There’s this travel company called Contiki, and they have some really awesome budget tours for people between the ages of 18-35. They had this one specific tour that I really had my eye on. I even have my browser homepage set to the page for this tour, because I wanted to motivate myself to save enough to go on it. It’s called the ‘Ultimate European’, and it was 46 days visiting something like 17 countries for about $4000. (The prices I’m quoting here are approximate, based on one pound being equal to a bit over two Canadian dollars). But it’s the offseason, so they didn’t have their new travel dates up until a week or two ago. So one day I get online, and I see that the new dates are up. But all of a sudden, the tour costs about $6000. 150% of the price from last year. Yea, I could probably still manage to get the money for this, but I’m not going to. No chance that I’ll patronize that company after this little episode.

I didn’t mention this yesterday, but this whole tour price thing is part of the reason I’d like to get a GPS now. I had 3 main reasons for wanting to go on a tour. 1: it’s all planned for me, I just give them the money and they do the work. 2: I’d be travelling with other people instead of alone. And 3: I wouldn’t have to worry about missing the main sites that I really want to go see, because they’ll take me there. But really, the people I’d be travelling with would be total strangers, and I could end up having a horrible time. And being on a trip like that would mean that I’d end up seeing things that I don’t particularly care about too, and maybe not spending enough time in the places that I really want to be in. Whereas if I use a GPS and just do it my own way, I won’t have to worry about these things. I’ll be in my own company or with travel companions that I choose, I’ll still know where things are (thanks to the GPS), I can stay for as long or as short of a time as I choose in any one place, and I won’t be wasting my valuable travelling time on places that I don’t really want to see that much anyways. I think I’d still want to plan things out ahead of time, just because I’m the type of person that works better on an itinerary, but I’d at least have the option to be spontaneous. I’m still a little undecided about the approach I should take though. Should I do 4-5 day trips seperately in the different places I’d like to visit on my long weekends? Or should I just do a big blowout at the end of the year?

If I do the short stints I’ll have off-season prices (I think, at least for some of them anyways), I won’t have to carry as much luggage while I’m travelling, my stuff will all be safely locked in my dorm room, and I’ll be able to update my blog after every trip. But I’ll have to pay for trains or flights both ways each time. And I won’t have as much time to study.

If I do the big blowout at the end then I may have to pay higher prices where I stay, and it’ll be continuous. I’ll have to carry everything that I’ll need for the whole trip. If I continue to travel past the time when I have to be out of res then I’ll have to find a place to store the stuff that I don’t bring travelling. But the actual travel would be cheaper, since I wouldn’t be going back and forth between here and the rest of Europe. And I’d have more time to study during the semester. But as for the blog, there’d be an overload of things to put in when I’m all finished. Yea I could find cyber cafes in the cities that I go to and do it there, but that’s not really something that I want to feel I have to do while I’m exploring.

Originally I thought that a big blowout at the end of the year would be best. Now it’s almost looking like the weekend trips would be the best option. I think that would also mean that I’d be able to plan things out better. Planning 4 or 5 days is much easier than planning a month, and there’s not as much of a problem if something along the line gets messed up either. I’ll probably end up doing a mix of the two anyways. I’ll need to stay here some weekends to work on assignments. And the school year is finished by the end of May, but I had to pay residence fees up to July 8. If I’m paying the rent, I’m going to stay here until it’s finished. Yea, I know, I focus too much on money sometimes. But I’m living off a bank loan, what do you expect? So I’m going to use this room right up until the date that I have to leave, because I had to pay for it. Even if I’m just using it as storage space for my computer and other things that I want to leave safely behind while I’m travelling.

So people, give me some feedback on this stuff. Especially those of you who have travelled.

And yea, I know a GPS isn’t a necessity. I know I could find my way without it, using maps and stuff. But I get lost really easily in new places, especially over here. And maps don’t tend to tell you exactly where your hotel or a good restaurant are, and exactly how to get there. I want the GPS for piece of mind. Instead of standing on a street with this huge map unfolded and looking completely lost (might as well just paint tourist on my forehead), I can have a little earbud headphone in my ear telling me which direction to go and where to turn. I’ll at least look like I know where I’m going. The idea gives me confidence. I also won’t be so worried about not being able to find the attractions that I really want to see. Heh, I’ll let you all know if it actually works this way once I finally buy one and try it out.