Thursday, July 19, 2012

You CAN do Italia on a budget!

Greetings from the Hotel Carlton & Grand Canal in Venice, Italy!  
For the next week, I'm traveling across Italy via a motor coach tour.  I know the title of the blog and, yes, you can be frugal and still travel aboard. 

Here's how I got here:

The cost of the trip was around $3,200.  One of the perks of being a former road warrior was the number of frequent flyer miles I got from never being at home.  I used 137K miles to get myself across the pond, which dropped the cost of my trip to about $1,900.  A savings of roughly $1,300.  My first choice was to travel business class which would have only used 80K miles but because of limited seat availability on the return leg (only economy was available), I chose to fly first class on United (more on that experience in a future post).

Now you might say using so many miles on one trip isn't really frugal.  I could have used those miles for a least four trips domestically.  In most cases, I would agree but the cost savings, comfort and experience made using the miles worthwhile at least to me.

Here's what you can expect next:

As you might imagine, getting over here is just part of story.  I had to figure out how to communicate with folks back home, the best way to carry currency and how to make those Euros last.  Stay tuned. For now, I'll leave you with some photos from my water taxi ride to the hotel. I have no idea what these buildings are. I thought they were interesting and heck...I was excited to be here!