With Christmas passed, I’ve shifted my focus to the New Year ahead. But before I get too caught up in making it the best and most productive year of my life, I have a bit of traveling to do.
Two years ago, I spent New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam of the Netherlands, and it was a celebration for the history books. This year, in light of my college graduation and my impending entry into graduate school (presumably the beginning of the dreaded “real life”), I’ve chosen to spend New Year’s in Munich, Germany as a part of a tour traveling everywhere you see in the map shown. Major stops include Munich, Frankfurt, and Heidelberg (Germany), Venice (Italy), and Lucerne (Switzerland). There will be day trips and minor stops to Dachau (Germany), Innsbruck (Austria), and Verona (Italy). The trip is slated for 10 days, just long enough for my taste, and hopefully long enough to get a feel for our destinations.
I’m looking forward to the trip, as my last New Year’s abroad was fantastic. It will, however, put a dent into my savings. I am generally not a big spender though, so I enjoy saving for something like a trip to Europe rather than a trip to the mall. I also anticipate this being my last major [expected] expense for a while to come, because I know I will have plenty of student loans to pay back once I begin graduate school. The trip totals around $2,000, including some admissions, all travel expenses (flights and buses), and all accommodations. It covers one dinner, but that is all. I’m am not sure what to expect in terms of how much I will be spending on food, and I am indecisive about whether I should be setting a budget or not. Even without a budget, I won’t be seeking out expensive food (I lean towards a more frugal and economical approach to eating when abroad). So I’m inclined not to set a budget in order to avoid the constant calculations in my head (‘Am I over my budget?’ ‘If I splurge now, should I skip a meal later?’) and also to avoid the constant reminders of the money I am spending. I expect food to be the largest expense, and then any additional admissions and/or experiences, with souvenirs coming third. The trip as a whole, however, it something that I expect to be priceless. I’ve heard enough people suggest traveling after graduation to feel confident that I’ve made the right decision to go, even if it is a major expense. So to all of you out there, “prost neujahr!” (“Happy New Year!”)
Have you traveled before? Do you set specific or general budgets when traveling?
If you’ve been to any of the destinations I’ve listed, please share your experience!