I get an invitation to spend a few days on the beach in Florida, a trip I really want to take despite being on a budget. Having more time than money, how can I make the most of this junket?
To keep the possibilities wide open I buy a one-way ticket to Florida.
First, what other travel can I combine with this trip?
I fervently am hoping to volunteer at a conference in New York but decide, regardless, to go to New York after Florida. (I later find I am going to the 99U Conference for “insights on making ideas happen” about which I am highly stoked!)
First hurdle: I book the wrong ticket, arriving a day early.
I don’t want to blame my coffee addiction and lack thereof the morning I booked the ticket, but the 12:30am departure had me thinking I’d arrive the NEXT day, not realizing the flight actually departs the “next” day.
Decision: Get pissed or get creative.
Such a low fare is not available the next day, so I decide to go with the flow and turn the flub into a chance to explore. A quick search reveals several coffee roasters which indicates, to me, at least one source of attraction. My friend had suggested picking me up and dropping me off at the airport after the visit. While leaving a car rental fallow while we use her car is a waste, renting a car will give me freedom and flexibility.
Something good: I’ve been wanting to test drive a Ford Focus, and that’s one of the dirt cheap cars available for rent.
Searching for answers reveals entirely new possibilities: ROADTRIP!
I start to fantasize about driving in the rental car to New York…then make a major find.
Apparently many cars migrate south to Florida and somehow, at some point, need to migrate back to other destinations. At insanely cheap rates you can take a one-way car rental from Florida to other destinations. I mean like at the moment Hertz is as low as $20 per day. Usually you get socked with huge fees on one-way rentals. You’re doing the car rental companies a favor. (Maybe one day, they will pay us to drive, ha.)
Decision: Where will I stay in New York?
Airbnb is awesome (and here’s my affiliate link!) for staying affordably in Manhattan or Brooklyn. I’ve also met some amazing people on Couch Surfing, both as a surfer and host. It’s been a little while since I’ve checked out the site. As I read the profiles of Couch Surfing hosts, my heart starts to race. All of these interesting people. The idea of staying with a different person each day thrills me even more, although my mind flashes to the waste of using linens for only one night. (That’s kind of how my Stoic mind thinks.)
Airbnb would be simpler, a basic “visitor” relationship. Couch Surfing opens up all sorts of possibilities for synchronicity, especially as with the detailed profiles I can peruse for who is into innovation, travel, arts, and food.
But I don’t contact anyone just yet…which turns out to be a good thing.
“Well,” I wonder, “since it’s the off season and I’ll be on the East Coast, is a trip to Europe in order?”
The Travelzoo Top 20 email arrives. Doh. Dare I look? “$1399 — Greek Islands: Santorini & Mykonos 8-Nt. Trip w/Air” That is DAMN cheap.
Decisions leading to a Yes / No on Greece
- I’ve been wanting to go to Greece for years, especially after falling in love with Greek philosophy as well as the mastic gum produced there.
- Life is short, and I haven’t taken a big trip in a long time.
- Er uh, and it departs right after the conference.
- My tourism can help the Greek economy.
I email a Greek friend to get his opinion on the itinerary. Then I remember a Greek cooking school I’ve been wanting to check out. Would a set tour not give me the flexibility I’d want? Something to consider before taking any plunge, especially on a juicy deal. For example, I could instead plan a trip to Southern Italy, another place that’s been on my mind, and combine a hop to Greece from there.
The itinerary is TBD but the possibilities entice.
Weighing goals, constraints and possibilities into trip planning leads to a richer experience with time and money most efficiently spent. Open your eyes and mind as you travel this Spring to new possibilities. Where will your whims take you?