Friday, March 16, 2012

Savoring those Moments

Lake Tahoe, California
We all have embarrassing guilty pleasures, and more than going places for cheap, I like to read personal finance blogs or articles for fun.  No, this is not a joke.  It's a Friday night and, prior to writing this entry, I was sitting on my bed reading personal finance blogs.  Again.  I do it on Saturday mornings too.  In the beginning it was because I was trying to learn how best to manage my money but now, it's just enjoyable to read that stuff.  So I learned about the idea of "savoring" from LearnVest, a website designed to teach money management skills with a female audience in mind.  I don't find their articles overtly feminine but perhaps a male would disagree.

Savoring is a way of making your money go further.  Oftentimes we spend money thoughtlessly and then wonder where it all went.  The alternative is building up anticipation prior to the event, living in the moment and then reliving and reminiscing that moment afterward.  Here are some concrete ideas for savoring those moments that I came up with:  

  • Plan out an itinerary 
    • It should be obvious but in the age of smart phones, it's getting easier and easier to just "wing it" and so you won't have as much time to research the destination if you rely on a single source on the go
    • You can also save money if you look ahead to find the happy hour specials, yummy hole-in-the-wall, or free events (to add a non-food activity)
    • Don't overload the itinerary or if you do, prioritize the list so that the activities won't be crammed in
  • Reading about your destination 
    • Duh?  But there have been so many times I just went and had no clue about the rich historic context of the place because I was "too busy" beforehand
    • A more literal reading, my alma mater's off campus studies director suggested that we read historical fiction or popular literature from our destination country to get a feel for the place in a way that is more interesting than reading history (he was assuming that not everyone was into history, but maybe you are!)
  • Set aside spending money for the trip and each time you save it, you can smile in excitement of what is to come :)
  • Finish your work prior to leaving for your destination so it doesn't bug you (and your companions) on the road
  • Pare down your expectations because sometimes high expectations ruin everything
  • Make sure you packed everything you need so that you won't be wasting your time & money buying something you already own because you forgot it
  • If traveling with others, communicate well with them beforehand so that you don't have mismatched expectations for the trip that could lead to problems during the trip
  • Toss those tech distractions to the curb!
    • Screen those work calls!  
    • Avoid long phone conversations, it can wait and people in the traveling with you really don't wanna hear it while on vacation
    • Save Facebooking and other social networking for when you have nothing to do at home
  • Engage all 5 senses
    • Just a reminder your 5 senses are: seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, touching (uh, watch out for germs but like, touching the water, for example)
    • Or your 6th sense and counting
  • Remember to savor the moment sans camera
    • Sometimes I find that I see the place more from my camera lens than with my own eyes, which distracted me from what I was there to see
    • On the other hand, once my brother and sister used the camera to take all these goofy pictures using the interesting rock formations as a viewfinder and it was a lot of fun!
  • Take a deep breath and go at a leisurely pace
    • Some vacations end up being more stressful because of the overly high expectations or the packed itineraries that leave everyone worn out and short on patience
  • Communication is still important to ensure that everyone is savoring the moments like you think they are
    • Traveling can sometimes bring out the worst in people, so prevent interpersonal conflict as much as possible!
  • Look through your pictures
    • Save it onto your computer
    • Post online
    • Set aside the best pictures for a scrapbook, photobook or calendar someday
  • Document your trip in a journal or an e-mail to someone OR write a letter!
    • My anthropology professor said that her best ethnographic notes were from letters that she wrote to other people because they were more descriptive than her notes for herself
  • Recreate your favorite meal or foods from the trip
    • You can turn it into a party!  Have a themed potluck reunion!  
  • Recommend the destination for another friend 
    • If they choose to go to that same destination, you can continue to reminisce as they plan and return to talk about it 
  • Write a guest blog post!  I would love to feature different voices here!  

At some point in time I'll probably be doing some of the "anticipating" on this blog, but so far it's been reminiscing.  Despite the impression you may have gotten while some of the entries, I am not out and about every weekend.  I mostly stay in during my time in Oak Ridge.  I enjoy it though, which is ironic because the name of the blog is Go on the Cheap.  For me I need that balance between going and staying, otherwise excessive going would become too tiring.  Or I could argue that there's no cheaper way than staying in so instead I'm emphasizing the "on the cheap."  Ha.

Anyone have other concrete ideas for how to stretch out or savor your vacations?
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1 comment:

  1. I especially resonate with your point on going at a leisurely pace. It's true that you want to pack as much fun into your vacation as possible, but I've been on too many trips where I wanted to kill my travel buddy for wanting to do 396379 things in one day!

    And I think another benefit of your tip on planning an itinerary ahead of time is that it does let you do more efficiently, so you don't feel as tired: I remember when my friend and I visited Paris, we were able to look at a map and plan to do things that were geographically close, which saved us a lot of time (rather than if we'd tried the "Oh, let's see the Eiffel Tower! Now Montmartre! Now the Quartier Latin!" approach).

    Great post! As always, great advice on all counts :)