I know there are people out there who find great deals to travel all over – I’m looking at you, Jeremy – and I am completely jealous. But, you know what? I also have no regrets for my $1600, 2-week gallivanting around Amsterdam, Germany, and Italy.
Being a financial blog, let me break out the costs for you.
Flights: $120. By using points to purchase these tickets, I only paid taxes. Two first-class tickets from Orlando to Amsterdam were 52.5k points, each. Two economy tickets from Rome to Orlando were 30k, each. I may not have been the most economical (pun-intended?) with my points – but that’s cool. I had never flown first class and wanted to see what it was like. Would I do it again for that cost – probably not.
Train Rail Pass: $600. I bought the Eurail pass for this trip. Being my first trip to Europe, and my first time traveling with my girlfriend, I didn’t know what to expect and wanted the flexibility this pass provided.
Things I learned from this:
- If you can pre-book your tickets – it is FAR cheaper than buying this pass
- My girlfriend likes as much structure in traveling as I do (meaning just enough to get us there)
- After paying the required reservation fee, overnight trains aren’t as good as they first appear
All in all – next trip we will pre-book our tickets a few weeks in advance. We now know we feel better with a loose schedule. After looking at a few samples of the same itinerary we had, bypassing the Eurrail pass and pre-booking would have saved nearly $400.
Hotels: $0. Before this trip, I lived in a Marriott hotel for 6 months in Shanghai on a business trip. Talk about bookoos of points. I earned upwards of 600k points during that stay. I cost 350k for rooms these two weeks but we always stayed in the center of the city.
Check out this room we were upgraded to, that had two – yes, two! – stories and an all marble bathroom.
The marble comment is kind of a joke – as the lobby attendant was showing us all of the room amenities she opened the door to the bathroom with a comment:
“And of course the bathroom is all marble.” – with very much stress on the “of course”
Gifts: $50. Pretty much everyone knows I am a minimalist at heart and I hate buying trinkets for people. What’s the point? I find some cheap $10 ornament to set on a shelf somewhere and they feel obligated to keep it for a certain amount of time. Dumb.
Instead, about $40 of this was spent on beer (which is not a trinket by the way). The remaining $10 went to buying some french coffee a buddy and I drank by the gallons in Shanghai. It was provided free in the JW Marriott Presidential Lounge. #privileged
Food: $830. Yes. That’s $415 a week. More than I’d normally spend in a month. It was well worth it though.
So much bratwurst.
So much spaetzle.
Oh and the gnocchi.
And don’t forget the beer! (German beer has gotta be the king of all beer)
I am fully aware that this is a bit excessive. But I’d like to refer you to my December 2016 net worth post – I still had a healthy salary income that month. I like to think of it as my employer paying me to travel and stuff my face!
So really, I know this wasn’t the cheapest way to travel to Europe. But my point is that sometimes it’s ok to cherish the experience and forget the cost. What is your opinion on this?