Because we spent quite an extended time in Missouri between Leg 7 (our south/southwest leg featuring New Orleans, Palm Springs, and Sedona) and departing for Italy in late August (4 full months!) I was able to give us a pretty significant weekly budget for this leg. We also used the flight credit we received when we cancelled our fall 2020 Europe trip due to COVID to pay for our primary airfare, which helped the budget too.
Thus, even being in a relatively expensive European country, for the first time ever came in under budget every single week of this leg. And we still had a terrific time!
We also had to fit two business trips in on this leg, which impacts our personal budget because I don’t count those expenses (other than food and going out) against us (even though the money comes from the same source – us). So that helped reduce this leg’s expenses too.
Anyway, on to the nitty-gritty details. Here’s my report on our Leg 8 numbers:
Where We Were
Countries visited: 3 – Italy, UK, and Turkey. None were new to us.
Cities visited (overnight): 13
Additional cities visited (day trips): 4
Number of hotels: 8
Number of hotel nights: 17 (including hotels in London, Isparta, Antalya, Ergidir, and Washington DC that were off-budget business expenses)
Number of apartments: 7
Number of Airbnb nights: 74 (including nights in Bath and Maidenhead England that were off-budget business expenses; not including the 10 nights we paid for and didn’t use in Rome)
Total beds slept in: 16 (we stayed in our Antalya hotel twice)
Total lodging budget: $4,500
Total lodging actual: $4,543; a little over budget due to lodging taxes paid in cash
How We Got Around and What We Did
Total transit budget: $2,400, plus our $2,066 United credit that worked out to be exactly the cost of our roundtrip Italy flight
We bought the ticket to fly into Milan and out of Rome, but with adding our Turkey trip to the end of this leg, we changed our return flight to depart from Antalya at a surprisingly small additional charge (around $450 but it was an off-budget business expense). I love the new normal of no change fees on major airlines!
Total transit actual: $1,911, not including flights and getting around for our UK and Turkey trips
Total food/entertainment budget: $6,100 ($436/week)
Total food/entertainment actual: $4,741 ($338/week; yes, we were $100/week under budget in this category)
Total budget: $13,000 for 14 weeks ($928/week average) (pretty high for us)
Total actual: $11,194 for 14 weeks ($800/week average, which pretty close to our typical on-the-road weekly average of $775)
Number of weeks over budget: 0
Number of weeks under budget: 14
Least expensive week: Week 7, September 27-October 3, $458. This was the week of our UK trip and so all the week’s lodging except our last night in Padova was off-budget .
Most expensive week: Week 9, October 11-17, $1439. This was our week in Matera, where we splurged a bit on lodging in order to be close to the Sassi.
The Best Parts
Best experiences (chronologically):
- Milan Duomo
- Day trip to Lake Como
- Balsamic vinegar tasting in Modena
- Overnight in Venice
- University of Padova: Palazzo Bo and Botanical Garden
- Padova frescoes, especially Scrovegni Chapel
- Pompeii/Herculaneum/National Archeology Museum
- Matera Sassi and rock churches
- Ancient Rome spree
- Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica
Our trip to Turkey was also pretty incredible, but since it falls under the heading of business, I’ve decided not to blog about it. But we still love Turkey!
El Brellin aperitivi (Milan), Peace ‘n Spice (Padova), seafood from La Folperia (Padova), canalside seafood lunch with gondoliers (Venice), seafood stew at Moonlight (Sant’Agnello), Soul Kitchen (Matera), Vitto Pitagorico (Naples), fresh pasta meals at home, antipasti picnics, and aperitivi at Caffè 104 (Rome)
Best meals from our business trips: Indian takeout (Bath, UK), vegetarian pub food (Harmondsworth, UK), Charlie’s Pension (Egirdir, Turkey), Aynalı (Antalya, Turkey)