘let’s just go somewhere tropical, we never do that’–and as he NEVER says things like that (which is why we never DO things like that), I decided a price comparison was in order.

It is crazy cheap to go to Mexico.

Plus, during a random Expedia search, I discovered Isla Mujeres, which seems like it offers everything we’re looking for–it is small, easy to get to from the airport, laid-back, and relatively safe.  There’s a beautiful beach on the property, food and drinks are included, and even if they suck, there’s lots of places to eat and drink in the village…

It just seems like our kind of place–despite the fact that ‘our kind of place’ is typically much farther north.  But it would be fun–and a little gimmicky–do to a ‘bordering nations’ summer–a road trip to Canada and a week in Mexico.

Did I mention that there’s a sea turtle farm?  And golf carts you can rent and drive around town?  And (really, really small) ruins?  And snorkeling?  And those bed things on the beach where you can lay whilst people bring you guacamole?  I’ve always wanted to go somewhere with endless guacamole…

EDIT–After posting this, I went back and read over my ‘Foot is Down’ post, and realized that I didn’t include this detail–we were planning on doing a two week road trip that focused on Quebec City and Montreal…AND a 7-day cruise to Bermuda.  We have three and a half weeks this summer to travel together, and we’re using almost all of it.  Clearly, I didn’t NEED to post about our Bermuda cruise idea, as it passed quickly.

I really am slacking off in my posting of future travel plans.  I’ve not even posted about our next trip–the Disney and Universal Studios extravaganza!  I guess that shall be my next post!

The Foot is Down

Surprise surprise, my husband came to a solid decision about our summer vacation plans…and here’s the surprise…I’m going to go along with it.

I will pause whilst you all gasp audibly.

The decision–he wants to go to Quebec City and Montreal.  So that’s what we’re doing.  The jury is out on what we’re going to do on the way there and on the way back–as it will be a road trip–but I’ve definitely deleted Cape Cod and the islands from the list of possibilities.  That’s too far and too expensive.  Which likely means that Boston is out, too.  But I’m thinking I may be able to squeeze Niagara Falls in there.  On my list of ‘places I want to visit’, it is right below whichever number I stopped at.

Let the planning commence!