2024 Travel Plans

White asparagus season in full swing in Germany! I think it magically shuts down on June 21.

Enjoying the long days here already. Sunset 9:10pm and sunrise 5:15am, sky already light at 4:30am. Have to close the curtains if you want to sleep in.

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We just got home from 3 weeks in Bavaria, Colmar, Switzerland and Salzburg. Asparagus was everywhere. We were underwhelmed by the food, but the scenery & beer made up for it. My new favorite thing I didn't know existed was gooseberries. So tasty.
We’re currently in Munich but we will be enjoying several other German cities and traveling farther north for even longer days.

We’ll be visiting Berlin in a couple of weeks or so.
We ended in Munich and really enjoyed the walking tour. Munich had so much history we found interesting.
 
We have experienced transatlantic and european air with Turkish Airlines. Service was good, equipment was very good. No issues whatsoever. We would not hestitate to book Turkish.
The problem with Turkish Airlines often is the long connection time between flights: 7,8, 9 hours often.

I took advantage of that a year ago to stay and visit Istanbul for a few days to/from South Africa...
 
We had to arrive at a compromise. If it were up to me I would have no issue traveling for 3-4 months at a time. Or more. Our longest trip prior to that was 6 months.

DW not so much. She misses the grandchildren, home, etc. Plus, we travel with carry on only which means that she gets tired of wearing the same clothes/footwear after 6-8 weeks. I can understand that.

So we sawed off at 2 month trip duration max. Which coincides with our out out of country medical/eval insurance that only covers us for trips of less than 60 days each. So in reality the longest trips are now 7-8 weeks max.
When I grow up, I wanna be like Brett...
 
To Hawaii later this month. Oahu for 8 days and 6 nights. Never been, no set plans, so activities are TBD. Followed by Vermont (family event), then CO for family vacation with grandchildren in August.

We moved into a new house and current plan is nothing that needs tending (garden, pots of plants, fruit trees…) except for current dog, until travel bucket list is cleared. As soon as it is cleared, We’re getting two puppies. A daschund (#9 for us) and a King Charles spaniel so doxie will have a buddy. Great motivator to clear the travel bucket list!
 
To Hawaii later this month. Oahu for 8 days and 6 nights. Never been, no set plans, so activities are TBD. Followed by Vermont (family event), then CO for family vacation with grandchildren in August.

We moved into a new house and current plan is nothing that needs tending (garden, pots of plants, fruit trees…) except for current dog, until travel bucket list is cleared. As soon as it is cleared, We’re getting two puppies. A daschund (#9 for us) and a King Charles spaniel so doxie will have a buddy. Great motivator to clear the travel bucket list!
Haven't been to Oahu but found the "hawaii revealed" books by Daughty to be very helpful on our trips to Maui and the big island.
 
Our sweet chihuahua left us, so while we are between dogs, we have been booking a little extra travel.
  • We finally went to visit Joshua Tree, and rented an RV to test out that experience.
  • We'd never visited the wine country of Temecula, so we booked a trip there. Then had so much fun we went a second time.
  • We plan to visit Banff in July.
  • Then we have a two week trip to China and the Disney parks.
  • And finally, we have a road trip to visit the Grand Tetons in September.
 
The problem with Turkish Airlines often is the long connection time between flights: 7,8, 9 hours often.

I took advantage of that a year ago to stay and visit Istanbul for a few days to/from South Africa...
Doesn't have to be a problem. Business class from Seattle to either Lisbon or Porto usually has two stops, is over 20 hours total, and usually costs > $3000 each.

Turkish charged us 45,000 miles each plus a couple of hundred bucks in taxes to fly direct from Seattle to Istanbul, layover12 hours, then fly onto Porto the next morning. We stayed in the Yotel (a hotel) inside security at IST and had a delicious dinner and breakfast in the Turkish lounge. We arrived at our AirBnB in Porto refreshed and ready to go.

We're doing the same thing to Lisbon in January.

BTW, we earned 200,000 miles on two Venture X sign up bonuses last year plus $200 each in AirBnB credits. Transferred 180,000 to Turkish for these 4 flights. We had to spend $4000 each to earn the bonuses. $8000 total.

How much would you have to SPEND on a 2% cash back card to pay for 4 business class tickets from the west coast to Europe? Let's conservatively value each ticket at $1500. That's $6000.

$6000/0.02 = $300,000.

We're using the same strategy to fly to Sri Lanka next March. Qatar QSuites from Seattle to Doha, spend the night at the inside airport hotel, fly to Columbo the next morning. Flights were 85,000 points each plus about $300 in taxes. We earned those points on ONE Amex Platinum sign up bonus with a referral for spending $15,000 in three months.

The cash cost of these two tickets would've been about $6,000 which would require another $300k spent on a 2% cash back card.

Points and miles deals are still out there and miles are pretty easy to earn.
 
I cancelled a trip back east to a music festival as final lineup was not that great. Replaced it with a Road Scholar tour to Montreal and Quebec City in early October. I have a few days on my own in Montreal before the tour starts and am flying business class for the first time ever. As I approach age 70, air travel with the full flights and crowded airports is getting harder so am looking for a little relief.
 
We just got home from 3 weeks in Bavaria, Colmar, Switzerland and Salzburg. Asparagus was everywhere. We were underwhelmed by the food, but the scenery & beer made up for it. My new favorite thing I didn't know existed was gooseberries. So tasty.

We ended in Munich and really enjoyed the walking tour. Munich had so much history we found interesting.
Underwhelmed by the food? For us the German food is a highlight in addition to the beer and we’d been looking forward to both for weeks. Of course it depends on what you like to eat and it happens that we really like southern German food and only eat it when visiting Germany as it’s best there. Some Austrian specialties too - we enjoyed the classic Tafelspitz for dinner last night in Vienna.

By the way this Tafelspitz (a kind of Austrian pot roast) was clearly brisket and I’ll have to try making brisket this way at home. It was wonderful.
 
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Underwhelmed by the food? For us the German food is a highlight in addition to the beer and we’d been looking forward to both for weeks. Of course it depends on what you like to eat and it happens that we really like southern German food and only eat it when visiting Germany as it’s best there. Some Austrian specialties too - we enjoyed the classic Tafelspitz for dinner last night in Vienna.

By the way this Tafelspitz (a kind of Austrian pot roast) was clearly brisket and I’ll have to try making brisket this way at home. It was wonderful.
Not saying nothing was tasty, just hit & miss for me as I'm the picky one. DW had a similar experience though. I had the Tafelspitz too & just wasn't my thing. Goulash in Munich was amazing though.

Our consistently good food was in France and Switzerland. Either way we enjoyed the trip and tried lots of new things.
 
Thank you! I have Essential Hawaii by Fordor and Frommers, Hawaii. Am ordering Hawaii Revealed, now.

I also recommend the GuideAlong app (previously Gypsy app). It runs through your phone to your car speaker and uses GPS to know where you are. It tells you exactly when to turn to see interesting sites and also has great educational narrative between stops.
 
Underwhelmed by the food? For us the German food is a highlight in addition to the beer and we’d been looking forward to both for weeks.
I was in Munich 2 years ago and was really impressed with the increase in variety since my business travels there in the 2000s. Back then it was mostly meat (including a lot of organ meats- they didn't waste anything), cheese and potatoes. On my most recent trip there were plenty of ethnic restaurants and places where you could get a good. healthy vegetarian meal with lots of fresh vegetables. Great gelato on every corner, too.

My next trip is a small-ship Baltic cruise with Overseas Adventure Travel starting in September- Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Denmark and Sweden. I'm looking forward to bunking in the same place for the entire trip (other than overnights near Heathrow both ways). My trip in April/May in Central America had only one 3-night hotel stay and the rest were only 2 nights. We saw a lot but packing became more challenging every time as I bought a few things here and there.
 
Not saying nothing was tasty, just hit & miss for me as I'm the picky one. DW had a similar experience though. I had the Tafelspitz too & just wasn't my thing. Goulash in Munich was amazing though.

Our consistently good food was in France and Switzerland. Either way we enjoyed the trip and tried lots of new things.
Tafelspitz is a Vienna specialty and we like the Plaschutta food and presentation.
 
We’re thinking about a road trip to the Ohio Valley later this month, going to visit a cousin celebrating a special event. It’s an opportunity to visit a couple of museums mentioned in this thread Specialty Museums in the US

I’m considering 2, the Air Force Museum and the Ford Innovation museum. Maybe also the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, although it may be too much.
 
I cancelled a trip back east to a music festival as final lineup was not that great. Replaced it with a Road Scholar tour to Montreal and Quebec City in early October. I have a few days on my own in Montreal before the tour starts and am flying business class for the first time ever. As I approach age 70, air travel with the full flights and crowded airports is getting harder so am looking for a little relief.
Where I lived for many years.

It is the perfect time to go. Quebec City is our favorite city in Canada, after my home town of Montreal of course and our adopted home town of Vancouver!
 
We’re thinking about a road trip to the Ohio Valley later this month, going to visit a cousin celebrating a special event. It’s an opportunity to visit a couple of museums mentioned in this thread Specialty Museums in the US

I’m considering 2, the Air Force Museum and the Ford Innovation museum. Maybe also the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, although it may be too much.
The Air Force Museum is a special favorite of mine, but a word of warning:
It has gotten so big and full of exhibits that a one day visit can only scratch the surface now. Think of visiting the Louvre. Best to decide which parts are most interesting to you and just hit them.
 
Haven't been to Oahu but found the "hawaii revealed" books by Daughty to be very helpful on our trips to Maui and the big island.
Yes. I live on Oahu and the Daughty Oahu book is what I use to usher guests around.
 
In case it might be helpful to someone here, last time we were in Europe (April/May 2024), the air traffic controllers were on strike in France causing lots of flight cancellations which, in turn, caused pain for a number of folks in our tour group. We tried to avoid flighting to/thru France in our next trip even though France is high on our list to visit in the future.
I refuse to go through CDG ever again. Last November the air traffic controllers were on strike also. Took several hours to transit between flights because all airport employees were on a work slow down in solidarity with the striking workers. You couldn't talk your way to the front of the line because EVERYONE was at risk of missing their flights. Workers just said to get in line. I broke out in hives from the stress.

Two weeks later my son had the same experience... It included Delta/KLM listing his luggage, he missed his connection in CDG which caused him to miss his connection at JFK... No compensation or offer of a hotel...

If I fly Delta I try to use Amsterdam as the hub.
 
Ugh!

I prefer to fly via AMS even though their security lines are probably the longest in Europe. We allow an extra hour. Directs flights to and from IAH are nice.

But we’re never changing planes at AMS. We have family nearby. Even arriving other cities in Europe I try to fly somewhere that I like to spend an extra day or two before moving on.
 
I prefer AMS too. We have a short connection in a few weeks through AMS, just under 2 hours. The line for non-EU passport holders can be long, but they have an express line if your flight is leaving soon.

I’m curious to see how it works out and hopefully we make our connecting flight.
 
Tafelspitz is a Vienna specialty and we like the Plaschutta food and presentation.
I also love German and Austrian foods- probably the result of way too many business trips to there over the years. The Tafelspitz at Plaschutta was nice, but I think that I enjoyed the schnitzel at the smaller taverns in Vienna more (and also throughout Germany). Figlmuller is the popular Vienna schnitzel haus but it is by no means the best, do try the smaller taverns. Also don't miss the schweinsaxe (roasted pork knuckle) when in southern Germany.
 
Oh yeah, Schweinshaxe is probably our first priority in Bavaria and this time we went to Andechs Monastery to enjoy theirs along with their outstanding beer. Ate mostly the excellent crispy skin - even split it was too big to finish. For some reason this visit I had a hankering for Leberknödel Suppe and found a couple of nice ones. Wiener Schnitzel we did have at smaller taverns, one in Munich and one in Vienna, both very good. We really like the family style serving and the broth and bone marrow accompaniments to the Tafelspitz at Plaschutta.

I have to call out our favorite Heuriger in Vienna area - we returned to Mayer am Pfarrplatz up in Heilegenstadt. A Heuriger is a combination winery and restaurant - they serve their own wine along with traditional Austrian foods. I noticed several other restaurants/bars in Vienna listing the Mayer Sekt, an Austrian sparkling wine, so tried that this time. Terrific. Also Grüner Veltliner a great Austrian white. Vienna and Austria are quite famous for their wines.

Last Vienna visit (10 years ago) we took a bus up to the hill Kahlenberg (where Austrians battled the Turks), enjoyed the panoramic views of Vienna and the Danube. Then hiked down through the Vienna Woods and along numerous vineyards making up I read the only exclusively in city wine region*. Ending up in Heilegenstadt/Nussdorf where a ton of Heuriger are (also along Grinzinger Straße). This area is also where Beethoven lived for many years and there are several “Beethoven houses”.
Vienna is the only metropolis that grows enough wine within its city limits to make it worth mentioning. Wine growing has a long tradition in Vienna. Nowadays, the city presents itself with a lively wine scene.
 
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I also love German and Austrian foods- probably the result of way too many business trips to there over the years. The Tafelspitz at Plaschutta was nice, but I think that I enjoyed the schnitzel at the smaller taverns in Vienna more (and also throughout Germany). Figlmuller is the popular Vienna schnitzel haus but it is by no means the best, do try the smaller taverns. Also don't miss the schweinsaxe (roasted pork knuckle) when in southern Germany.
I had some of the best schnitzel ever in Vienna. And it came with a fantastic potato salad.
 
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