An American Family in Europe (Conclusion)

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So with all this crazy planning, using miles, and calculations did I make my budget for this trip?  <drumroll please>

Sadly, no.

I’ll save everyone the trouble of going back and doing the math, this trip came in at $7000.  Paris was almost $1000 of that cost ($936.90).  If I hadn’t made certain mistakes, Paris would have come to an extra $800.

Next question, Tiff, if you had just bought four tickets for $800 round-trip to Rome, would that have cost you less than doing all this additional trip planning to Paris?  Actually, no, it wouldn’t have.  Our tickets cost us $1600, and if even with my screw up, Paris cost us $936 for a total of $2536, plus an extra three nights on our trip (the last night in Rome and the two in Paris).  Had we bought four round-trip tickets to Rome, that would have cost us $3200, so doing the side trip still cost us less overall and we got an extra three days and went to one more country.

If you take out Paris (since most people would actually buy plane tickets J), a 14-night trip to Rome with a cruise is definitely feasible for a family of four for $6,000, but it does take planning and work.  We typically use credit cards to accumulate miles and points (for those who were wondering), with the understanding that we pay them off IN FULL every month.

Purchase two $800 round-trip tickets to Rome, use miles/points for the other two tickets = $1600

Cruise for four for 10 days:  $1600

Hotel for four nights in Rome (assuming you don’t make my additional $70 and 30,000 point mistake):  $280 + 60,000 points

Cost for food, entertainment, transportation in Rome:  $650

Cost for sightseeing, excursions, tipping, souvenirs and incidentals from cruise:  $1700

Approximate cost of transportation and incidentals from cruise ship to airport:  $50

Total cost:  $5880

When we tell people about traveling to Europe with our kids most people assume that kind of trip is out of reach for them.  What I want people to get out of this is if flying to Florida to go to Disney World for a week is within reach for your family, then Europe is too.  It does take research, time, and planning, but if that’s what you want you can figure out a way to do it.

Note:  In converting U.S. Dollars to Euros for this trip I used a 1:1.3 conversion rate.  I sometimes rounded numbers up or down to keep the math simpler.  I did reference our receipts and when I wasn’t sure because we paid in cash I tried to round up and that’s why I have “incidental” costs at the end of each segment to include any smaller purchases I may have forgotten.   Guide books were a huge help in planning our day-to-day activities for this trip to help keep costs down.  I highly recommend checking them out at the library to figure out which ones work best for you based on what you want to do/see.  Once you know that you can pick out the ones you like to buy ahead of time or check them out to bring along on the trip.  My personal favorites are Rick Steves’ and Eyewitness Travel.

This is the conclusion of a series:

An American Family in Europe Part 1
An American Family in Europe Part 2
An American Family in Europe Part 3
An American Family in Europe Part 4
An American Family in Europe Part 5
An American Family in Europe Part 6


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Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.

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Tiff's first big vacation was a Caribbean cruise when she was six. She first started getting interested in deals when her husband showed her the tricks to getting bought off your flights back in the late 90s. She started flying nonrev when they got married; the first unusual nonrev she did was in '05 when her family flew through San Juan to get to Dallas from Philly. They have two boys, ages 11 and 7, who she usually drags along on their travels and hopes they will grow up to love traveling as much as she does.

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