The time has come. I’ve packed as lightly as I know how (which may not be light enough), we’ve installed the housesitter, and I’ve scheduled a month’s worth of great guest posts here at GRS. As you read this, Kris and I are now jetting our way from Portland to New York City to Venice, Italy. We’ll spend the next two weeks exploring Venice, Florence, and Rome. After that, we’ll take the night train through Switzerland to France, where we’ll spend about a week in Paris and a week boating up to Normandy and back. All without a laptop computer. How will I survive?

To celebrate this long-awaited vacation (we’ve been saving and planning for 18 months), I wanted to share one of the entries to the 2010 GRS video contest. Elise describes how she saved over $1000 on airfare!

Elise wanted to travel from Dallas, Texas to Baku, Azerbaijan in November. Normally, she’d just book the flight through Orbitz. But she didn’t like the $3917 price tag she was quoted for three passengers, so she decided to shop around. At Priceline, she found the exact same flight for $2812 — a savings of over $1100!

But she didn’t stop there! Elise used other tools at her disposal to get the price down by another $90.

Now, $90 isn’t big money. But by being creative, Elise was able to put a little more money in her pocket, money that can be used in Baku for more interesting things, like food and entertainment. (When planning for travel, I always remind myself that every penny I save on travel and lodging is a penny I can use for something fun.)

As I look to do more-and-more traveling, tips like this become handier. I had three conversations yesterday with folks who have decided to sacrifice other things in their life in order to travel more. I think I’ve reached that point, too.

I already made some budget/saving adjustments to fund our trip to South Africa in February. But I’m also plotting how I can do some other trips in the near future. Kris and I know we want to visit Patagonia (Chile/Argentina) for our next major trip (2012? 2013?), but before then, I want to make some jaunts on my own. How can I make a backpacking trip across England work? How can I afford to travel to Ethiopia with Chris Guillebeau next year? I don’t know the answers yet, but I’m dying to find out.

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