Travel is expensive. Is it worth the expense? Yes, absolutely. Fortunately, there are scads of travel websites out there to help give advice about budgeting and cutting costs. (Like this one or here, do it yourself)

But sometimes, as much as I budget and know travel is worth the cost, the prices seem scary. And huge.

As huge as this French to-go cup is tiny.  It's hard to tell, but it's really tiny.
As huge as this French to-go cup is tiny. It’s hard to tell, but it’s really tiny.

In one weekend recently, I booked a rideshare to Paris, a hotel in Paris, a rideshare from Paris to Brussels, an Airbnb for a different trip to Paris, a train to and from Rennes, and a hotel in Rennes. In one weekend. I know, I know, I have such overwhelming problems.

Like getting to see the Rennes Christmas at night with all the beautiful lights. Ugh, what a drag.
Like getting to see the Rennes Christmas market at night with all the beautiful lights. Ugh, what a drag.

But while I would rather have these problems than any others, it still is a lot of money to wrap my head around.

Since I’m a bit of a cheapskate, I have to battle to book in advance, because the cheap part of me knows that’s how to get the best prices, yet also can’t bear to spend that much in one go.

So here is what I do to overcome sticker shock when travel shopping.

Step 1: Decide where I want to go more than anywhere in the world. Whatever pops into my head first.

Step 2: I look up the prices for said location, faint in horror, and decide it’s not worth it.

Step 3: I look up prices for a different location, one I want to go to less but that seems cheaper.

Step 4: I calculate all the hidden costs and fees lurking inside that destination. An added tax? 19 hour layover in Spokane, Wash.? Did I remember that I need to eat?

Step 5: I discover that it isn’t actually less money to compromise and go to a different location.

Step 6: Choose to go to the original destination.

Step 7: Look up the prices for the original destination.

Step 8: Realize that the prices have gone up, but I don’t care any more because I’m so exhausted from researching and if I don’t book something at this point, all the work will have been for nothing.

Step 9: Book half of the things (transport but not accommodation or vice versa) because then I’m committed, but I don’t have to spend all of the money at once. Notice, I still have not booked my return from Brussels over the winter holidays.

Step 10: Eat tuna and rice for a month and look forward to the trip.

Step 11: Repeat.

And then pack. If you can.
And then pack. If you can.

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