Italy: It could happen?
January 27, 2014
It’s possible that we might travel to Italy this year. It’s up in the air, so while I’m feverishly researching how to redeem miles and points to cover most of the major costs, I’m pretending that this is just an academic exercise. Why? Well, because … ITALY. If I let myself start believing that it’s gonna happen right now you’d hear an explosion ’round the world from the epic excitement.
Update: It’s too late. I’m excited. AND disappointed at the same time. You’ll see why below.
We did just blow a ton of cash recently. That’s why, until I nail down some serious money-savers, I just don’t want to commit to a big trip (aka: travel expense). Not seriously, and not emotionally.
That said …. planning IS right up my alley! Perhaps neurotically so.
Things to do
This didn’t occur to me til after I started researching flights. Clearly, too excited. We won’t have that much time (in my world, enough time in Italy is months) so I figure we’ll stay in one major region despite my yearnings to go to Silicy! Naples! Italian Riviera! Anywhere and everywhere!
Realistically, we probably can’t be gone for more than 2 weeks, so scheduling no more than 4 cities is a better idea. I’m not a power vacationer, I don’t like rushing from one site to another playing Tag! with the cities and checking off a list.
We have miles and rewards points for a number of airlines and programs none of which work out as well for us as I thought it would. It turns out with all their fuel surcharges, my many British Airways Avios points are basically worthless for this. For a ticket that would normally cost about $1000, the redemption quoted was 50K points PLUS cash surcharge between $800-$1000. Seriously? Pay up all the points you can scrounge and then pay nearly the ticket cost over again? Forget it. Might as well buy the ticket and upgrade. If we can even afford the upgrade! Humph.
On further research, we can’t even fly BA anyway, they only have 3 reward flights in the prospective travel months. Really? REALLY? Sigh.
Now I’m exploring all the other major airlines that fly a few possible flight itineraries to see if I can convert SPG points into miles on a relevant airline. Otherwise, at best, we’re paying $1400 per person to fly. Coach. Ugh. (Right, like I’ve ever traveled not coach.) This might be a dealbreaker, honestly.
I did a broke-college-student sort of trip to Italy years ago but now that we’re quite a bit older (ahem, and in a lot more pain), the creature comforts are more important than even I want to admit. Also, PiC keeps saying he’s just too old to go hosteling. The belligerently PFy bit of my brain wants to force the issue and pretend we’re tougher than that but a good night’s sleep and traveling lightly is critical to my survival and there’s no use pretending otherwise. So, no dorms for us, no backpacking-style travel.
The Avios points may well work for us here, we’re able to book hotels using those points and the research is turning up mostly decent options. Location is critical in some parts of the trip, and WiFi is critical for the whole trip since I have to continue working if we do go.
Access to public transit and walking distances will guide my hotel choices. Neither of us are jonesing to drive over there and there’s little better than getting to know a country on foot, working up an appetite for the amazing cuisine.
Time to renew! It’s a little embarrassing that it expired last year .. no, wait, in 2012 and I’ve been too lazy to get photo done for the renewal. The packet is ready to go: paperwork, passport, check written. No picture. Time to get off my butt and get that done.
I know these 10-year old hand me down sweatpants shouldn’t go to Italy. So a wardrobe review to find Normal People Clothes wouldn’t be a bad idea. New clothes shouldn’t be necessary, but I do have to unearth the untouched nicer clothes.
Leaving Doggle (because I’ll MISS HIM); bending the travel universe to my frugal ways while still enjoying all the tastes that Italy has to offer (except tripe. thanks but no thanks.); and surviving the combination of international travel + working for however long we’re gone.