First world problems

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For the past several days, my wife has been laying out clothes and texting/coordinating with her girlfriends finalizing what they’re going to wear on their annual girl’s trip. (Last year it was Miami. This year… Mexico.)

Last night, she spent 2 hours trying to figure out what to take out of her bags without sacrificing any shoes. (Because we all know a woman can’t do without at least 8 pairs of shoes on a 4 day trip to a beach, right? 👠 👠 )

Tonight, my daughter and I pack for a daddy/daughter dive trip that we leave for in the morning. (Four months ago, I snagged $47 flights and we’re staying at an all-inclusive resort that that will cost less than what most people pay for their bar tab.)

We already have our first two dives booked with the best rated dive shop in town thanks to a travel discount card I’m testing out, and our biggest debate (after we verified the card works is whether we use the rest of the card on our second day for snorkeling with whale sharks, or more scuba diving.)


Four years ago, debates like this wouldn’t even have been an option in the McDonald house.

Four years ago, I was so busy being busy – I didn’t have time to think about getting out of town and unplugging every couple months – let alone still have room in the budget for fancy excursions.

Now, I not only insist on 6 or 8 “unplug and relax” trips per year, but I make it a daily mission to evangelize about how much more affordable travel can actually be with just a couple simple changes.

I can’t do anything about how busy you tell yourself you are, but I do know how to find trips that are so ridiculously affordable – that cost is no longer an excuse for not traveling more.

The most important thing…

is that you stop telling yourself you’ll start looking for your next trip “when you’re ready.” That’s what 99% of travelers tell themselves – and that’s why they pay an arm and a leg, they don’t travel as much as they’d like to,  or worst of all – that day never comes.

If you want to start paying less than what 99% of travelers pay, you have to stop traveling like them. The best way to do that is to look for deals every day – whether you’re planning a trip or not.

When you find that perfect trip that is 4 to 8 months from now and 80% less than you were expecting to pay, you’ll be surprised at how flexible your schedule actually is. The months before the trip, you’ll continue to check prices and pat yourself on the back for booking months earlier because they’ll be 3x to 5x higher. Even better, when you board the plane, you’ll be quietly snickering to yourself at what you KNOW everyone else paid for that same flight.

More first world problems:

Michelle and her girlfriends have already gone through 1/4 of their 400 pounds of runway-worthy outfits. They’re now heading out for a fancy sunset dinner on the beach, hoping to avoid the Paparazzi who may mistake them for celebrities because of the outfits they painstakingly debated and coordinated via 762 group texts & pictures over the past 6 months.  (She just alerted me they can see whales breaching from their balcony too! #LivinTheDream)

Meanwhile, my daughter and I are all packed.  In the morning, we’ll hop on our $47 direct flight to Cabo, and we’ll we’ll kick off “Daddy Daughter Weekend” by seeing whose Spanish is better when ordering dinner at the resort’s ocean-front steakhouse. (Although she’s only taken a semester of Spanish, my money is on her. My 3 years of Spanish has about 30 years of rust on it.)

Hasta mas tarde

–Joel “First World Problems” McDonald

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