Traveling

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 11, 2008 8:39 PM GMT
    Growing up I did not do much international travel and now as an adult I find myself yearning to explore my world and broaden my experiences. I know many people on this site have traveled a lot. I fear the combination of short vacations, lack of money and living in America (not as easy to jump around as Europe) are all obstacles for me.

    I wonder, how do you find the time and money to travel?
    How did you get started exploring the world?
    Where have you enjoyed traveling the most?
  • a2507

    Posts: 152

    Jun 11, 2008 10:58 PM GMT
    I've been fortunate to travel some (not as much as I might like but much more than many).

    The most basic thing would be to decide that this is what you want to do. If you want it, you'll make the compromises to be able to travel (unless you have so much $ that you don't have to compromise).

    So, if you don't have mega bucks for travel, then you cut back on other costs in your life: more modest transit, less spent on clothes, drinks, eating out, whatever it is that you do that you might do differently.

    So living the more frugal life, you maybe then can afford to take more time off, even if unpaid.

    Sorry, this seems like I'm being your big brother giving heavy handed advice ;-) ....stating the obvious.

    I've done most of my traveling in Western Europe: France, England, Low Countries, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and most recently Italy.

    Paris is my home away from home: as a little, gay kid in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I dreamed of Paris, a place where being different was ok. And I spent a college semester abroad there.

    But I was really taken with Rome this last May and hope to spend more time exploring the diversity of Italy and the south of France.

    As for getting around, a Eurail pass still makes a lot of sense though now you can do short hop jets much like Southwest Airlines.

    And don't be afraid to stay in a dump. I have. It's only for a few nites and it's no big to go down the hall to pee or shower. Maybe you'll meet someone cute (tho' I haven't...yet ;-) Take some flip-flops, for sure, tho'.

    Lastly, there are some cool guys on this site from all over. I wouldn't chat anyone up just to crash at their place but if you connect and they want to show you their town, what better?

    I had a pen pal in Berlin (he lived in the Communist East when we first wrote to each other) whom I finally met after 18 years. He gave me such the tour of his city. And he's damn sexy ;-)
  • Bunjamon

    Posts: 3161

    Jun 11, 2008 11:23 PM GMT
    Check sites like gotoday.com, expedia.com, orbitz.com, cheaptickets.com etc etc RELIGIOUSLY so you can find the cheapest airfares. Also look at packages through IcelandAir, where you can get discount tickets to Europe with a layover in Reykjavik (for up to a few days) so you can knock of Iceland and a little bit of Europe at the same time!

    I've been fortunate enough to be an exchange student and to make a lot of connections that have allowed me to return to where I used to live and go to lots of new places without having to pay for accommodation.

    And don't be afraid of youth hostels! Join Hostelling Int'l and just drool over all of the incredible places you could stay on the cheap. Hostels are clean, cool, and cheap. I could ramble on forever when it comes to travelling, but just seize the opportunity when you get it because you'll never know when you may have it again.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 11, 2008 11:57 PM GMT
    I went to Europe when I was 18 and that got me hooked. Every little thing that was different exhilarated me. Europe just had a look and feel that was so different from America. Even the little things like cars, street signs, the money, the architecture. Traveling can be addictive.

    For me, probably the most inspiring places I've been are Cambodia and Peru. In Cambodia, the people are just so incredibly warm, friendly, and generous to a fault. All the little kids (without exception) smile and wave as you drive by. And to consider what the country went through with the Khmer Rouge just 30 years ago, it's hard to believe they don't seem to be hardened by it.

    Peru was just amazing in its diversity. In that one little country, you have soaring mountains, the ancient sites of the Incas, beautiful lakes, the Amazon rainforest, and huge sand dunes.

    I usually go places that are cheap to stay so getting there is the only major cost. And cheap airfares are harder to find now than just a couple of years ago. But you can still find reasonably affordable flights. I'm looking at doing an open-jaw flight into Spain and out of Morocco later this year and the flight is priced at $850. Two or three years ago it probably would have been $200-300 less, but it's still affordable.

    Not every company restricts you to only a week or two of vacation. I've taken up to five weeks off at one time when I went to southeast Asia. I'll admit that's a long time to ask off, but I asked and was accommodated. It doesn't hurt to ask.
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Jun 12, 2008 4:10 AM GMT
    For me, in my line of work, it wasn't unreasonable to get 3 weeks off of work per year, and sometimes, from working over time, I'd have extra time to throw onto that. A couple of times, I've not taken my vacation time and banked it, giving me 6 weeks. I've only been able to do that when I really enjoyed the work, which is only once so far.

    Another way to do it is to save up money and go when you're between jobs, or between apartments, if you rent.
    Of course, that doesn't tell you how to juggle everything you pay for all of the time now. I think it's like a2507 said, if you want to do it, figure it out.

    My partner and I have been traveling together for about 4 years now (only 3 trips) and I think at the end of the day, our traveling has been at the cost of us buying a condo of our own. I'm ok with that, because the traveling as such an amazing experience.

    I've been to Costa Rica, the Phillipines, Japan, and a bunch of places in Europe. They were all amazing. I keep going back to Europe, mainly because my partner and I keep wanting to see more. Europe is soooo expensive though. I've heard great things about staying in hostels, and heard that they are a great way to meet people. I think another way to do it is to go places where your money is worth a lot. You can go to the Phillipines or Thailand and your money is worth a ton, so you get tons for your money. South and Central America are good places too. I found the people in Costa Rica to be soo warm and friendly and fun.

    Anyways, I think you should figure it out if you can. Traveling is awesome.
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    Jun 12, 2008 4:47 AM GMT
    the only exploring i've done was through groups- being young and cash poor- but i think its a legitimate way to see things. i was in a national youth choir in high school that did a concert tour of 6 countries in Europe over a month one summer. it was the best month of my life- we performed in Notre Dame, St. Marks Cathedral, etc.

    we also got great group rates wherever we went so everything was nicely affordable. not saying you should join a national youth choir lol but i'm sure there are groups that travel to which you could attach yourself for the group rates and pre-structured organization. no worries, no hassle, buddies to share the experience with- its all good. icon_smile.gif

    i can't wait to get back over there and see more of the world myself. we were only in each city for a day or a few, and it only really gave me a craving to get back and live in each one for months :p



  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 12, 2008 5:42 AM GMT
    When I started traveling to be certain I didn't have any money.

    The only way I could do it was by finding a way to mold my work life around a bit of travel. This is something that I tried to do when I was still at UT in Austin (when Austin was a city that had many fewer connections to the "international" world).

    Having done a lot of travel since, it has never changed for me that my strong preference is for a trip that has a purpose. Also, I find that going somewhere for a reason gives me an insight into the place that I would not otherwise have.

    Your a DJ. For example, in Italy (and all over Europe) American DJ's are extremely popular. Excuse my ignorance (I am old) but guys like (insert first name) Moreno, and the Chemical Bros. are national sensations.

    If you could find a way to promote yourself and do traveling DJ engagements then I suppose it would not only pay for your travel but make you some money as well.

    Such a scenario could give you the chance to travel 3 or 4 months a year.


    As far as where I have personally enjoyed traveling the most, I would have to say that I have a very deep love for India. After that Italy and France are my favorite countries. My favorite big cities are New York, Paris, London, Berlin, Tokyo, Madrid, Barcelona, and Los Angeles. My heart belongs to Venice.

    I don't much care for Northern Europe as a landscape, though the Northern Europeans are pretty cool.

    Gee I hope that helps. If you need recommendations for any specific places I am happy to help. If you want to come to London, France, or Italy you are welcome to stay at out place.

    Salute
    Terry
  • Hunter9

    Posts: 1039

    Jun 12, 2008 5:48 AM GMT
    If you don't have a huge budget, head to Southeast Asia or South America... you'll spend much less, be able to stay far longer, and have just as amazing an experience.
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    Jun 12, 2008 6:23 AM GMT
    DJBens77 saidGrowing up I did not do much international travel and now as an adult I find myself yearning to explore my world and broaden my experiences. I know many people on this site have traveled a lot. I fear the combination of short vacations, lack of money and living in America (not as easy to jump around as Europe) are all obstacles for me.

    I wonder, how do you find the time and money to travel?
    How did you get started exploring the world?
    Where have you enjoyed traveling the most?


    You just have to make the time to travel. I don't know what you do...but, do you get paid vacation days? If not, then you just have to take the time and adjust your budget accordingly to account for the amt of $$$ you spend while on vaction in addition to the amt of $$$ you would be losing by not being at work.

    I work in research now for a major university (here in Philly) and I get paid vacation days. They add up pretty quickly. In terms of finding the $$$ to travel: I just set a goal to save a reasonable amount of $$$ per month. I keep all in a separate account and withdraw when I am ready to take a trip. Also you'd be surprised what kind of deals are out there. My friend just recently left for a month long trip in Spain. He is...get this...taking a "walking tour" of Spain from the eastern end to the western end of the country. the entire cost of his trip (including airfare) was approximately $800. Considering that he is getting ready to drop some serious cash for med school in the fall (i.e. $50,000 easily) he wanted to find something adventurous, cheap, and safe.

    I started traveling for real for real in college when I studied abroad for 4 months. Since then the travel bug has just been there.

    I have only been to England, France, Spain, Italy, Mexico, and Western Canada. But before I start med school in 09' I am hoping to travel either to the South Pacific or through other parts of Europe and Eurasia.

    DJ....also keep in mind that there are some awesome places to visit right here in this country. I found this awesome website that lists all the major food festivals across the nation.

    Best of luck to ya
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 12, 2008 6:24 AM GMT
    Hunter9 saidIf you don't have a huge budget, head to Southeast Asia or South America... you'll spend much less, be able to stay far longer, and have just as amazing an experience.


    .. and get kidnapped and be taken to exotic remote villages where you'll be fed beans and grasshoppers from fascinating people and be exposed to new and exciting illnesses and depredations! Weeeeeeee!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 12, 2008 8:31 AM GMT
    Buckwheet said

    .. and get kidnapped and be taken to exotic remote villages where you'll be fed beans and grasshoppers from fascinating people and be exposed to new and exciting illnesses and depredations! Weeeeeeee!


    Oh not to worry. We cook the grasshoppers well! icon_twisted.gif