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Old 02-12-2015, 01:25 PM   #101
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I booked a trip in late April to fly to Amsterdam, take the train to Paris, then to London and return from London.

Open jaw ticket was $1443, much higher than I'd have paid say 3-4 years ago.

I'm trying to maintain my Premier Gold status on United, which requires spending $6000 on fares (taxes and govt. fees are not counted).

But I'm starting to wonder if it's worth doing.

Budget wise, it's kind of an unexplored territory for me because it's within my first year of ER. While I'm budgeting way less than 3% withdrawal, I expect to be able to comfortably fund several international trips.

In June, I had already claimed an award ticket to Italy, planning to spend a week in Sardinia and another week in Cinque Terre/Liguria.

Not too crazy about the fares (lodgings prices are up too) but travel is one of the reasons why I FIRE'd.
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2015 Travel to Europe
Old 02-12-2015, 09:08 PM   #102
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2015 Travel to Europe

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Originally Posted by explanade View Post

I'm trying to maintain my Premier Gold status on United, which requires spending $6000 on fares (taxes and govt. fees are not counted).

But I'm starting to wonder if it's worth doing.

The airline I fly most often has rewarded me with changes to their milage plan that make it clear I am not a valued customer. I don't expect to be treated like somebody who flies 250,000+ miles a year with them. But, I don't want to see my business down graded either. Supposedly rewards will be easier to obtain once earned. But they can always increase the cost of the reward and this degrade my miles. Nothing new here.

So I am seeking a cheaper airline and strategies.
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Old 02-13-2015, 10:15 PM   #103
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I'm a frequent flyer to the Uk and mainland Eu. Tbh the prices are similar to what I have paid in previous years. They are a bit more but within reason vs inflation. No big jumps here.
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Old 02-17-2015, 01:31 PM   #104
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I have access to "free" air travel from a friend at United but I have a dog and two cats, and just coordinating that and paying for it, adds so much more stress to travel plans. The kennel would be $100 a day and I can't see leaving them for any length of time. I would like to travel for more than one month but at this point I can't see that happening.

I would love to just wander about, ending my trip in Italy where I have many relatives.
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Old 02-17-2015, 02:20 PM   #105
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Lincella, you should consider looking at one of the house sitting sites others of us have used. I've left my pets in care of folks I met via Trusted Housesitters and Housecarers, both with outstanding results. I have (at the moment) 6 dogs and 5 cats, but the numbers vary a good bit. Go!
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Old 02-17-2015, 03:40 PM   #106
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Sarah, I have had them bookmarked on Fb for awhile now and some of the places are beautiful! Thanks!
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Old 02-17-2015, 03:40 PM   #107
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Sarah I'm impressed, 6 dogs and 5 cats. Are you a vet?
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:32 PM   #108
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If only!! Think of the savings!!

I do border collie rescue and sometimes my fosters wind up sticking around. Three are in that category. One I found on the road, and two are current fosters.

The cats...they just accumulated. I don't really know how I got to five. But they all are different personalities, including the one that hogs my pillow at night.

Let's just say that finding pet care when we travel is a high art in my household! Which is why we now have a roommate. The tradeoff in privacy is small change compared to knowing we've got built in pet care.


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Old 02-17-2015, 10:33 PM   #109
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Oh and Lincella, I meant you could get a sitter for your pets! But pet sitting yourself is a pretty cool gig, too!


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Old 02-18-2015, 06:08 AM   #110
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The airline I fly most often has rewarded me with changes to their milage plan that make it clear I am not a valued customer. I don't expect to be treated like somebody who flies 250,000+ miles a year with them. But, I don't want to see my business down graded either. Supposedly rewards will be easier to obtain once earned. But they can always increase the cost of the reward and this degrade my miles. Nothing new here.

So I am seeking a cheaper airline and strategies.
I have seen the reward offered by airlines being devalues the last few years. Unfortunately, Marriott has been doing the same ( increasing property category levels while the property stays the same ). This just makes me less loyal to any carrier / hotel brand, and look elsewhere for my deals.

I find my best use for airline miles is for flights booked on short notice, and hotel points for hotels during 'gouging' times. For example, I used my Marriott Miles last year at SXSW in Austin where hotel room charges doubled for the event, but hotel category/points required stayed the same.
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:31 AM   #111
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Looks like a lot of people want to visit France this year.

The ultimate package holiday: Chinese billionaire takes 6,400 staff to France - Telegraph

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A Chinese company has treated 6,400 members of staff to a four-day holiday in France, booking 140 hotels in Paris and 4,700 rooms on the Cote d'Azur.
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Old 05-28-2015, 05:05 PM   #112
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Happened upon a $200 airfare "discount" through Globus. So I'm paying $1073 to fly Cleveland to Dublin, then London to Cleveland. Bought a one-way ticket through Air Lingus to fly Dublin to London.(Only $32.45 USD plus a $7 booking fee)

This trip will be a bit of an experiment. Have always been a do-it-yourself travel planner. A good friend and I will often take a year to plan a trip, tailor-made to our personal interests and modest budgets. Rick Steves has been a great guide, as was Arthur Frommer back in the '70's.

This year is different, though. Wasn't planning to take a 3-week trip to the British Isles (10 days in Ireland, 11 in England/Scotland/Wales); so the year of planning and scouring a R. Steves book didn't happen. However, when DH passed away in Jan., I began marathon of post-funeral chores that have made me crave a vacation.

Then a couple friends mentioned they wanted to make this trip; one had happily traveled on Globus tours in the past and the other has done little to no traveling. So, neither one was really interested in the type of travel I usually do with my R. Steves/Budget Travel Friend. They liked the idea of the Globus tours; I have no time to do a lot of planning. But, I really want to get away.

So, Globus package tour, here I come. It will be interesting to compare it to the previous do-it-yourself journeys. So far, the cost seems comparable. I'll see how all the "add-ons" total up in the end.
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Old 05-28-2015, 05:14 PM   #113
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I did my very first trip of Italy on an organized Rick Steves tour. It was fantastic. No shopping like on other tours, really out of the way places and super interesting people with whom to travel. Been to Italy 5 times now on my own and I thank Rick Steves for showing me how!
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Old 05-28-2015, 05:28 PM   #114
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My first "solo" trip - wasn't really solo. I wasn't traveling with friends or family - but was taking a tour. The tour gave me an instant social group - even though I didn't like everyone on the trip. I signed up for a roomshare and had a delightful Australian nurse as my roommate.

Have a great time!
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Old 05-28-2015, 05:38 PM   #115
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I'm just thankful for the internet--to make international trip planning and reservations so easy. So much information makes it so much easier to go to exotic places.

And I'm thankful that there are airlines like Norwegian Air Shuttle, Aer Lingus, Icelandair and Turkish Airlines flying to North America. They keep all the "big boy" airlines competitive and shall I say honest.

Even though we're seeing traditional air carriers pushing $1,500 on round trip European Summer airfares, you can fly out of some major cities for half that--making the budget air carriers a bargain.

Budget carriers may charge for their meals and drinks, but I never wanted to eat their tasteless food anyway. I'll carry on a foot long Subway sandwich and be much happier.
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Old 05-28-2015, 06:01 PM   #116
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I try to just hand wash a few items every few days to keep the clean inventory up. Plastic zip locks for when they aren't quite dry and you have to move on. In warm conditions seems to be a necessity as deodorant only goes so far.
+1 I take a small (less than 4 oz.) bottle of Woolite, a rubber sink stopper (there are good flexible ones at dollar stores), and two plastic hangers that have hooks or clips. By washing a couple items nightly, I never run out of clean clothes......and they're dry in the morning. (But I only take light- weight travel fabrics.)

I take about half the clothes recommended by R. Steves; and try to start out with my 21" carry-on only about half full. That's a suitcase that's easy to wheel around anywhere! Very freeing! (And I usually figure that the locals will never see me again anyway. Does it really matter that I only rotate between 4 different tops?)

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Old 05-28-2015, 06:15 PM   #117
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After reading the rest of this thread, I had better not complain about my $1073 open-jawed fare. It looks like that's pretty good, considering we didn't research it very hard or find ways to use cc points, etc. Globus simply offered us extra discounts throughout our process of researching the trip; we took a couple weeks to ask a lot of questions and figure out the logistics of traveling as a three-some.

Since it was taking us a while to get the decisions made, occasional discounts just happened to show up in our conversations with the Globus agents. In the end, each of us saved about $300 on the tours and $200 on the air fares.

(Of course, who knows if these were "real" discounts. Maybe they do this with everybody they are trying to book. Not to be cynical......but........?)

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Old 05-28-2015, 06:35 PM   #118
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Surprised they even offered an option with airfare. Typically a lot of these tour packages are only for land portion.

Yeah I'm a DIY traveler myself -- part of the appeal for me is probably reading about and researching the destinations.

I do look at packages now and then and I wonder about what kind of hotels they choose. Not sure if they're optimally located or if the hotels are well-reviewed.

But I think people here have said the Rick Steve's tours choose good hotels.
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Old 05-28-2015, 07:01 PM   #119
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+1 I take a small (less than 4 oz.) bottle of Woolite, a rubber sink stopper (there are good flexible ones at dollar stores), and two plastic hangers that have hooks or clips. By washing a couple items nightly, I never run out of clean clothes......and they're dry in the morning. (But I only take light- weight travel fabrics.)
I'm guessing that you use a carry-on. I think the regulation is currently 3.4oz per container (so I'm quibbling here but learning myself as we used to check in baggage ). I guess one could just use multiple containers all to fit in a 1-quart plastic bag. Don't know how closely they monitor this.

3-1-1 Liquids Rule | Transportation Security Administration

BTW, we recently bought the Rick Steves clothes line looks kind of useful.
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Old 05-28-2015, 08:32 PM   #120
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Thanks, Lbscal-- I'd better check those ounces. Haven't been out of the country for a couple years........so I should check my bottles!



Oh, and re. the clothesline........used one in the past. But I've found that my two hangers hang out of the way (usually). So, in a small room (as in some of Steves' recommended places), I don't keep running into laundry.

But I'm only washing for one person; if a partner was doing it too, the line might be worth it, IMHO.
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