WP_20140803_032Hello budget pal enthusiasts! How have you been? I hope you’ve been kind to your money while I’m away. ;) After a week of adjusting from my jet lag, a messed up body clock due to different time zones, and pile after pile of papers at work, I am baaaaaaack!! 

First off, let me tell you that this vacation was THE BEST TRIP EVER!! Oh heck. I want to go back!

Why was it the best trip ever? Let me explain.

Europe has always been a dream trip for me. You know, whenever I see the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, and the London Eye in movies, it makes me…want to go there…and experience the whole thing. And fortunately, I DID! I can cross that off my bucket list. :) 

Now, this whole trip thing DID NOT happen just like that. It took ALMOST A YEAR of planning.Whaaaaaaat??? Yes. Almost a year. I refuse to plan a trip on a whim and pay astronomical costs. With planning WAAAAAY ahead of time, you can save astronomical savings on your trip. And that’s what happened.

I was able to convince Hans to go with me… and the planning began. Where do we want to go? For how many days? How much will that cost us? These were some of the top questions that popped up during our concensus. Of course, I was the main proponent of Paris Paris Paris (with my eyes glowingly-wide-opened). So, France was the first on the list. Then, he expressed his desire to visit his family in Germany. Germany it is. Two countries down. Then, I said, I want to see the Buckingham Palace and visit my Aunt Elizabeth and probably say hi to Prince Harry! He said, he wanted to see the British Museum (yawn). It was settled. United Kingdom became the third entry. I borrowed a map from the library for FREE and we started planning our route. We found out that there was a little country in between Germany and France called The Netherlands. What is The Netherlands famous for? Amsterdam! Where pot and prostitution are legal. These were not our motivators, but sure, we included The Netherlands on the list. Why not?It’s on our way anyway, right? Might as well check it out.

After the itinerary was finalized, we planned as to how many days we’re going to spend on each country. We wanted to start our journey from Germany and go all the way up to the UK. I only have two weeks of vacation to begin with, so, the vacation should be only for 16 days max. We did our calculations and we came up with three days in Germany, two days in The Netherlands, five days in France, and four days in the UK. The extra two days were allocated for flying since Hawaii is half way around the world to Europe.

So everything was falling into place. We made sure that we were both DEBT FREE and that we had enough cash and enough miles to cover our trip. I would say that 50% of our entire trip was paid for by cash and 50% were paid for by miles. Imagine if it were all cash? I am not budget buddy for no reason. I refuse to touch my savings or go into debt for a vacation. I REFUSE. So, how did we save up? Uhmmmm, easy. By NOT buying crap. How did we earn miles? By using credit cards on our purchases and paying them all off at the end of each month. We even opened credit cards with very nice sign up bonuses to boost our mileage. I know. I don’t usually endorse credit cards BUT if you pay your balance every month and you are very disciplined in your spending, why not enjoy the rewards points and travel, right?  I will write a blog about credit card rewards later on.

And seven months ago, WE BOOKED…EVERYTHING!!! 

I will talk about the adventures, the fun, the disappointments, the ooohhhs and the ahhhhhsss on the last part of this blog so as not to bore you. Stay tuned. ;)