Sunday, June 17, 2012

France & England on $98 a Day - The Bottom Line

Sign in Vernon, France
Did we make our budget? Almost. We exceeded it slightly, not because we neglected to plan but because we could not plan the weather. And it was wretched. Schlepping suitcases on subways is fine as long as nature cooperates, but it is simply too difficult to hold an umbrella and maneuver two suitcases at the same time. It's also quite difficult to picnic in the rain. Perching on a wet stone wall holding a sandwich in one hand and an umbrella in the other doesn't have any appeal. We would have come in right on budget if we had not had to take so many taxis or eat in so many restaurants, but we felt it was wiser to retain our sanity than adhere to a rigid budget.  

Still, I am pleased that David and I saw so much, visited so many places, ate so well, and had a wonderful time--despite the weather. We drove over 1,100 miles, saw much of the beautiful French countryside, spent chunks of time in some of the loveliest cities in Brittany and Normandy, and enjoyed a week in London seeing all the sites on our list.
A French butterfly

Our lodging costs for accommodations that were historic or charming, or both, averaged $54 per person per night. This is a bit above our average which is usually less than $50 per person, but London is an extraordinarily expensive city for Americans. (In May, it took $1.33 to equal a euro, but in London we spent $1.55 for each pound.) Our nightly lodging cost in France averaged just $46 per person, but London added considerably to that total. (To read the previous posts describing our accommodations, click on the words, "Older Posts" at the bottom of the blog entries on this page.)
This deliciousness cost only pennies.

We have relatives that are, as I write this, on their way home after spending eleven nights on a Grand Circle River Cruise that traced some of David's and my route. They began in Paris and followed the Seine River with stops at Giverny, Auvers sur Oise (This charming village was Van Gogh's last home.), Rouen (Home of Joan of Arc), and ended in Honfleur. They covered about one-fourth the territory David and I did in France and did not spend any time in London, yet they spent almost three times per day per person what we did! So, even though our daily budget was a bit higher than usual at $104* per person, they spent $276 per person! That pleases us immensely.
French pastry shops provide a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach!
I like knowing that our approach enabled David and me to see much of the northwest portion of France and most of London; allowed us to get to know our hosts in Dinan, St. Mer Eglise, and London; and afforded us twice as much time (twenty-two days instead of eleven) to leisurely travel at our own pace soaking in the flavors, sights, and scents of the countries we visited at one-third the price of a guided tour. Those are the reasons we prefer our travel style. Tightwad Travel is not only cheaper but better!

*Our $104 daily figure includes all food, transportation (excluding airfare), admission, and lodging costs.

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