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Sunday, 9 March 2008

Started booking our European Vacation

Well, I finally decided to commit to taking a five week overseas holiday to Germany and the UK in August/September. I booked our airfares online through webjet.com.au and a London hotel (Marble Arch Inn) directly online. The return airfares Sydney-Frankfurt-London-Sydney for two adults, 1 child and 1 infant cost $8,663.39 (including fees & taxes and $340 for family international travel insurance) and a 'family' room (for four adults and two kids) cost 500 GBP for four nights. This seems quite reasonable for a London hotel, as the other 3-4 star hotels I checked out had room rates starting from $235 per day for two adults/two children. My parents will be coming with us on this holiday, so we're sharing the hotel accommodation in London and will drive a small mobile home around Germany and the UK. The booking fee will be immediately charged to my credit card, and the balance of the airfares charged within the next seven days. I have enough saved up in my ING Direct "holiday" account to cover this, and the balance of the holiday costs won't be charged until August, by which time I'll have accumulated the remainder of the costs.

I haven't taken a "proper" vacation for about five years, so I have eight weeks annual leave accumulated plus my eight weeks "long service" leave vests in July. So there's no problem taking the time off work. The question mark was over the cost of this holiday (estimated around $18,500 all up) and whether I really want to spend two days in economy class flying from Australia to Europe and back, just to spend five weeks driving the family around Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales...

I've been to Germany and the UK many times before (but never to Ireland), but DW has only been to England and Wales once (on our honeymoon), and the DS1 is old enough to enjoy (and be educated by) his first trip to Europe. I had thought about postponing this trip until DS2 was also old enough to remember something of it, but some of the relatives we want to visit might not be around in another five years time (my Great-great Aunt in England is in her 90s, and my Aunt in Germany is approaching 80 and in poor health). Also, with the Aussie dollar at very high levels and the oil price continuing to rise, this sort of holiday could be much more expensive in five years time.

My dad is going to book us a six-berth motor home for two weeks driving around Germany/Austria etc., and we'll hire another one for driving around the UK and Ireland for three weeks (it'll be a bit rushed, as usual). At a cost of around $220 per day, the van should be cheaper than hiring a large rental car and staying at motels or B&B's each day (especially since I'll be splitting the motorhome rental costs with my parents). The time saved not having to pack and unpack every couple of days and hunt for accommodation each day (our itinerary is fairly flexible) should also be benefit compared to staying in hotels. However, I haven't been on a caravan holiday for many, many years and it will be interesting how my parents, kids and wife get on together for six weeks in close quarters ;)

Copyright Enough Wealth 2007

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