Anatomy of Vacation Costs: Leg 1, New York City

Here is the breakdown of expenses for the first leg of our seven-week vacation.  We spent three days and two nights in New York City.  Our entertainment activities included taking a free public walking tour of the New York City Library, walking around the Chelsea district, walking the High Line Trail, attending the Seaport Summer Concert as VIP guests (free with our Ultimate Rewards points) and touring the USS Intrepid Museum (free with our OMSI membership).

$398.00 PDX – JFK flight; Delta miles equivalent
$315.00 NYC Best Western (Chase Ultimate Rewards equivalent
$2.79 Cough drops
$20.00 Subway fare ($10 each)
$17.00 Airtrain and subway fare ($8.50 each)
$6.00 Airtrain fare
$11.95 Shake Shack
$5.40 Pizza
$10.00 Cheesecake slice
$2.00 Bar tip
$5.00 Kiss my Pizza
$3.50 Dough donut


We rode public transportation in New York City, had free breakfasts in our hotel, and ate dinner for free at the airport lounge before our flight to Italy.

Food (includes cough drops):  $40.64

Subway:  $43.00

Flight and hotel paid with points:  $713.00

Total actual money spent in New York City over the 4th of July:  $83.64

Vacation counter:  Leg 1 – $83.64

Last Days of Summer Vacation

All good things must come to end.  After almost ten weeks of travels and adventures, our summer comes to a close.  Lisa went back to work on Monday, and I start back tomorrow.  I have had the past week at home to enjoy the final days of freedom.  Watched a bunch of DVDs and Netflix movies.  Finished my audio book.  Plowed through most of my magazines.  Got together with friends to hang out.  Got together with family on both sides.  Slept late, woke up late.  And enjoyed taking advantage of Lisa’s birthday meal offers at Red Robin, Papa’s Pizza, Sweet Tomatoes and Chevy’s.  Not one minute was I ever bored — I can’t wait for retirement!

Lisa and I are lucky to have these practice runs of retirement for two months every single year.  I just shake my head in disbelief when I think back eleven years ago when I had the typical job that only gave me two weeks of vacation.  Granted, it was paid vacation, but it was only two weeks long!  I did all I could to maximize those two weeks by building vacations around three day weekends and holidays.  Now, instead of two weeks, I get two months to do whatever the heck I want to do.  We do have to be plan out our paychecks to make sure our money lasts through the summer, which can be pretty hard when there are so many places to visit and so many things to do.  Unfortunately, we kinda went over budget this summer, so it will be good to go back to work to pay for our travels of the last two months.  In the next few days I will post the exact costs of our vacation … I’m hoping that we were able to stay around $200 per day, but I’ll have to do the calculations first and see what turns out.

All I know for now is that it is time for me to go to bed earlier than I have because tomorrow I’ll need to wake up early and do this work thing.  Yep, it’s back to reality.

Italy by Rail and Ship: Returning Home Part 3

Our cruise wrapped up last Sunday and we stayed overnight with my uncle and cousins in North Miami, where we took a driving tour around South Beach and ate plenty of Filipino food.  We woke up early Monday morning for our all day flights back to Portland, including getting two minutes of the total solar eclipse as we sat on the runway in our airplane while leaving Kansas City.  After touching down in Portland, we took the MAX home and the first thing Lisa wanted was a burger, so hello Burgerville!  And with that, our seven week vacation has finally come to a close…


Italy by Rail and Ship: Milan Meanderings

We spent our last two days in Italy in the fashion Capital, Milan. A number of people and guidebooks think Milan is a city to bypass and skip over, but we are glad that we spent some time to explore and discover this underrated city.  It wasn’t super huge with tons of things to see and do, so we felt a relaxed pace to just enjoy the days without a must-see list agenda…