Today my boss asked when I would be leaving to Italy so she could she mark off my “vacation days” (under no circumstances should this be mistaken for as paid vacation). I replied nonchalantly – “Oh, next month.”
And that ladies and gentleman, made my day. This simple realization is important for 2 reasons:
1. I no longer have to receive bewildered stares from friends, co-workers and strangers when they discover that the itinerary I spent 20 minutes telling them about (with more enthusiasm than that guy in the shamwow commercials) is not a few weeks away, but actually next year.
2. Do I even have to say it? It’s so close I can already taste the gelato (one scoop cioccolato, two scoops bacio!)
A few days ago I was having a conversation with my good friend Susan about the way things happen in life (don’t worry, I’ll save my deep introspection’s about the meaning of life for another post– probably after a magical night in Perugia and a few Peroni’s deep).
Anyway, after a few frivolous complaints back and forth about final exams and customers at work that chip away at one’s faith in humanity, I realized that I spend a great deal of my time waiting. So instead of waiting for inspiration and happiness to fall from the sky and land neatly on my lap, I’ve been out on the hunt for it.
From focusing on my personal writing, to checking off titles on my “Must Read” list, to going on bike rides on 75 and sunny days, I’ve been keeping myself busy. I’ve even found time to enjoy a new relationship with someone absolutely wonderful and equally passionate about travel (who came into contact with me after a random google search that led him to this blog, only to find that we go to the same college. So another grazie to International Student for not only making travel dreams come true but love connections, too!) As terribly excited I am about what awaits me next month, life on this end is pretty sweet.
So now that I’ve assured you of my overall well-being, here’s a little gift from me to you. These websites will make your travel planning experience a whole lot less stressful.
1. Kayak.com – When I was looking for flight deals, I was absolutely shocked by the prices. I spent my days waiting (haha, get it?) for Alitalia and Delta’s homepage to announce summer deals until I discovered this little gem. Basically, Kayak searches hundreds of available deals online so that you don’t have to. In other words, just type in your desired itinerary and Kayak will pull up all the deals available through online travel agencies, airlines, and even Orbitz. That way you can make sure you’re getting the best deal out there – I have a $908.63 plane ticket to Rome during summer high season to prove it!
2. Couchsurfing.com – Perfect strangers? Their couch? Another country? Don’t be alarmed. Couchsurfing is a fantastic resource for young student travelers on-the-go and with little money to spend on a 5 star hotel. Much like MySpace and Facebook (minus everything that is annoying about them), Couchsurfing is an online community for travel aficionados who are eager to help fellow travelers out – by either meeting up with them for drinks, showing them around the city or letting them crash on their couch. Look into it and thank me later.
3. Igougo.com – This website allows users to share stories and photos of their travels, making it a great resource for you to research fun and interesting things to during your visits. For example this. Beats wikipedia.
Please stay tuned for my next post. I will be posting my tentative itinerary… which is shaping up to be quite the adventurous undertaking!