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@Jonk: got $420 tkt to st. petersburg, russia. 24h to fig out how to make it work since leaves from DC. 😛 /thx @theflightdeal pic.twitter.com/pqzo7vJr

SAY WHAT?!?!?!  I scoured the internets in search of this impossible fare.  Flights to Russia don’t normally get lower than $1,000.  This had to be a mistake, or something weird, like the plane was old and there would be a bomb on it or something.

But no – low and behold, the fare is exactly that:

$420.00 to fly from Washington DC to St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday to Saturday in April.  And not one, fluke day mind you – practically the whole month stood at that rate.

Rapid calculations proceeded in my head.  I could get a bus ticket from NYC to DC for about $30 round trip (probably less).  A hostel, at $25 per night, would bring me up to – OH MY GOD, $600 TO VISIT RUSSIA FOR 6 NIGHTS?!?!?!?!  Jesus Christ, this had to be done.

Oh wait, there’s just a few problems:

  • I have ZERO vacation time for the year 2013.  It’s bad enough I receive a measly 11 days off, but ALL OF THEM will be used for my 2-week observation period for my Masters degree.
  • Everyone is afraid to commit.  People want to travel, but no one ever “has the money.”
  • I am supposed to be saving money for rent.  With a new apartment looming in sight that will be slightly more money than what I pay now, should I really be spending money on travel?

It sucks, because:

  • am saving money by not paying rent.  And I don’t know when I’ll begin paying it again, so the longer this situation continues, the more I save.
  • I have something called a credit card!  Which I pay off in full every month!  And if I can’t, the APR is so low I can pay for my ticket PLUS someone else’s in installments!  But even if I couldn’t do that, I have a shit ton of money in my bank account right now!  Like, more than the average 25-year old!  So I can REALLY afford things!
  • I don’t mind traveling alone, but it would be more fun with friends.
  • The price of the ticket makes it almost worth it to take an unpaid week off.  But April starts out busy season, and I’m not sure I should leave in the middle of it…
  • If I don’t do it, I’ll regret it.  I’m a sucker for a good friggin’ deal.  One time, I saw a RT ticket from NYC to Madrid for $250.  I hesitated and lost the deal, and regret it to this day.  Will Russia be the same way if I don’t jump on this now?

I refrained from purchasing, because:

  • Next year is going to be crazy for me.  Not only am I going to be spending my vacation time in a classroom, but come September, I’ll be fully out of the job while I student teach for three months.  $420 may not seem like a lot, but that’s $420 I can be putting towards rent while I’m unemployed.
  • My boyfriend and I talked about the trip.  He wanted to go, which is surprising, and we almost bought the tickets. But we both reasoned that because of our housing situation, it’d be better to focus on saving money instead of spending it on travel.  Plus, he reminded me that:
  • When I become a teacher, I’ll have so much time off and so much money to spend, I won’t know what to do with myself.  Two full months off of school, plus three one-week vacations, throw in some long weekends and another 6 sick days INCLUDING  salary of at least $55,000 = it feels good to be gangster.  Russia will always be there.  I just have to decide when!

The thought of traveling to Eastern Europe for less than $600 is certainly an excitable opportunity.  Taking a deep breath and walking away from the computer for a moment brought me down to earth though.  Some say there will always be an excuse and that it is the fear that holds you back from doing things you love.  I agree with that, although I think my reasoning is valid – I simply don’t have the time right now.

If I wasn’t student teaching I’d say “fuck it,” but Tom was right – “taking an unpaid week off would be like doubling the cost of the trip.”  A $600 trip turns into a $1200 trip, which is the average cost of a vacation anyway.  So why go through the stress of squeezing in travel at a hectic time, when I could save and plan for a break during a later, more convenient date?

I know I’ll be alright with my decision.  Part of travel’s allure is it’s unpredictability, and who knows where I’ll end up next?  So I don’t go to Russia in April – perhaps I’ll go back to Iceland, in August (flights at $550 RT guys!)…