Topic Wiki

Still in progress... 3.5 weeks done, 2.5 to go!

As per a great suggestion from Joe, here are the links to each city's TR:
Israel: Part 1
Israel: Part 2 (very short)
Israel: Part 3 - Eilat
Israel: Part 4 - Ein Gedi/Dead Sea
Madrid
(Pics from Israel and Madrid)
Barcelona
Seville
Gibraltar
Rome
Florence
Pisa
Venice
Switzerland

Trip planning thread: http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=37776.0
There you can find all the info about how I booked what. May take some searching in there.
« Last edited by @Yehuda on October 29, 2015, 05:06:09 PM »

Author Topic: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report  (Read 37942 times)

Offline @Yehuda

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@Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« on: June 08, 2014, 06:17:55 PM »
9 months ago, as my engagement was possibly coming up on the horizon (although not even my/her parents knew I had bought a ring or was planning to propose until they got a call after the fact ;) ), my sister suggested I look into miles and maybe plan a nice trip somewhere. I never thought it would be like this.

Something like 35 credit cards (between myself and my wife) later, and in 2 days from now, we take off on what will iy"h be a most incredible journey. 6 1/2 weeks in Israel and Europe, 12 flights (21 legs) almost exclusively in business, and other than Israel, every night at a completely free hotel.

So many things had to fall in place for this to happen. Thank G-d they did. It also obviously would not have been even remotely possible without Dan - giving me this forum (pun intended) to learn how to do this and even joining the conversation himself sometimes - as well as all the other guys here that have offered their advice and experience to help plan this trip. I'd start to list, but wouldn't want to laeve anyone out. You guys are all incredible.

Well, this is where I plan to post the trip report. But, I don't plan to just save it all up for the end. I hope to post here every few days (watch, I'm going to be on here every night) an update from the last few days. Only 1/4 of this is to show off ;-p. 1/4 is to keep a record for our sake. 1/4 is to help others plan their trips based on my information. And 1/4 is to show the n00bs that it really can be done. (Just don't start new threads every time you have a question. Search, read on your own [I sat here and just read for 2 weeks over Succos last year], and then ask in the appropriate places.)

You can read my trip planning thread here, but I'll just give the highlights summary here... I booked probably one of the last-ever OneWorld Explorer awards (a round-the-world ticket on OW partners). It ticketed on 4/7/14 and the program was shut down (unannounced I should add) the next day, 4/8/14. For just 90K AA pp I booked almost all those flights, in J. Our 1 luxury stay is in the PHP for 5 nights. The pros know it as the place to stay in Paris; and for the noobs, it's a $1000/night Park Hyatt in Paris. My wife's Zaidy graciously gave us a very nice wedding present to come visit him this summer. Little did he know at the time that his money was going to get us 6.5 weeks travelling through Israel and Europe.

The total cost of travel and lodging is approximately $1500 a person. That's not for showing off, that's just for realizing how incredible miles are. Most people pay almost $1500 to sit in coach and go just to Israel.
I found out quickly that the cost of taxis/subways/buses, food, and attractions is nothing to sneeze at, but at $1500 for travel/lodging, I decided to do the cities right. Many TRs give a quick list of what was done, but I hope to include my opinion on the different cities/activities, as well as their costs, so you can get an accurate picture of how to plan your trip.

So long for now and thank you all once again -
@Yehuda

Offline MC

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2014, 06:23:25 PM »
Looking forward to the TR!

Offline Joe4007

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2014, 06:52:38 PM »
Looking forward to the TR!
+1!

Safe travels, and enjoy every second!

Offline sam28

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2014, 06:55:03 PM »
Enjoy . Make sure to add allot of pictures to the tr .

Online TimT

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2014, 06:57:09 PM »
Enjoy . Make sure to add allot of pictures to the tr .
+1
« Last Edit: June 08, 2014, 07:04:30 PM by TimT »

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2014, 07:03:40 PM »
Looking forward to the TR!
:)
+1!

Safe travels, and enjoy every second!
Amen! Thanks!
Enjoy . Make sure to add allot of pictures to the tr .
+1
Plan on it. Wish it was easier to post pics here. Will see how much patience I have for uploading pics to the web first so that they can be embedded in the stream. May just leave most pics as attachments.

Online TimT

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2014, 07:05:39 PM »
How easy /difficult was it arranging the flights & hotels ? (Did you have to deal with reps that don't know if it's day or night)

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2014, 07:13:49 PM »
How easy /difficult was it arranging the flights & hotels ? (Did you have to deal with reps that don't know if it's day or night)
Hotels were relatively easy. I basically searched all SPG, IHG, Marriott etc hotels in the cities I'm going to and then picked the ones that needed the least amount of points, so I could maximize the amount of nights I would get. Booking them wasn't difficult at all. Didn't really deal with reps too much, and those I had to deal with knew what they were doing.

Flights was crazy. I collected all my miles for like 5 months and thought that was the hard part, but finding routing that worked to Israel and then trying to figure out how to fly around Europe and then once I decided on OWE, trying to piece it all together with their rules, was all really hard. AA reps who helped with the OWE were mostly clueless except for a few including the one who I assumed was clueless when she said "Oh, I don't think we do OWE anymore" 3 days before the program actually ended. Flying to Israel via UA miles, IIRC it wasn't too difficult dealing with the reps, but again, finding Saver avail to Israel is never easy.

Online TimT

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2014, 07:18:33 PM »
Hotels were relatively easy. I basically searched all SPG, IHG, Marriott etc hotels in the cities I'm going to and then picked the ones that needed the least amount of points, so I could maximize the amount of nights I would get. Booking them wasn't difficult at all. Didn't really deal with reps too much, and those I had to deal with knew what they were doing.

Flights was crazy. I collected all my miles for like 5 months and thought that was the hard part, but finding routing that worked to Israel and then trying to figure out how to fly around Europe and then once I decided on OWE, trying to piece it all together with their rules, was all really hard. AA reps who helped with the OWE were mostly clueless except for a few including the one who I assumed was clueless when she said "Oh, I don't think we do OWE anymore" 3 days before the program actually ended. Flying to Israel via UA miles, IIRC it wasn't too difficult dealing with the reps, but again, finding Saver avail to Israel is never easy.
Wow! Hope you didn't pull to much hair out dealing with them. Hotels are category 1 ?

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2014, 07:50:29 PM »
Wow! Hope you didn't pull to much hair out dealing with them. Hotels are category 1 ?
Hah, there were many stressful times. No, not that low lol. Probably mostly 3-4.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2014, 08:50:32 PM »
Let the fun begin. Looking forward to this TR, and not just because I'm going a week after you.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2014, 08:55:08 PM by Yehoshua »

Offline sky121

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2014, 08:54:18 PM »
I feel like we're all about to go on this honeymoon! :)
I can't believe it's finally here. And while we def want to hear all about it... don't forget to forget about DDF for a while and enjoy your awesome trip!
N'siya Tova!
"Not all who wander are lost"

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2014, 09:02:25 PM »
Let the fun begin. Looking forward to this TR, and not just because I'm going a week after you. ;-)
Hopefully you'll BE in some of it!
I feel like we're all about to go on this honeymoon! :)
I can't believe it's finally here. And while we def want to hear all about it... don't forget to forget about DDF for a while and enjoy your awesome trip!
N'siya Tova!
Thanks for the kind words! Amen!
Haha I hope not to be on here too much. My wife deserves some attention after all this ;)

Offline ayman

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2014, 12:32:41 AM »
Wow that was fast! I remember when you first started your planning thread. Wasn't too long ago!!
Hope you have a great and safe time!
Can't wait to read some of your stories, you have a real flair for the forum format. :)

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2014, 12:35:04 AM »
Wow that was fast! I remember when you first started your planning thread. Wasn't too long ago!!
Hope you have a great and safe time!
Can't wait to read some of your stories, you have a real flair for the forum format. :)
Yeah, time flew by. Thanks, Amen!
Appreciate it. I try, I try. ;)