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ameelynn1980 Oct 6th, 2007 08:15 AM

Ever Booked a Trip and Decided Not to Go?
I'm sure I sound like a total psycho in posting this question, but I'm dealing with a lot of doubt/anxiety about an upcoming trip and I need some outside opinions.

So here's the deal... A few months ago, I decided that I wanted to take a trip to Italy. I booked a flight, bought a rail pass, and made bookings at various hotels and B&Bs around Italy. I've also been saving my money, and have between $3,000 and $4,000 saved up for the trip (20 days).

But as my trip grows closer (I'm scheduled to leave on Tuesday), I'm finding myself asking, "Do I really want to go?" For one, I have some transportation issues in Tuscany and Umbria (see my rental car thread). I'm also wondering if I've really saved enough money for the trip. I don't have a lot of tours, etc. planned and I'm worried that I'll just end up sitting around with nothing to do.

Furthermore, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if $4,000 is enough for the trip. (Most of my hotels cost between 50-75 Euros per night and then there's food, attraction tickets, etc. on top of that.) If I do go, I'll likely come back to the US flat broke, which doesn't appeal to me since Christmas will be upon us soon. I'm traveling solo, and I really think the trip would be more enjoyable with one or more companions. Quite honestly, I think I'll be a bit lonely.

If I don't go, I would probably forfeit the cost of my rail pass. I checked w/the airline and they will refund the cost of my ticket. I'm thinking about all the money I've saved up, and how I could put that to better use paying off some past due debts, getting caught up on bills, etc...

On the flip side, I feel that if I don't take the trip, I will regret it (even as I sit here and tell myself that if I don't go now I can go next Spring and do things right).

So that's my story. Anyone ever been in my shoes? What did you decide to do? Your experiences and/or your advice would be much appreciated.

Dayle Oct 6th, 2007 08:22 AM


Go, go, go! Don't even worry about it. So many people live their lives thinking I can't do this because.....and end up never doing anything. Traveling solo is a wonderful experience. Completely different than going with companions. Better in many ways which you will discover for yourself. You will not be lonely, you will meet and talk to more local people and they will be interested in you. The money you have saved is enough. Don't worry.

I'm jealous. I wish I were going.

Buon viaggio!

CRAZY4TRAVEL Oct 6th, 2007 08:29 AM

I can't say that I've ever been in that position. I'm obsessed with travel and it is one of the greatest pleasures in life for me. I look back on all my trips as life experiences.

I have friends that could take it or leave it but they have their own hobbies such as boats, cottages, or expensive toys which I don't quite understand either.

I could not picture myself planning for a big trip like that and in the end pulling the plug...just me but I would be crushed.

Ulimately you have to decide what's more important to you. I have no loans or debts other than a mortgage so I'm not in a good position to sway you to go. I think if it is weighing that heavily on you perhaps it's not meant to be right now. Half of the excitement of travel is the build up to departure day and you seem to be more worried than excited....that's no way to start a 20 day adventure.

Jean Oct 6th, 2007 08:29 AM

Just me, but I wouldn't go if I had "past due debts" and other bills. I'd stay home, clean up the financial situation and start saving again. Then begin planning a trip that has you excited about going and not full of doubt and anxiety.

You could go and have a wonderful time for 20 days, but those debts aren't going anywhere.

CRAZY4TRAVEL Oct 6th, 2007 08:33 AM

Dayle makes a very good case for the other wouldn't take much to twist my rubber arm.

fmpden Oct 6th, 2007 08:44 AM

Pre-trip anxiety is not unheard but I have never had that problem so it is difficult to respond. It might help to know your age and prior travel experience. But I do have a slightly similar problem in our family in that my wife never likes to completely made a final decision. Always wants an out -- just in case. In case of what ??? ---- Just in case !!! I am nearly the opposite. Make a decision, discard the options and execute the plan. About the only thing I remember from my graduate business program from 40 years ago is, "A second rate plan well implemented is vastly superior to a first rate plan poorly implemented !!!"

You have made a plan. Is it perfect? -- probably not. Will something not work as plan? Probably -- but you are in Italy. And I would much to be lonely in Italy than lonely in the US. Focus on executing the plan. ignore things you cannot control -- flights - early or late, Be prepared to make changes if something isn't working. Focus on what will go right and not on what might go wrong.

Maybe you should scrape the car. Haven't read your rental post but if I was traveling by myself I would only use public transportation. You have a rail pass -- use it heavy -- drop the car if concerned about costs. Unless you are doing a lot of rail travel in Italy, a rail pass is not cost effective.

Start packing NOW. We are always packed the week before so that we have little to do the day befoer and can be very relax ---- also, you can run the TO DO for the fifth time so that you really know that you stopped the mail, unplugged the iron. And carry the TO DO list with you on the plane so you can review it when the question of watering the plants comes up.

Relax, it is normal to have concerns, focus on the trip and not your worries. You will do find.

janisj Oct 6th, 2007 08:46 AM

Are you sure the airline will refund your money? If you got any sort of discounted fare that would seem pretty unlikely.

That being said - and here is the "tough love" bit -- if you are in financial difficulties, have past due debts and bills needing payment - WHAT ON EARTH are you thinking booking a European trip in the first place??

many of us travel on much smaller budgets than you have planned so that isn't a problem. And unless you are hopeless at entertaining yourself, traveling solo is great.

But - IMHO it seems pretty irresponsible to leave bills unpaid and rack up past due charges while traveling around Italy. Just my 2 . . . . . .

USNR Oct 6th, 2007 08:58 AM

Anxiety is a strange-sounding word when you look at and say it -- and it has its roots in Greek. It comes from their word for "fear." You are suffering a common complaint: anxiety -- fear of the unknown, fear of changing your comfortable routines. At one time or another, most people have this queasy, can't-put-my-finger-on-it complaint. Well, for what it's worth, my advice is to just go-go-go. Once you are in the pool, the water feels great. You soon forget your fears and you will have a marvelous time that you will savor for the rest of your life. Smile!

julia_t Oct 6th, 2007 09:27 AM

I can totally empathise with you.

Next Saturday I am booked to fly to Croatia for a week. I have been wanting to go for years, and saving and planning for months. Just recently it all seemed to become so complicated with all I have going on here at home that I began to wonder if I should really go.

This is meant to be my 50th birthday present to myself.

My flights are with airmiles so I would just lose the taxes, the airport car park which I've booked, the car rental deposit, one night's room rental in Trogir, and a 50 euro deposit on an apartment in Dubrovnik. That would total around 150GBP.

However to go will cost me around 600 GBP, plus the costs of my 3 teenage children boarding at school for that week which will come to around 340 GBP. (They are happy to do this, BTW, before anyone chips in)

Yes, I have some smallish debts, ie credit card bills, but they are manageable, and I also have booked a ski/snowboarding trip for January with my boys (see, my kids do get their trips too!), and I am a bit worried about having to pay for that in full at the start of November. And oh God, I haven't even thought about Christmas yet!

But what the hell, isn't that what I have credit cards and an overdraft facility for?

Everyone deserves a second chance, but they don't always happen. You will regret passing up on this trip, and always wonder What If...

No, I think you should GO. Absolutely. Definitely.

I am going to go myself, despite my reservations, doubts etc. It will be incredibly good for ME, I need a break from being a full-time single mum to 4 teenagers, and I will come back a better person for it. I know this, and that is why I am going to go.

Please go, and please post back and tell us how it's gone!

Good luck, I will think of you.

crefloors Oct 6th, 2007 09:27 AM

I only get to Europe every couple of years because...and it's just MY preference..I like to have the trip paid for and money in the bank to pay any bills from the trip as soon as they come in. I don't like having to worry about what I'm spending..well I'm NOT buying 2,000 designer anything..but I want to be relaxed. I know everything is paid for and when I get home I can start saving again.

bamababe Oct 6th, 2007 10:09 AM

Ameelynn, you are going to have to make this decision yourself but know you aren't alone! My husband and I are going in the summer on our 5th trip and I ask myself this often.I LOVE Italy but I always feel like I should/ need/ to use the money on something else like replacing the wood floor, or the roof or even put it into retirement or the kids college fund. BUT when I think about it I realize that IF I don't go then I will wish I had! I must point out that we don't have any debt other than our mortgage so our situation is different than yours.

It would be better if you didn't have other debt . You state that you could" go in the Spring and do things right". Perhaps that is the best option for you now. You can use the money you've saved for this trip and pay it towards that debt and start saving again. I am not one who likes debt hanging over my head so I will ALWAYS pay that off first before doing something I WANT to do.

I think the real problem is you don't want to go by yourself. You need to ask yourself if you had a travel companion would you be asking these questions. If the answer is " no' then my suggestion would be to forgo this trip, pay your debts and plan again for the Spring. Only this time find a friend to go with you.

Good luck1

hypatia Oct 6th, 2007 10:48 AM

I thought I was the only one!!!
I have this pre-trip anxiety every time now and the farther I go away culturally the worst it is.The worst is right before I board the plane.I look around at all the foreign speakers and their behavior and the question pops up....why I am spending all this money to get out of my comfort zone?

But soon as I get there and start seeing new things

hypatia Oct 6th, 2007 11:05 AM

sorry, didn't have to ask yourself ..why am I going alone?...It's probably that there was not another person who wants to do what you want do and has the money. Maybe you don't have those kind of friends..(the ones you want to spend three solid weeks 24/7 with)

There always going to be glitches...There will be plenty to do and if you are just sitting around Tuscany watching to sunset and the olives grow, how wonderful!

It all depends on if you have been there before...if you havent I say go for you want to hear all those people saying ,"what happened to your trip?"

mari5 Oct 6th, 2007 02:03 PM

We have lived overseas, travel a lot, and for years went to Europe about twice a year.
HOWEVER......and it finally dawned on me that about THREE DAYS before leaving (where YOU are right now) I ALWAYS feel anxious and feel that it would be so much easier NOT to go.
This does pass and once on the plane and arriving at planned destination, things are almost always fun and wonderful.'
I think what you are experiencing is a not unusual feeling before a trip.
Of course you might have other issues that you are not sure about.
(personally, I think 20 days it a little long, but others would disagree with me.).
Sounds like you have a wonderful trip planned. Have you often traveled solo?
I feel like it will work out ....but again, it's a personal thing for you to decide.

StCirq Oct 6th, 2007 02:18 PM

No, can't say as I've ever changed my mind about going anywhere. Nor do I get pre-trip anxiety, except for the 5 minutes before I leave for the airport when I compulsively check to make sure I've got the passport, house keys, car voucher, hotel reservations, even though I know for sure they're all there.

My problem is at the other end of the trip. I can barely bring myself to come home most of the time.

blh Oct 6th, 2007 02:26 PM

ameelynn - I agree with many of the other posters that your anxiety is just pre-trip jitters that will pass once you're on your way. I think you have plenty of money saved and should be fine on that score. Would it be possible to cut your trip back a bit to say two weeks in order to help with the money - that way you wouldn't be completely broke and could perhaps take care of some bills or Chritmas with the extra money? Just a thought as to how you might compromise. Good luck with whatever you decide!

ameelynn1980 Oct 6th, 2007 03:02 PM

Thank you to all who have responded. I have spent much of the day thinking this over and have decided to take the trip.

I think that what I will do is wait until I get to Italy, see how easily I get acclimated, see how my money situation is, etc... and then consider scaling back to 2 weeks instead of 3. Of course, the airline (Swiss) may charge me a small fortune to bump my return flight up by a week, so I will have to keep this in mind as I consider costs, etc.

PS: On a completely unrelated topic, what is the recommended procedure when it comes to locking checked-in luggage? I have a couple of locks that I can use on my luggage, but not sure if I should use them or not.

CRAZY4TRAVEL Oct 6th, 2007 03:29 PM

I'm happy to hear that you are going to take the plunge...go for it and enjoy.

Until recently, you could not use locks on your checked luggage. There are now locks you can buy at travel stores that have a seal of approval from the TSA. There is a torch logo on the package.

Here is the website with info:

Enjoy your holiday and we look forward to hearing about it when you get back.

francophile03 Oct 6th, 2007 03:37 PM

ameelynn1980, I think the main issue for you is the fact you're traveling alone. A few months ago the trip to Italy seemed like a great getaway but as the date nears you have cold feet. Yes, I've been in your shoes. Usually I get my husband to go along in the end. But I've done a couple of short solo trips and while it's a bit unnerving at first I got over it quickly and just concentrated on the destination I waited so long to visit.

I'm glad you decided to go and really when you arrive you will not regret it. Later on you will feel happy that you accomplished solo travel.

connecticutyankee Oct 6th, 2007 03:44 PM

Glad you made your decision and even "gladder" that you're thinking of cutting it short. That would be my opinion.

I never lock my luggage for the flight. But then, I never bring anything I would be upset about if I were to lose it. You need to get TSA approved locks if you really want locks. I only lock when I'm on a train for a few hours and I'll need to go to the bathroom, etc.

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