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Old 10-01-2014, 08:50 AM   #101
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Although we don't run the numbers like you do RAF, we try not to allow our RV to go unused for long periods of time. We've averaged 60 nights per year in it over the past four years and plan to continue at that same rate.

However, I don't believe RVing is necessarily cost-effective compared to other means of travel/vacationing. Certainly not buying new (we paid 40% less than the cost of a new unit) and a high rate of utilization can make a RV a relative bargain, but I suspect your numbers are an exception to the typical RV experience. Far too many people do not follow through with their plans and allow them to sit unused - and that is expensive.
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:56 AM   #102
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Agreed on all the extra charges on the cruise. I started a thread at Cruise Critic forums on "does anyone else spend almost nothing extra on cruises". Many folks said that was dumb, partayyy!!!1 why go on a cruise if you aren't going to spend tons of money? We rarely spending anything extra beyond buying liquor at duty free prices (about half off). To each their own of course!

I took a look at Carnival Corp's annual report and the average expenditure per cabin is around $800+, which would exceed the price of this cruise. In other words, people do tend to spend a lot of money once on board. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It lets cruise lines price the basic fares much lower since they assume we'll drop more cash once on board.
We likewise make a game of not caving in to the upsell when cruising. If you focus on the stuff that's already included in your fare, there's a ton to do without shelling out additional money. The gym, the pools, the hot tubs, the entertainment, the food, the dancing, the art auctions (enjoy the info and free champagne, leave the bidding to others), the lectures, the classes (learned to use Photoshop on a cruise), the library, the ocean views, the film screenings, the welcome party free booze.

We generally do our own research for port stops, booking privately if we book at all. Usually the appropriate Rick Steves book is all we need.

We also bring our own wine on board, currently permitted with Princess and Cunard, Celebrity as well I believe, at two bottles per person. We restock as needed at port stops, and enjoy our wine 'privately' before heading to the dining room, and on our balcony before retiring. Wine, the ocean, and star gazing . . . doesn't get much better.

Our last several cruises have even covered gratuities, thanks to online vendors competing for business by virtue of cutting their own commissions (cruise prices are pretty static these days, but commissions are still up for grabs). The goal is to check out with a big fat $0 on the line labeled "Total Amount Due."
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Old 10-01-2014, 09:05 AM   #103
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Although we don't run the numbers like you do RAF, we try not to allow our RV to go unused for long periods of time. We've averaged 60 nights per year in it over the past four years and plan to continue at that same rate.

However, I don't believe RVing is necessarily cost-effective compared to other means of travel/vacationing. Certainly not buying new (we paid 40% less than the cost of a new unit) and a high rate of utilization can make a RV a relative bargain, but I suspect your numbers are an exception to the typical RV experience. Far too many people do not follow through with their plans and allow them to sit unused - and that is expensive.
I concur. Although it is actually cost effective in our case, RV'ing is far more of a lifestyle choice than a cost-saving choice. As I've often said 'RV'ing isn't for sissies.' It has it's share of stresses, in addition to it's joys, just like everything else.
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Old 10-01-2014, 09:14 AM   #104
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We likewise make a game of not caving in to the upsell when cruising. If you focus on the stuff that's already included in your fare, there's a ton to do without shelling out additional money. The gym, the pools, the hot tubs, the entertainment, the food, the dancing, the art auctions (enjoy the info and free champagne, leave the bidding to others), the lectures, the classes (learned to use Photoshop on a cruise), the library, the ocean views, the film screenings, the welcome party free booze.

We generally do our own research for port stops, booking privately if we book at all. Usually the appropriate Rick Steves book is all we need.
That's how we do it too. So much to see and do and explore on board that we never have time for premium stuff. And when in port, we usually walk around or grab some cheap public transit where available. This last cruise I downloaded the maps to my phone in google maps offline mode which makes a cell phone without data connections a pretty awesome gps navigation tool.

I haven't been to any art auctions. Might have to try one next cruise (and not buy anything of course!).

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We also bring our own wine on board, currently permitted with Princess and Cunard, Celebrity as well I believe, at two bottles per person. We restock as needed at port stops, and enjoy our wine 'privately' before heading to the dining room, and on our balcony before retiring. Wine, the ocean, and star gazing . . . doesn't get much better.
We did this on the last cruise on carnival. 1 bottle per 21+ guest. I realized I've pretty much given up drinking. I had a sip of wine out of DW's glass and maybe half a glass of her mango papaya guava sangria (half wine, half fruit juice). On the last day of the cruise DW had to engage lush mode and finish off bottle #2. We used to smuggle on a small container of hard liquor, but don't even bother any more. And when we boarded the ship after a port visit, we saw tons of people carrying on duty free bags and bringing them back to their staterooms for nearly free shots of tequila or whatever else they picked up while in port.

A few nights, DW would pour a glass of wine then carry it down to the theater for the evening show or we'd go out for an ocean side walk on deck.
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Old 10-01-2014, 09:39 AM   #105
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We "budget" for extras when we travel (by "budget" I mean if there is something expected or unexpected that we want to do and it costs more, we just do it and don't care what it costs, without going overly crazy about it). We rationalize it by saying we can't go back in time and add that foofoo drink at sunset on our ship balcony, or that tour of the Paris catacombs that scared the crap out of our then 8- and 10-year-old kids, in ten years when we think we can afford it better. So far so good, no regrets.

Next year we have three big trips planned, two to Europe and one to Hawaii. I might have to modify this philosophy at some point . Or not.
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Old 10-01-2014, 02:46 PM   #106
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I took a look at Carnival Corp's annual report and the average expenditure per cabin is around $800+, which would exceed the price of this cruise. In other words, people do tend to spend a lot of money once on board.
Cruise companies pay a LOT of attention to "OBS" (on-board spending). I was trying to get something straightened-out at the pursor's office and being skilled at reading upside-down (from years at megacorp), I saw that my average daily OBS was printed right next to my name and loyalty level (i.e. Gold, Ruby, Platinum, Elite).
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Old 10-01-2014, 02:58 PM   #107
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Cruise companies pay a LOT of attention to "OBS" (on-board spending). I was trying to get something straightened-out at the pursor's office and being skilled at reading upside-down (from years at megacorp), I saw that my average daily OBS was printed right next to my name and loyalty level (i.e. Gold, Ruby, Platinum, Elite).
Wow. I wonder if they run the data daily? They certainly use it to target their marketing.
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Old 10-01-2014, 03:25 PM   #108
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I've only been on one cruise, and likely the only one I'd take in the future would be Alaska (or possibly the Mediterranean).

Not a gambler, and don't care for clubbing much. Did drink a fair amount, but our group managed to smuggle enough on for cocktail hour every afternoon.
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Old 10-01-2014, 03:33 PM   #109
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Cruise companies pay a LOT of attention to "OBS" (on-board spending). I was trying to get something straightened-out at the pursor's office and being skilled at reading upside-down (from years at megacorp), I saw that my average daily OBS was printed right next to my name and loyalty level (i.e. Gold, Ruby, Platinum, Elite).
I was thinking we'll never get invited back at discounted rates since our daily OBS was $2 per person on this last cruise. The guys dropping a few thousand on each cruise will probably get vouchers for a few hundred dollars off their next cruise or a couple hundred in on board credit.

But yes, OBS is a huge metric for operational success on cruise lines. In Carnival's latest press release, they reported better than expected earnings due to a 10% YOY increase in OBS (or something like that). Makes sense to put emphasis on OBS since it's almost all gross profit.

Digging into their annual report, it only cost $500 million to generate $3.5 billion in OBS revenue. 600% gross margin! Given their net profit of a billion or two a year, the OBS is what puts them in the black.

Which explains why they are giving away the cruises and hoping to rope you into spending a boatload (heh) extra once on board. I'm okay with that, since that approach gets me a subsidized first class ticket for dirt cheap.
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Old 10-01-2014, 06:12 PM   #110
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or that tour of the Paris catacombs that scared the crap out of our then 8- and 10-year-old kids, in ten years when we think we can afford it better. So far so good, no regrets.
The young wife and I loved the Paris catacombs. I'll bet your kids now remember it as a fun tour.
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Old 10-01-2014, 06:31 PM   #111
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I was thinking we'll never get invited back at discounted rates since our daily OBS was $2 per person on this last cruise. The guys dropping a few thousand on each cruise will probably get vouchers for a few hundred dollars off their next cruise or a couple hundred in on board credit.

But yes, OBS is a huge metric for operational success on cruise lines. In Carnival's latest press release, they reported better than expected earnings due to a 10% YOY increase in OBS (or something like that). Makes sense to put emphasis on OBS since it's almost all gross profit...
You'll keep getting offers as long as there is still overcapacity in the industry, a situation I expect to persist for quite some time.

They would much rather have someone who has a large OBS; but, they would still rather have you than sail with the cabin empty, even at highly discounted rates.

I rarely pay more than $50/pp/day, sometimes significantly less for last minute deals. And, my OBS is near zero on most trips. Definitely a very cheap vacation for us if we can find cheap flights or use miles to get to a port.

I do take advantage of duty free liquor sales when my cabinet at home is getting bare. I have gotten amazing deals twice when the boat was being decommissioned or refurbished shortly after my cruise.
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Old 10-01-2014, 07:48 PM   #112
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re: motel lowest rates

State line welcome center, many states:
Greenbook or Redbook coupon books - Always and ever best rates, and never have to worry about rates, or time/date of arrival.
I think this is the Redbook... not all states....
www.travelcoupons.com "The Best Same Day Hotel Deals in the Country....and the City"™


We've used these coupon books for about 30 years, and except for 2 times when the motels were sold out because of homecoming games... have never been disappointed and never seen a lower price. A little embarrassing, when the person in front of you pays $75 and we pad $54.

We're old fashioned... don't need elegance, and don't need the amenities of a kitchen, liquor cabinet, or an elegant view or a spa. Just a place to lay our heads until the morrow's adventure. Motels/Hotels for us, are not a destination.

Put this into perspective... Our original travel featured Motel 6... and the name came form the #6/night... circa 1960's... Wiki:

Quote:
Motel 6 was founded in Santa Barbara, California, in 1962, by two local building contractors, William Becker and Paul Greene.[1][2] The partners developed a plan to build motels with rooms at bargain rates. They decided on a US$6 nightly room rate that would cover building costs, land leases, and janitorial supplies; hence the company name "Motel 6".[3]
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:05 PM   #113
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Yes, get this. DH insisted we run the per-day cost numbers prior to purchasing RV number two, and now it has become a game to ensure we hit our target usage each year.

Conversely, have RV'd alongside rigs we know darn well are costing the owners hundreds, if not thousands, a day to use given cost vs usage vs resale. And yes, to beat you to the punch, wonder why they don't just stay at an upscale resort instead, which would surely be cheaper.
I tried to get my folks to run the numbers many times before they took the plunge but they wouldn't have any of that. I guess the economist gene skipped a generation You know, they did enjoy the times that they used it and I'm sure my mom has some great memories, can't put a per day price on that I guess...
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:16 PM   #114
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We've used these coupon books for about 30 years, and except for 2 times when the motels were sold out because of homecoming games... have never been disappointed and never seen a lower price. A little embarrassing, when the person in front of you pays $75 and we pad $54.
The only time I did use one of those books was on a trip back from Nashville & the hotel a Day's Inn was disgusting . Luckily we arrived late at night so did not see how awful the hotel was until the next morning . I think you get much better deals using Hotwire or Priceline .
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Old 10-02-2014, 09:14 AM   #115
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You'll keep getting offers as long as there is still overcapacity in the industry, a situation I expect to persist for quite some time.

They would much rather have someone who has a large OBS; but, they would still rather have you than sail with the cabin empty, even at highly discounted rates.
I know I'll get the generic offers, but I've heard some people who spend a ton on board or gamble a lot will get very enticing offers like hundreds of dollars of extra OBC for booking a cabin (or even a free cruise!). Giving away a few hundred dollars to the cruiser that drops an extra $3000 on board ($2500 of which is pure gross profit) is a great marketing move. And with the loyalty clubs (aka data mining central) it's freshman SQL to get a mailing list of who to target with those enticing offers.
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Old 10-02-2014, 09:38 AM   #116
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They would much rather have someone who has a large OBS; but, they would still rather have you than sail with the cabin empty, even at highly discounted rates.
I haven't verified it myself, but when I was in Grand Cayman earlier this year, I was talking with a shop owner about the cruise industry, and he mentioned that all cruise ships have to pay the Cayman Islands a per-room port fee for every room on the ship, whether there is a person staying in the room or not. Perhaps other ports are different, but if that's the case, then it's a big incentive for the cruise line to get every room filled - and helps explain why they can offer super low last-minute fares just to get you onboard and paying the port tax (which isn't typically included in the quoted rates).
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:04 AM   #117
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State line welcome center, many states:
Greenbook or Redbook coupon books - Always and ever best rates, and never have to worry about rates, or time/date of arrival.
I think this is the Redbook... not all states....
We also use the hotel coupon book when we do a highway trip. It gives us flexibility for how far to drive in a day. And I really don't like trying to negotiate a room rate at the end of a long day; you can't really "shop" without a lot of time walking into a bunch of hotels.

PS: Yesterday there was a duplicate post (one with the right link, one with the wrong link). Today there's one post, but it has the wrong link!
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Old 10-02-2014, 04:42 PM   #118
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PS: Yesterday there was a duplicate post (one with the right link, one with the wrong link). Today there's one post, but it has the wrong link!
I fixed it, the one up now has the correct link in it.
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Old 10-05-2014, 11:42 AM   #119
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How much did you spend on your last trip and where did you go?
Tokyo and Kamakura, Japan for 13 nights.
RT Airfare from Bangkok: $690.
In-country spending, excluding shopping: $1386 or $107 per day.
Photo gear shopping*: $803.

Travel style: Average hotel $66 a nite; transport was trains, bus, foot and 1 taxi ride; entertainment (photography) was usually free except for entry fees; didn't spend more than $15 on a meal, most were simple.

*Japanese goods are significantly cheaper in Japan than in Thailand.
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Old 10-13-2014, 03:38 PM   #120
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Went to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. 4 nights/5 days and spent about $950 for the two of us ($120/person/night), but that includes $239 in hang gliding lessons (google tandem hang glider

Since I wasn't sure where we'd end-up each night, I did not book ahead. The motel coupon books don't cover the outer banks (they really are best for interstate motels), so I used Priceline.

This was my first use of Priceline. I did the Clark Howard "first check hotwire, then use that info to bid on Priceline". You need to be careful, though, because the fees for bids is around 15% of the bid (that's in addition to tax, of about 13% of the bid plus fees).

Two nights I bid and two nights I bought what they call Express bookings. The fees on Express bookings are closer to 10% rather than 15%. Anyway, I paid $75, all-in for 3 star hotels on the beach right near the Wright memorial. There was only a handful of motels that participated in Priceline, only 2 and 3 star motels.

There was a "gotcha" aspect to Priceline that I thought I'd share: I bid $58 and with taxes and fees, that became $75. After accepting my bid, it said you can "extend your stay", implying that I could get more nights at $58, but when I tried that, it said it would be $71 ($92, all-in), so I could extend, as long as I paid 22% more! I ended-up going in anonamously, with a different browser and different credit card and getting the good rate, but, alas, in a hotel about 1/2 mile away.
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