The Frustration of Trip Planning

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Cue rant. Picture my partner and I standing in the travel section of Barnes & Noble for an hour yesterday. Our goal? Pick somewhere to go in December. This is way harder than we expected it to be.

Generally people (us included) are dreamers – looking at potential trips, planning routes, or discussing budgets. I even go so far as to plot my future trips on a world map with color-coded stickies…not kidding – I’m a super dork like that – I have a separate system for potential fieldwork locations. It started when I saw the movie Mask (with Cher, not Jim Carrey) maybe 18 years ago. Our current problem (which is probably something I’ll never experience again as long as I live) is that we’ve saved a chunk of money to spend on travel and don’t know where to go. It’s not a giant chunk, but it’s enough for two people to go to most destinations and be comfortable. Our challenge: we need to go in December during the semester break. This means right before Christmas, during Christmas, or during New Years.

Secondly, I’m not into being cold during this purely-for-leisure voyage. If it’s an international trip that we’re after, I don’t want to have to lug an extra cumbersome bag of winter clothes.  I’d like it to be 50 degrees (f) or higher during daylight. This is harder than it seems.

Neither of us have any desire to go to South America right now. I’ve been to Australia and Central America. She’s been all over Southeast Asia and the Middle East.  This leaves us with most of Africa and the southern tips of Spain, France, Italy, and Greece (though she’s been to all of the latter).  I’m leaving southern India out for now because I have a feeling that will be coming up soon. We had considered Istanbul (even though she’s been), but she mentioned she was freezing there during the winter months, which put me off.  As you can see, it’s equally hard to find somewhere she hasn’t been to. That’s what I get for being partnered to an anthropologist who took the concept of ‘study abroad’ to extreme levels as a non-traditional undergrad at Smith College.

We also want to keep it kind of low-key in terms of how dangerous the area is that we visit. Therefore, we had already decided that if we were going to go to the Middle East or Africa then we’d go with a tour.

I’d very strongly consider Egypt (again, even though she’s been), but it would be at the very edge of our budget after flights/hotels/tours for even 10 days or so. If you’ve ever looked into it, it’s not the cheapest place to go.

SO after several hours of discussion yesterday, we’re no farther than when we started. We are now considering being lazy and going on a cruise – but adding the cruise price with airfare also oversteps our budget by just enough to make us uncomfortable. Also, I have issues with heteronormativity on various cruise lines, but that’s another post.  This is my frustrating tirade of the week.  Next year, I’ll likely be able to pick out 50 places I want to go and won’t have the money.

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