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Planning A Dream Birthday Trip (and how to actually take it!)

Dreaming about possible travels is one of my favorite things to do. The trip may not happen, I may never see in person the places I dream about, but I sure have fun researching and planning.

This month at Across the Cafe Table at the Travel Belles, we are discussing, “Planning A Dream Birthday Trip.”

The mind boggles at such a thing. Casting off the fetters of budgets and limited vacation days and letting the imagination run wild is marvelous fun indeed. But in addition to being a dreamer, I am a practical woman. So today I’m going to write about three dream birthday trips to suit an assortment of budgets: Mostly Broke, Getting By and Sitting Pretty.

My Mostly Broke Dream Birthday Trip will be a day trip since I can’t afford hotels, plane fare or fancy restaurants.

Place: I will head straight for the ocean, somewhere like Bribie Island where I can spend the day with my nearest and dearest napping in the sunshine, walking the beach and looking for treasures, and finding a shady spot to read an escapist novel set in France or Italy.
Food: I’ll pack enough victuals for two meals since we have to stay to watch the sunset. For lunch we’ll have chicken salad croissants, sugar snap peas, minty lemonade, and generous slices of dark chocolate tart.  And for dinner, hmm, I think a savory tart studded with sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, and feta, followed by ripe strawberries, dark chocolate with sea salt, and champagne will be just the ticket.
Cost: About $100, the price of a full tank of petrol and groceries.
How: Set aside $10 from my grocery budget each month and put it in a birthday fund.

My Getting By Dream Birthday Trip will be an overnight somewhere with lots and lots of good food.

Place: I admit I’ll head straight for the beach again. It truly is a happy place for me. This time I think I’ll go to the Gold Coast and find a cozy but simple bed and breakfast with a big soft bed, down-filled doonah, and a bathtub for me to luxuriate in. I will sleep in until the sun wakes me up, swim in the warm water, lounge on the beach, and eat heartily.
Food: There will be no cooking for me on this trip. In addition to a delicious breakfast at the B&B, I’ll track down mid-range but delicious restaurants such as Milan on Main where I’ll happily tuck into things like trout-filled crepes drizzled with heady balsamic reduction or creamy seafood pasta with fresh dill and lime.
Cost: About $350 for B&B, petrol, and restaurants.
How: Set aside $30/month. Do this by not going to the movies 3 times or not going out for coffee 6 times or eating vegetarian twice instead of buying a beef or pork roast.

My Sitting Pretty Dream Birthday Trip will be a month at a villa in Italy.

Place: Ever since I watched “A Month by the Lake” I have dreamed of renting a villa for 30 days in early summer on Lake Como, Italy. Doesn’t that sound glorious? I will swim every day, take boat rides on the lake, and spend hours in the sun reading, napping, and visiting with the dear souls who are with me. I’ll take long walks anywhere I like and frequent local bakeries, pastry shops, wine bars, and restaurants. I’ll take day trips to nearby Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta and board the train for journeys up through the Alps into Switzerland. I will dance in the moonlight and sip wine on the terrace and watch the sun rise and set. I will live a beautiful, idyllic life for one whole month with people I love and treasure every second of it.
Food: Oh my, where do I start? I will have multiple cups of strong Italian coffee and sweet pastries every morning, eaten on the terrace as the sun rises over the lake. I will have my own chef on hand to prepare glorious lunches and desserts and pastries right there in the villa, a jolly fellow who laughs loudly and tells outrageous stories. At night I will dress up in gorgeous, twirly dresses and go to town, to explore and try out restaurants until I find my favorite, then eat there every night so that for one month I will feel like a regular as I’m greeted by name and with smiles. I will wear sundresses every day and visit the markets for fresh fruits, artisan cheeses and homemade sausages to take on picnics in the hills and train journeys to nearby places of beauty. I will sample local wines and collect bottles to bring home. And, best of all, I shall not gain ANY weight because of all the walking and exploring I shall do. 😉
Cost: Total: $13,000-$20,000

  • Villa rental – $5000-$10,000
  • Travel (train tickets, car rental, petrol, boat hire) – $3000
  • Plane fare – $2000 (from Australia) $1200 (from US/Canada)
  • Food/wine – $3000-$4500


  • Option One: Be very, very rich. 😉
  • Option Two: Set aside $361/mo for three years (low end) $555/mo for three years (high end).
  • Option Three: Find friends to go with you and split the cost.
    • 4 friends (low end)
      • Total: $6200
      • How: Save $259/mo for two years or $172/mo for three years
    • 6 friends (low end)
      • Total: $5533
      • How: Save $231/mo for two years or $154/mo for three years
    • 4 friends (high end)
      • Total: $9750
      • How: Save $407/mo for two years or $271/mo for three years
    • 6 friends (high end)
      • Total: $8666
      • How: Save $361/mo for two years or $241/mo for three years
  • Option Four: Cut costs in half by taking the train instead of renting a car, cooking your own food in the villa kitchen, and renting a smaller villa.

Sigh…what a lovely dream that is. 🙂 Perhaps one day we shall all see such a dream come true.

How about you? What would be YOUR dream birthday trip?

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Krista - Oh wow!! You are such an adventurer with your dreams. 🙂 After growing up in Northern Canada I’ve had my fill of snowy, cold places, but I’m so glad it sounds wonderful to you. 🙂 

Jack and Jill - I love to dream about my dream trips. All of these sound like they’d make wonderful birthday trips. For me, personally – my dream birthday would involve camping on an iceberg in Antarctica and seeing polar bears in the wild, lol.

Krista -  Oh my goodness! That sounds absolutely wonderful. 🙂 What a good idea to hire a driver to take you around. That would be so much less stressful and leave you free to gaze out the windows. Love it. 🙂

Krista -  It will be VERY practical when you come stay with me, Margo!! 🙂

Krista -  Yes please, Duchess!! I would love that too. 🙂

Krista -  I love that idea, Annette!! A whole day of new experiences. Mmm, I’m going to ponder that one and think of a list of things I could do. 🙂

Krista -  Oh you ARE clever, Andrea!! 🙂

Krista -  Day trips ARE wonderful things, Hila. 🙂 They keep me going until I have money again to take a real trip. 🙂

WarmQuilts - We spent my husband’s birthday in Italy – first stop: Lake Como. Room #4 at Hotel Metropole Suisse overlooks the waterfront and is along Piazza Cavour. One afternoon, we hired a driver and visited Villa d’Este. The hotel is luxurious, the grounds are breathtaking, and the rock mosaics and stonework are exquisite. We hiked up the hill to the Nympheum Fountain – taking dozens of pictures along the way and enjoying the impressive views.

Margo Millure - Oh my, I want to go to this Brible Island… but I guess for me it’s not that practical!  And yes, a month or two on Lake Como would be perfeto.

Annette | Bucket List Journey - Those all look like wonderful ways to spend a birthday :). On my birthdays I typically plan an entire day of new experiences, whether it be trying a new food, visiting a new town or seeing an attraction that I have never seen before. But, a full blown luxury getaway would be nice too 😉

Duchess - Hmmm…. a house in Provence for a month. Yessssss, that sounds nice. 

Andrea and John - This looks amazing…I’d put up a ‘donate’ button 😉

Hila - Day trips are such a great idea for those who can’t afford all the costs that come with travel. I sometimes do them when I need a small break, but am broke 🙂

Krista -  Thank you, dear Katy! Oh girl, that would make me so ridiculously happy!! 🙂 I would LOVE it!! Just let me get all this immigration stuff paid for then and then I will start dreaming and planning. 🙂

Krista -  Thanks, dear T! 🙂 I’m so broke at the moment that #1 is looking the most likely. 🙂 Not that I’m complaining!!

Krista -  Thanks so much! Yeah, I’m totally up for Italy too. 🙂

Katy Stewart - All fabulous ideas, Krista! I love the way you’ve done this! I’ll happily save up to come to the Italian villa with you and split the cost 🙂 xo

Ulysses S. Rant - Good luck with the planning!

Budgettraveltalk - They are all well thought out, but seeing we are wishing, Italy is a winner for me!

Krista -  Oh, that is the best dream of all, Neil. 🙂

Neil1964 - Once again Krista you have transported me away on a daydream of travel. Thank you………………………..
…………………My dream is  to travel as  much as I want for the rest of my life ……………………

Krista -  Oh Val, those sound absolutely magical!!! I would love dinner under the stars and fairy lights. How wonderful. 🙂

bellini - For my birthday I always celebrate for at least a week celebrating with family members and friends. I don’t need to go very far to have my dream holiday. Head to one of the local wineries for lunch overlooking the lake or the cascading vineyards, have dinner at God’s Mountain at a communal table under the twinkle of the stars and the fairy lights overlooking Lake Okanagan. 

Krista -  Thank you, Barbara. 🙂 That one is definitely my favorite too. 🙂

Barbara at winos and foodies - They all sound fun Krista. I especially like the Italian one.

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