I’m Baaaaaaaaaaack!

Prague tower @ nightWhat a trip! Lots of sight seeing, lots of picture taking, lots of eating & drinking, and lots of un-PG stuff I can’t mention here ;) I miss it already!

But you know who else I miss?  You guys! (Awwwwww) While it was a nice break from reality, it’s always great to get back home and into the swing of things again. Even if that means hurrying to save back up again so I can get back out there! Haha…

I learned a lot out in Europe though – like no matter how much you budget, if you’re with all your friends you’ll always spend more ;)

Here are a few other things I picked up:

  • Prague beer is CHEAP!  $2 on average.
  • And you can walk off a hangover pretty easily – you just need 5 hours and a good pair of walking shoes :)
  • Also, if 10 people cram into an elevator made for only 8, and you’re pretty rowdy (and/or drunk), it WILL get stuck.  And people WILL point and laugh at you.
  • The bathrooms over there are called “Water Closets!”
  • Prague LOVES Bon Jovi. Especially at Harley’s – our fave bar.
  • Prague also loves graffiti.
  • Jewish museums/sites are closed on Saturdays.
  • And castles on Tuesdays (kinda random)
  • Vienna’s beer – and everything else there for that matter – was almost double that of Prague’s. Although the Euro falling a lot recently REALLY helped out.
  • It also reminded me way too much of D.C.  I think D.C. stole a lot of its architecture from Vienna – considering how old it is and all ;)
  • Vienna’s nightlife was nowhere close to Prague’s – but it was def. more sophisticated.
  • Also, Mozart was a genius at 5 y/o!

Make no mistake about it though, all this fun & learning came with a hefty price tag.  Here’s what it cost the Mrs. and I to take this 10 day trip – although I’ll admit a good portion of this could have been easily trimmed ;)

  • Flights + Hotels: $2,910.20 (5 nights in Prague, 4 nights in Vienna – both rated 3 or 4 stars)
  • ATM Withdrawals: $942.59 (We took out cash in each country via ATM to avoid crazy surcharges and to get a decent exchange rate. This worked GREAT for us (no extra fees at all that I can see), but not so great for a cple of our friends who got hit with $10 fees every withdrawal.)
  • Transportation: $224.23 (Bus from Prague –> Vienna, metro passes, airport xfers, long-term parking @ airport (no luck convincing anyone to drive us or pick us up)
  • Foreign Transaction Charges: $0.91 (from the 3 times we swiped our credit card – not bad!)
  • Cell Phone: $90.00 ($70 for prepaid data usage and $20 for prepaid text messages – would have been SCREWED w/out this)
  • Pet sitting costs: $350.00 (VERY fortunate a friend was willing to house & pet sit for us while gone! One of our two cats are sick and needs medicine given 3 times a day :(  Had we left him at the vets or 3rd party service, we would have got killed here – easily $700+)
  • TOTAL DAMAGE: $4,517.93

This trip goes right up there with our honeymoon :) Lots of money but DEFINITELY worth it!  How many times do you get a chance to hang out with 12 of your closest friends like that? We’re hoping to make this a yearly tradition going forward, but with everyone in baby-making mode who knows what’ll end up happening.  All I know is that it was a good thing we got a nice tax return this year! And I’m a hustla ;)

Back to the real world we go…

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  1. Kate Kashman June 1, 2010 at 8:37 AM

    I’m glad you went, and glad you had fun. Really, it sounds like you did OK in the finances department. That is a lot of memories for the money!

  2. finallygettingtoeven.com June 1, 2010 at 9:10 AM

    Welcome home! Sounds like a fabulous trip.

    Here’s what i learned in Europe a few years ago:

    Beds are not made for husband’s that are 6’3″, if you have to go to the ‘water-closet’ in the middle of the night his big feet hanging off the edge are going to ‘get you’ and you will have no less than a major artery sliced by those darn toenails you keep telling him to cut….

    No matter what way you think you are going on the trains, it’s always the wrong way you intended…

    When you lose one of the kids at the Eiffel Tower at 11:30pm in the pouring rain, don’t expect the policemen to help you, they can’t speak a word of English, so they pretend…

    Suitcases that started out with wheels, come home with none after the airlines get through with them. That is, if you get your suitcase. The airlines lost 11 out of 20 suitcases for 2 days. (we had a big family group).

    Which brings me to the last tip…leave the big family group AT HOME!

  3. Brandi June 1, 2010 at 9:14 AM

    Welcome back!! Sounds like you had a blast and you managed to be fairly saavy in the money saving department.

    I really wish someone had taken a picture of the elevator incident though… :)

  4. jolie June 1, 2010 at 9:18 AM

    Welcome Back! Isn’t Prague spectacular???

    Things I learned in Prague..
    1) You are so correct. Beer is cheap. and delicious. Cheaper than water or soda and…well….one does want to be economical :-)
    2) Ketchup packs cost at McDonalds
    3) The escalator down to their subway is insanely steep and soooo long. It was a bit unnerving on the way down.

    So glad you had fun!

  5. Young Mogul June 1, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    Sounds like so much fun! And the cost was reasonable for two people.

  6. Everyday Tips June 1, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    Sounds like a fantastic trip and pretty reasonably priced to me. I would love to go to Europe, but with 3 kids, not ready to spend that kind of money yet.

    Welcome back!

  7. Stephan June 1, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    i went to vienna last year, and it definitely has a more refined feel to it compared to prague or budapest. as such i felt it was way less rowdy but also more expensive. probably not the best city to visit as a college undergrad on a study abroad program.

  8. James June 1, 2010 at 7:05 PM

    wow sounds like you had lots of fun. i am intrigued why you would have been screwed with out your phone. were you working deals while you were there for hotel stays and travel or staying in touch with people back in the states?

  9. Jenna June 1, 2010 at 9:30 PM

    Glad you had a great time and got home safely. Would be interested in hearing what you thought about the recent events happening with the Euro from your recent first hand experiences.

  10. MyFinancialObjectives June 1, 2010 at 9:49 PM

    Holy crap that sounds like such an amazing trip! I’d say you REALLY went all out! Also that is so cool that you got so many of your friends to go with you. I would love to get that many friends to come with me to the beach, let alone Europe!

    Glad you are back and had a good time!

  11. J. Money June 2, 2010 at 12:09 AM

    Thx guys! I forgot another interesting tidbit about Europe too – You have to use your keycards to keep the electricity on in the hotel rooms!!! It took us forever to realize this when we first checked in ;) Makes great sense though – no wasting of energy while you’re out of the room!

    Some responses:

    @Kate Kashman – I’d like to think so :)
    @finallygettingtoeven.com – Hahahah…omg that is too funny and scary at the same time! really sucks you had to go through that, but def. makes for a great story ;) thx for sharing.
    @Brandi – I considered it actually, but in between Hyperventilation and praying we really DIDN’T crash, my hands never made it to the camera ;)
    @jolie – Haha YES! Soda and water was way more expensive than beer – freakin’ crazy.
    @Young Mogul – Yeah, at first I thought we spent Wayyyy to much, but then i forgot there was 2 of us :) It really makes a difference!
    @Everyday Tips – Hopefully one day soon you’ll be able to! Maybe one of your kids will grow up to be the next Lebron James or lottery winner ;)
    @Stephan – Hah! I bet the conversion rate was worse back then too…the last time I had to use a Euro it was at like 1.7 or something. It’s come down a lot.
    @James – Oh, I just meant had I been texting or calling w/out any of the pre-purchased plans I woulda paid an enormous amount. I did use it to check up on business stuff and blog stuff here and there, but I mostly used it to communicate within the group the entire trip. Not that it mattered towards the end though as I got the white screen of death on the iPhone :( been 5 days w/out it now and I’m hoping to get it fixed tomorrow!
    @MyFinancialObjectives – I know, right? We can barely meet up for happy hours sometimes so this was a HUGE surprise!

  12. donkee June 2, 2010 at 6:49 AM

    sounds like a wonderful trip! welcome home :)

    money well spent!

  13. Adam June 2, 2010 at 7:56 AM

    Dude, I’m pleased you had a good time!

    Never been to Prague but agree that Vienna is awesome -been twice…once staying in an amazing little place for only 12 euros a night!

    I especially liked the insight that Vienna reminded you of DC!

    Great to have you back here. :)

  14. FinEngr June 2, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    Awesome – glad you had a great trip. And thanks for the cost breakdown… help out future travelers

  15. Donna June 2, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    Glad to hear you had such an awesome time. The breakdown was interesting and helpful. I am looking forward to a upcoming trip to see my as yet unborn (daughter is currently in labor) grandson. I think I will keep a diary and breakdown the costs. Glad you are baaaaaak!

  16. J. Money June 2, 2010 at 8:55 PM

    Yeah, go for it! And congrats! Very exciting stuff :)

  17. Darwin's Money June 2, 2010 at 11:16 PM

    5K for about a week is nothing to be ashamed of. We spent about 10K for a 12 day vacation about 7 years ago. Granted, it was our last hurrah before kids and we stayed in 4/5 star hotels and hit 5 cities, but you only make trips like this so often and we had two incomes then.
    We blew a lot on high end eating and bought stupid crap like paintings that we found out weren’t real later (what sucker Americans!). Anyway, it was right up there with Hawaii and I’d do it again today if our family stepped up and offered to watch our 3 insane children for 2 weeks.

  18. FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com June 5, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    That’s pretty good for a budget. The ticket itself is what costs us the most money.

    We’re spending about $5000 for 6 weeks, but that’s because we have a family apartment to use there in Paris.

  19. J. Money June 6, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    @Darwin’s Money – I can’t wait to have insane kids myself ;) Totally get what you mean though – better to take advantage now while we have the opportunities!

    @FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com – Nice! When should I arrive? :)

  20. Money Reasons June 7, 2010 at 9:57 PM

    Sounds like a great life investment to me!

    I wish I went Darwin’s route and while my wife was working, gone on a european vacation then…

    Hmmm, I never thought about having the grandparents watch the kids in the summer while me and the wifey have a couples only vacation!!!

  21. Carmie of the Single Nester June 9, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    Ahhh . . . Vienna. One of my favorite cities. The last time I was in Prague, a bear was around 80cents. Yikes.

  22. Lulu August 13, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    Loved Praha and Wien!!! Glad you could go. I can’t wait to take the kids.

  23. J. Money August 14, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    Yeah! SOOOOOO fun – I want to go back ASAP :)

    @Carmie — Sorry for the 1-year delay here, but dang! 80 cents is hot! haha..
    @Money Reasons – Yes! You should totally do that!