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Old 09-22-2016, 03:38 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by EastWest Gal View Post
Budget travel is healthier and more real life. It's not about luxury, it's about experiencing the local lifestyle.

I went to Italy this year. My best memories were walking around, seeing Roman ruins underneath Alba, a wine tasting tour with a translator and private driver (68 Euros per person) and just seeing the relaxed lifestyle of small town Italy.

Travel is about seeing places where people don't speak English and don't care.

There is no sacrifice in budget travel.


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I don't think anybody's talking about luxury travel.

fuego has a tight budget. So it's assumed it's going to be budget travel.

There's nothing wrong with sacrifice. Fuegos Life is based on sacrifice.
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Old 09-22-2016, 04:03 PM   #142
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Fuego: so what cruise lines are you getting the deals for and how are you finding them? We love to cruise but find it expensive. We also do a ton of walking when we travel. We love to walk and do not do excursions at every port. A cheap beautiful place to visit in Europe is Poland. My DIL is from there. Krakow is really nice. YOur $ goes a long way there because they are not on the Euro. For example a beer is a dollar and we had filet mignon for 8.00.
Lately we've been on Carnival a lot. They are the only line that routinely cruises out of Charleston and Jacksonville (easy drives down and back along I-95). In December we're on the MSC Divina (relatively new ship; looks AMAZING; mixed reviews on food and service because it's a European cruise line and Americans have certain expectations apparently). I go to travelocity/expedia and sort by "price per night" to see if there are any good deals. Right now a "good deal" is anything around $40/nt and under. On the MSC Divina, we saw they were offering kids sail free, so that saved us almost half off the regular fare (but we had to pay an extra $100 for the balcony upgrade to get kids free other than $100/tax per kid). We usually do the carnival cruises last minute (which means about 1-3 months before sail date). This is prime time of year for cheap cruises. Now during hurricane season and through January-February. Nothing better than paying rock bottom prices for a cruise somewhere warm in the middle of a freezing January (did that past 2 years). Driving to the ports saves tons of $ and I generally dislike flying so it's also a quality thing for me.

As for Poland, it's tempting. We already whittled down 4 countries from our original plan (Portugal, France, Spain, Belgium) but added another one recently (Slovenia - man that place looks beautiful!!). Scope creep will make our trip a National Lampoons Vacation too if we aren't careful. We have a 4 year old so have to pace our travels accordingly.



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I am a three-star traveler so I definitely know about sacrifice
We all have to sacrifice. Would you keep on working forever and saving to afford 5-6 star places?



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But why go for filet mignon in Poland? Why not $1.50 barszcz soup and $3 pierogi like locals do?
That's more our speed right there. You can get a halfway decent filet mignon anywhere.

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Also: FUEGO's number for European travels are close to our family of 5, except that we spend more on entry fees and slightly more on food (our kids eat way more than his girls )

If you are patient (I treat is as a hobby) travel deals are to be found.
In two weeks I'm leaving for my "6 European Capitals for $600 airfare trip" and I'm planning to spend less than $400 for 3 weeks there (CPH->VNO->TLL->RYG->WAW->KRK)
Good to hear we're in the ballpark on costs. I had a dream that I was grossly underestimating all the costs (because "OMG Europe is expensive" as if it's a single homogeneous city). I've cruised around the airbnb listings and while I know I'm looking at shoulder season rates in Sept/Oct, even if they are 20-30% higher in summer I think we'll still be able to come in at $100/nt for mostly 2 BR apartments.

Our kids eat plenty, but we tend to do more of the local foods wherever we are. Especially when it's cheap and delicious. Mexico was like a nonstop smorgasbord in that regard.

That 6 European Capitals (though it's 5 + Krakow, no? ) sounds like a nice trip. We'll probably end up hitting 6-8 cities for about a week and then some random 1-3 night stays here and there.



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Agreed! When our son was about 12 we did the National Lampoon European Vacation. 3 weeks, 6 countries, Eurorail passes, toting too many bags. But my son, who is now in his mid-30's, still talks the most about the 5 days in northern Italy, in the town where his grandfather was born. We stayed with extended family, walked the hills to to the different villages, and just enjoyed the slower paced lifestyle.
My plan is to take regular size bookbags for the 8-9 week trip. We did this in Mexico and it worked out perfectly. No checked luggage. No lost luggage. Not sure if we'll do 3 days of clothes or 4 (how common are the wash/dry/fold places in mid to big city Europe?). Also hope to get a $500 ish lightweight laptop or two before we go to shave a few pounds off.
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Old 09-22-2016, 04:52 PM   #143
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Thanks for the tips-I appreciate it.
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Old 09-22-2016, 05:27 PM   #144
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Thanks for the tips-I appreciate it.
Glad to share. I've picked up plenty of tips here before, and hope to pick up more once I put up my "Summer 2017 - Grand European Vacation" thread. Still educating myself before I post.
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Old 09-22-2016, 05:59 PM   #145
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My favorite hobby is hunting down wines which cost less than $10.
Cap,

Love to see your list of great $10 wines. I find that I can not really tell a great deal of difference in a $10 bottle and a $40 bottle. Now get me into a $140 bottle and I can tell. Cheers
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Old 09-22-2016, 06:09 PM   #146
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I may be wildly off base (never been to Europe!), but I've done enough research to think I'm in the ballbark. Looks like decent $100/nt airbnb rentals in just about every place we're visiting. Some places have rates half that if you negotiate and get a weekly discount. Train tix can be very affordable for families (kids ride free in some places; Germany Bahn seems to have 19-39 euro advance ticket sales for every route). Vienna transit tix are free for kids during mid-july and August.

Also keep in mind we're doing this budget travel style. Lunch might be a picnic some days. We aren't staying in 5 star hotels. We might skip some castles/museums if admissions are 100+ for the family (gotta fight castle/museum fatigue because kids are involved).

We enjoy free/cheap/authentic stuff like walking the city, finding parks, letting the kids take a dip, street music/performers (I often google "free things to do in [insert city name here]). This may come as a surprise, but there's often a cheap/free alternative to the busier, expensive tourist attractions.

YMMV of course. Budget travel IS a slight sacrifice that enables long term world travel for our family while the adults are still in their 30's and the kids are still living at home with us. The alternative would be to work another decade or two to enable first class luxury travel without any regard to costs. No thanks!
Like Sailer - my teenage boys probably eat a lot more than your younger kids... but other than that you are spot on. Some of my favorite vacation memories are when the kids were little - spending time in a park/playground in San Gimingiano, Italy - kids running around, swinging on the swings, etc... Then walking over to buy a gelato. And as far as the kids getting museum'd out... It happens... but you can use gelato as a motivator to keep going and not whine... We got through the Vatican Museums with a 4yo and 6yo with the promise of gelato at the other end.

We spent $23k for our landed costs in Europe last summer (9.5 weeks, 11 cities in 7 countries, train travel between locations.)... We ate great food, stayed in very nice, centrally located apartments, hung out with rich people on the beach in southern France, saw a musical in London... even ate at a Michelin rated restaurant one night. We did not feel deprived or suffering.

If we'd skipped London and Paris our budget would have been even cheaper since both cities blew the lodging budget. Next time we'll just tack on a few more weeks elsewhere.
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Old 09-22-2016, 06:12 PM   #147
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My plan is to take regular size bookbags for the 8-9 week trip. We did this in Mexico and it worked out perfectly. No checked luggage. No lost luggage. Not sure if we'll do 3 days of clothes or 4 (how common are the wash/dry/fold places in mid to big city Europe?). Also hope to get a $500 ish lightweight laptop or two before we go to shave a few pounds off.
We did our trip with carry on size rollers and a book bag each. One of my criteria for apartment rentals was that they have a washing machine. I did laundry pretty much every day... but that's ok. The book bags didn't have clothes - they actually had books. We'd bought a bunch of cheap used books at the library book sale and passed them around between us.
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Old 09-22-2016, 06:29 PM   #148
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Like Sailer - my teenage boys probably eat a lot more than your younger kids... but other than that you are spot on. Some of my favorite vacation memories are when the kids were little - spending time in a park/playground in San Gimingiano, Italy - kids running around, swinging on the swings, etc... Then walking over to buy a gelato. And as far as the kids getting museum'd out... It happens... but you can use gelato as a motivator to keep going and not whine... We got through the Vatican Museums with a 4yo and 6yo with the promise of gelato at the other end.

We spent $23k for our landed costs in Europe last summer (9.5 weeks, 11 cities in 7 countries, train travel between locations.)... We ate great food, stayed in very nice, centrally located apartments, hung out with rich people on the beach in southern France, saw a musical in London... even ate at a Michelin rated restaurant one night. We did not feel deprived or suffering.

If we'd skipped London and Paris our budget would have been even cheaper since both cities blew the lodging budget. Next time we'll just tack on a few more weeks elsewhere.
We are skipping London and 99% sure we're skipping Paris. Most expensive cities will probably be Munich Germany, Milan Italy, Venice (though I think we're staying free in Padua at a Starwood hotel on points). Particularly cheap places are Budapest, Prague and Ljubljana, so overall we are staying in fairly low to moderate cost cities.

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We did our trip with carry on size rollers and a book bag each. One of my criteria for apartment rentals was that they have a washing machine. I did laundry pretty much every day... but that's ok. The book bags didn't have clothes - they actually had books. We'd bought a bunch of cheap used books at the library book sale and passed them around between us.
Books? That's what the 12 ounce tablets are for. Otherwise we would have an extra bag each, too.
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Old 09-22-2016, 07:31 PM   #149
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I think people find their personal level of FI when Time becomes more valuable than Money.
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Annual SS + 2 pensions= ~$55K, with retiree healthcare. 0% withdrawal rate on healthy nest egg. (Don't need it right now.) Downsized to condo, and put remaining equity into bank until I activate pre-residency agreement to move into local CCRC at age 75.

Because of careful planning and LBOM with DH, plus living in a modest COL area, I have no temptation to return to work. Have only been retired four years, and only two of those years could DH and I enjoy together (before his decline and passing). If anything, I wish we had retired sooner, so we could have spent more years together enjoying the fruits of our labors.
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Old 09-22-2016, 09:11 PM   #150
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Cap,

Love to see your list of great $10 wines. I find that I can not really tell a great deal of difference in a $10 bottle and a $40 bottle. Now get me into a $140 bottle and I can tell. Cheers
This is why I strive to keep DW away from $140 wines!
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Old 09-22-2016, 09:16 PM   #151
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I really enjoy Rombauer Chardonnay. It's $35/bottle. I can tell the difference (from ten buck stuff) and it's worth it.
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Old 09-23-2016, 06:01 AM   #152
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Total Wine's web site allows you to sort on type, varietal, price, and rating (if one exists). MD doesn't allow wine to be shipped to your home, so we make our selection on-line and pick it up at the store.

We used to be able to find quite a few 90's for <=$10, but there are few to be found nowadays. So now we sort by customer rating - if a $9.00 bottle gets several 5-stars along with legitimate-sounding customer praise (i.e., doesn't sound like a bot wrote it) we'll try it. So far, nothing has been bad and most have been tasty.

(
I mean, to me, paying $10.00 for less than a quart of something to drink still sounds expensive )

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Cap,

Love to see your list of great $10 wines. I find that I can not really tell a great deal of difference in a $10 bottle and a $40 bottle. Now get me into a $140 bottle and I can tell. Cheers
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Old 09-23-2016, 07:05 AM   #153
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I really enjoy Rombauer Chardonnay. It's $35/bottle. I can tell the difference (from ten buck stuff) and it's worth it.
Our favourite Chardonnay. Hard to get in Ontario so drink it mostly in Arizona. Easy to tell the difference and agree it's worth it, at least to us. One of our friends there refers to it as "housewife crack". Seems a little insensitive to me.
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Old 09-23-2016, 09:38 AM   #154
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That 6 European Capitals (though it's 5 + Krakow, no? )
Hey - Krakow used to be a captial of Poland, so it still counts

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My plan is to take regular size bookbags for the 8-9 week trip. We did this in Mexico and it worked out perfectly. No checked luggage. No lost luggage. Not sure if we'll do 3 days of clothes or 4 (how common are the wash/dry/fold places in mid to big city Europe?).
We also travel light, similar size bags. It's easier to do in warmer weather and if you don't pack for special activities (like sailing or horseback riding, but even swimming suits & goggles add weight). My bag is heaviest, because of work laptop, but still bookbag size.

Wash/dry/fold are not that common is smaller towns, but can be found easily near universities/colleges in most European cities - they are pricey though - I typically try to arrange with airBnB host to do laundry there - just be prepared for line drying, almost nobody has a clothes dryer at home.
We also did some small washing in the sink (socks, underwear & t-shirts) - while I don't like the feel of them, synthetic, quick dry t-shirts dry very fast and are light to pack.
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Old 09-23-2016, 10:35 AM   #155
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We also did some small washing in the sink (socks, underwear & t-shirts) - while I don't like the feel of them, synthetic, quick dry t-shirts dry very fast and are light to pack.
(Mainly) for travel I bring men's 90% polyester/10% spandex boxers.....comfortable & quick drying.
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Old 09-23-2016, 01:06 PM   #156
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So has anyone here ever used go ahead tours. I have traveled with them a few times and actually right after 9/11 happened I went to Paris which was interesting.

You can travel for less money on your own obviously but it is kind of nice to have AN itinerary and all your transportation organized in advance.
Go ahead Tours is designed for experienced traveler so they give you the option to go on your own which is really nice.

I have brown bagged travel to places like chili ,Costa Rica ,and Nicaragua , Europe etc.and it's definitely fun and adventurous.

Getting lost is part of the fun but sometimes you lose time and it can get old.
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Old 09-23-2016, 01:15 PM   #157
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In general we avoid tours, I don't want to be told where to be at certain time, etc. The exception was when my sister and I went to Thailand. WE booked tours for everywhere we went.
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Old 09-23-2016, 01:28 PM   #158
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In general we avoid tours, I don't want to be told where to be at certain time, etc. The exception was when my sister and I went to Thailand. WE booked tours for everywhere we went.
Go ahead is actually really flexible for experienced travelers.

Yeah if you totally want to be on your own 100% then It wouldn't be the way to go.
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Old 09-25-2016, 04:12 PM   #159
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We also travel light, similar size bags. It's easier to do in warmer weather and if you don't pack for special activities (like sailing or horseback riding, but even swimming suits & goggles add weight). My bag is heaviest, because of work laptop, but still bookbag size.

Wash/dry/fold are not that common is smaller towns, but can be found easily near universities/colleges in most European cities - they are pricey though - I typically try to arrange with airBnB host to do laundry there - just be prepared for line drying, almost nobody has a clothes dryer at home.
We also did some small washing in the sink (socks, underwear & t-shirts) - while I don't like the feel of them, synthetic, quick dry t-shirts dry very fast and are light to pack.
We usually toss the swim suits and goggles in the bookbag too. I weighed some of my cargo shorts and they were almost 1 pound each. Fortunately I found some light weight shorts on clearance at Wally world for $5 and immediately I thought "perfect for our trip!". I might select my wardrobe based on the lightest weight 3-4 articles of clothing.

We're doing mild to slightly warm locations (summertime; nothing more northern than Berlin or Hamburg Germany probably), except we are most likely doing an ice cave tour in the Austrian Alps where it's 30-40 degrees even in the middle of summer. I'm kind of thinking I can get by with some of those sock-looking things you pull over your arms (or actual socks with the toe portion cut off!). The rest of the family might take light jackets for chilly nights elsewhere and make do with a second layer underneath that while in the cave.

Hmmm, no clothes dryers? How uncivilized! The places we rented in Mexico all had clothes dryers though I we could easily afford places that were not the cheapest options in town ("villa" or "compound" might be accurate descriptors for most of the places). Even the hotel in Cancun had a free (!!) washer and dryer (found out on our last night after hand foot washing our 3 year old's poopy pants in the shower then pinning them to the air vent to dry ).
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Old 09-25-2016, 07:32 PM   #160
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Budget travel is healthier and more real life. It's not about luxury, it's about experiencing the local lifestyle.

I went to Italy this year. My best memories were walking around, seeing Roman ruins underneath Alba, a wine tasting tour with a translator and private driver (68 Euros per person) and just seeing the relaxed lifestyle of small town Italy.

Travel is about seeing places where people don't speak English and don't care.

There is no sacrifice in budget travel.


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ok, so I gotta ask, if I stay in a luxury hotel and fly first class my trips are unhealthy and some how less authentic?? Guess my family's trip to London is doomed.

while I can enjoy how the locals live, I also want to experience the things I don't do at home. I can't get a behind the scene tour of the Louve, so that's what I saved while working for.

Sorry, I have a serious issue with the superiority attitude that in order to be a "real" traveler one must go a certain way. Who dictated that is what travel is about?? or the other holier than thou attitude that if you prefer to spend your money on other stuff than travel you are obviously wrong, because you can't be "worldly"

I just don't get it. On one hand we tout that the reward for saving and living below ones mean is to retire and enjoy life and then with the other side of our face we say if enjoying life is not "budget" it's some how less "real".
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