In February 2016, we were sitting in an Fado’s Irish Pub in Chicago, celebrating our relationship, and Addam surprised me with a gift bag. Inside the bag there was a card, a calendar, and a book. The book was a travel book on the U.K. On the calendar, there were some dates circled in June 2016. And in the card, a short message about how much he loved me, and a cryptic message about going on a trip. (Men can still be romantic without using Pinterest for ideas.)

Raised on, and heavily influenced by, British novels, I have been dreaming about this trip for my whole life. (26 years and counting) Now that it’s finally becoming a reality I’m in heavy planning mode.This blog is going to document our travels, but it will also be a diary for responsible dream vacation planning. I know that you can’t think of everything, and being spontaneous is half the fun, but I am determined to get as much out of our travels as humanly possible. We might discover that responsible vacation planning actually means not planning so heavily!

The Beginning Of Our Dream Vacation Plan

For 3 weeks we will be hiring a camper van, and driving around Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales. This is a sneak peak of what our trip looks like:

Mode Of Transportation: Campervan

Choosing your mode of transportation seemed like the first obvious decision to make because it can drastically change your plans. We are choosing to drive, over taking public transport, because we’ll have the opportunity to see so much more when we’re on our own driving schedule. We’re also a couple of heavy road tripping Americans, so exploring via car will be half the fun. Staying in a camper van will also give us the opportunity to save on accommodation, which we hear can be pretty pricey in the United Kingdom.We are heavily leaning toward hiring a Wicked Camper van. The reviews are a bit touch, and go, but so far they are the most affordable choice.

To Budget Or Not To Budget?

We’re not the kind of people to place restricting budgets on ourselves, because we like to do what we want to do, but it’s also unrealistic to just hop on a plane without any sort of plan.So we’re writing a list of the places we want to see, and things we want to do, just to see how much money that would involve. Then, we’ll prioritize based on the things we really want to do.

Next Steps

  • Make a wish list of what we want to do while we are in Ireland & the UK.
  • Get an estimate on costs for each of these places, and build a basic budget.
  • Create a to-do list so we don’t miss out on booking the things we need to book early!

We’ve already started playing around with Tripomatic (now Sygic Travel) – a visual trip planning web & phone app. In a few days we will publish a very detailed spreadsheet on the costs so far. (The uncut version that would make many people fetch their smelling salts.)