Actual travel dates were August 4-16, 2015. It took weeks to solidify the entire trip. But ultimately it was decided to do a roundtrip flight from Philadelphia to London and piece the rest of the trip together from London.
Although I know waiting just a bit longer to purchase the that flight would have been much cheaper, the majority of my friends had the money ready to purchase this trip and wanted to get that leg of the trip out of the way. In hindsight, I should have set up a shared account or had them just send me the funds via Paypal and purchased the ticket a week or two later when it dropped by $100 dollars.
Unfortunately, I purchased our tickets at $985 USD direct from PHL to LHR on British Airways. I love British Airways because they serve free alcohol.
The next step was booking the intra-Europe travel. After searching across flights and trains it ended up being cheaper to take flights for most of the remaining travel. (At least the upfront travel costs…) in hindsight, it is really important to calculate baggage fees, baggage weight limits and the cost of the airport hassle when doing this comparison.
I was able to score a flight from Gatwick, London to Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris for $66 USD. But it ended up being cheaper to take the train from Paris to Amsterdam at only $39 USD.
From Amsterdam we flew to Ibiza for $69 USD. But finding a decent priced flight to get to our return flight out of London from Ibiza was a bit more difficult. I waited a few more weeks to book that flight and got it for $186 USD.
So let’s recap for travel:
- $ 66
- $ 39
- $ 69
Total $1345 for travel.
We had a few hours layover in Germany on our way back to London from Ibiza.
In the next post I’ll detail our lodging and recommendations.
A co-worker had mentioned that a holiday was approaching and that we’d have a day off from work that equaled a long weekend. He had planned to go to Paris with the free time. Which got me to thinking maybe I should use the time to travel as well. I got the idea that maybe my mom could come for a visit and we could travel together.
After asking around about European cities others had been to and recommended, I was informed of United Airlines European cruises. Initially I had wanted to go to Italy since I had never been, luckily I found a cruise leaving from Venice and that’s when I went into planning mode. My mother was immediately on board to go wherever I chose.
I searched and put the trip together from beginning to end including getting my mom from the states to me in Germany on a budget. I found a roundtrip-direct flight from BWI (Baltimore) to FRA (Frankfurt) for my mom on Condor Air for $781.00 USD. I booked this exactly one month before our trip to Venice. My mom arrived on the 27th of August to Frankfurt. We left on the 29th of August to begin our vacation together.
RyanAir is a popular cheap airline that services many locations throughout Europe, but their flights usually leave out of the less popular airports. Since I was ballin’ on a budget this seemed like a great idea. For Germany that airport is HAHN, less than a 2-hour drive outside Frankfurt.
We took the Bohr Bus from the Main train station in downtown Frankfurt to HAHN for 14.00 euros ($18.76 USD) per person for a one-way trip. Our direct flight on RyanAir was from HAHN to Venice-TREVISO and I pre-paid for one checked bag for each of us and ground transportation from the airport in Venice to nearby our hotel. The total was $211.45 USD for both of us. Not bad at all.
My mom picked our hotel, Casa Sant’andrea, was booked through Olotels for 29 through 31 August 2013 with a twin room and breakfast for $240.00 USD. Luckily the bus let us off about 3 blocks from our hotel that was right on the water. So it was very conveniently located.
Our Royal Caribbean cruise booked through United Cruises came to a total of $1,659.85 for the both of us and the itinerary is below. Even better was how close our hotel was from the departing port, walking distance or the next stop on the “People Mover” the elevated train system in Venice.
|1||Venice, Italy||—||5:00 p.m.|
|2||Split, Croatia||7:00 a.m.||3:00 p.m.|
|4||Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey||8:00 a.m.||6:00 p.m.|
|5||Mykonos, Greece||7:00 a.m.||5:00 p.m.|
|6||Argostoli, Kefalonia, Greece||12:00 p.m.||8:00 p.m.|
I used a total of 25,000 United Airlines Award miles (plus $52.60 in taxes) for our return flight from Venice to FRA, Frankfurt’s main airport.
So here’s the math not including the $781.00 for my mom’s roundtrip ticket from the US to Germany…
|37.52||bus to HAHN|
Maybe $2182.65 seems like a lot of money but for two people at close to only $1000 per person for a 7-day cruise and roundtrip airfare and 1.5 days in Venice, I don’t think it’s too bad. This was my first time putting together a trip like this and with less than a month prior. I was proud of myself. I now know I could have gotten the cruise for a lot less but it was -really my first cruise, now I know better.
- Ten Things To Know About Ryan Air (walkingpapers.wordpress.com)
- Venice On A Budget (breakyourcage.com)
- Budgeting: Save Money on Travel (quicken.intuit.com)
- Bring A Small Carry On Bag (studyabroadgal.wordpress.com)
- How To Survive A Ryanair Flight (jetsettimes.com)
- Travelogue: Venice (oursecondsecondcity.wordpress.com)
- Five Must See Sights in Venice (epicatravel.com)