I’ve been struck by a bad case of the travel bug lately… I haven’t been out of the country since 2007, which seems like a long time. CB and I are saving for Galapgos, but we also want to travel quite extensively in the intervening months before our Big Galapagos Adventure.
Plenty of people have a 5-year plan for career and educational goals. So why not have a 5-Year Travel Plan? Two years ago, I posted on my Big Ticket Travel Dreams – since then, I’ve accomplished 1 dream on my list (Disney World). Most of the destinations overlap. Here are the destinations on my 5-year Travel Plan (the 5-year mark also coincides nicely with the entrance into my 30s).
New York City:
I’ve been to NYC quite a bit in the last few years, but CB has never gone. NYC is lovely in May/June, so perhaps we will plan for a Labor Day weekend 2010 or a Memorial Weekend 2011 trip. I’d like to stay at least 5 days and 4 nights and squeeze in a Broadway show. A back-of-the-envelope calculation puts our budget at about $1,500.
CB really wants to go to Japan. I’ve been to Tokyo and Osaka for a short while several years ago, but I’ve never been to Kyoto, the former imperial capital and arguably Japan’s most historical city. I’m not sure how much a trip to Japan would take in terms of both money and vacation days – $5,000 for two including airfare? 8 days? (2 days for travel, 6 days for play). Debt Hater booked a 4-night stay in Toyko & airfare package for only $1,200 in 2009. This will be a 2011 or 2012 trip.
CB lived in Beijing for several months while I’ve spent time in Southern China. My aunt and uncle work and live in China, so we can stay with them when I’m in their city. For the rest of the trip, CB and I will be on our own (although my uncle can probably wrangle some travel discounts for us). Plane tickets will be around $1,600 for two, with another $1,000+ in lodging / meals / travel within China costs. $4,000 for two for 2 weeks – doable?
China is so huge and there are so many things I want to see that I’d like to devote at 14 days to this trip (2-3 days will be lost to traveling to & from the US / overcoming jet lag). I would like to go to China next year, which would push Japan to 2012. Or, I could try to squeeze China and Japan into two weeks, which would use up all my vacation for the year. 2 weeks is a little short for these two countries, but at least we’d do the bulk of the overseas flight in one go.
Australia and/or New Zealand:
CB has proposed these destinations for a potential honeymoon trip. If it were to be a honeymoon trip.. I want it to be at least 10 days! Budget: no idea. I expect it to be fairly high because of the travel costs (round trip tickets to Australia will be at least $2,500 for two) and because we’d probably want to splurge. So… $7,000?
I would want plenty of snorkeling, relaxing, and eating. And of course, indulging in the world-class culture that Sydney or Melbourne offers.
Oceans the color of lapis lazuli and beaches as white as sugar – sign me up please! I’ve been dreaming of the Greek Isles ever since I saw my first picture of Santorini. I’d like to spend a day or two in Santorini, but also visit the other, less well-known islands in the area (Paxos – doesn’t the picture look enticing?). Budget: no idea. I assume this trip would also cost a pretty penny (or $2,500 to $3,000 for a week?).
France / Italy / Spain:
I would love to do a tour of Western Europe. Sunflowers of Debt Chronicles estimated that her 15-day London-Paris-Germany tour cost $8,000 to $9,000 for two, so I expect that’s about the range CB and I would be look at. Maybe we can shave $1,000 off if we got really good deals or stayed in hostels, but I think a trip of this magnitude would cost at least $7,000. Perhaps this trip will get pushed off until we are older, however.
Say hello to the dream! People don’t tend to equate savings with romance, but CB and I are committing our financial resources for a future adventure together – what can be more romantic than that?
The cost of trip will be $10,000 to $12,000 for two. We are basing our budget on Lindblad Expeditions. Not sure that’s the operator we will select, but I know that I want a company that offers small groups, safe and comfortable ships, great food, knowledgeable biologists and scientists as tour guides, and a reputation for respecting and protecting the fragile ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands. For operators of similar caliber, I assume that the high prices will be here to stay. I want to do this trip in 2013, before I head to business school.
Thinking about all these travels have really put things into perspective for me – perspective on how much money we’d need to save! New York, Japan, China, and Australia alone will cost almost $18,000. Galapagos will be another $10,000. At the risk of being discouraged, I think this is a good exercise – I don’t want to keep “talking” about how much I want to go to Galapagos or Japan or Greece but never taking the steps to make those dreams a reality. (To be honest, I have no idea how I’m going to fund these travels and max out my retirement accounts at the same… I guess that’s all the more incentive to make sure I perform well enough at work to get the full bonus and refrain from needless purchases).
image source: (1) wired.com, (2) finnair.com, (3) travel.nationalgeographic.com, (4) textually.org, (5) greece-holidays.sunvil.co.uk, (6) photos4travel.com, (7) gliving.com