So I was talking to a friend of mine (the one who convinced me that I need to blog again), and I was trying to convince them of taking a vacation. They just graduated from school and now have a job and are earning a paycheck! I asked where they were going to go on vacation with their newfound freedom and money! My friend replied that they didn't know how too and were scared a little of how to schedule a vacation. So this is for my friend in Chicago, who has only been to the Shedd Aquarium once!
Since I have traveled probably more than 99.9% of the population my age, I figured I would give my friend some help/advice!
Step 1: Figure out where you want to go! My friend has an interest in Vancouver for the Olympics in 2010, so we will use that!
Step 2: Figure out when (dates) you are going to go. Since it is for the Olympics, the dates are pretty much set. The Olympics are in February 12 - 28th, 2010. The gold round for female figure skating is Feb 25th and the Gold round for the best short track speed skating is Feb. 26th!
Step 3: Figure out your budget. This is obviously going to be pretty expensive...it is the Olympics. For this trip lets say $5000. I know it may seem like a lot, but it is the Olympics.
Step 4: Flights. Since it is pretty common location Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia all work well. I found a flight on Orbitz on Continental for $637 total for a 1 stop flight from St. Louis to Vancouver. I know some people are willing to make multiple stops for a cheaper flight, but remember you are paying money for your vacation and taking time off from work for this...do you really want to waste time flying further and wasting time in airports? Also don't forget to sometimes check individual airline websites because sometimes they have promotions(I highly doubt anyone is goign to for the Olympics). Also, if your traveling in the US, Southwest is often the cheapest but does not sell tickets on Orbitz.
Step 5: Hotels. This can change your cost a lot! To some people this is important, to others its just where you sleep and you plan to spend most of your time outside. Depending on what I am planning on doing, I will decide how nice of a hotel I want. Remember, sometimes staying a little further out will save you a lot! As we will see in this example. Because of the Olympics all of the hotels have inflated prices and are booked! Even the Holiday Inn Express has a nightly rate of over $500/night! If your willing to travel 40 miles the hotel rooms get reduced dramatically! back to normal $100+/night! 45 minutes away , 35 minutes away
Step 6: Figure out what your going to do. Since these tickets are already sold out, your going to have to find tickets through brokers (which means they will be more expensive). To do this simply google what your looking for! You'll be amazed at what you'll find! It is a little bit risky buying tickets online if you have never done it before. I would normally recommend buying direct, but in this case they are sold out. www.stubhub.com is a good place to find tickets as you will also find other brokers. Here is what I found: Short Track Speed Skating Gold Round and Women's Figure Skating Gold Round. As you can see the cheapest tickets for both of these events is going to cost about $800 total and can go all the way up to thousands of dollars!
So there it is...all in a few minutes!
Hotel: $600 (assuming you stay at the 35 minute hotel for 3 nights, and factoring in taxes)
Food: $400 (assuming $100 a day, remember everything is going to cost more at the Olympics)
You may think this is a lot, but it is truly a once in a lifetime experience! Personally I would spend more money to either stay longer or get better seats (to improve my experience). Since this is really a once in a lifetime event, you might want to splurge a little.