Monday, June 21:  Picks, Pans, Finances

Here’s a collection of notes I accumulated along the way, more for my own purposes the next time I do a similar trip.



Things I Wish I’d Known Sooner

Things I’d Do Different

Missing in Action

Finances No journal is complete without some discussion of finances. For Rob, this was the three months of summer he never seems to really take off completely. For Pat there was a loss of income. But we don’t have to pay any taxes on it either, and we didn’t buy groceries, take tennis lessons, go cycling, etc, so the household budget showed a slight surplus in our favor over the three months we were absent. Lodging ran about $135 a night. Any cheaper and I think the cleanliness or convenience of location would have suffered. Despite the high fuel prices (which I knew about ahead of time), our fuel costs were less than I’d expected. $750 for 5,500 miles. Finding decent, affordable food that everybody would enjoy was a constant struggle, but despite a few extravagant meals, and a few expensive meals I’d just as soon forget, we came in close to budget. For those contemplating similar adventures, I’d say a budget of $1,000 per adult, per week would be a good ballpark figure. Our costs were a bit different, since three of our plane flights were frequent flyer awards, and the boys were often free at sights, or part of a family ticket. The boys were also very good about ordering kid meals, especially the long succession of menu enfants in France and the meat & chips offerings in the UK. We also bought a lot of gear, owing for how long we’d be gone -- clothes, guidebooks, cameras, computer, luggage. For us, I’d say the two boys cost about as much as one adult, though at 12 years old, David was about on the cusp of these savings. So your mileage will vary.

Admission to sights often seemed very expensive, but only comprised about 8% of our costs. Food and lodging are the main costs, so it is best not to spend all your moiney getting there and then cutting back on the sightseeing.