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Old 07-18-2008, 02:26 AM   #21
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DW and I are considering a trip to Hawaii next year, and with the kids, renting a house on the beach for 11 days is going to set us back 7k. It makes me a little nervous, but you never know when you'll have this opportunity again. I'd ask what % of your net worth it represents. If not much, then it should be no hesitation!
If it's any consolation our 11-day three-college trip set us back $6K for three, and over half of that was airfare. I think you're getting a much better deal!
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Old 07-18-2008, 09:02 AM   #22
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Hey, thanks for all the responses. Looks like the question is a fairly common one, though obviously the details differ significantly.

For the curious, $15k represents:
2.3% of net worth (including house) or
5.5% of invested assets or
2 months post-tax income or
3 months pre- and post- tax savings

After as much deliberation as you can do in a couple of days, this trip will not be happening for a variety of reasons:

1. 2 weeks is two short for the trip we'd really want to do. And we can't extend it because of #2:

2. While this trip is scheduled more-or-less for spring break, DW is in the middle of a Master's program. They do wacky half-semesters, and we'd have to leave right before the first half-semester ended, and usually in that last week they have final exams/group presentations.

3. The professorial couple has done other alumni trips in the past, so will probably do so again (though maybe to a different place).

4. DW does get motion sickness.

So in the end, the timing of it just isn't ideal. DW might have to schedule one or two fewer classes, which could delay her degree by 3 months or more. She's working part-time now, but would presumably work full-time once she graduates. So there's a large opportunity cost there.

It is often surprising how often the "millionaires next door" on this forum encourage spending money.
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Old 07-18-2008, 09:02 AM   #23
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Australia and New Zealand has always been near the top of our list of places to visit.
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you couldn't pay me to spend 21+ hours on an airplane, followed by 5-6 days of jet lag (10 hours difference -- as bad as you can get, plus you get to do it all over again on the way back).
i'm with t-al. only my solution would be to spend a little more money on an apartment there and stay longer so that your costs per day would be reduced and you'd get to experience & learn even more about the places near the top of your list.
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:02 AM   #24
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Kronk,
for comparison DW & myself did a 3.5 weeks in Fiji & Australia, spending little less than $8k total in 2003 (with 1.2 USD/AUD currency ratio than)
Please look for cheaper airline options - Sign up for AirNZ & Quantas email specials, I know that you are limited with your time frame, but $2500 pp sounds excessive - right now AirNZ has $998 from LA or SF special (+tax, so probably around $1250).
Depending on how many air hops you have in Australia (we made 9) get either Quantas Pass or try discount Airlines (like Virgin).
Great Barrier Reef is definitely worth visiting, if you don't need luxurious accommodation, el cheapo 3 days catamaran sailing trip in Whitsundays is less than $300 pp (food included: Tongarra Catamaran Cruises, Whitsundays ). Just be careful about jelly-fish (they can kill), spring break time will be still warm enough for them.

Definitely Australia & NZ are worth visiting,
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:47 AM   #25
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DW and I are considering a trip to Hawaii next year, and with the kids, renting a house on the beach for 11 days is going to set us back 7k.
Something to consider - and understand that this is second-hand info.

A friend of mine travels quite a bit (and lives here in N IL). He went to Costa Rica, and said he enjoyed it far more than Hawaii. Cheaper, less travel time, no real jet lag from here.

Just a thought. -ERD50
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:52 AM   #26
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How much would it cost to visit them at their home, house-sit for them while they're away, and look at their Flickr slideshow when they return?
Sure, and while they are all having the time of their lives in Australia and New Zealand and experiencing the Great Barrier Reef up close and personal, with their own tour guides, you could be at home painting houses and making another $25/hour, on top of all the money you saved by not taking the trip!

What's not to like?

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Old 07-18-2008, 11:01 AM   #27
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Sure, and while they are all having the time of their lives in Australia and New Zealand and experiencing the Great Barrier Reef up close and personal, with their own tour guides, you could be at home painting houses and making another $25/hour, on top of all the money you saved by not taking the trip!

What's not to like?

-ERD50
... And if they're still in the same house they were in 12 years back and didn't make changes, the bedroom has mirrors on the ceiling! (They claim it was from the previous owners.)

The idea gains merit...
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Old 07-18-2008, 12:37 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by laurencewill View Post
DW and I are considering a trip to Hawaii next year, and with the kids, renting a house on the beach for 11 days is going to set us back 7k. It makes me a little nervous, but you never know when you'll have this opportunity again. I'd ask what % of your net worth it represents. If not much, then it should be no hesitation!
This sounds like a wonderful family vacation! I've rented a beach house for the family in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and we had a great time. Having a home instead of a hotel room makes for a much more relaxing vacation.
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Old 07-18-2008, 03:52 PM   #29
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We took a 14 day trek to Alaska last summer and it cost the two of us a bit over $10K. I bet that the cost this year is closer to $15K. Much of the expense is travel~plane from Texas-Anchorage; boat/bus around Alaska for a week and cruise ship from Seward to Vancouver; Air Vancouver-TX.
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Old 07-18-2008, 05:24 PM   #30
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Kronk -

Sounds like an interesting opportunity, and far be it from me to discourage you. It may be well worth the price tag!

That said, when my wife and I travel (been to OZ, BTW) as a general rule of thumb we try to spend $100 U.S. per day or less (total, for both of us), not including international airfare, but including local transportation, lodging, food, site seeing, etc. For us, it's NOT (just) about traveling on the cheap; it's about the fact that if you spend too much on travel, you defeat the whole purpose of travel --- meeting real people and seeing how they live. Of course, traveling "on the cheap" also allows you travel a whole lot more, which ain't bad!

Obviously in many parts of the world $100 a day is far more than enough to get by, but we find that in pricier countries, spending more than that tends to detract from the real travel experience. Sure, there are exceptions (we spend closer to $200 a day when we travel to New York City, for example), but, in general, the less you spend on travel, the more memorable the travel experience.

Happy Travels, and...

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Old 07-18-2008, 07:08 PM   #31
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It is often surprising how often the "millionaires next door" on this forum encourage spending money.
The posters including myself urge you on because we are all passionate about travel. I am sure there are others who have been shaking their heads, saying "what a bunch of spendthrifts". They just don't post their negative opinions.

Make no mistakes about it. $15K is not small change. Only you can decide if the experience bought with that money is worth it. We thought you were set to go, and needed some reinforcements, which we travel lovers were more than happy to provide.

About the profs, I wonder if they have to pay their own way, or get subsidized by the group that they lead. How do they get to travel so much?
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Old 07-18-2008, 08:37 PM   #32
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I'd be tempted to save $9k and do my own trip planning. For me, doing the background research, planning, and making the arrangements are 2/3 of the fun. Also, I'd want to spend at least 3 weeks if I'm going to take the trouble/expense to fly over there.
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Old 07-18-2008, 09:23 PM   #33
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I'd be tempted to save $9k and do my own trip planning. For me, doing the background research, planning, and making the arrangements are 2/3 of the fun. Also, I'd want to spend at least 3 weeks if I'm going to take the trouble/expense to fly over there.

Me too , I love the planning aspect especially If I can get a bargain doing it .
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Old 07-19-2008, 12:08 PM   #34
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About the profs, I wonder if they have to pay their own way, or get subsidized by the group that they lead. How do they get to travel so much?
The cruise industry has spawned an entire entertainment sector. There's a huge demand for people who can present a series of lectures, demonstrate a craft & lead a group through making their own, or do vaudeville shows. There are even agents who manage bookings (and port transfers and visas) for the people who spend their time working the cruises.

When you see a speaker or entertainer doing their thing, they're (at a minimum) getting a reduced-price stateroom and maybe a daily stipend. The more established/popular people get free room & board, months of contract employment all over the world, and inport freebies.

It's not that difficult. One couple we talked to on a NCL ship was a woman who'd been a Navy pilot and an airline captain. Her spouse was a photographer. She presented a six-part series of talks on the history of navigation and told a lot of sea stories desribed how it's evolved over the years. He ran the laptop & projector and spent a lot of informal time afterward talking with other photographers about the details of the shots. These two had been at sea (or inport between ships) for all but a couple months of two years.

They said the "downside" of their cruising is that if they were out of their cabin then they were expected to be "on". They were often accosted while they were walking around or sitting on one of the decks or dining, and I'm sure they'd learned many gracious ways to engage with & disengage from the fans.
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Old 07-19-2008, 12:30 PM   #35
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The cost of the trip seems expensive but I suspect that it is well planned if it is supported by your alumni association. I agree with whoever suggested staying longer to get the maximum value out of the long, expensive and tedious transpacific flights. However, it seems that your personal circumstances may be the deal breaker.

Some years ago I went on a somewhat similar trip to Asia. One of the alums brought DH "since it was the opportunity of a lifetime". Unfortunately, the company he was consulting for didn't appreciate his absence at a critical stage in the project. He arrived home to find he had been fired.

One issue to explore if this is still a possibility is whether there is an educational or business element to this trip which would make part or all of it tax deductible.

Whatever the final decision, don't second guess it. Australia and New Zealand will still be there next year. And this is not the Amazing Race.
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Old 07-19-2008, 12:39 PM   #36
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It's not that difficult. One couple we talked to on a NCL ship was a woman who'd been a Navy pilot and an airline captain. Her spouse was a photographer. She presented a six-part series of talks on the history of navigation and told a lot of sea stories desribed how it's evolved over the years. He ran the laptop & projector and spent a lot of informal time afterward talking with other photographers about the details of the shots. These two had been at sea (or inport between ships) for all but a couple months of two years.
You probably have considered this job yourself. And?

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One of the alums brought DH "since it was the opportunity of a lifetime". Unfortunately, the company he was consulting for didn't appreciate his absence at a critical stage in the project. He arrived home to find he had been fired.
Yikes. He "chose poorly".
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Old 07-19-2008, 01:07 PM   #37
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... as a general rule of thumb we try to spend $100 U.S. per day or less (total, for both of us), not including international airfare, but including local transportation, lodging, food, site seeing, etc. For us, it's NOT (just) about traveling on the cheap; it's about the fact that if you spend too much on travel, you defeat the whole purpose of travel --- meeting real people and seeing how they live. Of course, traveling "on the cheap" also allows you travel a whole lot more, which ain't bad!
I couldn't agree more. We travel the "Rick Steves" way.

I am sure in Oriental countries, $100/day can get you fairly comfortable. But outside of Asia, with the US $ as low as it is, where can you go now? I wonder if Mexico is even an option.

We canceled our European trip this year. Well, if the market rebounds later in the year, I may change my mind. But then, we will miss the grape harvest in Provence.
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Old 07-19-2008, 03:16 PM   #38
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I spent about $7000 going on safari to Tanzania last year and don't regret one penny spent. It was fabulous. I still think about every animal I saw, every experience, all of it. It was my dream come true and something I never thought I'd be able to do.

So, if you can afford your dream trip to New Zealand/Australia, GO!!!!!

And, BTW, my airline experience on KLM was actually very entertaining and the service was excellent! Who knew??
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Old 07-19-2008, 05:23 PM   #39
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I couldn't agree more. We travel the "Rick Steves" way.

I am sure in Oriental countries, $100/day can get you fairly comfortable. But outside of Asia, with the US $ as low as it is, where can you go now? I wonder if Mexico is even an option.

We canceled our European trip this year. Well, if the market rebounds later in the year, I may change my mind. But then, we will miss the grape harvest in Provence.

Well, I think there are many places where $100 U.S. a day for two is still doable, including most places in the U.S. But if you want overseas (again, NOT including the one-time cost of international airfare), try Greece, Turkey, Central America, the Blatics, Portugal, North Afirca, South America, even parts of Canada. It's more a question of "how," not "where."

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Old 07-19-2008, 09:08 PM   #40
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The cost of the trip seems expensive but I suspect that it is well planned if it is supported by your alumni association.
Our alumni association relentlessly mass-merchandises these cruises because they get paid a kickback sponsorship fee by the travel agencies. It's the same schtick as buying alumni merchandise or applying for the alumni-logo credit card. And you have to admire the chutzpah of a travel agency/cruise line sponsoring an alumni-themed cruise that has the alumni paying the cruise line for the privilege of training & entertaining each other.

I suspect one alumni association is pretty much as mercenary like any other:
The College Credit-Card Hustle

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You probably have considered this job yourself. And?
Yup, and it's generally a good deal with low barriers & minimal standards, but it bears too close a resemblance to "work". I had eight years of instructor time at military training commands and teaching was one of the first job offers I got after I retired. It's a lot of fun for the money but I get more personal satisfaction from giving free surfing lessons.

We enjoy NCL's interisland cruises and, because we only need an hour's head start, we can take advantage of the last-possible-minute fares. We'll get a seven-day cruise for less than the daily cost of a Waikiki hotel.
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