After pondering the possible route we outlined in the previous post (essentially, London to Bath to Cornwall, maybe to Wales, then to Stratford-Upon-Avon and the Cotswolds, then to Liverpool, then the Lake District, then Scotland, then back through the Midlands to London to finish the trip), we wondered if we were planning too many things to do. Check out this early map of a possible route.
Could we do all this in twenty or twenty-one days, and still manage to see a reasonable number of sites (not just drive past them) without killing ourselves?
We ended up modifying it a bit. We dropped Wales off the itinerary (that’s Cardiff, Swansea, Snowdonia, and Conwy on the map). We still planned to go fairly deep into Cornwall, but not all the way to Penzance (or actually, Lands End, on the southwestern tip of England). I had this crazy notion for a brief moment that we could see all the other things we wanted to see, plus drive from Lands End in the southwest to John o’ Groats on the far northeastern tip of Scotland (almost 300 miles north of Glasgow). From Lands End to John o’ Groats was only 837 miles. We could have squeezed that in too, right?
One aspect of my job at Rice involved occasionally attending various meetings and conferences, sometimes to present a program or give a talk related to the work our center was doing. I usually scheduled my own flights, hotel accommodations, and sometimes car rentals. Since our center operated on grant money, saving money was important. The less I spent on travel, the more money we had available to run our programs. I had found it to be true that (generally speaking) booking flights as early as possible could save a tremendous amount of money, so one of the first things I needed to do was lock down our beginning and ending dates, and reserve our plane tickets.
Minay was paying bills for her parents, Oz and Lila (who were finding it difficult now that they were aging), so we compared the dates their bills and ours usually arrived, looking for a window that would allow us to pay the majority of everyone’s regular monthly bills before we left, and decided to leave Houston on May 5th and return on May 27th. That would give us three weeks in the UK, and we would be able to pay all of the first-of-the-month bills before we left and the end-of-the-month bills when we returned. The couple of bills that would show up in the middle of the month we could pay online. Minay’s sister, who lives near Austin, would drive to Houston a couple of times during the three weeks and check on Oz and Lila, and collect our mail from our neighbors.
We were ready to make some purchases, but could we afford it?
Traveling can be expensive, but I think we did pretty well. We’ll go into more detail on costs in the next post, and in the travel diary section of the blog.
Have you found any particular way of traveling to be especially cost-effective? Post it below.
Next up, Planes and Trains and Cars, Oh My!