How I’m Planning for My First International Trip After the Pandemic

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Quarantine has been a little mean, to say the least. With things finally starting to open back up, I’m looking forward to the future and feeling that itch to travel once again.

During quarantine, I watched a lot of Netflix. One show that I loved in particular (I watched it three times!) is Anne With An E. It’s the story of Anne of Green Gables, which is very nostalgic and allowed me to mentally escape for a little while.

As international travel hopefully fully opens back up soon, I’d love to physically escape to Anne’s hometown of Prince Edward Island (PEI) in Canada.

The Impact of Anne of Green Gables for Generations

The original Anne of Green Gables movie series starring Megan Follows as Anne (which I also watched) was released in 1985. The story follows Anne, a young teen girl who is sent to live with a family who was expecting an orphan.

As soon as they realize she’s not a boy, disappointment sets in and Anne can sense this. She can’t help Matthew (who’s getting older) with the farming or chores. She can’t go to town on her own and run errands or do heavy lifting around the house. Or can she?

Instead, Anne brings something much better to the family — she’s sincere, well-educated and highly creative — a dreamer as well as a hard worker. She’s a lover of life, friendship, and new beginnings. She quickly secures herself as an invaluable member of the household while gaining the family’s love. While this is a fictional show at its core, the newer Netflix show, Anne With an E, adds a lot of new stories and features that audiences (especially women) can relate to, including:

  • Struggles with self-image
  • Complicated friendships and relationships
  • Racism and prejudice
  • Economic hardship
  • Bullying

Traveling to 1890s Prince Edward Island

I understand that PEI is not going to be just like it was in the show or the movies. The actual story takes place in the 1890s. Still, there are lots of tourist spots and highlights that preserve that story and time period, whether it’s a carriage ride around the Lake of Shining Waters, touring Anne’s farmhouse, or window shopping at the historic shops in downtown Charlottetown.

There are beaches, attractions, and lots to do, as well as lots of seafood to eat on this island.

Preparing My Finances for a Trip

The dream is there, but as with any solid plan, you need to consider the financial aspect as well. Traveling is often not cheap, and PEI is actually a little challenging to get to. There aren’t a ton of direct flights that go from Chicago to Charlottetown, which is near Prince Edward Island. I like to use an app called Hopper to shop around for flights. This app searches for discounts and helps predict the best time to buy airline tickets.

Then, there’s planning transportation from the airport, lodging, and the cost of food and activities. Whenever I’m planning a trip, I like to create a budget that breaks down an estimate of my costs. Here’s a summary of what I came up with for a five-night stay in PEI:

  • Roundtrip flight from Chicago to Charlottetown via Canada Air: $460 before taxes
  • Three-night stay at Anne With an E-inspired bed and breakfast: $933
  • Two-night stay in local Airbnb: $201
  • Activities and tours: $700
  • Food: $600
  • Miscellaneous: $150

Total: $3,044

This is just an estimate, but it gives me a good idea of what to budget for. I don’t need to stay in the bed and breakfast for three nights, but $933 is actually a good deal. This stay also provides breakfast each day, a $100 restaurant voucher, a free carriage ride to the Lake of Shining Waters, and many other perks.

I would likely save money by booking an Airbnb for the other nights, and I always budget an extra $100 or so for miscellaneous costs because you never know what can come up when you’re traveling.

Budgeting for a Big Trip

Saving up $3,000 is a lot to scrape up for a nostalgic vacation. That said, I don’t see myself going to PEI at all this year. A few years ago, I opened a travel savings account through an online bank that offers a higher interest rate. I like to add funds to this account regularly and include an actual budget category for travel so I’m setting aside money each month.

According to BudgetForYourTrip.com, tourists can expect to spend $133 ($166 CAD) per day in PEI. I split this amount in half to represent what I can comfortably save each week, which is $66.50. That comes out to $266 per month ($133 every two weeks times two). If I do this for a year, I’ll save $3,192 and be able to travel to PEI by this time in 2022.

I used to get intimidated by the cost of travel and stack up all these cool destinations in my head but tell myself I couldn’t afford it. However, I realized that when you do your research, put a budget in place, and find easy ways to keep costs lower or bundle aspects of your trip, literally anything is possible.

Read our other stories in our Travelpalooza series.


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