Monday, July 20, 2015

The Thrifty Gypsy's Travels : Playing "Travel Make-Believe"

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My travel addiction knows no bounds and is rarely quenched. So even though we do not have any firm international or major regional travel plans on the calendar right now, I can't resist drawing up mock itineraries for various vacations and travel scenarios for the future.

It serves two purposes - one, it keeps me from getting too antsy/depressed when there are no pending travel plans. And two, travel research is never wasted time! If a last-minute travel opportunity presented itself, I'd already have a few ideas as to what I could visit and experience at a number of different places.

With Danny's past business trips to London in mind, I've been fixating lately on getting another taste of my favorite city while squeezing in some family time in Germany, too. And with a little help from a few travel booking sites, I've got an eight-day getaway mapped outfor under $2,000 (USD), including airfare! Not too shabby for a multi-national Europe trip, huh? Granted, we would be hypothetically taking advantage of costs being eliminated or reduced due to a business trip status, but hey, that's what being a thrifty gypsy is all about!

So if you're in between travel plans, you might want to consider playing "travel make-believe" to do the research legwork for a future trip. You never know, it may be the motivation to start saving those pennies so you could turn the make-believe into reality!

Have you ever played "travel make-believe?"

Buckingham Palace

Hypothetical U.S. to London to Germany Itinerary:

Day 1-2
In my scenario, Danny would leave for his business trip mid-week and hit the ground running while I'm still in the states, chomping at the bit for my turn. Granted, his business trip doesn't permit any room for sight-seeing, but working in the London office is still ten times cooler than working in the home office!

By Friday, the weekend (and the trip!) will finally have arrived, and I'll catch a red-eye from Dulles to Heathrow. Let the adventures begin!

Day 2

Piccadilly Circus and a double-decker bus!
London is very accessible for travelers, particularly when landing in Heathrow, due to the convenience and prevalence of public transportation. While Danny is hustling in the office, I'll take the Tube into central London, drop off my carry-on in his hotel room, and hit the ground running in Piccadilly or the British Museum. Maybe I could meet up with another blogger for tea - a quintessentially English activity that has yet to be crossed off my bucket list.

Day 3
Having already conducted a whirlwind tour of London in 2014, I'll take the opportunity either to revisit some of the sites that left me craving for a more leisurely exploration, such as Westminster Abbey, or seek out new sites within the city or with a manageable day trip to Windsor, St Albans, or Canterbury!

Rothenburg o.d. Tauber, Bavaria, Germany
Day 4
Another day of solo sightseeing will satiate more of my thirst for London, but by evening, Danny's business trip will be over and we'll be making our way to Frankfurt for family, friends, and familiar places! If this trip actually materialized this year, it would be the first time we've ever been able to visit twice within the same year.

Day 5-9
What does one usually do when visiting Germany? Drink delicious beer and nibble on tasty sausage, of course! I'll leave the beer-drinking to Danny, but will savor the opportunity to continue practicing my German skills in the comfort of visiting with family.

Day 9-10
Although we'll be kicking and screaming, all good things must come to an end, and by days 9 and 10 (falling on a Saturday and Sunday) will be about return home. Usually we fly home the day before returning to work, but with Baby Gypsy making me more tired than usual, this hypothetical trip will probably end in time to give us a day to recover at home before the work-week starts.

Hypothetical Washington D.C. to London to Frankfurt Costs:
$00.00      - Danny's flight from Dulles to London for business trip (covered by work).
$1,061.00 - Katrina's flight from Dulles to London, Frankfurt to Dulles return.*
$80.00      - Parking for car at Dulles.
$00.00      - Hotel in downtown London for five nights for Danny/two nights for Katrina (covered by work).
$150.00    - Food/expenses for one in London.
$148.00    - London to Frankfurt tickets for two.*
$297.00    - Rental car for five days in Germany.
$00.00      - Lodging in Germany (family).
$100.00    - Food/expenses for two in Germany.

*As always, the price of plane tickets is a fluctuating factor that may end up being more expensive than anticipated due to when they're bought and how far in advance. In this case, I chose a fly-out date of the Friday before Labor Day weekend.

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