I love travelling. Part of the reason that I resigned my old job and started working as a Business Operations Consultant was because I wanted to be able to travel more. They say be careful what you wish for because it might come true. Well, it did come true. For the first 6 months of my new role I was home a total of 35 days. I spent the rest of the time on the road.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love flying, and airports and visiting new places, but visiting for work is different than visiting somewhere for fun. Back in 2009, my friend, Anita and I took off for Europe for 6 months. We backpacked our way through most of it. That was an adventure. Not knowing what hostel we were going to stay at when we got off the train in any given city was both exciting and nerve-wracking. But we had fun. We met some of the most amazing people on our journey, and I can say that I was altered by it. Europe, also, took a bit of planning, and we needed the time to create our adventure. Having a week off work isn’t the same thing. I can’t fly over to Germany and hang out for a week, it doesn’t work like that, and quite frankly isn’t in my nature. I need/want to explore the city, live with the locals, learn their ways. This is one of the reasons behind interviewing for roles in Argentina. I wanted to live there and feel settled.
The first time I travelled by myself was 2008. I had just broken up with my boyfriend of 2 years, been in a car accident that totalled my car, and might have been somewhat traumatized. I went online, found a trip to Cuba for the next evening and packed my bags. (My boss was kind enough to allow me leave after seeing pictures of my car, and the cuts on my face). The goal was to spend a week in the sun, get my tan on, and read. That was it.
I paid $490 taxes in for an all inclusive trip to Cuba. I know that I have a few readers from the States and flying to Cuba is a bit of a challenge, but let me tell you that it is worth it.
Since then I’ve been to every Caribbean country, and would still pick Cuba. Let me explain why.
I don’t go to Cuba for the food. That’s not the point of the trip for me. I enjoy the experience. I also love getting on a plane and knowing that my hotel, flight, food, is all taken care of. I also like my cigars (I don’t smoke cigarettes). This is especially important to me since I have a limited amount of time for vacation, and spending the most amount of that on the beach is a priority. The majority of the trips that I’ve gone on are 7 day last minute ones. I have gone on the rare 4 day weekend trip to Varadero as well. The country just doesn’t disappoint.
For those who have issues with the food, I say suck it up. Cuba has some of the world’s best beaches, really friendly people and tourists(mostly Canadians), and its only a 4 hour flight from Toronto. And, this being a personal finance blog allows me to point out that Cuba is most likely the cheapest destination for most Canadians. Where else are you going to find a flight, food and alcohol, ground transportation and hotel for that price? I can go to New York for 2.5 days and spend that and not get tanned, or go away for a week on an all inclusive vacation for the same price.
Cuba is a very close second to my favorite place in the world. And knowing that I get on the island for under $700 at any time makes me love it that much more.