Posts Tagged With: accommodation

Countdown – 7 Months

I realised this week that in 7months we will be in London at the beginning of our next overseas adventure.  In the 2 months since my last post we have organised a couple more things.

We booked our accommodation for the night in Cardiff.  As usual, we aimed to find somewhere that was fairly central.  We opted for a large chain hotel which is within walking distance of the train station were we will arrive from Swansea.  It is close to the city walking tour, the stadium as well as the departure point of the cruises to waterfront.  It will be a brief look around but we are looking forward to visiting Cardiff as it will actually be the only place on the trip which we have not been to previously.  The other places on our itinerary are London, Swansea and Cambridge.

The other thing we did was buy a lightweight down jacket for each of us from Uniqlo.  They squash up and can be rolled into quite a small carry bag,

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While it is not high-end fashion, I hope the jacket will not scream ‘tourist’ as I step outside the door.  I chose a mid-grey as it will co-ordinate with the other clothes I will be packing.  I will do a separate post at a later date about what I will be packing but it is mostly black, grey and red and of course, denim jeans.

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The Final Numbers

I apologise for the hiatus, but as promised, here are the final figures for our 6 week trip to USA and Canada.

I will begin with the easiest figure – the grand total for 2 adults for 42 days and nights was $18,764.36 which is remarkably similar to our UK trip 2 years ago.  You can see the details for that trip here.

This is how it was broken up.

Airfares $     4,563.99
Accommodation $     6,335.44
Insurance $         559.94
Transport $     2,799.08
Food/Drink $     2,757.53
Sightseeing/Tours/Events $     1,258.61
Souvenirs/Gifts $         229.37
Other spending $         260.40

It is interesting to see where the money went.  Once again, accommodation was the biggest single expense.

Airfares includes 2 internal flights as well as our return flights from Brisbane to Chicago.  I included the cost of our visas and also car parking in Brisbane as it was all part of getting there.

Transport was trains, ferries, car hire, fuel and parking fees.

Food and drinks included everything that we ate or drank from restaurant meals, drinks at the pub, groceries to an occasional ice-cream or cup of coffee.

Sightseeing etc was made up of admission costs, guided tours, cruises and two shows.

We bought limited souvenirs with a couple of items for our granddaughters as well as some maple syrup and a boxed set of ‘Anne of Green Gables’ DVDs.

The final category of ‘Other’ was a couple of things from the chemist, a dental visit, a top and trousers for me as well as hats to replace the ones we left on the train early in the trip and phone recharge and some internet access.

As with our UK trip we pre-paid as much as we could with a total of $11,580.21 spent before we set out.

Our total budget was $20,000.00 for everything and although we kept very accurate records of what we spent we did not keep an exact running total.  It was not until today when I sat down and gathered up all of the information, converted our spending into AUD and completed the final spreadsheet that we knew exactly how much we spent.

This will be the last post on the blog until we start planning our next trip which will probably be within Australia.  In the meantime, I can be found on my other blog, Organised Castle.

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Counting Down in Weeks

It is now less than 13 weeks until we fly from Brisbane to Chicago to begin our next overseas adventure.

As a result of several overseas trips in the last few years, pretty well everything is organised.

DONE

International airfares booked
Domestic airfares booked
All accommodation booked except 1 night in Halifax (Air BnB request currently pending)
Car rental booked
Travel insurance booked
Overnight train Chicago to Boston booked
Tickets to 2 shows booked
Visa waiver requirements completed for USA and Canada

TO DO

Buy tablet (waiting until 60 days prior to be eligible for GST refund)
Decide on phone SIM
Intercity train travel in Canada – probably not until we are in the country

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At the moment my main focus is on finding out as much as I can about the places we want to visit.  I recently bought another book for my Kindle.  This is not a general travel guide but a specific volume about scenic drives in the maritime provinces.  It covers several of the areas we plan to visit so I am enjoying finding more about the things we can see and do.

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Final Figures

No pictures in this post – just the final figures.  Here are the financial details of the trip.

I will begin with the easiest figure – the grand total for 2 adults for 7 nights and 7 days was $4,160.17

This is how it was broken up.

Airfares $     1,538.80
Accommodation $     1,029.08
Insurance $        141.75
Transport $        162.87
Food/Drink $        522.04
Sightseeing/Tours/Events $        332.09
Souvenirs/Gifts $          36.45
Other spending $         397.09

It is interesting to compare the ratios with our UK trip from 2014.  You can see the details here.  Since this was only for a week the airfares were the biggest single cost.  Our accommodation included breakfast provided each day and our room serviced.

Transport was taxi and train fares.

Food and drinks included everything that we ate or drank while out and about and the groceries we purchased.

Sightseeing etc was made up of admission costs, guided tour and cruise.

As with previous trips we did not feel the need for souvenirs, however, we capitulated and bought the photo from the Night Zoo and I have also included Oh Siew May’s book in this category.

The final category of ‘Other’ included a pack of Band Aids, a couple of pieces of fabric, a dress and 2 pairs of socks for myself as well as a new umbrella for both GMan and I.  All of these would have been bought regardless of whether we were on holidays or not.

I had set myself the relatively generous budget of $5,000 so we easily came in under budget for our one week jaunt to Singapore.

This is the final post until we begin planning our 2016 trip to the east coast of Canada in earnest.
In the meantime you can keep track of my slightly more mundane life on my other blog, Organised Castle.
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Crunching the Numbers

As promised in my last post, here are the financial details of the trip.

I will begin with the easiest figure – the grand total for 2 adults for 40 nights and 41 days was $18,157.76

This is how it was broken up.

Airfares $     3,960.00
Accommodation $     5,461.00
Insurance $         490.00
Transport $     3,939.18
Food/Drink $     2,280.65
Sightseeing/Tours/Events $     1,740.15
Souvenirs/Gifts $         137.26
Other spending $         149.52

It is interesting to see where the money went.  Accommodation was the biggest single cost.  We paid an average $140.00 AUD/night and most included breakfast or breakfast provisions.

Transport was trains, ferries, car hire, fuel and parking fees.

Food and drinks included everything that we ate or drank from restaurant meals, drinks at the pub, groceries to an occasional ice-cream or cup of coffee.

Sightseeing etc was made up of admission costs, guided tours, cruises and two shows.

We made a conscious decision to spend very little on souvenirs as we did not need ‘stuff’ to remind ourselves of what a great time we had.  The Duke bought a pair of socks from Portmeirion.  I bought 2 teatowels and a postcard which I intend to get framed.  The remainder was something for each of our daughters and our two grand daughters.

The final category of ‘Other’ was a couple of things from the chemist, 2 birthday presents, some hooks for hanging clothes hangers on the clothesline, a shirt and shoes for me and a haircut for The Duke.  All of these would have been bought regardless of whether we were on holidays or not.

We began planning for this trip about 14 months ago.  The first thing we did was to book our flights which was about this time last year.  The majority of our accommodation was booked through AirBnB which requires up-front payment.  About 3 – 4 months before our departure we booked tickets to 2 shows, most of our train fares, ferries to and from Ireland and the hire cars.  All of this except the hire car in Ireland was paid for at the time of booking. This meant that we had pre-paid at total of $10,905.24 before we set out.

Our total budget was $20,000.00 for everything and although we kept very accurate records of what we spent we did not keep an exact running total.  It was not until today when I sat down and gathered up all of the information, converted our spending into AUD and completed the final spreadsheet that we knew exactly how much we spent.

It is gratifying to know that we came in almost $2,000.00 under our allowed budget.  This also gives me confidence in my calculations for planning future trips.

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Weekly Countdown – 9 Weeks

As the title says, it is nine weeks until our trip.  In fact, the flight is scheduled to depart a little after midnight on Friday night/Saturday morning so we will definitely be in London in nine weeks.

Thanks to the wonders of Google Maps I have been able to pinpoint where we will be staying and have worked out that we will easily be able to walk from Paddington Station to our accommodation which is approximately 600 metres from the station.

London accommodation

I have discovered all sorts of gems while trawling the internet.  One is that 200 seats are available by open ballot for the ‘Last Night of the Proms’ concert.  It is 5 days before the end of our trip and our tentative itinerary has us in Cornwall.  Nevertheless, I have entered the ballot and will change the itinerary if we are lucky enough to be successful.  I know that it is a very slim chance but you have to be in it to win it.  We will know whether or not we have been successful in the second week of July, well before we leave.

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Countdown

If everything goes according to plan, this time next year we will be tucked up in bed on our first night in London.

Our tentative plan is 6 weeks in UK and Ireland with possibly a few days in Spain at the end of the trip.

As you can imagine, we are still in the early stages of planning.  12 months does seem a long time but we have lots of other things going on in our lives so we want to make sure that we are prepared and can catch the best deals on fights, accommodation and trains.  I already know that the cheapest fares on the trains are about 9 – 12 weeks in advance.

As we discovered with our USA trip last year, half of the fun is in the research and planning.  If you have any hints, tips or ‘must do’ activities please share them.

Now it is back to reality – I need to hang the washing out on the line.

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Air BnB – Traveller to Host

When we were planning our trip to the USA last year we were introduced to Air BnB by our daughter.  This is a world-wide online accommodation site where individuals can list their space for rent.  The space can be a room, apartment, castle, houseboat or anything else you can think of.

We had several positive experiences of AirBnB hospitality on our USA trip.  We stayed in a bed and breakfast in Washington DC but the others were all self-contained accommodation which was our preference.  Our accommodation in Cape Elizabeth in Maine, Burlington and Shaftsbury in Vermont, Woodstock in New York State as well as Philadelphia were all sourced through Air BnB.

A couple of months ago we travelled to Victoria and Canberra so we decided to see what was available through Air BnB here in Australia.  We found a fabulous place at Lakes Entrance and spent two nights with Nina and Graeme as well as a night in Byron Bay. with Mouna.

Backyard

As a result of our positive experiences, we have listed our spare room on Air BnB.  I am sure that in time we will get to meet some interesting people.  At this stage it is only available on Friday and Saturday nights with Sunday nights by negotiation.  The area where we live is a little over an hour drive from Brisbane so a perfect weekend getaway.  There is always something happening in Maleny.  This time of the year there is a show, festival or open garden almost every weekend.  The weather is quite cool so time to rug up and enjoy the mountains.

Autumn sunshine

Here is our guest room.

I am now working on finding Air BnB accommodation for when we travel to the UK next year.  There looks like plenty of options.

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