Update on my 31X31 Travel Goal

I want to go everywhere! Photo credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/7996334214

I want to go everywhere! Photo credit 

I had big travel dreams for this year, but the days of cheap airfare in Venezuela are over. Not only are they over, but they are gone and buried! I’ve heard that this flight crisis is happening because the Venezuelan government is not paying the airlines properly, so the airlines are offering VERY limited flights, paid only in dollars, at a very high cost.

I have a goal to travel to 31 countries by the time I’m 31 (31X31), and I originally planned to go to quite a few countries this school year, and then meet my goal this summer while backpacking Europe. However, due to the extreme costs of flights out of Venezuela, I wont be accomplishing that goal as planned.

I’ve been to 18 countries so far.

This December I will go to Peru and Bolivia and I will bump that number up to 20.

I also just booked a Semana Santa trip to Colombia (at a backbreaking price of $500US for a one hour flight), which will put me at 21 countries before I turn 30.

This Summer I still have plans (and the initial ticket to Paris and back already purchased) to backpack to 7 new countries, bringing me to 28 by the end of Summer 2015.

That means I need to see 2 more countries before May 2016 if I am to reach my 31X31 goal!

I’ve come up with two options:

Option 1:

Who doesn't dream of seeing the Moai of Easter Island? Photo cred https://www.flickr.com/photos/christian-bobadilla/10869302774/in/photolist-hyu22Y-6SQaMG-9QS56x-dhrstd-9AEbxV-RF2nZ-7kJWhZ-bcgcpF-6VMVf-6SQAmY-bchc16-bcghsF-4Vqz7K-c7QS3-3bZavx-7nmr7D-VsvmG-9AH4yu-6VMVw-6SQJcb-48oJms-6VMV7-6SLEDc-bcgpHn-8XSX1j-je6Jbr-bbPHNr-24LwU-6VMVk-48jGoX-dhrsKh-bchyYX-bcgvN2-9QS5fp-6cjXbD-bbS6Mv-55eU5o-bchrj4-niH9GM-bchThZ-bbQLTK-bbQpxi-6ruG5j-6VMUp-bhvPHx-83FeCX-nvQYcC-6SLAai-bhv8u4-bbQAkD

Who doesn’t dream of seeing the Moai of Easter Island? Photo cred 

This is something I really want to do if next year will be my last year in Venezuela (I feel really undecided about this still). I have created an itinerary to see Ecuador (+Galapagos Islands) and Chile (+Easter Island) in December 2015, but that would be a seriously expensive trip, and a little hard to swallow after my big outlay for the European Backpacking trip this summer. I think this trip would be easily $6000 even if I were very carful.

With my current desire for a job in the (vastly safer) Asian countries of Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, or Indonesia, it would make getting to these places impossibly expensive for me.

Option 2:

Rio on NYE has been a dream of mine for the past several years. Photo cred https://www.flickr.com/photos/portobayevents/11833743553/in/photolist-j2H2Fg-jpXBXy-jUB5nL-jpXC6j-iNQFcp-j2H4rk-iNUz9f-kkeo4G-j2FCrp-j2KC4y-j2HJb5-j2KCf5-j2KCn9-j2HJ1A-j2H3m4-j2HK5u-j2FCxr-j2FEfz-j2HJmW-j2FDBk-j2FEaz-iNRYd4-iNQFt6-iNRYaP-iNQGtH-iNQGXD-j2KCYE-j2H37B-j2KBqQ-j2FCKa-jpXgzZ-5bgaue-jeug81-jetzXg-jeugv5-jes5PR-jes5qp-jetxAT-jewmAy-jewo3m-oTbxCe-pgwmWb-p2YQEx-p71Dzb-pmnNoT-jpXgLF-jpZ4Nb-j2WrHD-pxS5YT-pB7KSL

Rio on NYE has been a dream of mine for the past several years. Photo cred 

My other option is to go to Brazil, as I’ve been planning to do for a few years, in December 2015 and then Cuba over Semana Santa 2016. I’ve wanted to go to both of these countries for years, but I’ve put them off for cost purposes.

Now I realize that I just need to bite the bullet and book the flights really early out to get the best prices. I like this option because it breaks up the expenses over the course of a few months. I think these trips combined would be about $4000 if I were very careful.

I've been obsessed with Cuban salsa for the past few years and I can't wait to salsa in Cuba! Photo cred http://www.flickr.com/photos/chewie/4110238190/

I’ve been obsessed with Cuban salsa for the past few years and I can’t wait to salsa in Cuba! Photo cred 

However, I know that I have such a strong desire to see these countries that I can put them off for another time if it means getting to the hard to reach spots I’ve listed in option 1.

The only problem between choosing option 1 and option 2 is that I have to book tickets as soon as possible so it will be hard for me to know if I want to stay a third year in Venezuela or not. I also need to start saving ASAP!

Please comment! Have you been to Ecuador, Galapagos, Easter Island, and Chile and think I should choose Option 1? Have you been to Brazil and Cuba and think I should choose Option 2?

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4 responses to “Update on my 31X31 Travel Goal

  1. Ecuador/Galapagos Islands + Chile/Easter Island or Brazil + Cuba? Hard choices. Do you plan to eventually visit all of those places, regardless of where you go in 2015-2016? If so, you might look into the cost to visit those places from another potential home base (like the US). Would it even be possible to travel to Cuba if you’re living in the US? How much MORE expensive would it be to travel to any of those places from the US? And how much longer would it take to travel? It might make sense to pay more now to save time, money. and trouble later.

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  2. Hey Brie! Thanks for commenting!

    I’m leaning toward the Island Adventure because basically you can only get to those islands from South America, however I do want to get to all of these places eventually.

    You can get to Cuba from any country that isn’t the US (and even the US has loopholes for certain trips). Brazil, while it might be more expensive to fly to from outside of South America, it is also more expensive to fly to any of the places on my list from outside of South America!

    Today is one of those days where I think I will sign up to stay at my school for a third year. If this hold true, I would rather do the Brazil option because it would be cheaper.

    I still don’t know!

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