Planning for Spontaneity

As noted on an earlier blog, I am the world’s least spontaneous person (although I’m working on it).

However, for quite some time I’ve dreamed of taking a spontaneous four-day weekend abroad. Every week I look forward to my American Airlines Netsavers newsletter, which notifies me of very reduced fares for the upcoming weekend. More often than not, the e-mail informs me that there are no Netsaver fares from St. Louis the following weekend.

I don't know what sport is played on this field, but I want to go to Dublin to find out.

That’s the bane of living in St. Louis–smack dab in the middle of the country, but not a single airline has their hub here.

I don’t care where I go. I just want to see an incredible fare and hop on it. I want to show up at work on Monday or Tuesday morning and have people ask, “Hey, what did you do this weekend?”

And I get to say: “Oh, I went to Dublin.” Or London. Or Tokyo. Or Istanbul.

Back in March, I was talking with friend and fellow blogger Penelope about this travel dream of mine. Somewhere in that conversation we came up with the idea of putting aside a dollar a day to use for spontaneous travel. A dollar a day. That’s nothing. And yet it adds up.

So every month, a designated “spontaneous travel” savings account over at ING transfers $30 from my checking account for this purpose. As of today, I have $180 saved for a dream weekend abroad. It’s not much, but after a year I’ll have $360.

I have to admit, I love this idea. I’m minimizing a major barrier for spontaneity–money. By designating those funds now, I’m increasing the chance that I’ll actually say “yes” when that fateful day comes.

The one service that I wish existed to help me with this goal would be a website that lets me name a price range and a destination city, and when a round-trip fare to a foreign city drops into that range, the site sends me a notification e-mail. There are similar services out there, but the catch is that you need to know where you want to go. I have a ton of places I’d be happy to go given a cheap flight.

If you like this idea and want to start putting aside a few dollars a month for spontaneous travel, let me know and I’ll send you a referral. There are no catches with ING (no fees, no minimum, withdraw money quickly at any time), and if you sign up through the referral, you get $25 and I get $10.

Where will you go?