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Old 02-04-2015, 01:15 PM   #1821
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Seems like a great deal, though wonder if they cut corners on the quality and locations of hotels.

For comparison look how pricey the national geographic expeditions of a similar length are.
I think it's the National Geographic ones that are pricey.

We had some friends go on one to Northern Italy. And they had some nice perks - like the group having the Sistine Chapel to themselves one evening. But you really don't need to pay Nat Geo prices to have great Europe tours. Maybe out in exotic wildlife locations or Bhutan or something it's worth going with Nat Geo.
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:12 PM   #1822
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I've spent the last week contacting various vacation rental folks and booking 11 different apartments in 11 different cities over 9 weeks of travel.

Riposto, Sicily - visit DH's cugini
Bologna
Venice
Prague
Berlin
Amsterdam
London
Paris
Nice
Aix en Provence
Barcelona

I'm really proud of the deals I got and the great locations of where the apartments are. I had to up the budget slightly for London (right after Wimbledon and everything cheap was booked) and for Paris (wanted to be in the Latin Quarter). But I saved money in some of the other cities so the total still came in under budget by about $1k. (Thank you exchange rate.)
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:22 PM   #1823
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Rodi, sounds like the grand apartment tour.

On another note, we gave up on Greece with the current political/economic uncertainties. I just didn't want to hold our happiness hostage to European events and the anxiety reading the daily news. So going to southern Italy on an RS tour and then on our own in central and northern Italy for total of 4 weeks.
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:26 PM   #1824
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Wow, that sounds like a grand tour.

I have a two week trip coming up in the end of April and into the first week of May, in Amsterdam, Paris and London.

All apartments there for the first time in many years. Was wary of some listings which asked for full payment and/or very high security deposits, some as high as $1100-1200, for a 5-night stay.

Back in the day, I used to have to fax documents over by international long distance, even wire deposits to reserve places. Now a lot of places at least take credit cards for the reservation deposit at least.
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Old 02-16-2015, 05:57 AM   #1825
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I'm setting up a trip to see family on the wet coast with GS returning with DW and me, then flying back by himself. Last year, when he was 13, I just put him on a SW direct flight (one stop / no plane change) and all was cool.

This year SW no longer has a direct flight and I entered the maze of young flyer rules. It turns out that every airline has their own rules. For example, on SW no one over the age of 11 can fly as an unaccompanied minor, yet on Delta no one under the age of 14 can fly alone unless they fly as an unaccompanied minor. Some airlines won't let an unaccompanied minor change planes, some do. Some charge $50 extra for an unaccompanied minor, some $150. Some have hour of travel restrictions.

Bottom line, his mom wanted him on a direct flight and I got stuck paying $550 to send him one way to PDX. Hopefully, next year he can navigate a normal flight.
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Old 02-16-2015, 08:52 AM   #1826
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After reading about the horrendous weather throughout the U.S., I feel guilty about being in Kailua on the island of Oahu.

It's 84 degrees every day and comfortably cool at night.

We're taking an extra week in California on the way home with temps 65/50 there.
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Old 02-16-2015, 09:01 AM   #1827
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Travelover, what a coincidence, I'm looking up flights from here to PDX today for DH. Though he acts like a 12 year old, he's theoretically a full grown man and can fly alone. Maybe.

He's going to some place called Pacific City, Oregon for paramotoring training. Looks like Portland is closest city to fly into. Fly Halo is the name of the outfit, and they train for 2 weeks, while staying in a beach house with the other folks taking the course.

Looks like SW is still the best option for flights, unless I find something on United.
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Old 02-16-2015, 09:41 AM   #1828
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After reading about the horrendous weather throughout the U.S., I feel guilty about being in Kailua on the island of Oahu.

It's 84 degrees every day and comfortably cool at night.

We're taking an extra week in California on the way home with temps 65/50 there.
In our California area just north of SF, the weather for the next week is supposed to have highs in the 70's with mostly sunny conditions. Feels like an early Spring here.
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Old 02-16-2015, 10:01 AM   #1829
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He's going to some place called Pacific City, Oregon for paramotoring training. Looks like Portland is closest city to fly into. Fly Halo is the name of the outfit, and they train for 2 weeks, while staying in a beach house with the other folks taking the course.
He was serious then! I was tempted in the last month or two to ask where he was getting his training.
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Old 02-16-2015, 10:02 AM   #1830
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Travelover, what a coincidence, I'm looking up flights from here to PDX today for DH. Though he acts like a 12 year old, he's theoretically a full grown man and can fly alone. Maybe.

He's going to some place called Pacific City, Oregon for paramotoring training. Looks like Portland is closest city to fly into. Fly Halo is the name of the outfit, and they train for 2 weeks, while staying in a beach house with the other folks taking the course.

Looks like SW is still the best option for flights, unless I find something on United.
I'm a SW fan for the prices, the free checked luggage and the free reservation changes.

Paramotoring sounds either exhilarating or terrifying.
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Old 02-16-2015, 10:17 AM   #1831
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Paramotoring sounds either exhilarating or terrifying.
I'd add idiotic to that list, but

Sengsational, you should TOTALLY do it with him! The training sounds fun...and terrifying. And I mean, c'mon, 2 weeks at a beach house in Oregon is a vacation itself, plus the excitement of possibly plummeting from the sky during the training itself!

For the unenlightened and interested (a small subset, admittedly), what DH is doing is training as a Pioneer in the Icarus Race, which will be the longest unsupported paramotoring race in the world, scheduled for October. Put on by our favorite idiots, The Adventurists, who mismanage other insane events all over the world.
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Old 02-16-2015, 11:40 AM   #1832
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Sengsational, you should TOTALLY do it with him! The training sounds fun...and terrifying. And I mean, c'mon, 2 weeks at a beach house in Oregon is a vacation itself, plus the excitement of possibly plummeting from the sky during the training itself!
Bugger!
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Old 02-16-2015, 11:47 AM   #1833
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I've often wondered why people choose something "adventurous" that involves a small chance of life changing or ending events. It's a curious blend of living on the edge. I guess there is some bragging potential involved. Definitely not for this ground lover.

My runs in rocky hill country are the max danger for me.
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Old 02-16-2015, 01:37 PM   #1834
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Oh, yeah, there was very keen competition for the 40 pioneer slots. DH is the oldest one given a slot, by a rather embarrassing margin. Which tells me that most people in the 50+ club have better sense.

But you can still learn how to paramotor with him and go in the race next year!
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Old 02-16-2015, 03:19 PM   #1835
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we just booked an 11 day cruise to Alaska for Sept. So excited! We have not been yet.
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Old 02-16-2015, 03:31 PM   #1836
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we just booked an 11 day cruise to Alaska for Sept. So excited! We have not been yet.
Did that cruise on Princess in Aug 2004. It was awesome. The only complaint I had were the at sea medical evacuations in the middle of the night. We had 3 of them and they evacuate a section of the ship for the helicopter to come in. Of course, wouldn't you know our section was the one that had to be woken in the mid of the night for the 45 minute exercise. After the second one, we were a little frustrated. By the third one we were ready to leave all the elderly and sick at the next port of call
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Old 02-17-2015, 06:53 AM   #1837
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Flying to Yogyakarta for a long weekend (Chinese New Year) of hiking and touring around. We've seen the temples before, so we'll stick to mountains and beaches and rice paddies and Jalan Malioboro this time.
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Old 02-17-2015, 07:55 AM   #1838
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Did that cruise on Princess in Aug 2004. It was awesome. The only complaint I had were the at sea medical evacuations in the middle of the night. We had 3 of them and they evacuate a section of the ship for the helicopter to come in. Of course, wouldn't you know our section was the one that had to be woken in the mid of the night for the 45 minute exercise. After the second one, we were a little frustrated. By the third one we were ready to leave all the elderly and sick at the next port of call
That is just wild about the medical evacs!!!
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Old 02-20-2015, 05:55 PM   #1839
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Did that cruise on Princess in Aug 2004. It was awesome. The only complaint I had were the at sea medical evacuations in the middle of the night. We had 3 of them and they evacuate a section of the ship for the helicopter to come in. Of course, wouldn't you know our section was the one that had to be woken in the mid of the night for the 45 minute exercise. After the second one, we were a little frustrated. By the third one we were ready to leave all the elderly and sick at the next port of call
Amazing.

You could have suggested doing like the Inuit and put them on ice floes to drift way ..
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Old 02-28-2015, 09:26 PM   #1840
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Heading up to Anchorage and Fairbanks to volunteer with the Iditarod dog sled race. Can't wait!


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