I wrote a post a couple of days ago about Women In Travel Summit (WITS). It’s a travel expo for women being held in the city of Boston at the end of March, 2015. While my sister isn’t a travel blogger, she loves traveling and wanted to attend the conference with me. The original plans were to fly in a day early on March 26th, which happened to also be my sister’s birthday. We were going to stay overnight in Boston for four evenings, departing back to Toronto on the Monday morning after the conference was over. I started to look up hotel and apartment information in Boston, started planning activities to do outside of the conference, and started to get excited about the possibilities of meeting fellow travel bloggers.
Then, the plans completely changed.
Has this ever happened to you before, where you were planning to visit one place and by the end of the day, you were fully booked to visit another? I am sorry to say that I won’t be attending WITS like I had originally planned. I really wanted to attend my first “real” travel expo. I’ve been to ones in the past where I’ve walked around and collected lots of information, but it seems nothing like WITS where there were many opportunities to network with travel companies, get advice and tips from pro travel bloggers, and get to meet so many like-minded ladies. It would have been such a great chance to meet online friends in real life. That was probably what I was looking forward to the most.
So, what made us change our plans? Well, we started looking at the costs of going to Boston. I really didn’t think that visiting a city that is fairly close to Toronto would be so expensive. We looked into the cost of the flights, the hotels, and of course, the tickets to the conference. Add on top of that the cost of food, and whatever activities we were thinking of doing outside of the conference, and the trip suddenly got very expensive. It started to look like it would cost us about $1000 per person, for a 4-night stay. Now, before you think, “They could make it work for less!”, well, this is true. But, if I’m going to visit a city that I’ve never visited before, I don’t want to go for just the conference and quickly leave. I would rather be able to explore a place and get a small feel for my surroundings and the city itself. I wanted to have a comfortable stay without traveling too far daily to get to the conference, while staying in a moderately luxurious place. I really like to find the best vegan restaurants in each place that I visit, and I likely wouldn’t have time to do groceries and prepare my own meals while making the most of my short time in Boston.
While I would really love to explore Boston, I also got to thinking that while it was the perfect opportunity to go to a travel conference, I’d also rather see Boston during the spring, summer, or autumn months. I am sure it is really pretty in Boston with all of the snow, but we have lots of snow in Toronto. I really like spending time outdoors when I travel, and I’d rather experience Boston when I don’t feel like I’m rushing from place to place just to get inside where it’s warm!
Robyn and I started discussing whether or not we still wanted to go to Boston. For less than that amount per person, we would be able to escape the cold and probably travel for even longer. After a little bit of research and many text messages being sent back and forth, we changed our plans from Boston to something completely different in the matter of a couple of hours! And, the trip is completely booked now, so there’s no turning back! Not like I would want to…because we are going to the Caribbean on a week-long cruise together! We’ve never done a sisters trip like this before. Unfortunately, Justin will be staying at home here with our cat while Robyn and I spend eight days in a tropical climate. It will be the first trip I will write about here on the blog that doesn’t include Justin. However, when I mentioned going on a cruise with my sister to Justin, he was 100% supportive and wanted me to plan a fun getaway with her!
We are sailing about the Caribbean Princess from Fort Lauderdale. From there, we have stops at Princess Cays (a private beach in the Bahamas for Princess Cruises passengers), St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Grand Turk. The cruise is seven days long, with two days at sea. We are flying in to Florida a day before the cruise sails, so we’ll have one extra day to soak up the sun. After a couple of months of a harsh Canadian winter, I will be glad to escape for the week to sunny Florida and some Caribbean islands!
You might wonder how much we ended up paying for our trip. Robyn and I booked the cheapest option for our cabin, which ended up being $493 for seven nights (yes, that comes out to around $70 per person for the room, food, entertainment on board, and of course, sailing from island to island). Our flight was $490 because we wanted a direct flight, and March flights are considered high-season here (it is spring break time for many schools). However, our flight to Boston was going to cost us $375, so it really isn’t that much more expensive than flying to Boston. We also got $100 free credit each, to be added to our on-board accounts, which will cover some additional costs that we may incur, like taking tours through the ship or alcoholic beverages.
I woke up today thinking that I was going to finalize my Boston trip, and by the end of the day, I was fully booked to fly to the Caribbean and take a cruise for a week. My apologies to anyone that I was planning to meet in Boston – it will have to be some other time (and I know there will be many more conferences and opportunities, I’m sure!).