Updated: Oct 7, 2019
Ever since my first big backpacking trip I've been #practicepacking before exciting trips. Your flight is booked and mentally you are prepping for life on the road. That was me in 2003...excitedly rolling clothes tightly, organizing with zip lock bags and loading my pack multiple times until I had a solid idea how much I could fit for a month long trip to Europe.
I can't even count how many times I've been to Costa Rica so the novelty of excitedly planning what could fit in a pack has worn off. I mean really, you don't need much; flips, shorts, tanks, swimwear- pretty straightforward.
That is until buying a property in another country. All the sudden, shorts are my lowest priority...I can buy some shorts when I get there. What I can't buy are high quality towels or natural rubber yoga mats. Some items are available for purchase but are MUCH more expensive or only available in major cities. Now we are filling our suitcases with Edison lights, shower heads, spa towels, tools- you name it.
This #propertypacking started before we even had our flights booked. I began in June; while the shopping list was still fresh in my mind. I hit the gauntlet of stores. Target, Costco, Harbor Freight, Marshall's, TJ Maxx, and Dollar Store were abundant in items needed to #pimpourproperty.
Our new favorite airline for flying to Costa Rica is hands down Southwest Airlines. Why?? Affordable one way flights, 2 free checked bags always per passenger, pick your own seats (this seemed like a downside until we mastered the game) and abundant flight selection.
Along with no longer booking round trips tickets, we also no longer head straight to our destination. When we are heading down to CR for ~7 months, what is the rush? We might as well stop a couple places along the way. Last year we visited my folks in Green Valley, AZ and loved it. It's a nice warming transition between frosty-fall Tahoe and the hot-humid jungle of Montezuma. We loved it so much we are going there again but adding another stop along the way...Dallas. Southwest uses Houston as the transfer hub to Costa Rica so we started thinking about Texas mid-summer. When we couldn't find a flight from Tucson to San Jose, CR, I figured it was meant to be. We found affordable flights allowing us 5 days in Dallas en route to Costa Rica.
Is this the cheapest way to travel? No, but by grouping three trips into one it's less expensive than separate trips. Not to mention the time-efficiency. We are already headed that direction so there is no flight home. I guess maybe it's my new smaller-scale version of a round-the-world ticket. My husband gets excited too. He wants to experiment with different cities every time. I'm game. If it only costs $150 more to score 3-5 days in a new city, especially one on the other side of the country, it's most likely cheaper than a round-trip ticket to go there separately.
Point is, I still love to travel but my style of traveling is changing. I used to be adamant about backpacker-style traveling and now I welcome the wheels. I used to pack minimally and now I'm cramming what I can in there. I used to love the bus, okay still do, but having your own wheels is liberating. Ten years ago, would I have envisioned ever saying these things publicly...#notachance. Here's to the evolution of backpacker to property owner. Seriously excited to get back down there with all our suitcases in tow.