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Seattle & Las Vegas

524406_10151544240740248_311230672_nTomorrow after work I’ll be driving down to Seattle to meet up with my family for our annual Blue Jays trip. I’m really excited to watch my first Mariners game of the year, dust off my Hentgen jersey, and eat a vegetarian chili hot dog. :) I had originally budgeted $200 for this weekend trip, but as it turns out I forgot that in exchange for buying the baseball tickets ($107 each), my parents had offered to pay for our hotel rooms. So, since the baseball tickets were bought months ago, the only expense I need to worry about is gas and food – probably about $100 in total.

In other travel news, I’ve booked a trip to Vegas for October. Actually I booked it last month, but don’t think I told you about it. I know, I always say I’m never going to go back again. And every year I book another trip. :) However, this time I’m meeting up with my one of my oldest blogger friends, Amber, and two of her best friends. The flight down cost me $390, and we are splurging on the suite at the Cosmopolitan for 2 nights at a cost of $385 each after exchange rate. Yes, this will be an expensive trip as far as Vegas goes. But since two trips this year have been cancelled (RV trip up north, and Mexico in November), I had a little wiggle room in my travel budget. :)

The countdown to Cuba

About this time last year, my sister and I were discussing where we could go on our next “sisters adventure” trip. Previous trips included a cruise to Alaska, New Orleans, northern Italy, and countless day trips up island. This time we wanted something a bit different, and my sister was really into the idea of going to Cuba for her birthday. We weren’t able to get our acts together to go last year, but with my sister’s birthday coming up, we went ahead and booked a one-week trip to Cuba! :)

The trip isn’t until mid-May, but I’m already excited. We both agreed on having a city vacation instead of staying in a resort, so we booked a hotel right in the middle of Old Havana. From there, we will be able to walk to many of the main attractions in the city, and if we want to hit the beach we can just take a taxi or bus.

As for the financials, I am covering half of my sister’s airfare/hotel as part of her birthday present. So the total cost to me will be around $2,050 – which does not include meals.

Our hotel stay covers breakfast, but we are on our own for lunch, dinner, and any drinks or snacks. Which is fine, because I’m interested in trying out new restaurants and local food. Although I did a bit of Googling and am a bit concerned about finding healthy vegetarian options, but am sure I can make it work. :)

So if you’ve been to Cuba before, I’d love to hear about your favourite restaurants, attractions, and beaches! Is it worth renting a car? Anything to avoid? Is there anywhere outside of Havana we should definitely see?

Hawaii, I’m coming for you!

58176_440295435247_507680247_5842370_5352369_nIn 18 days, I’ll be headed to Kauai – the smallest of the four major Hawaiian islands. :)

We are in desperate need of a vacation. BF especially. He has been under a lot of stress lately, and neither of us has had a holiday for longer than 4 or 5 days in almost a year. So for the past week, we’ve been throwing around ideas about where we should go on vacation this year. We were thinking of everywhere from Paris to Lisbon to Jamaica. We almost booked a trip to Mexico, but ended up deciding on Kauai since neither of us have been there before.

A few years ago I was in Maui for a good friend’s wedding and had a great time. But I remember being shocked at how expensive everything was, so for this trip I’m going to be more prepared. I spent $1,100 in 2010 for the 5-day trip, and this trip won’t be significantly more expensive – despite staying longer, and at a much fancier hotel.

Here’s an approximate breakdown of the expenses:

Flight: $0

The direct flights actually cost $586 per person, but we are using our credit card rewards points, so both of our flights are free. :)

Hotel: $800 (7 nights)

One of BF’s good friends works for a global hotel chain. She was nice and let us use her friends & family discount to book a place to stay. So what would have been a $500/night resort ended up costing us $237/night after resort taxes/fees – which is still expensive! But since we got our flights for free, we decided to splurge. This hotel will definitely be the fanciest place I’ve ever stayed at before.

Car: $65

The rental cost us $130 for 7 nights, and was a nobrainer for us. There’s free parking at the resort, and a taxi would have cost $100 roundtrip from the airport or the shuttle would have been $42 roundtrip. We already have a growing list of places we want to visit, and I’m really looking forward to exploring and seeing what the island has to offer.

Food/Alcohol: $400

This is budgeting approximately $60 per person, per day. I anticipate making breakfast in our room, and packing simple beach picnics for lunch. Dinners we’ll likely go out for, but they don’t have to be fancy.

Miscellaneous: $300

We’d like to do a half day snorkeling trip on a catamaran ($140-180), so I’m budgeting in that amount plus any other miscellaneous expenses that might come up.

TOTAL: $1,565

With the discounts and points we were able to use, we saved approximately 50% on this trip – $950 per person on the hotel, and $586 per person on flights – saving us each a grand total of $1,536. Of course, we could have stayed at a much cheaper hotel. But our budget was $1,500 each for this holiday, and we were right on target. :)

So for those who have been to Kauai before, does anyone have any tips on what to see and where to eat?

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