Porto...yeah, it doesn't suck
Lately life has been...interesting. The challenges we've encountered are normal in the course of life's seasons, and every human experiences them at one time or another, however not usually within a two-week time span. We're battered and bruised, but still standing, and last night we slept in our own home with a brand-new compressor unit blowing lovely cool air throughout the house. It was the first time since school was out on June 1 that I slept more than 4-5 hours, and I feel much more able to face the world today! (If you're not my personal FB friend, the short version: my father passed away on May 28, then our AC blew up at the house, then we were hit with major hail damage and lost our roof, gutters, porch furniture, etc. You get the picture...)
Since I'm in a terrible time crunch, this post will be quick and not as thorough as I would like. Here's the bones of our Portugal, Spain, and France trip that begins on Sunday:
702,905 points/miles spent
5 free hotel nights - 2 Hyatt credit card nights, 2 Citi Hilton credit card nights, 1 IHG credit card night
$3047 cash spent - inclusive of flights, hotels, most breakfasts, ground transport including Uber and taxis, and many activities
Retail value: $38,229
Many folks will argue with me over the retail valuation, and that's ok. I understand that if you were paying CASH for this trip you might not fork over the money to fly Business Class or stay in high-end hotels. I probably wouldn't either. But we're not paying cash, and we ARE flying Business Class and staying in nicer hotels, so I simply went to each travel provider's site, plugged in my dates, and pulled the prices from there to determine the retail value of each event I paid for with points/miles. I don't know how else to do this other than to get into a vague discussion of what points/miles are worth...and everyone has a different opinion about THAT.
So feel free to take my retail value with a grain of salt. It's still a pretty amazing 32 day trip for a little over 3K. I'm proud of it, and it was a ton of work to put together. Lots of fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but almost a second job earning all those points and miles and then figuring out the best way to use them, for US. Dave and I got into this hobby because we wanted to travel in comfort. We've figured out our travel style, and I build these trips within those parameters. It isn't always the most efficient use of the points/miles, but it works and we inevitably have a great time. Some of my hacker friends might be horrified at my choices, but they'll get over it soon enough. Hopefully they won't kick me out of the clubhouse.
Here's my spreadsheet for those of you who are gluttons for punishment:
Click on the pic for a closer look. I use Rome to Rio to look at transportation options between points, and for all things train travel in Europe you can't beat The Man in Seat Sixty-One. This kind of detailed planning is what keeps me awake at night...but keeps us on track and allows us to use our time AND our points/miles most efficiently. It took me almost a year to plan this journey.
I'll be posting lots of pics in the Facebook group as we wander around drinking port and eating seafood. Feel free to join us over there: Travel Talk by Two Travelin' Teachers.