How do you do it??

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Jun 10th, 2003, 12:56 PM
  #41
Vette4Paris
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Sure, avoid Houston, boring town with no character and nothing worth seeing. In Dallas, see the Sixth Fllor Museum and the two modern art museums in Ft. Worth. By all means see San Antonio, TX's nicest town.
 
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Jun 10th, 2003, 01:04 PM
  #42
 
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vette4Paris gives great recommendations. Houston is not a real tourist destination, and Dallas is a huge yawn (except for the Sixth Floor Museum). Ft. Worth has some of the best museums in the state, San Antonio is a trip, and oh yeah! Austin is a great town for good music and nightlife.
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Jun 10th, 2003, 01:05 PM
  #43
 
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And Austin is definitely worth seeing! Didn't it just get voted #1 for the best place to be single?
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Jun 10th, 2003, 01:23 PM
  #44
 
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Debt. Lots o debt is how I financed most of my vacations and now I'm paying hard for it. But I don't regret it.

One way to travel is to call up a cousin or an old friend. At first, U usually hesitate because I feel bad to impose but in reality, they always love to have the company and love giving tours of their own town. I always wonder why I hesitated at the end, especially when they invite you back later.

Sometimes you get lucky. One of my friends who worked for a travel company got us flights from JFK to Sydney for $375 round trip! This came about, though, because I stayed in touch with him vis a vis the last paragraph.

The moral to the story: don't be afraid to use your resources.
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Jun 10th, 2003, 01:37 PM
  #45
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Wow! This is why I absolutely LOVE you fodorites...what an amazing response. Hi Trish!
Crazymina - good for you!
BayArea - great advice.
Don - What I want to do is take three to four weeks to spend in one destination. (MileKing - the reason I might have trouble taking off work). I've gotten a taste of Europe and would LOVE to go back but there are so so many places I would like to see elsewhere as well.
Here's a little about my background...I was lucky enough to spend one month in France and one month in Spain (thanks mom and dad) when I graduated from high school - almost 8 yrs ago. I was also lucky enough to win a trip to London from an Austin radio station, if you can imagine. Since then I have financed my own trips and have been to many of the major US cities and really have my sights set on international travel. By no means, do I need anything top of the line and I think I do a pretty good job of researching and preparing for my "short trips" and getting some good prices. It's just that I would like to travel all the time. I could probably set aside $1000 a year, I guess. I forget now who mentioned it, but a lot of the posts I read do seem to be from posters who stay in $200+ per night hotels.

Irishk - I have a lot to say about things to see here, maybe I can email you? I'm so glad you want to include Austin on your itinerary.

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Jun 10th, 2003, 02:53 PM
  #46
 
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I'm a CPA by profession, so despite frugality and detailed planning being occupational hazards, they're sure beneficial when it comes to traveling. There's a lot of excellent advice already posted here on this thread, but I would like to offer up a crazy idea that may lead to a responsible lifetime of travel. Tough to do, but I can really see it benefiting you (someone in their 20's) in the near and far future.

Pay yourself first! Before you give your money away to creditors or frivolously spend it, pack away $300 a month in a stock mutual fund. Each year spend $1,200, which should afford you a very nice vacation for a week or more just about anywhere in the Americas. After the end of 17.5 years, considering an annual compound rate of 10% which seems reasonable post-01 bear market, your other $2,400 annual contribution would have grown to around $100,000. Pack that $100,000 away in a tax-free muni bond paying 5% or more annually, and you could have $5,000 every year (in the form of tax free interest income) for vacation purposes for the rest of your life! Then again, that may not afford you much if inflation rears its ugly head like it did in the late 70's. But at least you'd have $100,000 to chip away at for the rest of your life. This is an extreme savings example, but one that would turn your dreams into reality! Think bigger and longer savings and you could have a handsome retirement on top! Just something to consider.
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Jun 10th, 2003, 03:14 PM
  #47
 
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That should read "your other $2,000 annual contributions" rather than "your other $2,400 annual contribution."

Wouldn't want an already crazy idea seem even wilder!
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Jun 10th, 2003, 03:28 PM
  #48
uuhhhh
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okay, let's do the math. $300 x 12 = $3600 - $1200 = $2000? i always heard a good cpa could add 2 and 2 and get 3, but you're amazing bluefan.

seriously, you should stick to auditing and tax preparation and leave the financial planning to someone else.
 
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Jun 10th, 2003, 03:28 PM
  #49
 
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I think someone briefly mentioned it above... sign up for efare emails from the airlines. You have Continental based in Houston and American in Dallas so there should be a lot to choose from each week. Every Tuesday they post discount fares for travel on Saturday and returning on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes they have really great fares to good cities, including international. Of course, it's only good for last minute travel.
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Jun 10th, 2003, 03:41 PM
  #50
 
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uuhhh, obviously it looks like I'm better at using a 10-key than a keyboard. One typing error after another. I'd better lay off them mai tais, which was helping me cope with the post-trip blues!

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Jun 10th, 2003, 03:53 PM
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Actually, bluefan referred to $2,400-- not $2,000. That would be the net of $300/month put aside in a Savings plan (i.e., $3,600) less the $1,200 vacation budget. The central tenet of bluefan's advice is good: Put aside money, and put it to work for you. That's good advice for everyone, no matter what they want to do with the cash.

My problem with bluefan's scenario is that of the tax consequences of taking $1,200 out of a stock fund. But that's another "Oprah". Also, I think 10% return on a stock mutual fund in today's low-inflation environment is very optimistic (even given the gains of this year, which I fear could be given back in a thrice). Figure on 8% pre-tax return and move on from there....
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Jun 10th, 2003, 03:55 PM
  #52
 
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Duhhh-- I see. bluefan mistakenly corrected himself/herself. My eyes are even more tired...!!!
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Jun 10th, 2003, 04:10 PM
  #53
 
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It's obvious boys and girls that I was trying to offer up a very simplified suggestion for austinite and other youngsters who list travel as a high priority, and y'all got the gist despite my mental farts. Didn't want to make it too technical...this is a travel board afterall. Good thing I work at a firm where others can catch my errors before they become public!
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Jun 10th, 2003, 04:36 PM
  #54
 
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One last thing I wanted to put out there was Never Underestimate the Power of a Picnic.

have picnics at home when you're tempted to have a restaurant evening out.

have picnics on the road.

The savings you will see is outstanding, and you'll probably eat better too.
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Jun 10th, 2003, 05:26 PM
  #55
 
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Three words.....travelzoo-dot-com

Great Web site for you and yours and a real staple for my never ending travel appetite. They work as a huge billboard for all things cheap and last minute in travel and their Top 20 e-mail subscription will leave you wondering why everyone isn't doing this. FYI-my 20 something wife and my 20 something self are going to Prague for four nights over Thanksgiving with R/T air and hotel for a grand total of $400 a person. That's what I am talking about. If Europe isn't your thing they are all the time running cruise and Caribean deals leaving from New Orleans and Galveston, just a hop skip and jump away for you.

ALso, get onto to American Airlines site (aa.com) and subscribe to the weekly Netsaver fare. Last minute deals all over the place, with a whole truck load of stuff leaving from DFW every week, once again a drive and fly and before you know it you are traveling!

Otherwise, check out Southwest's last minute deals leaving from Austin and San Antonio. Unfortunately, I don't know that much about them, but I know they are there.

The name of your game for now though is flexibilty. Be ready to take the Friday thru Monday trip and your world will open up beyond your wildest dreams. Take it from the 20 something young professional with a whopping two weeks vacation and massive student debt. It can be done, and on the cheap at that.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg for me, if your thirst still needs to be quenched I can list more cheap travel sites than you can shake a stick at! Enjoy!
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Jun 10th, 2003, 06:14 PM
  #56
 
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Well since you asked here goes - When I was young I was mostly frivolous with my expenditures. Slowly I began to see that didn't cut it. I was missing out on things I really wanted to do. I began to see how MANAGING money/time was the way to "riches". Then I met the woman I love, had kids, and HAD to change. Today am in late 40's and we have 5 kids. We own a nice home in Atlanta's Chastain Park and have a mountain cabin/land in western NC. We go to the cabin almost every other weekend. We go on hikes, waterfalls, amusement parks, biking, rafting. In the last four years alone we have been to New York, Las Vegas, Yellowstone, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida, and Caribbean. Next year we are going to Europe which we are already planning. We have stayed at some great hotels, Bellagio, Venetian, Mandalay Bay in Vegas, Palace in San Francisco, Doubletree in Manhattan. All this on less than 100,000 a year. How do we do it? To begin we have no car payments. We own 3 USED cars. That alone probably saves us well over 1000 a month. Yeah we have repairs but the most has been maybe 3000 in one year as compared to say over 12,000 a year in car payments? We keep 'em maintained and clean. We drive the way your supposed to drive and our car insurance is low. We get 50% off specials every few months from Enterprise car rental. We buy our clothes at places like good will and Target from the clearance racks. We buy the dress clothes we need when major department stores have one day 40-70 off. We shop at Costco alot. We dine out more than we eat at home but we use coupons, 2 for 1, and specials. All of our credit cards we have at less than 10%. We pay 30-100 % more on min due each month. All household goods at Lowes/Home Depot/Rooms To Go, with major purchases 12 month no interest. We go to yard sales, flea markets. We shop E-Bay. We plan our vacations months in advance. We use the computer for all planning/pricing. We fly coach specials. In all we are one big happy family! Again its all about MANAGING your money/time. Yeah maybe this aint everybodys cup of tea but thats how we do it!!!
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Jun 10th, 2003, 09:17 PM
  #57
 
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All the advice so far is wonderful and I think I'll print it out and give to my niece who is a sophomore in college.

I've only recently moved out of the young and broke stage of life. Make enough money now that I don't have to scrimp and save to do trips, I just do them. But before my good fortune, I was your typical tacky tourist and went many fun places for minimal expenditure. My advice would be do all those trips locally that you can do on a shoe string. Never underestimate the power of going with several friends and sharing digs. I once went to Mardi Gras with 9 gay men and a dog, all in one Econolodge motel room (no, the maid never had to clean-up she just left clean towels and we left the room spotless after 5 days) I think that trip cost me a grand total of $100.00. Go stay with all your college friends who have moved around the country - I was able to see lots of gorgeous countryside and smaller midwest cities. All my college friends have come to NYC and all it cost them was airfare and spending money, which to NYC can get very cheap - plus at that stage, I knew all the cheap places to eat, drink, play (actually, I still do). For Europe, travel off-season. Aer Lingus was just running a special out of NYC,Boston, etc for $99.00 each way. It was off season travel to Ireland(April and May), but Bunratty castle is Bunratty castle whether it's April or July. Hostels are a great place to stay on a budget, just make sure you make the age restrictions. Don't eat in Restaurants - the "wine/cheese/bread in a park meal" will do for almost all meals or head to college areas in major cities for cheap eats (e.g in NYC on 8th street around NYU, you can stop in at EVA's and get the best falafel of your life for less than $5.00).

Now that your career has started never underestimate the power of a business trip. When I was first starting out, I would extend all my business travel by 2-5 days. Yes, I had to pick up the extra cost of hotel (you can move to cheaper digs), but the airfare was paid for and sometimes your company may pick up some of the extra hotel costs, esp if it means staying over a saturday night - that can cut the cost of an airline ticket $500-$1000, esp when purchased semi-last minute. (I once had a business trip completely cover the cost of my extending from Chicago to LaCrosse, WI, because extending the trip over a saturday night cut approx $800 off the cost of a Thurs- Friday flight by making it a Thurs - Monday Flight - unfortunately, I never got to make the trip - Sept 2001). Most of the time these extensions are over a weekend so it does not cut into vacation time. It's also a good way for friends to travel with you. I always invite someone along on my business trips (now it is my partner, but it can be Friends or Mom). This way they get to see the sites, while I'm tied up during the day and they only have to pay for airfare.

Also, research where you are going, find out what days or nights the museums are free ( In NYC they are free all the time - they cannot force you to pay to get in, it is a "suggestion" - but one night a week each museum is free and no one will look at you sideways, because everyone is not paying) and what free things are going on in the parks, esp in summer. Like tonight, you could have sat in Central Park and listened to the Metropolitan Opera for free. Most major cities have these opportunities. And don't feel funny not paying, I went for free when I couldn't afford it and now I belong to different museums and zoos in NYC and pay some hefty and not so hefty membership fees each year to help support them. When you need you are given and when you have you give. ( what is that phrase - More if you can, less if you can't).

In my younger and poorer days, I probably did 3 "flying trips" a year and 2-3 "driving trips" a year, I also always left a job with the max payout possible for accrued sick and vacation days - I would use that $1-2K for a trip between jobs.
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Jun 11th, 2003, 05:29 AM
  #58
 
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I understand all too well what it's like to have that passion to see the world, but only be able to see it through others eyes. I married very young(huge mistake)and became a single parent some yrs after. There was never enough money for anything more than a weekend at the beach. I remarried a man who was starting his own business, anyone who has done this knows those first years are VERY lean. When things started to turn around and my oldest was nearly grown we took some wonderful trips, UNTIL.. the stork (damn bird)decided to surprise us with a midlife bundle. Now our trips are mostly to see family or family oriented places.

I dream of the day that there will be enough money & time to really travel, I hope I live long enough!
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Jun 11th, 2003, 07:29 AM
  #59
Tia
 
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crazymina:

Yosemite is FABULOUS!!! I was amazed. You'll LOVE IT!!!!

Tia
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Jun 11th, 2003, 07:58 AM
  #60
 
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Another consideration is: how attached are you to your career at this point? your current job? When I was young and single, after working for a couple of years, I decided (since I wanted to have a family eventually) that it made sense to leave my career for a while and do some serious traveling BK (before kids) and before I reached a point of career seniority that I would not be able to regain easily after a hiatus. A semi-entry-level job is usually easier to find than one as a CEO (not that I've ever made CEO - maybe because I take too much time off ;->).

In the age-old money vs. time trade-off, it's amazing how cheaply you can do things when you have abundant time.

I always try to keep in mind that in ANY paid job, I am basically selling my time - my most limited and precious resource - for money. So the job better be worth it - either in intrinsic meaning and satisfaction or money or SOMETHING - don't sell your life away cheaply (and I'm not talking about dollars).

I remember meeting a woman in Fiji - a nurse - who had left her job in Seattle, picked up as crew on an Australian yacht - not as an employee, but rather sharing duties and expenses the way you'd share a house, and was sailing all over the South Pacific and living a life many people dream of for an unbelievably small amount of money - less a month than some people's monthly bill for lattes at Starbucks. She wasn't smarter than you or me, and not richer - but she found a way. I've met people who left professional "careers" and worked as waiters in tony restaurants six months of the year, making enough to travel the world (on the backpack plan) the other six. If your career is not meaningful enough to be a source of major satisfaction, you might consider a job that may pay less money but leave you more time and flexibility for the things important to you ...

Let your imagination, creativity, and your own interests be your guide! (Then you can pontificate to some youngster twenty years from now just like I'm doing.)
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