Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Are you the "travel agent" in your family?

I'm sorry to be a little distracted from blogging lately... I'm leaving for a vacation with my parents and sister in less than a week and there is just so much to do in preparation! 
 
It seems like most of the work is ending up on my plate, too.  Part of this is because I am marginally more well-organized than the rest of my family.  But I think it's mostly because I am the one who's most interested in finding good deals.  I am willing to invest more energy on that than the rest of my family-- so I end up doing the lion's share of the research and booking.
 
I've done this for previous family vacations, and it usually isn't too much work.  But this trip is a two-week visit to England and Ireland, which is a) a longer vacation than usual, b) logistically challenging around currency, transportation, etc, c) higher-stakes since we can't just say "oh, we'll come back again soon and do X or Y next time,"and d) frustratingly expensive thanks to the bad exchange rate!  So the amount of time and effort it's taking is much higher than usual.
 
But even though it is a lot of work, it seems to be paying off.  I've found a number of bargain hotel rooms and (well-reviewed, well-located) hostels with private rooms, to go along with our B&B stays.  I found a ferry between the UK and Ireland which will be both cheaper and more fun than flying.  I've done my research on the best methods of currency exchange (and stopped my Dad from buying a AAA Visa TravelMoney Card with a 7% transaction fee!)  I've matched up the Heritage Card in Ireland to our probable itinerary and figured out that it will save us money-- and done the same with the London Pass, and figured out that it won't.
 
The fact is, saving money on these things is more important to me than it is to the rest of my family, and so instead of muttering under my breath about how I'm doing all the darn work, I've just got to accept the situation and decide whether it's worth investing my time.  I think it is, so I'll keep my eye on the financial savings and the gratitude from my family and the peace of mind of having things lined up in advance, and slog through the next few days of planning until everything's taken care of and I can finally relax and enjoy the trip!
 
How does planning vacation details and logistics work in your family (or group of friends)? 

1 comment:

MoneyChangesThings said...

Having taken two out-of-the-country trips this year, I have been pretty surprised at the "currency exchange charge" on each credit card transaction. I can't say I exactly understand what it is, but they add up. The ATM charges a FCE charge, too, per transaction. If you're on a tight budget, you'd do well to check in advance on how to avoid some of these charges, by paying more in cash perhaps?
Have a great trip!