30 here I come.

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So this year I am turning 30…eeek. Actually I’m looking forward to it, I think you tend to dread some birthdays especially milestone ones if you think you should have achieved ‘certain’ things by that point in your life. I am certainly guilty of doing that, but when my birthday comes in June (just a reminder) I will really be looking forward to it. One of the main reasons for this is that me and four friends, a couple of whom also turn thirty this year have been saving for the past four years to go on a big trip to Vegas to celebrate the big 3 – 0. Saving over the past four years has been relatively easy as we setup a special bank account and transferred money each month, which we gradually increased each year. As this money wasn’t readily accessible none of us dipped into it for emergencies or treats so over time we have all built up decent amounts of savings. Enough in fact for us all to cover the cost of an expensive flight with no problems.

One personal goal that I set myself to achieve by the time I was thirty is to have travelled to thirty countries on five continents. My friend Johannes set the goal of thirty countries by the time he was thirty, so I stole that and modified it by adding in the continents. I’m almost there with my target, I have travelled to thirty countries, just need to visit one continent, South America. So for this trip I will be partying in Vegas then heading to somewhere in South America for some culture and exploration.

By the time I was twenty one I had travelled to less than five countries, to be honest I had not really seen much of the UK. I was just out of University, had no idea what to do with myself so decided to work in order to save for a big trip. Since then I have well and truly caught the travel bug and it forms a big part of my life, at pretty much any given opportunity I will try and travel, obviously having a 9 – 5 job with limited holidays makes this more difficult, but as with anything if you want it enough you will make it happen.

Usually I book bigger multi-country trips through a travel agent, STA is my preferred choice, I have booked a few flights with them and they have always been good. As I had a fairly unusual itinerary, Vegas and somewhere in South America I decided to go to STA first and to be honest they were not that helpful, maybe it was the vague nature of my trip, but they seemed very dismissive and said I would get nothing under £1000. Undeterred I decided I would just book it myself. Going through airlines didn’t really work as I wasn’t able to get the optionality I needed, so instead I started doing multi-city searches on lastminute.com and kayak.  Now comes the tiresome part you have to do lots of searches; search different dates, different arrival cities, different amount of changes etc. This seemed really frustrating at first, I would find really good flights then find they flew into New York, so have to factor in internal flights which proved too time costly. But after a while you will find some options that work for you.  Then you keep checking day after day for a month or so and eventually there will be a drop in price, for me that drop was £60, but it was enough to convince me to book flights.

So in September I will be going to Vegas and Chile. I must admit at the beginning of my search I had an idea that I would end up going to Brazil, Ecuador or Argentina, but after considering many factors including price, travel options and time Chile seems like a good option and I’m really excited. So currently I’m reading my lonely planet on Chile, planning far too much and looking forward to turning 3 – 0.franz josefgiraffe

mt fuji third man wheelarizona

Pictures top to bottom: taking a break on Franz Josef in New Zealand, feeding giraffes in Kenya, contemplating at the viewing platform of Mt Fuji Japan, on the big wheel featured in ‘The Third Man’ in Vienna, view from the bus driving through Arizona.

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