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Old 02-29-2016, 10:06 PM
 
1,734 posts, read 1,948,785 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
I hope to have moved to Virginia by summer so who knows? It will be awfully hot so maybe we'll be planning a trip back north or another trip to England. Airfares across the Atlantic are supposedly going down.
Jeez, I hope you change your user name once you get here, lol! Personally, I get hives when I look back on the economic wasteland I left in CT (in New England) ten years ago. You will find, in VA, a barely perceptible sense of desperation, by way of contrast.


By way of context - I STILL have PTSD-type flashbacks from being there, running faster and faster to slow down my personal economic erosion once the BigCos began their exodus (exoduses? exodi?) in the mid-90s. When I got to VA, it was like a different world: in the place that I targeted - (Northern VA) - there was/is enough to go around. That makes for a milder social climate.


N.B. - this is just by way of contrast. Now that I've been here for ten years, I find the traffic and congestion irksome. OTOH, NOBODY lives in Northern Virginia proper unless they're still working. Cost-prohibitive.


Welcome to VA! You'll never look back! Best, Jane
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Old 02-29-2016, 10:39 PM
 
13,891 posts, read 7,395,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robyn55 View Post
We spent 8 days in London last year - and didn't run out of things to do/places to eat. Robyn
I've spent a huge amount of time in the UK on business over the years. I use Heathrow as my gateway airport so I can take a day flight from Boston and avoid the red-eye. I mostly eat ethnic food. I tend to eat Indian a lot of the time. I try to hit a Persian place when I'm in London since they pretty much don't exist in the US. Dim Sum lunch is also almost as good as Hong Kong.
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Old 03-01-2016, 05:16 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,925,663 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
I've spent a huge amount of time in the UK on business over the years. I use Heathrow as my gateway airport so I can take a day flight from Boston and avoid the red-eye. I mostly eat ethnic food. I tend to eat Indian a lot of the time. I try to hit a Persian place when I'm in London since they pretty much don't exist in the US. Dim Sum lunch is also almost as good as Hong Kong.
You're lucky to have the non-red eye option. We could do it - theoretically - since we have to hub through somewhere to get to anywhere in Europe. But Atlanta is usually our most convenient hub and Delta is usually our most convenient airline. So it's the red eye for us.

We live in a pleasant area that doesn't have any exciting real high end dining options. So we pretty much pull out the dining stops when we travel.

We had one Chinese meal (lunch) our last trip to London - at this restaurant:

Home - HKK

The whole meal was excellent - especially the dumpling course.

I'm not a big fan of Indian food - but our friend Andy Hayler is. And he has written up many Indian restaurants (111 of them - many in London) on his food blog - which I linked above (you can sort restaurants by cuisine). Take a look. You might find something new/good .

Next trip for us is Madrid in May - and I'm just finishing up the dining reservations now. On-line booking engines are making things very easy these days . Robyn
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Old 03-01-2016, 05:34 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,925,663 times
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P.S. Forgot to mention. The best Chinese food/dim sum we've had recently was in Singapore a couple of years ago. Not surprising since the majority of people in Singapore are of Chinese descent. It's kind of a long way to go for a dim sum lunch - but worth it (our Chinese food in Florida is pitiful). And it's much easier to get a front of the plane FF reward ticket to Singapore than to Hong Kong or mainland China (at least on United).

BTW - we'll be in New York in the fall. First trip to New York in quite a few years. If you or anyone else has been in New York lately - any recommendations for dim sum there?
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Old 03-01-2016, 08:15 AM
 
Location: AZ
484 posts, read 478,789 times
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All of this talk about trips to Europe has me wondering if I stumbled into a chat room for multimillionaires.

We had thought about an Italy trip this summer until we checked the airfares. From Phoenix, fares are in the $1500 per person range. That's about $3000 just to get there and back. And that's riding in the coach cattle car. Don't get me started on Business Class. Then you have to add in all of the other trip costs...hotels, food, getting aronud, miscellaneous other expenses.

How do you guys go to Europe so often with the high air fares? You would think with the oil prices crashing this year that air fares would drop accordingly. Guess not...
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Old 03-01-2016, 09:20 AM
 
Location: SoCal
13,224 posts, read 6,320,879 times
Reputation: 9827
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
I've spent a huge amount of time in the UK on business over the years. I use Heathrow as my gateway airport so I can take a day flight from Boston and avoid the red-eye. I mostly eat ethnic food. I tend to eat Indian a lot of the time. I try to hit a Persian place when I'm in London since they pretty much don't exist in the US. Dim Sum lunch is also almost as good as Hong Kong.
There are some really awesome Indian restaurants near Heathrow. Not just your typical Indian food. They serve huge prawns, not the tiny shrimp that the British people call prawn, LOL. But I found the dim sum there underwhelming, perhaps I didn't find the right restaurant. I found Boston to be much better, going back by memory when I was a student there. I guess everything tasted good for a starving student.
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Old 03-01-2016, 09:23 AM
 
Location: SoCal
13,224 posts, read 6,320,879 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbpakrfan View Post
All of this talk about trips to Europe has me wondering if I stumbled into a chat room for multimillionaires.

We had thought about an Italy trip this summer until we checked the airfares. From Phoenix, fares are in the $1500 per person range. That's about $3000 just to get there and back. And that's riding in the coach cattle car. Don't get me started on Business Class. Then you have to add in all of the other trip costs...hotels, food, getting aronud, miscellaneous other expenses.

How do you guys go to Europe so often with the high air fares? You would think with the oil prices crashing this year that air fares would drop accordingly. Guess not...
I opened a couple credit cards and only paid a few hundred bucks for taxes. I had a lot of mileages that I even gave my kid and her roommate a free trip back, for a mere $300 one way to/from UK I used mine to pay for upgrades to better than economy seat.
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Old 03-01-2016, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Central Massachusetts
4,800 posts, read 4,845,678 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbpakrfan View Post
All of this talk about trips to Europe has me wondering if I stumbled into a chat room for multimillionaires.

We had thought about an Italy trip this summer until we checked the airfares. From Phoenix, fares are in the $1500 per person range. That's about $3000 just to get there and back. And that's riding in the coach cattle car. Don't get me started on Business Class. Then you have to add in all of the other trip costs...hotels, food, getting aronud, miscellaneous other expenses.

How do you guys go to Europe so often with the high air fares? You would think with the oil prices crashing this year that air fares would drop accordingly. Guess not...


Actually a European trip would be cheaper this year than last or even further in the past. The dollar is up against the Euro. Oh check with a travel agent. They can get you better rates. I did the search to fly to Korea and I came back with 2k round trip on line. My wife got the flights for $1100 round trip.
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,925,663 times
Reputation: 6716
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbpakrfan View Post
All of this talk about trips to Europe has me wondering if I stumbled into a chat room for multimillionaires.

We had thought about an Italy trip this summer until we checked the airfares. From Phoenix, fares are in the $1500 per person range. That's about $3000 just to get there and back. And that's riding in the coach cattle car. Don't get me started on Business Class. Then you have to add in all of the other trip costs...hotels, food, getting aronud, miscellaneous other expenses.

How do you guys go to Europe so often with the high air fares? You would think with the oil prices crashing this year that air fares would drop accordingly. Guess not...
Well my husband and I are not poor people. Still - we're not going to throw money away just because we can.

When it comes to air fares - we fly business class (occasionally first class on a 3 class plane - Delta doesn't have 3 class planes). A mix of FF reward tickets and tickets bought on sale. We play a lot of games with credit cards to rack up a lot of points. In recent years - we've had free tickets to Tokyo - Singapore - Stockholm - Berlin - Paris. There have been a fair number of business class air fare sales the last couple of years. We took advantage of these sales to fly to London last year and will be going to Madrid this year. Our tickets cost a little more than what you found for your main cabin seats. Now we are on the east coast - and I suspect tickets from Phoenix might cost more. Still - you could book a cheap ticket to an east coast hub - and then take advantage of a sale from the east coast. I have also seen mention of good sales out of Los Angeles - so you might take a look at those too. I recommend this website to keep on top of things:

One Mile at a Time - TIPS, TRICKS, AND TRAVEL WITH LUCKY

Note that one person here took advantage of the recent Delta sale for main cabin seats bought with points. That sale didn't fit into our schedule - but it was a good one.

The one thing you can't do is wait until a few months before summer (high season) and expect to find reasonable prices. And it is best to avoid high season altogether (because deals are harder to come by then). We bought our tickets to Madrid for a trip in May last July. A month later - they cost twice as much as we had paid for them. It is also sometimes possible to pick up sale fares at the last minute. That isn't my cup of tea - but it works for some people.

Another issue is some cities/countries are (much) more expensive than others. London and Paris are in nosebleed territory. And almost all of Italy is. So we tend to get a tiny bit off the beaten tourist path most of the time. For example - our hotel in Madrid will run us less than half the cost of comparable accommodations in Paris. You can find the same in some surprising places. Like Japan - where a couple of decades of deflation have taken their toll.

We stay in luxury hotels. But there are deals to be had there too. Like stay 2/3 nights - get 1 free. Or amenities like a free breakfast served in your room. Or a complimentary limo airport transfer. We get these amenities by booking through a Virtuoso/Four Seasons Preferred Partner/etc. travel agent. Anyone can book the BOGO offers.

Quite a few people also use hotel loyalty programs (although we don't) - often in combination with a hotel branded credit card. They can wind up with free nights or various hotel amenities. So finding one chain you like and sticking with it can result in considerable savings. The large hotel chains have a range of options price-wise - and most people can find options that fit into their budgets.

There are various ways to save money on things like food and transportation costs as well. Lunch at an excellent Michelin starred restaurant might cost half or less compared to what you'd pay for dinner. Some places have excellent public transportation. It's usually inexpensive. Easy to use. And - in a congested metro area - often faster than taking a cab.

In the end - no matter what your budget is - it's all about planning. We like to travel - and spend a lot of money on it. But - without careful planning - we would have spent a ton more over the years. Also - since we're retired - we are totally flexible in terms of travel. Our only limitation is our personal weather preferences. Robyn
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,925,663 times
Reputation: 6716
P.S. My brother lives in Scottsdale. Since we don't mind the heat (and play plenty of golf at home) - we have visited him in the summer. When the Four Seasons often has ridiculous deals (this year - the rack rate is $189/day in the summer - $769/day this month). You're not going to get anything that extreme in a major European capital - but you get the idea.
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