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Am I really considering a $15k vacation?
Old 07-17-2008, 12:04 PM   #1
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Am I really considering a $15k vacation?

DW and I got our college alumni magazine earlier this week. Within, they listed a few alumni travel options that were led by college professors. Well, one of those trips listed was a two-week trip to Australia and New Zealand. Australia and New Zealand has always been near the top of our list of places to visit.

And making this particular trip particularly interesting are the two professors leading the trip. They are husband-and-wife, both of whom are professors (he's evolutionary biology, she's physics). My wife worked as a research tech for him for a couple of years in college. At the time, DW and I were engaged, so even I met with them a few times outside of classes. And then they even drove 350 miles to come to our wedding right after DW graduated. They are really interesting people -- though we haven't seen them since then, over twelve years ago.

Anyhow, the breakdown is around $4500 + tax per person for the trip itself, which includes a few plane hops and a 3-day cruise of the Great Barrier Reef (on a small ship). Airfare from Philly looks like it might cost $2500 per person. All told, we'd need to figure on $15k. $1k per day is pretty dear, but maybe as a trip-of-a-lifetime...
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Old 07-17-2008, 12:14 PM   #2
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DW & I took a 3 week trip to Europe 10 years ago. We stayed with friends and family for much of the time, and the exchange rate was better, but it still cost us about $9K at the time. It was one of the highlights of my life, and I'd do it again without a single regret.

Oz and New Zealand are on my "must visit" list, too. I say go for it! Heck, it's even easier to say that when it's not my money you'll be spending. If you do go, be sure to give us a full trip report.
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Old 07-17-2008, 01:40 PM   #3
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I think you and your DW would really regret passing up this opportunity. Go for it!
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Old 07-17-2008, 01:52 PM   #4
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As long as you are not prone to sea sickness (in a small boat!), sure help pay for your profs'/friends' trip of a lifetime. Sounds like relationships well worth keeping. G'Day!
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Old 07-17-2008, 01:56 PM   #5
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Kronk, as someone who just came back Monday from an expensive trip of a lifetime, I say with heartfelt fervor...GO! I am fighting some jetlag and the accumulation of 1400 pictures to sort through, but as soon as I can, I'll be posting a thread on our Mongolian adventure.

You never know when an opportunity like this (if ever) will come again. Please, go.

I am so glad that we went on our recent trip, as it was sincerely a life-changing experience.

I went to New Zealand back in 2002, by myself, as DH couldn't take time off from work (oh how foolish we were then, letting work take the high seat). I am so glad I went, a friend was living in Auckland and we drove around the North Island together and had a blast. Then I went to the South Island for a week to stay with the parents of a friend's old boyfriend. An incredible opportunity to live and play with real New Zealanders. I am so glad I went when I did, as I couldn't ever duplicate that trip now.

GO...and tell us all about it!
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Old 07-17-2008, 02:20 PM   #6
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I am so glad that we went on our recent trip, as it was sincerely a life-changing experience.
Welcome home Sarah! And when you have time, please talk about what you mean by the "life changing experience". I would be very interested in your feelings and observations along these lines.

Ha
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Old 07-17-2008, 02:23 PM   #7
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My DW/me just finished booking our 3-week trip "down under" for next June.

We've traveled extensively over the last 12+ years (two trips per year - one domestic, one international) and you can't put a price on the advantages that travel has done for us (especially finding out what the rest of the world thinks about U.S. folks, but that's another subject).

I remember a comment I read once. "Those who do not travel have only turned the first page of the book of life".

Assuming you can afford it (meaning it dosen't take food off the table) I would recommend going. When you grow old, the memories of your travel will signify a "life well lived".

- Ron
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Old 07-17-2008, 02:25 PM   #8
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I say go for it . You never know what tomorrow may bring .
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Old 07-17-2008, 02:28 PM   #9
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OK, devil's advocate time...

I'm biased, since 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).

If it were me, I'd look for something in this hemisphere, and spend the $5,000 on something that doesn't involve getting blood clots in a pressurized can with hundreds of other irritable passengers. There have got to be some fantastic vacations on the Philadelphia side of the planet. I bet $5,000 could buy a lot in Bermuda, Alaska, or Costa Rica.

End of devil's advocate speech.
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Old 07-17-2008, 03:04 PM   #10
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Go do it. Likely will kick yourself if you pass up. Jet lag fix=melatonin.
I have literally been around the world a few times, have memories for every moment of the easy chair. At most any time I can play a movie in my head of some place, event, island, shipboard, helicopter ride of all sorts. Most memories are worthy of grins, some are of cringes.

There are times when I get snapped bck to earth by DW, about that grin. Most of it I'll never tell.
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Old 07-17-2008, 03:06 PM   #11
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If I ever go down under I will probably spend a fortune since I will want to fly first class per T-Al's observation. But what the heck -- just put today's bump aside to pay for the trip and you are good to go.
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Old 07-17-2008, 03:07 PM   #12
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T-Al, as I'm coming off of a 32 airport to airport trip, I can attest to the misery component of travel (Mongolia is 12 hours different from us East Coasters). It sucks, but the trip in between is what makes it worthwhile. When you go for 18 days and 3 of those are just getting there and back, it is significant.

But I figure there is a tradeoff, kinda like braving the cold in wetsuit to go surfing! You know sharks can eat you out there, right?

Ha, give me one more day and I'll do a Lazy travelogue...but here's just one picture, since I can't resist your kind interest in our trip. I'll have commentary and more pictures with which to torture my fellow forum folks!
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Old 07-17-2008, 03:08 PM   #13
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I say go for it . You never know what tomorrow may bring .
Ya! I agree. Go for it!
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Old 07-17-2008, 03:10 PM   #14
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Kronk, as someone who just came back Monday from an expensive trip of a lifetime, I say with heartfelt fervor...GO! I am fighting some jetlag and the accumulation of 1400 pictures to sort through, but as soon as I can, I'll be posting a thread on our Mongolian adventure.
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Welcome home Sarah! And when you have time, please talk about what you mean by the "life changing experience". I would be very interested in your feelings and observations along these lines.

Ha
Ha and I request that you sneak in a couple of pole-dancing photos...
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Old 07-17-2008, 03:18 PM   #15
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Off topic, I just signed up for more classes...
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Old 07-17-2008, 03:50 PM   #16
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I've been to Australia and New Zealand and recommend them both highly. Fabulous climates, friendly people, lots to see and do, a good blend of the exotic (flora and fauna) and the familiar (language and food).

I don't know your circumstances, and accordingly I have no comment whether the projected $15,000 cost should be of no real concern or would be a serious strain on your budget.

The air travel is a pain, but it is certainly much cheaper and faster than travelling by sea! To make the journey worthwhile, I would suggest extending your trip after the alumni junket: e.g., spend a few extra days in Perth, Adelaide, Darwin, or similar places not otherwise included. Domestic airfare is relatively inexpensive in Australia, or you could take the famous Ghan or the India-Pacific [Australia's Great Train Journeys]. It's not like you're going to return a few months later ... so see as much as you can.

Re jet lag: most people don't find east-west travel to be difficult (e.g. L.A. to Sydney or Auckland); the real challenge is when you fly home. Well, better you recover on work time than while on vacation!
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Old 07-17-2008, 04:58 PM   #17
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Australia and New Zealand has always been near the top of our list of places to visit. ... trip-of-a-lifetime...
Unless it would really hurt financially - go for it!
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Old 07-17-2008, 07:45 PM   #18
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And making this particular trip particularly interesting are the two professors leading the trip. They are husband-and-wife, both of whom are professors (he's evolutionary biology, she's physics). My wife worked as a research tech for him for a couple of years in college. At the time, DW and I were engaged, so even I met with them a few times outside of classes. And then they even drove 350 miles to come to our wedding right after DW graduated. They are really interesting people -- though we haven't seen them since then, over twelve years ago.
Anyhow, the breakdown is around $4500 + tax per person for the trip itself, which includes a few plane hops and a 3-day cruise of the Great Barrier Reef (on a small ship). Airfare from Philly looks like it might cost $2500 per person. All told, we'd need to figure on $15k. $1k per day is pretty dear, but maybe as a trip-of-a-lifetime...
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?

This sounds like one of our recurring family debates where we're trying to decide how much to suffer spend in order to avoid living the rest of our existence saying "What if...?"

You might want to look up this "small ship" on one of the cruise critic websites. And bring a lot of your favorite motion-sickness medication... and possibly avoid the BBQ spare ribs, although I don't care to discuss how I learned that...
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Old 07-17-2008, 11:11 PM   #19
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It looks like you got the dough, else would not have given it this much serious thought. Same as others, I'd say to go for it. We normally spend less than your estimated budget, but then we do a lot of sightseeing on foot, using public transportation, and do not take balloon or helicopter rides, etc... I have never taken alumni trips, but figure they load it with activities, which aren't inexpensive. In this case, you have good companionship, which makes it more special. Go, spend the dough. In 10 years, you won't miss the $15K spent when you peruse the 1,000+ photos you are going to take. We never regret any trip we have taken.

PS. We have been to Sidney and the Northern Island of NZ. I don't know when we can go back, but we will.
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Old 07-17-2008, 11:24 PM   #20
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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!
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