Should Lisa Charge a Trip to India, or Skip It?

Logan: Mike, meet my friend Lisa. She has a question for you.

Lisa: Hi Mike.

Mike: Oh, hey.

Logan: I will recap: Lisa has 10K in credit card debt. She’s in pay-off mode and has mostly stopped using her cards. She got invited to a wedding in India in the fall and wants to go. WHAT SHOULD SHE DO? I think she should go because, WHAT AN EXPERIENCE. But we wanted to know what you thought.

Lisa: What an experience!!

Mike: Well, it would really depend on who the person is. I’ve missed a lot of weddings because I couldn’t afford to go.

Lisa: He’s one of my closest friends from home. We’ve been through a lot and there is no way I will miss his wedding. However…he’s having a second wedding in NJ for his American friends. That’s a more fiscally responsible option, yet: less fun.

Logan: In my opinion, it’s not just about the wedding. It’s also going to a country and experiencing a different culture in a way that isn’t just being a tourist. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE.

Logan: What if: You found a card that has 0% interest for a year or whatever, and treated it as a one-year loan, and paid that back after a year.

Lisa: Oh!

Mike: No, no, no. Logan, stop.

Logan: Wait, this might be good, because: Okay let’s say you spent $3,000 on the trip. To pay that back in a year would be $250/month. Can you find $250 a month? If you’re not willing to pay it back within a year, then you know it’s not worth it for you to go!

Lisa: I feel like I’m in the middle of a fight my parents are having.

Logan: I think the real question is: If you get hit by a bus in a year, would you be more happy to have been a responsible adult or to have gone to India and maybe fallen in love with a German traveler on a gap year?

Mike: Logan just said out loud in real life, “Lisa and I are the same. She asked me because she knows I will give her the right answer, which is just the answer she wants to hear.” Well, if Lisa and Logan are the same person, Logan is currently the girl with $20,000 in credit card debt, and who had to hand over her credit cards to her friend (me). And in her position, Logan should not be telling other people to finance a trip on a credit card.

Logan: Mike Dang does make an excellent point.

Lisa: I would like to think I’m slightly more responsible than Logan (no offense).

Logan: Oh, none taken.

Lisa: I rarely tip anyone [this is a joke! in reaction to my earlier admission that I overtip as a rule. Lisa has since assured me she does the proper 20% just as all good people do. —LS], and I don’t buy nice presents unless I feel like it’s appropriate. Plus: Aside from this week when I lost my debit card, I haven’t used a credit card in six months. Maybe more—eight months?

Logan: So many months

Lisa: So many months!

Mike: A little reminder: Like you, Lisa, Logan was in pay-off mode with her credit card debt, and moved home to her folks’ to start paying it off, plus, she had to refinance her car to get her debt under control. And THEN she decided to go to her friend’s wedding in Germany because WHAT AN EXPERIENCE, and now she has $20,000 in credit card debt and for the past month, I’ve been hearing, “What have I done to myself.” And, “My father thinks I’m an addict.”

Lisa: Ooooh yeeeeah. I forgot about that.

Logan: Ooooh yeahhhhhh. I forgot about that too.

Lisa: How do you feel about that Logan? Do you wish you hadn’t gone?

Logan: Don’t listen to me, I guess.

Lisa:  YOU FORGOT ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE???

Logan: No absolutely not. In fact, I climbed a mountain in Ireland, and I think about that all the time. NO REGRETS.

Lisa: NO REGRETS! Let’s get tattoos!

Logan: Mike Dang is shaking his head.

Lisa: Mike: Is there any information I could give you that would make you think this is a good idea? Like, if I told you my salary is over $100K/year? (It’s not.) Or that I’ll be coming into a very large inheritance soon?(I’m not.)

Mike: The thing is, the mountain in Ireland will still be there. India will still be there. You can still have these amazing experiences, but it doesn’t have to be now. Children think, “I want this now.” Adults think, “Let’s be grownups and get our act together, and then do things when the time is right.”

Lisa: But then I’m going to get married and have babies and India will be so much further away. What if I told you I was pregnant? Could I go then?

Logan: Are abortions cheaper in India? Then yes. But: Can we please just acknowledge that you’re only young once?

Lisa: Well, unless you’re one of those elderly ladies on the old woman basketball team—they don’t grow up because they don’t stop playing.

Logan: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Lisa: I’ll send you the link. It’s a really inspiring documentary about old ladies who play basketball. It keeps them young! They can’t go to India, though. Travel is hard on the knees.

Logan: I shouldn’t have gone to Europe in the fall, as I had no money, but I’m so glad I did. It was the best part of a very hard year. But I also recognize that this year is going to be that much harder because I did go. Or rather, a year further in the future, when I am still paying off my debt. But: You already have the debt. You’re already paying it off. This will just be a matter of paying it off a little bit longer. I mean, obviously at some point you have to stop. I’ve reached my point. But maybe you haven’t reached your point.

Mike: If you are going to get married and have babies, India won’t be far away. I can put you in touch with people who got married and had babies, and are traveling the world. You want to be the person who gets married and have babies and can tell your kid, “Hey, guess what, for your birthday, I’m taking you to Disneyland.” And then you see your kid’s eyes light up, and it means everything to you. You don’t want to be that mom who says, “Hey, I can’t do anything for you this year, because mom took a trip to India when she was 27, and I have to pay that off, so you’re going to have to eat this can of frosting I got for you from the liquor store. Happy birthday.”

Logan: That was dark, Mike.

Lisa: Daaaaamn.

Logan: Lisa: I think the consensus is that you probably shouldn’t go to India, but that if you do, it won’t be the end of the world.

Mike: No, my thing is: Go to the wedding in NJ. And then you can reward yourself to a trip to India when you can actually afford to do that.

Lisa: Le sigh. Okay. I’ll just print this conversation out and send it in with the RSVP. Thanks for your help.

Mike: I mean, if you can find a way to make it affordable, totally do it. I magically went to Spain last year because I found a $250 roundtrip ticket. I wouldn’t have gone if that wasn’t the case.

Lisa: $250 roundtrip ticket?? That sounds illegal That doesn’t even cover fuel.

Mike: Haha. I called the airline to make sure it was legit. And it was! The tickets were only available in a certain week, and you had an hour to buy them before the prices shot back up. It was just good timing I guess.

Lisa: Yes, that sounds very lucky. One more thing that my friend just mentioned. I really like Indian guys. What if my husband is in India, at this wedding?

Logan: Don’t ever make decisions based on boys. That’s some real talk from my mom.

Mike: I’m just really passionate about being responsible with my money because it’s opened so many doors for me. It’s given me so much more life than a trip to India would. Because my dad got seriously injured at work this winter, and my folks couldn’t pay their mortgage, so I was able to write them a check, and that was a big deal. Heck, I was able to loan Logan $500 for her rent and various other things because she ran out of money last month. I couldn’t quit my job and start this website if I didn’t save money. And this gave Logan a job too.

Lisa: And the opportunity to be able to help your friends and family is better than a vacation.

Mike: It has opened doors.

Lisa: I’m much more selfish than that.

Logan: I wish there was an emoticon for how squished up and uncomfortable my face is right now. And red.

Mike: India will always be there. Also, there are lots of Indians in New York, so while you’re in NJ, you can hop on a train and say hello to them.

Lisa:  That’s good advice. I will wave to Indian immigrants, and I will still see my friend get married, and I will have less debt at the end of the year. And maybe that means one day I can give Logan a job.

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61 Comments / Post A Comment

God, this was a stressful conversation to read even though I don’t have any credit card debt, because I *am* contemplating spending much of my savings on a few fantastic trips. Thanks for the voice of being responsible reason, Mike, but if I were Lisa I would have really, really, wanted to listen to Logan.

(Also, what if I never want children or a family and my only slightly irresponsible financial decisions are my own to bear?)

Mike Dang (#2)

@Laura Yan@twitter You will still need money for yourself. You will still have your own emergencies. You still have your own dreams. If I recall correctly, one of your dreams is to live in Paris for an indefinite amount of time without having to work. You’re going to need some money saved up for that.

lispeth (#668)

Is ‘rarely tipping’ really a cornerstone of fiscal prudence?

Yeah, wtf Lisa? What are you, a psychopath?

Splendiferous (#532)

@lispeth THANK YOU, from all the former servers of the world.

Slapfight (#86)

@lispeth I almost went blind with rage at that comment. Seriously, if you can’t afford to tip on a service, DO NOT GET THAT SERVICE. People depend on tips for a living. Ugh.

Lisa: I rarely tip anyone

….what?

OllyOlly (#669)

@Vicky Johnson@twitter I am assuming that must mean “I never partake in any activities where the livelihood of the people who serve me depends on tips.” Girl must love eating in!

I think she was mostly making a statement about my tendency to over-tip: http://thebillfold.com/2012/04/im-on-a-tipping-tear-i-think/

Genghis Khat (#584)

@Vicky Johnson@twitter My mouth dropped open. I hope it means what OllyOlly says. If you can’t afford to tip you can’t afford to eat out. PERIOD.

kellyography (#250)

It is hard to do what is right instead of what is easy and fun.

Also, Lisa, come to Jersey City. There are a ton of Indian dudes who work in the financial district and live here for the short commute. You can have your pick of the litter!

Tuna Surprise (#118)

I now officially love Mike Dang!

I also feel like this blog knows me too well. Of the $40k of credit card debt I had in my late 20s, somewhere around $10k of that was for a trip to India that I thought would save my marriage. 1. It didn’t. 2. I ended up getting invited on a different trip to India a few years later with some friends that would’ve been so much nicer than my trip…but I didn’t go because I had just been.

Enjoy NJ!

swirrlygrrl (#2,398)

@Tuna Surprise I am also part of the Mike Dang fan club. Fiscal responsibility is sexy.

the fact that he’s having a second wedding back in America would seal it for me. I mean yeah sure India, but then you’re gonna have all these wedding obligations and not even get to see it properly! Think of all the other things you could do with a hypothetical $3000 and you still get to celebrate your friend’s marriage!

that’s 30% of your current debt paid off right there! oh man I know the $3000 would be charged and not coming out of some account you already have but think how good it would feel to pay your credit card company $3000 all at once. (do other people think that sounds awful? probably. but awful in a good way?)

@redheaded&crazy Paying someone a big chunk of change all at once: I bargained with the student loan folks to let me pay off $12,000 of debt by giving them $5000 all at once. Can confirm: FEELS GOOD MAN.

Of course, now I owe my mom a bunch of money, but she doesn’t charge interest.

Katzen-party (#219)

@Vicky Johnson@twitter Wait, what? You paid off an entire loan by giving 40% of the debt up front? Did that $12000 include all the interest you would have paid?

candybeans (#68)

@Vicky Johnson@twitter that was a private loan, right? The feds don’t bargain with terrorists (read: grad students). Right? or do they?

@candybeans @katzen-party Yeah, Sallie Mae. After I missed a few payments (I can feel that look you’re giving me, Mike Dang), they called and offered to settle for something like $7500. I countered with “I can only afford $5000″ and they were like “okay.” I got the impression that a lot of people are not paying and they’re desperate to get whatever money they can.

cmcm (#267)

@Vicky Johnson@twitter WHOA. What?! HOW IS THIS A THING. It sucks that I am the worst negotiator/bargainer ever… I want to figure out how to make this happen.

Actually wait. I don’t have $5,000 to pay right now. Sooooo… that’s not going to happen. Student loans until I die!

Also, most Indian-American couples have a reception back in the States. (Because, well, not all friends and family can fly to India.) That might be more affordable to attend? I obviously have no idea what the situation is, of course.

@Nina B.@twitter Reread it – second wedding back in NJ? Who said that has to be less fun? Trust me, there will still be lots of good food, uncles dancing, Indian boys, and the whole hoopla. Attending that will be fiscally responsible AND fun.

Babs Bunny (#547)

As childish as this might sound, I feel the need to ask anyway: what do you do when all of your friends are going on a trip and are really pressuring you to go as well? I’m often frustrated to the point that I end up yelling at them, which (of course) upsets all parties involved. But I can’t afford it! Really! Please don’t tell me I can!

I guess my real question is: what is the nice way to let people know that I can’t do the expensive things that they do without yelling?

@Babs Bunny ugh what the fuck people. why do you do this to your friends? do you think they don’t already feel bad about not being able to go??????

I have no good advice but I am SMDH at your friends

Babs Bunny (#547)

@redheaded&crazy It’s just hard because none of my friends have the debt that I have so they don’t understand my situation.

Katzen-party (#219)

@Babs Bunny That’s so frustrating that your friends are so insistent! I’m going on a trip with one of my best friends next week and we had wanted one of our other friends to come with us, but she really can’t afford it. As soon as she told us that (which was basically immediately after the trip was proposed), we didn’t bug her about it again. I mean, even though I would love for her to go, I’m not going to try to convince her to! I had to save every spare penny for two years to go on this trip and I know this friend makes less than me and has some credit card debt. Are your friends all richer than you and oblivious to it, or do they just reeeeeally want you to come with them?

Babs Bunny (#547)

@Katzen-party Most of my friends do not have any debt. The conversation is more like this:
ME: Have fun on your trip!
THEM: Come with us!
ME: Oh I wish, but I just can’t afford it.
THEM: Yes you can! It won’t be that expensive!
ME: No, really, I can’t afford it.
THEM: Aw, c’mon! You know you want to go! And really, it’s not that expensive.
ME: NO REALLY, I CAN’T AFFORD IT.

@Babs Bunny i find this seriously so rude. i am extremely extremely extremely fortunate to not have any debt and so i often want to travel and do things that my friends can’t afford – i will ask once because, you never know what people can/are willing to make room for, i guess? and then if the answer is no, the only acceptable response is: “that’s okay, I understand. Your presence will be missed! let’s make a $3 second-run theatre date?”

@Babs Bunny not having debt is not an excuse for not understanding somebody’s financial situation! jeeeeeez people learn some manners.

/huffy

Babs Bunny (#547)

@redheaded&crazy Thanks! You’ve made me feel better!

And I’m not sure it’s a matter of manners necessarily, I think it’s more a matter of not understanding what I am going through financially. Finances aren’t something that are talked about in my circle of friends. A trip that my friends my deem inexpensive may be something along the lines of $3000, which I find CRAZY expensive. But for them, it’s really nothing, ya know?

@Babs Bunny yeah i guess it’s a bit more complicated because, like, people find it hard to talk about financial matters (aka the motto/raison d’existence for this website) but i just think it is so ignorant (sorry i’ve really used some nasty words to describe people acting like your friends which is also not helpful i know) to put pressure on people when it comes to financial things.

whether or not they know the intimate details of your situation, i just don’t think that is an excuse for that kind of behaviour. you shouldn’t have to know that your friend is $10,000 in debt to realize that if they say they can’t afford something, pressuring them isn’t going to help! it is the opposite of helpful.

dear prudence is always very good at giving “shut it down” advice, which may be the right response? “I would love to come, but I can’t. Now then let’s make plans I can participate in.”

Katzen-party (#219)

@Babs Bunny I don’t wanna dump on your friends, but it kind of *is* manners, because having manners means you can put yourself in other people’s shoes, make them feel comfortable, and respect their boundaries which it seems like your friends are not doing! Again, that’s totally frustrating and I sympathize! But you’re definitely doing the right thing by saying no to a $3000 trip when you’re in debt (I mean, $3000–yikes! It definitely sounds like a lot to me, too!).

Hi – it’s Lisa! As a follow up, I sent this article to my friend getting married in India and he completely understood my choice to not go. He even said that knowing I put so much energy into making the decision made him happy. Making him happy cost nothing.

AnnieNilsson (#406)

Oh jeez that was so intense! I guess Mike is right, in the end, but it’s so hard for me not to feel the pull of everything Lisa and Logan were saying. Especially the babies argument. I know some people travel with kiddos, but man, that seems rough. Arrrggh!

But good for you, Lisa! You are strong! And I’m so happy your friend understands.

hellohello (#382)

Sometimes, when I do something stupid, I automatically think “Mike Dang would never do this.” WWMDD?

NoReally (#45)

What is this car refinancing you people talk about? You can refi a car? Someone with big debt pays interest on a car? Has enough of a car that there’s equity to exploit?

mishaps (#65)

As awesome as it would be to go to India, if there is a wedding in NJ as well, all of Lisa’s mutual friends with the groom will likely be at that one. So Lisa would have been in a foreign country, with the one person she knows there way too busy to hang out with her, and obligations that will keep her from traveling.

Save up for the airfare and go travel to the parts of India that you want to see with a friend some time in the future. Get your friend the groom to give you recommendations on what to see and do when you go. Done!

sony_b (#225)

The twenty-something that still lives in my head says go! go! go! The forty year old me, currently writing from a hotel in Hyderabad and getting ready to head to Goa on Saturday says Good Decision!

I’m here for work right now, and lucky that my company lets me tack on vacation time as long as it doesn’t increase the cost of my ticket home. I came here for the first time last year, and went to Jaipur and Agra (Taj Mahal) for fun with a work pal. I am glad I didn’t try to do this as a younger person on a shoestring budget. I might be a complete weenie, but being able to stay in a decent (Indian, not western) hotel and hire a good guide help smooth out the rough edges. I’d rather be able to opt into the rough edges and be safe, than pinch pennies even when it is relatively cheap to be here.

Pro-tip – if you can take the heat, I HIGHLY recommend Jaipur in the off-season. Rajasthan in May feels like Phoenix in August. Everything is open but not overcrowded, and already inexpensive hotels, guides, tours are all half price. We had a fabulous time and it was a hard decision to try someplace new this year instead of going right back again. Next year, Varanasi!

smack (#307)

I would have gone. I am sorry, but all science points to experience being more contributory to happiness than possessions.

If I got invited to a wedding in India, wild horses could not stop me from going, but I understand why someone wouldn’t. I just have never regretted going somewhere, and I’m sorry but all that “It will still be there” is bullshit, because as you get older, your priorities change, and when you have kids, you WON’T be the kind of person who travels the world with their kids, no matter how much you think you will.

Look, I am in a better position, our HHI >200k but I honestly think what, 3k for a trip to India to go do an Indian wedding which look like so much fun, and for a best friend? I’d have booked it already.

Sorry to be the dissenter, but that’s what I’d do.

tn (#488)

@smack setting aside the rest of your points about changing priorities, Mike Dang wasn’t talking about saving money to obtain more possessions. Saving money gave him the *experience* of being able to assist other friends and family members when they really needed it and to chase a career dream.

I know you didn’t mean it this way, but I feel there’s always a danger on this site and in the comments to characterize people who are trying to save money or improve their financial situation as boring/materialistic/not really living life.

lispeth (#668)

@smack If she were deciding between a new couch and the trip, that science would be relevant. Since she literally has no money, I’d be thinking more about how strongly financial stress and poverty are correlated with illness and depression.

smack (#307)

@lispeth I guess I didn’t particularly see her lamenting her poverty strickenness. If it were Logan I’d be like “yeah, don’t go” but I mean 10k in credit card debt is not like INSANE, she herself said that she was more responsible about money. Plus, we don’t know how much she makes, what her payments are like, the fact that you’re immediately putting her into “poverty and depression” isn’t justified.

And I don’t think that people who save money are boring, but I do think that it’s a complete lie to say that you can enjoy travel when you’re older the same way you can when you’re younger. I don’t think when you’re 60 or if you’re lugging around small children, a 14-hour flight in coach is something you can snap back from as quickly as you can when you’re 23.

Listen, it’s all about priorities. If it’s a priority for you to save money and have that mental comfort where you know you don’t have to worry or figure shit out when your dishwasher breaks, I get it. That’s a real thing, and more power to you. I am just saying that in planning for disaster and making sure you have enough for when something bad happens you might be missing out on experiences that you might not have the opportunity to have again. Sure, India will always be there, but this friend’s wedding (hopefully) won’t happen again.

And let us not pretend that the generalizations run both ways. When one assumes that saving money for a rainy day is somehow morally superior (I assume so, based on references to children vs adults above), I’m not sure there’s quite a leg to stand on when you complain about being accused of being boring. Which I’m sure you’re not, but you are trading! You are trading saving money for having experiences, and I don’t think either is better, they’re just different, and I think Lisa should go and wouldn’t regret it.

tn (#488)

@smack But this friend’s wedding is happening again, in New Jersey. If it weren’t, the decision would be much harder I’m sure; I’d most likely go if that were the case, debt be damned. But a far more affordable alternative that still involves being part of a good friend’s important life event is available.

I understand there’s always a trade off, and we all choose that trade off differently. I just didn’t agree that the trade off was experience vs. possessions as you first put it, and I still don’t agree that the trade off is once-in-a-lifetime experience (It’s not! Go to NJ to celebrate your friend’s union! Go to India in a few years, but maybe before you turn 60?) vs. saving for a dishwasher. I definitely didn’t mean to come across as feeling or acting morally superior and I’m sorry if that’s the tone that resulted (though I made no references to children vs. adults anywhere??), but continuing to characterize the alternative to a trip to India as something as trivial as buying a possession or fixing a non-essential appliance also seems to imply the trade off is far starker than it actually is.

Mike Dang (#2)

So basically, what I’m reading is you guys would understand why someone wouldn’t go on this trip, but also why someone would go. There isn’t going to be one clear answer. Lisa is a grown woman who knows how much she’s earning and what she can and can’t afford, so we can offer her advice, and she can make up her own mind. I’m not going to say whether or not $10,000 in credit card debt is insane or not, because Lisa knows whether or not that’s insane for what her income level is. But I am certainly not going to recommend that she add an additional $3,000 in credit card debt on top of the debt she’s already incurred to fund a trip to India. I think the feature for today is a good example that you can pay off your credit card debt when you’re young and go on to have as many amazing experiences as you’d like.

Fig. 1 (#632)

Look, I am 27, and I understand that it is possible to enjoy life and have trips after 35. Sometimes even 65! You are not assigned an ankle-bracelet and put under house arrest once you get older. Also, marriage and children are not inevitable, and if they do happen, you can still Have A Life.

All this emphasis on Doing Stuff While You Are Young can be used to justify irresponsibility. You’re not dead at 40. Also, you may enjoy the trip more and get more out of it once you’re older, wiser, and (possibly) better-educated. It’s a classic tactic marketers use, the “Here for A Limited Time Only” offer, and it works surprisingly well.

neener (#242)

@Fig. 1 yeah, the “doing stuff while you are young” rationale drives me crazy. it just means you don’t really believe you’ll have to face the consequences of your behavior, because something will intervene (death by bus! or miraculous book deal!), or (more likely) your friend or spouse or dad will bail you out.

Katzen-party (#219)

@Fig. 1 I’m about to enter my mid-thirties and I’m going on my first trip overseas next week! Do I wish I had been the type of 18-year-old whose parents could finance a monthlong tour of Europe or something? Honestly? No. Doing things when you’re young and because you’re young (especially when you really can’t afford it) is not essential to living a good life–I know a lot of people who are proof of that.

Fig. 1 (#632)

@Katzen-party I was fortunate enough that my mother paid for a 10 day trip to Europe when I graduated university. It was fun and eye-opening, but also terribly stressful and I didn’t get as much out of it as I would now. Coming home to $2k on my credit card and a 3 wk sinus infection was not very fun either, especially with a part-time job and no career prospects at the time.

So there’s my background. I also believe in paying off my credit card every month, however detrimental to savings. $10k to me is an uncomfortable amount to carry on a credit card. I also know from past experience, putting things on credit now and promising to tighten my belt in the future is about as effective as eating a 2nd doughnut and saying that I’ll spend an extra 30 min on the stairclimber – it’s not going to happen.

Katzen-party (#219)

@Fig. 1 Eek, I just want to add here that I hope I didn’t come across as having a chip on my shoulder about people’s parents paying for stuff for them. But I feel uncomfortable when people are surprised to hear I’ve never been out of North America (Canada and I hang hard, what’s up) at my age, and I even had someone say they felt sorry for me (rude!).

But I think I was really born to be an old person (and not just because I wear my bathrobe all the time and eat hella prunes) because I often think to myself that it would be so great to do/see/visit/meet/read X/Y/Z knowing what I know now that I’m older. However, I know that is not the kind of thing you can tell someone who’s in, like, their early twenties. It’s the kind of thing you understand at a certain point but absolutely can’t fathom until you hit that point (and that point is different for everyone, I think–some never hit it, and some hit it way early on). You know?

I also completely pay off my credit card every month I use it–the thought of carrying $10000 on it makes me break out in hives. The only way that would ever happen to me is if a family member or I had a legit emergency…but at the same time I try not to judge people who do carry a balance. I just don’t have the stomach for it myself due to my background and personality. I use my credit card like a debit card–I religiously balance my checkbook and just subtract credit card purchases from my checking account balance as they’re made so I pretty much never overspend on my credit card (and I’m lucky that I haven’t had to deal with any emergencies *knocks on wood*).

Katzen-party (#219)

@Katzen-party Whoops, sorry for the great American novel above. This is what happens when my boss has the day off, haha.

Fig. 1 (#632)

@Katzen-party Oh no, not judging you at all! My mother is the type where she is super generous, almost but not quite as extreme as that story elsewhere on the Billfold, so I felt guilty about accepting it at all. I still had to pay daily expenses though, it wasn’t a free ride. I think we are on the same page (Canada represent, what what). I also believe you can be Interesting without leaving your home province, even, thanks to books and Internet. My one friend spends a fortune on travel every year, but, er, how can I put this politely – what you get out of travel depends on what you put in, and I’m not talking money-wise here.

I just don’t trust myself, is all. I’ve shortchanged Future Me often enough in the past that Present Me gets a pretty short leash.

So where are you going on your trip? I am off on my (delayed) honeymoon next week, so I’m planning on letting Present Me off the hook for a bit.

Katzen-party (#219)

@Fig. 1 “What you get out of travel depends on what you put in, and I’m not talking money-wise here”–definitely! Well said. I feel like I might be a better traveler now as sort of an older, wiser person (I mean, wiser than I was at the age of, say, 19 or something–I’ve still got a lot to learn in life, don’t get me wrong)? And yeah, you definitely don’t need to be well-traveled to be interesting! Nor is everyone who is well-traveled very interesting (not to hate, but…it should be acknowledged b/c I’ve met some boring-ass people who’ve been all over the place).

Are you from Canada then? I’m actually not, but I’ve been up there many, many times (on vacation and doing a little bit of studying) and I actually majored in Canadian Studies in college, which Americans think is hilarious and/or pathetic and Canadians think is weird and/or suspicious.

I’m going to Paris, Berlin, and Munich on my trip and I’m trying not to get too nervous about the long flight or the fact that I can barely string a sentence together in French. Where are you going on your honeymoon (and congrats, BTW!)?

Fig. 1 (#632)

@Katzen-party Off to Montreal for a bit, just going to chill out and eat as much as possible. (Which reminds me, I should brush up on some French grammar. I put in a lot of effort taking French all through high school and part of uni, so I’m rather vain about my ability to speak it.). I wouldn’t worry about your French too much, if you can read signs and whatnot you’ll be just fine, there are a lot of tourists in those cities. The Americans we went with on our trip did just fine without any French, I think it’s more a matter of attitude if anything.

Canadian studies? I don’t think that’s creepy…just sort of funny that I hadn’t thought anyone would study it. I guess we have American studies and history majors here, so it makes sense. Usually we’re used to people not knowing anything about Canada, not the other way around!

As for flight advice, I think Jane had a good article on the Hairpin about travelling comfortably, which I’m sure you’ve read. I made the critical mistake of taking a nap upon arrival which made things worse. Do not do!

Katzen-party (#219)

@Fig. 1 Yay, have a great time in Montreal! I’ve only been there once, but it was at the end of a six-week solo train trip from Vancouver to Montreal and by the time I got there I was broke as a joke (didn’t plan things too well–bad Past Me!), really homesick and suffering from a really bad bout of plantar fasciitis (OW). So I would love to go back and actually be able to do stuff besides, like, eating spaghetti at the hostel and googling old flames at the internet cafe. Hmm, what was I saying about wanting to do stuff again knowing what I know now?

Okay, well, I did take two years of French in college (Canadian Studies requirement!), but that was long enough ago that I’ve forgotten so much grammar and even verb conjugation…I can read signs though! And I still have a passably good accent. I’m nervous about speaking French to the French, but I think I just have to remind myself that if I embarrass myself and/or someone is mean to me, I’ll probably never see them again so it’s okay?

And I just searched the Hairpin earlier today for an article I remembered reading about being comfortable on long flights! Besides the article itself, I’m finding the comments helpful–often the case with the Hairpin! And thanks for the advice–I’ve heard that you shouldn’t nap when you get there but I was thinking, “But…I don’t know…maybe it would be okay…” Will not do! Thanks!

Maven (#402)

@Katzen-party bathrobe/hella prunes made me lol for real.

Katzen-party (#219)

@Maven Ha, thanks, and no word of a lie!

swirrlygrrl (#2,398)

@Fig. 1 I went back to Turkey at 32, after having been there on a school trip at 16. While that trip at 16 was great for many reasons (instilled in me a love of travel! Also, people would give you alcohol and boys were crazy for you.), I enjoyed my independent trip at 32 muuuuuch more. I got way more out of the country, enjoyed the history and beauty and culture and food and people and politics, and, still got all kinds of handsome men hitting on me (though I was much less inclined to go behind a historical site and make out with them now, I could have if I wanted to). I think my 30s are going to be a great decade for travel and life experience generally, now that I’m more financiall stable and self aware and confident.

genkiliz (#683)

Lisa should definitely go, but pay for most of it in cash! Start saving now. Then again, I don’t believe in amassing personal debt (other than my wretched student loans) and don’t own credit cards . . . . Besides, the most expensive thing is the tickets, which should cost about 1500 from the east coast. WHen you are there, you really shouldn’t be spending more than a couple hundred for the week if you live like local and stay in cheap places and not like, the Hilton. So she’s really looking at something more along the 2000 lines.

Megano! (#124)

OMG how did a trip to Germany turn into $20,000!?

@Megano! I haven’t actually figured out what the actual trip cost? There was $10K before I went (um, I think?), but when I went I started using more cards, and then kept on using them! Until last week! And that is how it happened.

Megano! (#124)

@Logan Sachon I was gonna say, “Dang girl, dang.” But then I realized you are already kind of doing that.

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