Save or splurge? 2 best tips on how to travel like an adult

Dearest Reader,

There comes a time in your life when you just can’t imagine yourself sleeping in a bunk bed with 10 other people in some hostel anymore. You go to work like a real grown-up every day, you’re trying to desperately stay on top of your adult responsibilities, and you just deserve a holiday with a little more luxury than this.

At the same time, you need to be money-wise, because money doesn’t grow on trees – just remember all them bitches you didn’t slap at work every day to afford this holiday!

So how do you travel like an adult?

What do you save on? What do you splurge on? 

1. SPLURGE: Realistic flights and journey times

How many times have you booked a low cost flight, thinking that sure, I’ll be fine taking off at 6am in the morning and having 2 stopovers of 7 hours each to save 100 bucks. 

But think of the reality. If you fly internationally at 6am, it means you’ll have to be at the airport around 4am. Depending on how far you live from the airport, that means trying to organise transport an hour or more before then. And before that, you have to wake up and get ready!

Trust me, when you are shivering outside in the dark waiting for the airport shuttle bus at 2am in the morning on no sleep, with 22 hours of travel to go, and someone came along and told you:  Hey, if you give me $100 right now, I’ll make this whole journey 100 times more comfortable for you!
You’d be like: Hell yeah, take my money and just get me out of this shit.

The same applies to long or frequent stopovers. I was recently tempted to buy a flight ticket from Sydney to Venice which was $900 cheaper than the average airline because there was a 26 hour stopover in Mumbai.

Woah $900! But let’s do the maths here.

Now, with a probably 40+ hour total journey, you’re looking at basically missing at least two working days. Let’s say you make $200 bucks a day, that means you lose $400, and at this point you’re only saving $500. On top of that, now you’re stuck in Mumbai for 26 hours. Do you leave the airport? That costs money. Do you buy food? That costs money again. Do you rent a room? That’s going to be a handsome sum!

And trust me, even after only 10 hours of waiting at the airport, bored out of your mind, dead phone, out of snacks, you’d be willing to spend $500 to be on the next flight to Venice.

You’re on holiday for fuck’s sake. Time to relax!

2. SAVE: Hotels and room service

When you finally say goodbye to youth hostels, there are a whole new set of challenges: Resisting the mini bar, the room service meals, and all sorts of other luxuries that come with a price tag. Many hotels will charge more because of the little extras – maybe you get a bottle of something bubbly on arrival, or fresh fruit every day, or some ‘complementary’ high-end skincare products.

The good news is that you can have all this and more for a fraction of the price, if you plan ahead a little.

For instance, did you know that you can have unlimited ice in fancy buckets delivered to your door for free? If you just bring your own bottle of champagne, or buy it when you arrive, you’ll be spending $30 on this sparkling experience instead of $150 in extra daily charges for the convenience of having it there on arrival. In fact, have a damn champagne bottle once a day for that price! Go ahead, you earned it!

Fill your mini fridge with your own favourite snacks and drinks – you are allowed to keep your own things in the fridge! You know that you’ll want a beer and a snickers at 11pm at night. And why shouldn’t you have those things, dammit? So when you arrive at your destination, just take a trip to the convenience store and fill up the fridge will all the disgusting things your heart may desire.

And if you really want food and drinks delivered to your door – just use a delivery service. Food delivery is a thing in most countries, so just use any of the normal delivery sites you’d use at home (and yes, they deliver to hotel rooms!). I recently ordered ice cold beers and awesome meals from a local restaurant to my hotel room in Brisbane. Not only was it delicious to eat, but it was delicious to know that the hotel would have charged me 200% of what I’d paid for the exact same thing.

I hope these tips and small hints of luxury will make your next trip feel a little more grown-up. And sparkly.

The Final Countdown: 29 Years and 11 Months

Dearest Reader,

I am only one month away from turning .., well you know. The big 3-0. I thought this would be a very timely reflection of what it has been like to be 29.

Mostly, I’ve done a lot of sitting and thinking, which sounds a little basic but I don’t recall doing this much before hitting this final countdown to adulthood.

I have thought more about my health, my social life, my friends and my family. I have also thought more about the things in my home, the things I want and the things I definitely don’t.

Overwhelmingly, it has been a positive, happy year, and not the scary nightmare I thought it would be.

Yes, noticing the first lines on your face is a total downer, but being faced with your own mortality kind of motivates you to take care of yourself. This year I am proud to say that I have been walking to work, running in the park, getting up early to do Pilates classes, calling in sick when I am sick, not eating fast food and cutting down on the ridiculous amounts of nachos and beer I was consuming regularly.

I have also finally made peace with the fact that I am happiest in my PJs, braless, at home, watching The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. I no longer feel the need to prove to society that I have a thriving social life by attending outings at places I hate with people I have little to talk about.

Of course, I still enjoy socialising with my friends, but I have certainly said goodbye to those nights when you squeeze yourself into an uncomfortable dress, then fight with your face and hair before forcing your feet into shoes that feel like you’re wearing barb wire and then partying all night simply so you can be seen and known as a sociable person.

So, embracing my inner couch potato has been amazing, and I don’t care who knows it.

Finally, let’s talk about stuff. Consumerism is deeply embedded in our culture, and I have certainly fallen victim to it. When I started reflecting on the things I have, I realised what a fortune I have wasted on skincare products, expensive ‘special occasion’ clothes, and even just ‘cute’ stationary. So 29 has been all about getting rid of shit – especially things that made me feel guilty, annoyed or anxious.

For instance, I have given away clothes that don’t fit me, because it is highly unlikely that I will get back my figure from high school because yes, I had a pair of jeans from when I was 17 that I was hoping to fit into, and it was frustrating me that I couldn’t. I finally acknowledged that I won’t fit into it again not because I’m fat but because, well, I grew out of them!

You also chuck people – that person you worked with 8 years ago for 7 months? Really don’t need to follow their story on Facebook anymore. That high school friend that’s kind of the Eric Cartman in the group and their stupid face and attitude has annoyed you for over a decade? Delete their number. Making space for the people you really care about and dedicating your time to them is much more fulfilling. Yes, 29 teaches you that it is about the quality, not quantity of friends.

So does this make the 30s any less daunting?  

It really doesn’t. It still sounds scary as hell.

But I am ready to say goodbye to my 20s, knowing that I don’t want to be 22 again, because have enjoyed all there was to enjoy, made all the mistakes required to learn and done all the growing needed to face the next decade.

So here’s to all the 29-year olds out there, I hope this year is as enlightening for you as it has been for me.

 

Where are my rewards?

Dearest Reader,

I don’t know about you, but when I was a little girl I used to be rewarded for good behaviour, accomplishments and for overcoming challenges.

For instance, it was very common to get a lollipop at the doctor’s office if you were a brave little girl during the appointment. If I helped around the house and did a good job, my mom allowed me extra TV time. I also got sweets at restaurants for behaving well and everyone remembers the golden stars at school.

In all fairness, it is true to say that childhood wasn’t all easy. Learning how to control your emotions, to accept authority and to do things you don’t want to do is tough.

However, adulthood has turned out to be a much bigger challenge, yet I no longer get lollipops for anything.

For instance, my dentist has pulled a total of 6 teeth out of my skull over the past 5 years and I do not recall any rewards. Instead, I just keep getting big fat bills after each appointment which I have to pay with a mouth full of bloody cotton. Where is my lollipop??

Similarly, now I do ALL of the housework ALL THE TIME, continuously doing this everlasting chore of maintaining a house which never seems to end, which means if anything, I have less TV time than ever.

Restaurant owners no longer appreciate my good behaviour, but they don’t know that deep inside I want to eat with my hands and walk up to other tables and tell those people exactly what I think about them, their outfits, food choices and mind-numbing conversations.

Alas, my efforts to suppress all my natural instincts is again, followed by a bill. If I want a sweet treat, social etiquette dictates that I have to pay $15 and share it with whomever I brought along whether I like sharing or not.

I also haven’t seen any more golden stars at school. I recently handed in a 10,000 word literature review, and instead of any stars or candy, I received five pages of feedback with comments like “how certain is your current certainty about your past certainty?” which I understand to be the academic equivalent of the opposite of a golden star.

So life is harder than ever, but rewards are sparse. What to do?

The first option is to coerce doctors, restaurant owners and distinguished professors to give you rewards.

Alternatively you could embrace the fact that you’re an adult now, which comes with some perks – you could simply reward yourself! Why stop at lollipops when you can have an entire chocolate cake?

Why not buy actual golden stars with your hard-earned money?

Get yourself some flowers when you finish your housework.

Enjoy a day of doing nothing after a day of doing everything.

And for the love of God, let’s all stop sharing desserts!