One of the topics I have not really discussed is travel. Being a skier residing in Wisconsin one would think travel is at the top of my mind, well it is but it does not get much beyond that.
Travel — What is in My Way?
I am going to open here. A number of things.
I am finally at a point in my career where vacation is not a huge concern for myself. However, my wife is on limited vacation. This used to be completely reversed as she had more vacation than she could use and I had not enough, and then I became an independent contractor and had plenty of vacation but taking vacation would impact my earnings.
Now, I consider us in an unhappy place because even though my wife is not a snow enthusiast she would like to travel too. Also, we need to plan for vacations centered on her desires and needs.
Without getting into detail our financial situation is not the greatest. It certainly could be worse than it is but is not where it needs to be. I have plans to start fixing that situation after ski season ends.
I have been dreaming of a Big Sky trip, perhaps taking the train to Whitefish Mountain, meeting up with a cousin, and then dropping down to ski Bridger Bowl and Big Sky Mountain. In fact, we were close to executing such a trip a couple of winters ago but the work project I was on lasted longer than expected and busted those plans up. Still, in February of 2015 there is a big event coming to Beaver Creek in Colorado and that would fit in with my work here at The Wisconsin Skier one I could perhaps derive some professional benefit from and work some tax angles to at least help defray costs. Of course, I have learned one needs to work with an accountant to get all of that figured out lest the following trip be to Leavenworth. Add to that the Snowcial event, and those related to the North American Snowsports Journalist Association conventions.
So, another factor holding me from traveling is an inability to decide.
Travel — Solutions
There are solutions to the problems I note above and I talk about or hint at them. The other day I picked up on ideas to make travel more affordable at
So far this year our team members have been anywhere between Paris to Bali, experiencing Italian romance in North Carolina and in Rome, Italy. We have skied in Norway and in Aspen, Colorado, and sipped wine anywhere between the country clubs of English country side to vineyards of Sonoma county, California – and it’s only February. We are travel writers, and while we also do some press trips, traveling for us is a lifestyle and it didn’t start when we started writing about traveling. Most of us don’t have unlimited travel budgets, and our team members have various income levels and with different kind of marital statuses, some with kids, some with none. [emphasis added]
Travel — Some More Ideas
Be Bold Make it Up As You Go
One of the things many people do when planning or booking a vacation is to secure and pay for lodging with travel agents (or services) prior leaving. Guess what? Not only are you paying for the service or the room itself but you are also paying for at least one middleman, maybe more than one as well as an office manager, a administrative assistant, a phone system, a computer system, etc. You get it by now.
Do Your Homework
However, making it up as you go this does not mean being blind. This means you have homework to do before you leave. Obtain some guidebooks and search online about your destination and become familiar with the book so when you are in the heat of a negotiation with a service provider you know your stuff. Some great resources are the Lonely Planet Guide and of course plain old internet searching. There are other travel guidbooks such as Frommers but I prefer the Lonely Planet books.
When doing this research figure out what options you have before going there and understand you may have to settle for less favorable options when you get there. Read through the books and understand what potential hazards exist as well as any cultural customs that may impact your travel. I have done a lot of traveling and you will find with that research you will know when you are working with honest people looking to exchange goods and services for cash instead of those looking just to get your cash.
Allow Time for Shopping
I do not mean for trinkets and souvenirs but for those items or excursions you are looking to take. When we travel our time is limited and so it is tempting to squeeze in as much activity as we can during that time. That leads to risk of over-paying for our stuff, if you can take some time and do what you would normally do when shopping for items at home, solicit bids from different businesses and look to see if you can find referrals and recommendations.
Remember too, it is not just about finding the dirt-lowest price available, but about find the best value. So that cheap tour-provider may offer the best price but the trip may turn out to be completely unsatisfactory.