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Under Budget in Paris

Visiting Paris on a budget

As a part of our European adventure this past summer, we spent four days visiting Paris. I’ll admit that I was prepared to be underwhelmed. Paris is one of those cities often placed on a pedestal, but I’ve also heard crowded, rude, dirty, and expensive used to describe the City of Light. Happily, Paris exceeded my expectation and we even ended up under budget. If you missed any of the other posts from our trip, here are links to catch up. Dublin Edinburgh and St. Andrews London Getting to and Around Paris We arrived at Gare du Nord station after taking the Eurostar from London. Although our hotel was a bit off the beaten path in the 17th district, the metro made transportation easy. Since it didn’t seem worth it to get a metro pass, we instead bought a carnet or book of 10 subway tickets for 14,10€, which Jim and I split. Kids over age four pay full fares on the metro, but you can purchase a kid’s carnet for half price, making our transportation total just over 21€. Hyatt Regency Paris We chose the Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile mainly because it was the only Hyatt in Paris that ...

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I Took a Temp Job in Alaska!

temporary jobs in Alaska

Many people who read this blog are continually looking for new ways to side hustle or supplement income. We all know that multiple income streams are what save you during the lean times and allow you to build wealth when all cylinders are firing. Even though I am not actively looking for more work or a job change at the moment, opportunities seem to be searching for, and I recently found one that I couldn’t refuse. I’ve accepted a temp job in Alaska! A Professional Regret When I was doing my residency on the Navajo reservation back in 2000, I had an opportunity to be a travel doc in Alaska. The pay was exceptional. Case work would have been rewarding, and I could have seen lots of places most of us in the lower 48 never get to see. Ultimately, I chickened out because flying on a bush plane to the Arctic Circle was a bit much at the time. However, I’ve always wondered what that experience would have been like and vowed that I would accept if the opportunity every presented itself again. As a private practice owner, there was never a time when I could have taken time ...

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Highlights from London

raising tower bridge

In continuing our tour of Europe, today we’ll be visiting London, one of the most expensive cities on the planet. Even if you don’t normally try to collect points and miles, I would consider them if a trip to England is on your bucket list. The exchange rate is not on the side of the US dollar! Here are some highlights from London. Getting Around London After taking the train from Edinburgh, we arrived at St. Pancras, which is right beside King’s Cross station where you catch the underground or “tube” as the locals call it. The tube is one of the few cheap things in London. If you’ll be using the underground more than once, the easiest way to pay is with an Oyster card that you scan before and after each ride. We ordered cards ahead of our trip, but they would have been easy to buy at the station. I put £15 on cards for Jim and myself, which covered us for four days in London. Kids under 11 ride free, making the tube tons cheaper than taking a taxi. Plaza on the River Up to this point, our hotels had been functional but very cramped and without ...

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Book Amtrak With Points Before It’s Too Late!

redeem points for train trips

  Even though we just took a vacation, that doesn’t mean it’s too soon to begin planning the next trip. We have a couple of things already booked later in the year, including an all inclusive stay in Mexico, but when I heard that the Amtrak reward chart was about to be upended, I decided to book a train trip with points before it’s too late. Why Take the Train? For years, Jim has wanted to travel across the US on a train. I have not been as enthusiastic. While Amtrak travel is relatively cheap, and I thoroughly enjoyed our rail trip from Seattle to Portland a few years ago, spending 30+ hours on a train is a different story. I agreed but only if we could book a sleeper car. This was before we knew about points and miles, and I soon discovered that sleeper cars are not cheap. Our plans went on hold. After getting really into credit card churning and learning about all the various ways to use travel loyalty programs for trips, I discovered a way to make the train dream happen. You see, the Amtrak reward chart currently divides the US into three zones. That ...

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Edinburgh, St. Andrews, and the British Open

Edinburgh castle

Last Friday, I wrote about getting to Europe and visiting Dublin. Today, we’ll be visiting Edinburgh, St. Andrews, and the British Open; especially special this year because it was held at the the birthplace of golf, of which I was reminded multiple times by my golf loving husband. Getting to the Royal Mile After a quick 24 hours in Ireland, we hopped on a plane to Scotland. I wasn’t excited about flying again so soon, but it was the quickest and most cost effective way to get over the Irish Sea. Buying three tickets well in advance was only $184. The flight was uneventful and we were at the Edinburgh airport before noon. The airport is about 30 minutes from the city, but there is excellent bus service. The Airlink 100 stop is right outside of domestic arrivals and offers express service to Waverely Bridge, which is the train station for Edinburgh. At £4.50 per adult and £2.00 per child, the cost is much cheaper than taking a taxi. From Waverely, the Royal Mile is a short, although uphill, walk of about 10 minutes. We booked the Holiday Inn Express Royal Mile for two nights, spending 70,000 IHG points. For having the ...

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