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Cheap Travel

It doesn’t always work out this way, but in a little bit I’ll be spending a week in Paris with my sister and the plane and lodging will cost me less than $300.

I’m flying United and using miles accrued on our MileagePlus card. This card gets me a free checked bag if I want it (I won’t, but I might on the way home), priority boarding, and no foreign transaction fees (which can cost a huge amount before you realize). For 60,000 miles I’m flying with one stop (through Chicago) SEA to CDG, non stop from CDG to SFO (its right before Turkey Day, so I’ll just extend my week there), and then non stop SFO to SEA. My cost? $126 in fees.

We got an AirBnB apartment in the 15th arrondissement with a balcony and a view of the Eiffel Tower. It’s in a Haussmanian style building and has 2 bedrooms, a full bath, and a full kitchen and will cost us $98/nt, plus fees. She’s traveling for business, so her costs are covered for part of our stay, once we split the difference, my cost will be $111.

I’ll use my CapitalOne debit card to get cash once we are there, and won’t pay a fee for either the currency conversion or the use of the ATM, and I’ll use my Chase Sapphire card so that I not only don’t pay foreign transaction fees, but I get 2x points on all of my dollars spent. . . . which leads to points saved for future trips (like for my 50th birthday trip in 2017).

The most expensive part of traveling is the cost to get there, followed by lodging. Without the miles, my ticket would have been at least $1200, and if we’d stayed in a hotel, we would easily have paid $160/nt AND paid more for food because we’d be forced to eat every meal out. This way our first day will include a trip to the market for fresh produce, cheese, bread, and (of course) a bottle of wine. that will carry us through the week, with occasional augmentations from our local purveyors.

To be able to take a trip like this is the reason J. and I live otherwise simply. We drive old cars that we own, we splurge on our pets, and a little on eating out, but otherwise have quiet hobbies.

I’m damned excited about this trip.

iconic Paris


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