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Travel spontaneously?
Old 06-13-2018, 11:43 AM   #1
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Travel spontaneously?

I was reading a Clark Howard post on saving money on travel. https://clarkdeals.com/travel/ways-t...next-vacation/

He says find a great deal first (as in, regularly check KAYAK for cheap flights from your chosen airport) and then figure out why you want to go there. That is his #1 travel tip.

I'm wondering if any of you have subscribed to that philosophy? Or how do you figure out where to travel?

omni
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:04 PM   #2
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I used that philosophy with college. Went and then tried to figure out why I was there. Apparently playing sports, drinking beer and chasing girls was not the right answer.
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:08 PM   #3
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We have an (unwritten) list of places we'd like to see.....if we're thinking about going to 'A' but see a great deal on a flight/ship to 'B'...then 'B' it is.

We'd rather spend the cash at ground level than at 30,000 ft.
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:33 PM   #4
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With 3 dogs we need to plan. Plus a lot of the fun is the planning and anticipation of the trip.
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by omni550 View Post
I was reading a Clark Howard post on saving money on travel. https://clarkdeals.com/travel/ways-t...next-vacation/

He says find a great deal first (as in, regularly check KAYAK for cheap flights from your chosen airport) and then figure out why you want to go there. That is his #1 travel tip.

I'm wondering if any of you have subscribed to that philosophy? Or how do you figure out where to travel?

omni
We travel spontaneously many times per year. We use our homes as travel hubs. From Los Angeles we can drive to many destinations such as San Francisco, Napa Valley, Santa Barbara, Monterey, Las Vegas, San Diego, or Lake Tahoe. When hotel deals pop up we sometimes just go. When we are in Switzerland, we sometimes fly off to places like Nice France, Florence or Rome Italy, Munich, Amsterdam, or Copenhagen for a few days when there are last minute hotel, rental car, and airfare deals. Or just drive to places like Lyon France or other small French villages or Stresa Italy or the Lake Cuomo area. Easyjet run a lot of specials so it's not even worth taking trains anymore. It's fast and convenient. In Florida we fly up the East coast or Caribbean Islands for a few days when hotel, rental car, and airfare deals pop up. The only thing we plan are those longer than 4 hours by plane. We have cars, bikes, clothes, and other gear at all our homes so we Less to pack when we go there. Despite that, my wife still manages to fill suitcases up with shoes and clothes.
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:02 PM   #6
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We did a transatlantic with about 3-4 weeks notice around 2010. They were practically giving them away then--I think it was about $600 for a balcony for 14+ days!

I had to scramble to make all the plans for the next week or so that we were in Europe but it all worked out fine.

Princess has "drop and go" cruises--also last minute. Last October we booked spur of the moment NYC to Quebec City for a great price. I continued to watch the prices and they would bounce back and forth (for the same quality of room) but we lucked out and got a really good price.
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:15 PM   #7
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With 3 dogs we need to plan. Plus a lot of the fun is the planning and anticipation of the trip.

We don't have dogs, but I heartily agree that a lot of the fun is in the planning. On rare occasions, though, we will do a spur of the moment overnight getaway.
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:03 PM   #8
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We don't have dogs, but I heartily agree that a lot of the fun is in the planning.
We, and me, especially, are planners. When it comes to travel, I like to have thought about it ahead of time. I find the planning to be more fun that the trip itself, especially when one of my planned for contingencies comes true and my plans bear fruit.

For instance, I always carry a second, usually rarely used, credit card on vacations, in case we are robbed (Never been) or the regular one gets fraud and is canceled. Once, when we were on vacation, our normal, go-to card was canceled due to real fraudulent use while we were on vacation and we found out while trying to use it at a gas station while low on gas! I was so happy when I pulled out the spare (kept hidden in the car) and completed the transaction right there and right then. My wife was proud of me and I saved her from a ruined vacation and I made her happy. I was also happy about that stuff, too!

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Old 06-13-2018, 04:04 PM   #9
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I have been a Clark Howard devotee since the late 80's. There is no telling how much money that guy has saved us over the years on ultra budget travel. In the old Delta Airlines days, they would throw out very cheap weekend excursions out of Atlanta with one or two days notice.

And spontaneous travel is now easier than ever with online reservations, etc.
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Old 06-13-2018, 04:05 PM   #10
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After my 1 Princess cruise they would have to pay me to take another one!
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Old 06-13-2018, 04:09 PM   #11
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After my 1 Princess cruise they would have to pay me to take another one!
We've never been on one, although the Pacific Princess looks nice, what didn't you like?
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:09 PM   #12
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We do both. We are always ready to take a quick one week AI or a cruise on short notice. Often just a few days.

When we do extended travel-two to three months, we may have flights booked and we will have the first week planned out. After that we usually book two or three days ahead. We have a general idea of where we want to go but we prefer to keep our options open. Could be that we snag a great deal on a last minute cruise or an attractive regional airfare. This winter we cut short our time in the Philippines in favour of going back to Thailand. We never want to be stuck somewhere when we would prefer to be elsewhere. We started this on retirement when we were gadding about for seven months. We liked it so much we kept on doing it.
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:46 PM   #13
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We do both. We are always ready to take a quick one week AI or a cruise on short notice. Often just a few days.



When we do extended travel-two to three months, we may have flights booked and we will have the first week planned out. After that we usually book two or three days ahead. We have a general idea of where we want to go but we prefer to keep our options open. Could be that we snag a great deal on a last minute cruise or an attractive regional airfare. This winter we cut short our time in the Philippines in favour of going back to Thailand. We never want to be stuck somewhere when we would prefer to be elsewhere. We started this on retirement when we were gadding about for seven months. We liked it so much we kept on doing it.


Brett, you are my travel idol - I really want to get to the point where I can be relaxed enough to do the type of spontaneous travel youíre doing. A few things get in the way for us. First, we are planners and so are most of our good friends, and we have a busy social calendar. Not to say we couldnít cancel something if an awesome deal came up, but we usually have dinners with friends, tickets to events, etc. planned out a month or two ahead of time.

Secondly we have a dog which does require planning. And thirdly, Iím afraid if we wait and do things on the fly, we wonít get to see some of the things we really want to see. I had originally thought with a six week trip to Greece, weíd be pretty spontaneous, but as I researched it, I realized there were specific places we wanted to be sure to see so I wasnít comfortable taking a chance that it would just work out on the fly. Maybe someday Iíll get there.

We are definitely willing to pay extra to change plans if we arenít happy once we go somewhere. One time we chartered a flight to leave a vacation we werenít enjoying a few days early. It was worth every penny!
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Old 06-14-2018, 01:25 AM   #14
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It a combo of methodology for us but we generally can't book anything last minute (other than extended weekend trips) due to work commitments.

We obviously have a list of places we're interested in. We'll randomly decide this is the (upcoming) year we're going to do X and we'll start airfare price watching.
Alternatively, we're on a twitter feed of an airfare deal group. We'll watch for places we're interested in going to both new and repeat and try to make a quick decision if we want to take advantage of the deal since the deals generally don't last long. These deals also serve as a foundation for us to do modified searches based on the core itinerary by adding stopovers, adding a leg, etc and see if we can still get a great deal. Alternatively, the LCC's in Europe and Asia will also allow us to make side trips from the core itinerary. We're also not adverse to getting a train pass as they allow for a little bit more spontaneity and randomness for some situations.

We don't plan to a T. We make a list of what we want to see, do, and eat at a destination and roughly slot them into a daily schedule (eg. morning slot, afternoon slot, evening slot). eg. Some things need to be done or are better done on certain days. If things don't play out as expected (eg weather), we can easily move things around. What I try to avoid is excessive planning on the ground but sometimes its unavoidable. But it's a lot more easier to research on the fly these days with the availability of cheap data and free wifi for your cell phone.
Pre-trip, we also mark up Google Maps with places we want to see or eat at so if we get stuck, we can easily see what's around us. But we're also a sucker for a crowd and need to find out what the buzz is about.
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Old 06-14-2018, 03:52 AM   #15
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A huge part of our travel is photography. We don't just want to go somewhere, we want to go to particular places at the optimum times. That takes planning.
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:00 AM   #16
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Our spontaneous travel is often a day trip that turns into a mini-vacation. It mostly happens from our Mexico home....where we drive somewhere new (to us) within a few hours, then discover reasons to stay for a few days (many of these spots have no tourism site or are written up in travel books). As others have mentioned, if we had pets this would be impossible.
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:02 AM   #17
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In the old Delta Airlines days, they would throw out very cheap weekend excursions out of Atlanta with one or two days notice.
They did the same thing when they had a hub at Cincinnati, and we did many quick (up to 5 days IIRC) trips to various European cities. It was fantastic while it lasted.
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:15 PM   #18
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Mostly we plan.
However one night I was browsing a rental site, and there was a week long 2 bed, 2 bath timeshare house for $250.
I checked the mapquest, saw we could drive there in 8 hours.

3 days later we were there.
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:45 PM   #19
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We don't travel a whole lot, but we use the same concept for local events and day trips. I have a seat filler subscription that usually has 100+ events on it, plus I check Facebook, Groupon and some other lists fairly often to see what pops up.

We usually plan at least some little outing every other day or so 2 -3 months out, initially with local club, park and music events, and then each week we see what pops up on the discount event lists and sometimes switch things out. Today Goldstar had a special so I booked a Sacramento river cruise for us and some friends.
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Old 06-14-2018, 06:55 PM   #20
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Last month I saw a last minute cruise to Canada for 75% off the list price but it was in 2 days
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