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What's stopping you from traveling more?

I'm sure everyone here loves to travel. And I'm sure that at least some of you don't do it as often as you'd like to. I know that one of the biggest reasons for that usually has to do with budget. But I'm really curious to learn more about some of the big setbacks that people (namely you) face when it comes to making trips happen.

For instance, how far in advance do you generally tend to start saving before making a trip possible?
Do you ever have any issues with booking online travels?

For me, a big problem is often the thought of putting my usual responsibilities on hold for the entire trip. I'm working on a project and getting more insights on this topic would really help me A LOT, so I'd appreciate any opinions.

Thanks!! :)

Posted by
419 posts

The reasons why people do or don't travel as much as they would like surely change as they age.
Young married men and women with children simply can't organize as many trips as they would like. People actively involved in a profession, job, or career can't take the time off as much as they would like.
Retired people, on the other hand, have more time, less responsibility and, often, more available money, and so they can plan trips to suit their time and budget more easily than others..

Posted by
19 posts

That's a good point, thanks for the answer :)

I can see how a family can really complicate things, I'm guessing even more than a career would. I mean most married people with children have that on their hands PLUS their career to worry about. I'm not married, but I understand the set back of one's career.

Do you think planning tools can make a bigger difference for people who find it more difficult to go on a vacation? Any favorite sites?

Posted by
2353 posts

Money is pretty much the only obstacle I find :(

Even when I worked I could set things up to be gone for about 3 weeks at a time. It sometimes meant doing payroll in an internet cafe at 2 am, having a cell phone that worked in the country we were traveling, going up on deck on a cruise ship & using a satellite phone to call work or check messages for our B&B - any potential obstacles could usually be dealt with in some manner or another.

Sometimes you have to get creative - once I flew my mom & her best friend from Denver to Cape Cod to stay with my cat while we went to Paris.

Now that most countries have done away with the quarantine for animals our current kitty travels with us. She has been to Mexico, Florida, Connecticut, NYC, Colorado, The Grand Canyon - the list keeps growing.

Booking trips is so much easier these days - before the internet you had to phone or fax to make reservations - I found faxing easier because you then received a return confirmation fax. Now everything is just a google away!

Posted by
19 posts

Very true, Christi, but it seems like you still managed to work around that and seen quite a few places :)

Do you plan travels on your own or use any planning tools? Anything you would suggest to busy travel enthusiasts on that note?

Posted by
1352 posts

For us It's definitely money! There have been times when getting time off was the big issue. I was lucky enough to home school and have a sister in law who lived in Europe - that really helped develop a love for travel! We constantly save for travel. Live by a budget and have travel as a fairly big line item in budget:) For my last 2 trips have done almost 100% of booking online. My favorite planning website is this one! I use a few others, but non as informative as this one. I can't understand why anyone would use a travel agent in this day and age. I use guidebooks and the internet and really enjoy the planning process!

Posted by
19 posts

I agree, travel agents don't make sense to me either :) How far in advance do you start to plan your trips?

Posted by
2353 posts

I use a variety of sites for planning - this one of course is the best for practical information and tips..

We usually travel by train so for hotels I start with google maps and locate the hotels nearest the train station. I then do a search for the property and check out its website to see if it is a property I would like. I then visit the various review sites for them - Trip Advisor, Booking.com, Venere, where ever the reviews are - when I find the one I like I book directly with the property.

I use the Deutsche Bahn site a lot for train research. Skyscanner for flights unless I am using miles.

I always have my phone so if I have questions or want to know more about a particular place or thing we are visiting I google it and can read more about it.

I carry a Kindle and netbook too and use Rick's audio Guides or download his segments on an area or city we are visiting. I love apps - someone here suggested Tripit - I used it on our last trip and it was wonderful.

Pretty much - if its on the net I will find it!

Posted by
1352 posts

I generally start planning trips 6 months to a year in advance. The trip we are taking this year however I only had 3 months to plan - felt rushed:)

Posted by
19 posts

Wow I think that's a great way to plan it, Christi! Especially the fact that you start with google maps around the locations you're looking for then check for the reviews on those other sites right after. I think a lot of people go straight to looking for hotels in a specific city then try to figure out how they would get there.

Jill - 3 months is definitely a significant drop, but I get the feeling you managed just fine in the end :)

Posted by
3399 posts

I am now retried and hubby is managing our family business, so we technically could take as much time as we liked at any time of the year. And money is much less of an issues now, too. Though travel was always our priority- we would give up eating out, movies, etc. for travel. Family issues have come to the fore for us. Our kids have their own families, so it's not them. I have become the caregiver for both of our moms. So now we can't even travel as much as we used to. We do a few overnighters (to see ageing rockers and try to recapture hubby's youth- LOL!) a year. We also have a dog now, and he doesn't want to board her.

Posted by
9110 posts

The main limit is the inability to be on two or three continents at the same time.

I don't plan. Sometimes we have several sets of tickets to several wherevers that were bought because the price was right. We mark them on a calendar since we can't be on two or three continents .....

With an operation like that planning can't happen except for what's in the back of your gourd. Rough ideas for itineraries sort of get thought about enroute but, often as not, get chunked pulling out of the car rental lot.

Internet use is for flights and car bookings only. I've never looked at a travel site excep this one -- and then only at the forums.

I own no guidebooks except the Micheline Greens and they're pretty old and beat up. I own a good many books of specialized knowledge of specific areas, but they don't touch on travel by a long shot. I do read a good bit of history.

Posted by
110 posts

Money is usually the issue then having time off to be able to stay awhile in Europe comes in second. Also having a wedding and moving and DO health problems can have a impact on travel.
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It depends on the trip as to how far I will plan i but mostly start planning a year to 3 months before trip. I will read guide books and go to museum websites to get an idea of pricing and open hours. Then I plan a rough route to take but generally do not do any advanced reservations. If I renting a car to will buy road maps to get an idea of distances and more routing ideas.
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So far I have not had any issues with online booking, but I have only used hotel websites in the USA. Online flight reservations have never given me any problems either. I make sure to read all hotel/flight reservations cancellation policies and I read the fine print every carefully. I also subscribe to a couple of travel search engine consolidators so I can get price alerts.
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Also I do not have the personality for a job in the travel industry so getting a job in the industry would be a disaster in the making.
J

Posted by
2089 posts

Money--single homeowner, decent salary but cost of living in SF bay area not cheap. That coupled with the demands of my job means that taking 2 weeks is about all I can afford either way. I travel alone so 2 weeks is good enough for me, helps clear my head of the day-to-day stuff at home but not so long that I get lonely. I'm 50 so still have years to work before retiring, and I wonder if I'll want to travel for longer periods then. We shall see...

At this point I'm in good health and so are my parents--and cats, they are my children--and if any of that changes then I accept that I won't be travelling if needed here for however long.

I save money year 'round anyway, but usually nail down reservations from 6-8 months in advance. I just returned from 2 weeks in Austria and Hungary so already starting to think about next year late August-September, #1 is Poland, #2 Germany and #3 Paris and then by train to Bruges and Brussels. I do a bit of research and generally enjoy a few months of day-dreaming about itineraries before booking in Jan-March.

I've used Expedia for 4 international trips and have yet to have a problem with any part of it, always been very pleased with my accommodations.

Posted by
19 posts

Wow thanks for all the answers!

Toni - sounds like you've already done a lot of traveling though :) I know pets complicate things quite a bit too and it's difficult to travel with them

Ed - You're pretty much defining spontaneousness in my opinion! I wish I could travel like that :D no plans, just find deals, get the tickets and put them on a calendar - brilliant...

Janet - setting up price alerts is a great idea.. way to let the internet do the heavy lifting for you! :)

Claudia - money money money... there's always that one, I know. :)

Posted by
1976 posts

For me it's money as well. If I could afford it, I'd take an international trip every year. As it is, I'm lucky to go every 2 or 3 years. I save as much money as I can, just in general, and usually start planning a trip about a year out: work out an itinerary, start looking at flights, get info about hotels and things to do at each destination. I'm hoping to go to Germany next October to visit a friend for about 10 days. I'd like to stop in London to visit another friend and hopefully get to Wales.

I look forward to getting out of town and putting my boring life and responsibilities on hold! I need a break from life, which includes seeing new places, having new adventures, and seeing friends who live in other countries. If I couldn't do that, man, I'd be pretty down all the time!

I spend my money on travel and not much else. I don't buy a lot of new clothes, I drive an old car, don't have many electronics and certainly not new electronics, don't buy a $5 coffee every day or go to movies much. Some people eat out five days a week, are constantly shopping online, or see a lot of movies. They spend their money in little chunks, $5 here, $100 there. I spend it all at once!

Posted by
206 posts

Like most, money and time is what stops me from going each year. Usually save $1500 to $2000 a year for travel, so the best I can do on that is every two or three years to Europe. I had retired, but a company offered me a position for 3 years to train others, so now I have the money again, but not the time. So, in 2016, I will be headed out to France, Germany, and Italy. I also start planning a full year ahead of time. That is as much fun to me as the travel and I have my time down on paper by 6 months ahead of date. Then I get to change it several times based on a lot of info I get from the travel forum.

Posted by
3352 posts

Hi, we didn't start traveling internationally until our kids were grown and off to college.

I haven't had any issues with on-line booking. I've used Expedia exclusively except for one hotel once through Booking.com. I really prefer the ability to pay for all hotels ahead of time in dollars, so I never have to use my credit card in Europe. I bring a copy of all of the hotel reservations, copy of the train ticket booked on-line and Google maps from the train station, plus a Google photo of the hotel front and street - everything in a itinerary booklet clipped together, so it's easy to walk through the trip.

Posted by
484 posts

I'm a dentist in a small town. I have to plan way in advance and have a back-up emergency dentist on call. I also have to put major cases on hold, so there won't be complications when I 'm gone. Plus the usual, stopping mail, staff out of work when gone, answering service, etc.. Because of all these obligations - it's a stretch to take 3 weeks off. I'm so looking forward to the day when I can just go without having to consider others so much.

Travel agents can still serve travelers. I used one to get an open-jaw plane ticket. Online sites seem to be either one-way or round trip. I also used one in Rome when my fully prepaid, guaranteed room reservation was not honored. I was tired, new in town, and generally ticked-off. I walked until I saw a travel agency and was much relieved to pay a local professional to find a last minute room for me and my family. So, let's be nice to travel agents. The one who bailed me out was worth every penny of the booking fee.

Posted by
2089 posts

@Sarah--you make a good point about money that I am trying very hard to adopt into my lifestyle, thinking about how all the little expenditures can add up, and by not doing some things it's that much more money in my travel fund.

Posted by
20597 posts

In a broad sense it is time or money or both to a different degree but that is only half. Second, the other half and maybe 51% is attitude or mental. You have to have a mind set that wants to explore other parts of the world. I know friends and relatives that have absolutely no interest in traveling outside of the US. It is not money, or time, just no desire to see the world. It is priorities. You need a sense of adventure.

We both were in education which gave us the time (summers) and not so much for funds but there are ways to manage. We "used to" boast that we could travel cheaper in Europe once we were there than in the US. Not as true these days but we have more money. By the time our sons graduated from high school they had been to Europe six times and they thought that was fairly normal. Both sons never made it to Disneyworld or land until they were adults.

We used to do very little planning other than beginning and ending points. But the internet and especially America tourists who cannot travel without every minute planned has forced us to do more planning in recent years. The decision for our first trip to London in 72 was decided on a Wed afternoon when we did not even possess passports but still make it to London on Sunday morning. That morning all we knew was that the plane was returning to the US in ten days but we did have a bunch of pound sterling traveler's checks, couple change of clothing, and a guidebook. That is all we needed.

Right now we have a Cuba trip working in Jan, a French wine country trip in May, and probably a month trip in October that will probably have a cruise in the middle. We like cruises as being a very economical way to travel. Those who are motivated to travel, find ways to do it.

PS -- Barb - All travel sites offer open jaw tickets. Often called multi-city. Even frequently flyer awards can be open jaw for the same point price. Nearly all of our trips are open jaw. Way back track?

Posted by
484 posts

Thanks for the internet tip Frank. I appreciate it and will try it next go around.

Posted by
2081 posts

donotmisslist2,

I start saving for my trip as soon as i get back from the previous one.

my job actually gives me 4 weeks vacation. i was suppose to get another 3 weeks for my 5 year sabbatical but due to the merger, we are getting screwed and they are not giving that to us now. Im sure the upper execs will be benefiting from it.

I use to work as an Engineer so i had all of the responsibilities associated with that title and job. Now I'm a technician, hourly wage, making as much (less) $$$ as an engineer and less responsibility. I can now leave my job and someone else is responsible to do it. I dont get calls 24/7 like i did when as an engineer either.

As far as the other things, its just a matter of details.

As far as "online booking", so far I've not had any issues. One issue i had this year was that i was trying to reserve a hotel room 6+ months ahead using my credit card. it wouldn't work. The reason. because when i was to arrive and stay, the expiration date of my credit card would have been expired. I would have (and now have) a new card - same number - different exp date. probably some Microsoft software bug. So i just moved onto place choice #2.

I do some leatherwork/repairs for a local shop. Thats about the only thing outside of my life that will need attention. But what i do about that is to give them a stop/start dates of when i won't accept anymore work and when i will start up again.

if that "project" can get done sooner than later, i would opt for the sooner and out from under it. No need to have it waiting for you to get back home. at least that is how I'm wired.

Your priorities are your priorities and only you can set them. If you want to travel more often, no one is stopping you. Only you can say NO or YES and its up to you.

just an for your info. Im a single guy and many people are surprised I'm not married. The way i see it, if i was married, i doubt i would be traveling as much since the Significant Other would be an issue. If the SO liked to travel, then it would be a +, but I'm not at that point now, so i can do as i please, when i please.

good luck and happy trails.