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About that OCD...

I've been on countless group tours, and 99% of them have been wonderful. A giant shout-out to my friends at US Integrity Touring for the excellent work they do with performing groups of all types. If you're considering a performance tour to Europe you should definitely give them a call!

When you're on a group tour, every little detail is planned for you. Some folks love that, some folks tolerate it, and it drives some of us crazy. My first 10 or 12 trips to Europe were with choirs, either as one of the directors or as a performer. I gathered a great appreciation for the attention to detail required to move so many people around efficiently and cost-effectively. Especially since most of them were teenagers. Wheeeeeeeeee!

David and I travel mostly solo now, or with just a few close friends. We have two European trips planned for 2016 - Italy and Spain in June, and Germany and France for the Christmas Markets. For the June trip I just completed my Excel spreadsheet:

As you can see, I am in full Type A mode. I've listed each a day's activity by date and time, confirmation numbers (blacked out), what documents we'll need, how much it costs, whether it's pre-paid or not, and the retail value. I keep track of the retail value of our trips because it makes me happy to know how much value we are getting for our points and miles.

This particular trip has a retail value of $28,955.87. A LARGE part of this total is Business class airfare - it comes in around $24,000 retail. Business Class is important to us because we can sleep on the way over and hit the ground running. Once you learn how to accumulate the necessary miles, you won't fly any other way - trust me!

I've included lodging, all breakfasts, ground transportation including taxis and buses, activities including tours of the major sites, and of course airfare in the total. Our out of pocket (OOP) costs for this trip are


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