Europe Trip Omg

Anna and I are going to Europe! For 2.5 weeks! In November!…

Yes, we’re really, really jumping the gun and planning way too far in advance. But what the heck there is not much else to do during downtime at work. At this point we’re planning on visiting these places:

  • London
  • Paris
  • Cinque Terre
  • Rome
  • Venice
  • Munich
  • Berlin
  • Amsterdam

We’ve already bought some pretty cheap airplane tickets. We’re planning on taking trains from place to place, and using as many sleeping cars as possible to save time and money.

Doing this in 2.5 weeks is a little ridiculous, so we are considering dropping Rome, Venice, Amsterdam, or some combination thereof. We’ve never been to Rome but there are definitely enough churches to see along the way, I’ve been to Venice but hear that it’s murky and ugly in November, and I’ve also been to Amsterdam and while it’s beautiful, I’m not really sure what there is to do for 2 days unless you plan on taking mushrooms.

I’ve been nerding out in planning this thing. We’re using Google Wave to collaborate on all the aspects of the trip – airfare, trainfare, lodging, things to see, dates and locations, etc. etc. The events we’re proposing so far are on a Google Calendar, which I am sending through Yahoo! Pipes, entering into Google Maps, and back into an iframe in Google Wave so we can see a map of places we plan to go to. I’ve already put a Google Spreadsheet together of possible times, durations and fares for train travel from place to place.

The only real downside to planning so far in advance is that we have so long to wait and obsess over it. I’m hoping that when the time comes we aren’t too jaded or disappointed, but it’s not a genuine concern. In the meantime we can learn more about the places, cultures, and languages, so when we’re there we don’t just hang around the biggest tourist attractions we can find.

This also means that there’s time for you out there in blogland to give us suggestions on what to see and what to skip. C’MON, DO IT.

Vacation worth it?

Big problems in vacationtown. First, a little background…

Last year, I canceled a flight to Israel. I had assumed that I was given credit through British Airways to redirect the flight wherever I felt like within a year, but it turns out that there was a misunderstanding.

Today it was confirmed by both British Airways, and my booking agency Vayama, that the flight is only good for SFO to London to Tel Aviv. Oh goody.

I no longer have much to do in Israel. Visiting Shiranne would always be nice, but it’s not worth taking a week out of my work schedule to do. I had originally planned on using the credit to book a flight to Paris, where I’d hang out with Hannah for a week in February while she’s off from the Sorbonne.

But if I were to do that, turns out it would be an extra $500 plus another ten hours on a plane, as I would have to go from SFO to London to Tel Aviv to Paris (and back), at best. I’m not so sure this is worth doing anymore.

This is a week of unpaid vacation. By not working, I would have been losing less money than I had already spent on this ticket, but with this extra cost and burden of going through yet another airline and expecting flights to go as planned, I no longer think this is a good idea. But I feel pretty bad about already having spent over a thousand dollars on travel and having it go to waste.

And if I were to decide to go to Israel, it probably would be en route to somewhere else. So why not Paris now? And since I was thinking of spending extra time in Paris because Shiranne would possibly visit, why not spend that extra time visiting her in Israel instead, since I kind of have to go there?

So in summary:

If I go:
$1000+ credit used
$500 extra spent on ten extra hours (not counting airline transfer time) for a round trip flight from Tel Aviv to Paris
At least an unpaid week
Hundreds spent on hostels and other accomodations
Fun in Paris and perhaps elsewhere

If I don’t go:
$1000+ credit lost (or used some other time in the next half year to still go to Israel)
No work schedule interruption
No visiting Hannah, etc.

Hey LiveJournal! What do you think I should do!!!