I have wander lust. It started with an email I got from Imagine Ireland last week offering me half off on a wonderful cottage I once stayed in in County Claire .
About three years ago, we packed up â€“ my entire family of four â€“ and went to Ireland for almost a month. We worked from our laptops, packed our Skype phones so we could answer our business lines, and filed articles from across the pond. It was great and we proved that we really could work from anywhere â€“ though we did end up working at crazy times of day to accommodate time differences.
We all had so much fun on that trip that the phrase, “Remember when we lived in Ireland?” has become something we say to each other when one of us is feeling a little down or we get a touch of wander lust. It cheers us up. At leastÂ until Ava (my 10-year-old daughter) says, “But I don’t miss the food!” Truer words were never spoken.
I know what you are thinking. “Didn’t you just go to Iceland!?” I did. And that’s only one letter away from Ireland. But what can I say? I like to travel. I like to travel to places where a hamburger isn’t a hamburger, where you have to figure out another currency, and learn a few words of the local language. (A lot of people and TV shows speak Gaelic in Ireland.) And I like to take my kids along so they can feel the wild range of life experiences out there in the world. And when I travel, I like to pretend I live in the place I’m visiting rather than go stay in a resort or hotel. (But when I do stay in a hotel I usually book it through Priceline.com.Â I have gotten some amazing deals that way.) This is Frugal Friday, though. So you know I’m not planning to slap a lengthy, exotic trip on a credit card no matter how thoroughly I manage to convince myself that I owe it to myself and my kids. I will just go read Suze Ormon or watch this silly video I found through Get Rich Slowly one more time:
Also along on the trip I went on to Iceland was journalist and travel writer, Tim Leffel. He was a lot of fun to travel with and has been just about everywhere on all manner of cool assignments. We had a blast on that trip. And since I got home, I’ve been following his blog, Cheapest Destinations. This has not helped at all with my wanderlust! He offers great advice on seeing the world well without spending a lot of money. And his book,Â THE WORLD’S CHEAPEST DESTINATIONS: 21 Countries Where Your Money is Worth a Fortune – THIRD EDITION is now out. Frugal travel! Right up my alley.
I know from experience that Ireland is not one of the world’s cheapest destinations. Though that cottage wasn’t expensive and it was lovely. (Remember when we lived there?) But maybe I could choose something less pricey from Tim’s book and use the wisdom Jack acquires in that silly instructional video (above) to save for a trip.
I think we can do better than that pen-and-paper graph Jack was using, though, can’t we? For one thing, his pen broke and he had to buy another, which messed up his budget. And there is no way he’s getting text message reminders from that thing. Write down every expense? Those were simpler times.
As I said last week, I use Quicken Online to manage my budget. But I’m tempted by the feature at Mint.com — a very similar tool — that points out places in your saving plan where you could do better by getting a better interest rate. I am so fickle. And Mint.com, unlike Jack’s pen, is free.