Seizing Opportunities to Travel

We wrote earlier is year about making travel a priority and we have been taking our own advise. While we haven’t taken any major trips yet in 2012 we have been traveling. Like any big goal it isn’t reached in one big leap, it takes practice, persistence and focus. To that end I wanted to share with you how we have been traveling without really leaving home.
Incheon International Airport

It is awesome to plan for a big trip. I love thinking about, researching, and preparing to go to a new place. When there isn’t anything on the horizon we don’t let our travel skills get rusty. We look for any and all opportunities to get out. Case in point…this last week.

Clark had a work trip that took him to DC. Our usual first inclination is to have the whole family go and turn the trip into a junket, but when we considered the long and pricy cross-country flights and expensive add-on nights in DC, it didn’t make sense.

Then there was the problem of getting Clark home from the airport. We only have one car, a conscious decision to cut down on expenses, and the Reno airport is about 1.5 hours away from our home. Clark usually takes a shuttle, but was getting into town after the last shuttle stop.

Faced with the option of paying $100 for a taxi my mind started working on a travel solution. I saw an immediate $100 travel budget and I wasn’t going to let that opportunity pass me by. I checked into some hotel rates, using hotels.com of course!, and found we could stay at a hotel with an indoor pool and free breakfast for $55! Save $45 and get a great mini-trip that my kids would love.

Side note: do you remember going to a hotel as a kid? Was there anything more exciting than staying the night in a hotel with a pool? I remember it and was so happy to see the excitement on my kids faces when I told them.

I spent the few days home alone with my kids. We took that time to do some fun things together. In the mean time my mom called and asked if I would be able to come to Santa Barbara for a few days to help with their business and just have some girl time with my sisters. A free plane ticket and a few days of kid-free girl time! I was for sure going to make that happen.

 

I was on my way to Reno already so if I could get a next day flight I could save a round trip to the airport. So I got on Priceline, and although I don’t ever use them for flights I decided to roll the dice and see if I could get a flight the next day that would take me to Santa Barbara directly. Since I was traveling solo and I knew the airports I was flying into I decided to chance it. (In case you don’t know, Priceline lets you specify your airports and dates, but not the times.) I was a bit nervous pushing the “bid now” button, but it paid off. I saved about $200 on my flights and got a decent itinerary. The one caveat; I arrived back in Reno at Midnight…after the last shuttle.

Clark took the free shuttle to the hotel Wednesday night and I got on a plane the next day out. Then yesterday Clark and the kids headed to Reno again to stay in the hotel another night to pick me up. They were so excited. Jackson actually wouldn’t go to bed until he packed his suitcase.

Wonderful London City Airport -LCY- @ The Docklands in the Eastend / London - England - UK - Happy flights and discoveries forever!:)

Clark viewed his time alone with the kids as a mini-stay cation. They visited the swim center in a nearby town, went to McDonald’s for dinner and he generally let the kids run the show. They had a great time. Clark and I haven’t seen each other in almost a week. Just a 1/2 a day between flights, but we have each spent some quality time with the kids alone, each had some alone time and the kids have had an adventure.

None of this was on our schedule. It was an impromptu trip pieced together because we are always looking for ways to travel. 

Be on the lookout, there are small trips out there waiting to happen. Look for travel budget in unexpected places and take every opportunity. 

Have you had similar experiences? Have you done last-minute or close to home travel? We would love to hear your story!

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  • http://www.newlifeontheroad.com/ Lisa Wood

    I like the sound of sleeping in a motel with a swimming pool – such a great price!
    “Priceline” in Australia is a discount make-up store!
    What a great saying you got on your flight.

    Cheers
    Lisa

    • http://www.familytrek.org/sample-page/#monica Monica Vandeventer

      That is funny about Priceline. Reno is a gambling town and the casinos are always offering cheap rooms so people will come and gamble away all their money. We didn’t spend a dime in the casino, didn’t win any either, but still got the cheap room. Actually last night we stayed there free because a relative of mine is a gambler and they always comp her rooms, but she has asthma and can’t sleep there so she gave us the room. Can’t beat that.
      It was a great deal on the flights. I am not brave enough to do it with the kids, but who knows maybe someday.

  • Pingback: What a dad learned & hopes after a long weekend with his kids | Family Trek

  • http://www.actoftraveling.com/ Emiel

    I love this! You got me when you wrote “I saw an immediate $100 travel budget”. That’s a great way to look at travel opportunities where every destination (close to home or far-away) can create new discoveries. And it’s just big fun at the same time!
    Your post reminds me to look around and identify travel opportunities more often.

    • http://www.familytrek.org/sample-page/#monica Monica Vandeventer

      Emiel,
      I have to be resourceful when I love travel as much as I do and we have such a limited budget. Glad you liked it! Let me know if you come across any unexpected money in your travel budget!

  • http://www.christinapilkington.com Christina @Interest-Led Learning

    I really, really loved reading this post! You shared so many wonderful tips tucked inside your great story. I’ve found when you’re on a limited budget, finding ways to travel as much as you can without spending a lot of money is a great way to show your kids real-world problem-solving skills.

    We found out our trip to Europe isn’t going to happen this summer (I was pretty bummed about that), but I thought fast and put together a three week New England road trip that should include New York City, Boston and surrounding area, driving through Conneticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, staying a week near Acadia National Park, riding across the state of New York, staying a night in Buffalo to see Niagra Falls before heading home. And I think we should be able to do it all for under $3,500. That’s actually seems like a lot for us, but we want to see and do some more expensive things on this trip. And I think we’ll be able to pull off a weeks trip to the Rocky Mountains in September, too! It helps when you only spend about $150 on clothes for yourself each year :)

    • http://www.familytrek.org/sample-page/#monica Monica Vandeventer

      Christina,
      Exactly real-world problem-solving skills. I think it is so funny we have to even say “real world”.
      Good for you for readjusting your travels. It is all about doing what you can when you can. If you wait until you have enough money for the perfect trip it will never happen.
      Your trip sounds awesome. Can’t wait to hear about it.

7 Comments

Lisa Wood 16-01-2012, 19:18

I like the sound of sleeping in a motel with a swimming pool – such a great price!
“Priceline” in Australia is a discount make-up store!
What a great saying you got on your flight.

Cheers
Lisa

Monica Vandeventer 16-01-2012, 21:35

That is funny about Priceline. Reno is a gambling town and the casinos are always offering cheap rooms so people will come and gamble away all their money. We didn’t spend a dime in the casino, didn’t win any either, but still got the cheap room. Actually last night we stayed there free because a relative of mine is a gambler and they always comp her rooms, but she has asthma and can’t sleep there so she gave us the room. Can’t beat that.
It was a great deal on the flights. I am not brave enough to do it with the kids, but who knows maybe someday.

What a dad learned & hopes after a long weekend with his kids | Family Trek 17-01-2012, 06:16

[…] Monica shared about how we try to seize every opportunity for travel.  Over the past week, for us, that meant a quick business trip for me while Monica stayed home […]

Emiel 17-01-2012, 14:06

I love this! You got me when you wrote “I saw an immediate $100 travel budget”. That’s a great way to look at travel opportunities where every destination (close to home or far-away) can create new discoveries. And it’s just big fun at the same time!
Your post reminds me to look around and identify travel opportunities more often.

Monica Vandeventer 17-01-2012, 15:08

Emiel,
I have to be resourceful when I love travel as much as I do and we have such a limited budget. Glad you liked it! Let me know if you come across any unexpected money in your travel budget!

Christina @Interest-Led Learning 19-01-2012, 14:27

I really, really loved reading this post! You shared so many wonderful tips tucked inside your great story. I’ve found when you’re on a limited budget, finding ways to travel as much as you can without spending a lot of money is a great way to show your kids real-world problem-solving skills.

We found out our trip to Europe isn’t going to happen this summer (I was pretty bummed about that), but I thought fast and put together a three week New England road trip that should include New York City, Boston and surrounding area, driving through Conneticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, staying a week near Acadia National Park, riding across the state of New York, staying a night in Buffalo to see Niagra Falls before heading home. And I think we should be able to do it all for under $3,500. That’s actually seems like a lot for us, but we want to see and do some more expensive things on this trip. And I think we’ll be able to pull off a weeks trip to the Rocky Mountains in September, too! It helps when you only spend about $150 on clothes for yourself each year :)

Monica Vandeventer 23-01-2012, 21:31

Christina,
Exactly real-world problem-solving skills. I think it is so funny we have to even say “real world”.
Good for you for readjusting your travels. It is all about doing what you can when you can. If you wait until you have enough money for the perfect trip it will never happen.
Your trip sounds awesome. Can’t wait to hear about it.

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