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Combining travel = saving $$$

I have a trip to Toronto in the spring and a separate trip to New York City in the fallĀ planned for this year, but for some reason I never thought to combine the two trips to save on the cost of my flights. Now that I think about it, it seems like the most logical thing to do.

So I’ve been talking with my friend about doing Toronto and NYC in May. The cost of a Vancouver-Toronto/Buffalo-NYC/NYC-Vancouver flight arrangement would be around $720 after taxes/fees. Which is a killer deal. We would rent a car from Toronto and drive to Buffalo so we can check out Niagara Falls (never been there before), then fly from Buffalo to NYC. Not only will we be saving hundreds on air fare by combining the two trips, my accommodation costs in Toronto just got slashed in half by sharing a room.

And because my friend and I are huge baseball fans, we made sure to plan our trip around 3 baseball games (Astros vs. Jays in Toronto, Toronto vs. Yankees in NYC, and Phillies vs. Mets in NYC). Now to make sure I get to see Roy Halladay pitch… :)

I am beyond excited to be able to save money and make this trip happen. But it’s still going to be expensive.

Here’s what I’m thinking cost-wise:

Travel
$800 (including flights & 1 day rental car Toronto-Buffalo)

Toronto (3 nights)
$200 downtown accommodation
$200 food & entertainment (I have a lot of people to see, plus a ball game to watch!)

NYC (7 nights)
$600 downtown accommodation (could be much cheaper depending on how many other girls come, this cost is based on just the 2 of us for now)
$600 food & entertainment (including 2 ball games & a Broadway show)

TOTAL: $2,400

What do you think?

I think we’ll check out Groupon or other deal sites to save on entertainment and food costs. Plus my friend is a very frugal traveler, and has been to NYC before so I trust her to get us good deals. We will also utilize VRBO.com for our accommodation in both Toronto and NYC, since I had such a positive experience using the site for my trip to Hawaii. And because we’re staying in condos and not hotel rooms, we will have access to a kitchen to cook some of our meals. But I do want to experience some of the yummy eats in NYC too! And I’m not just talking about street vendor hot dogs.

$2,400 sounds like a lot of money, and it is. In fact, it kind of makes die a little inside when I think about it. But I am saving at least $700-800 by combining both trips together plus I have been wanting to visit NYC for at least 10 years now… and Toronto has been on my list since my last visit 2 years ago. I think because part of my trip to Toronto will be for work (freelance), I will be able to write some of it off.

In other travel-related news, BF and I are thinking really hard about a trip to Machu Picchu or Patagonia at the end of December 2011 into January 2012. Because my work shuts down for the week after Christmas, we were thinking we could potentially get away for 3 weeks if I’m allowed. :)

Playing with vacation days

Next year my family was supposed to take another vacation together to Cuba – much like our trip to Playa del Carmen this year. But my mom just spent a significant amount of money on some much needed home renovations, so that trip is on hold and talk is now of a much bigger trip to China in a few years.

Now that Cuba isn’t happening, I have some vacation days to play with. I have 16.5 days allotted for 2011 (1.5 carried over from 2010). The breakdown right now goes something like this:

  • 1 day – Calgary (February)
  • 1 day – Toronto (May)
  • 4 days – NYC (September)
  • 2 days – Christmas 2011

That means I have 8.5 days left to play with, and if I hook up with a holiday, that means I’d have almost enough for a 2 week trip somewhere! Some ideas BF and I quickly tossed around were… Peru, Egypt, Morocco, Greece, the Maritimes, or even just a 2-week road trip somewhere in North America – keep it local. We can’t really decide what to do yet (there’s just so many places we’d like to see), but it’s exciting to know that a trip is definitely in the works for next year! We’ll do more research once BF gets himself established with work in the new year. The most important thing for us remains saving up for a down payment. And in the meantime, I’ll start to put aside money into my sad, depleted Travel Fund. :)

Does anybody else have any big trips coming up next year? Maybe you’ll give us some inspiration!

Wednesday this and that

This weekend BF and I are going back to the island for a wedding. I haven’t figured out when we’re traveling, what to wear, or exactly what to get for a present. Since I am on a shopping ban, I will probably just wear a skirt and cardigan. It’s a lunch reception so it won’t be a formal affair.

I have also made an appointment to get my hair cut. I usually go for the junior stylist who is around $35, but this time I’m paying for a senior stylist (I think $55) because I’m going to try something different with my hair. :)

Also I have purchased 2 Christmas presents already. Now just 5 main presents to go, and then a few smaller ones for friends and co-workers.

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