Budget Travel in your 4o's and Beyond, and it's COMFORTABLE!!!

Wake Me Up, When I’m Famous: let’s be honest, we all like a little luxury now and then, some of us like it a lot more than that. I mean I don’t know when it will happen again but I’d love to take another first class international flight. The goal is Emirates.

Granted, even travel in business is lovely with the flat beds, champagne, and even the comfy jammies, but sometimes we are talking a pricing difference of thousands AND THOUSANDS of Dollars. I mean how can one justify a $12000 ticket versus an $1200 one…but then the champagne:

Qatar Airways Boeimg 777-300ER Business Class Product

Qatar Airways Boeimg 777-300ER Business Class Product

I wondered if I could do it. But I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I mean, a week-long European holiday, WITHOUT having to check a bag and for $850 or less. And that MUST INCLUDE plane ticket. Piece of cake…sigh.

To be honest even IF it could be done, I DIDN’T want to do it. I mean how could I get a week’s worth of clothes in a backpack? What about shoes?

But I did it. And now at the airport with my backpack on as well as three sweaters and two pairs of pants, well because …weight restrictions. #thestruggle

Two destinations were set for the week-long European Adventure. First up Amsterdam for 4 nights/4.5 days. We chose a budget airline as we just needed to get there as inexpensive but as SAFE as possible. We chose Norwegian. (pro tip: when using a NON US Carrier always use the airlines website in THEIR language and LOCAL CURRENCY. Use a Chrome or Safari if you need translation. This can save you anywhere from 25-50$ a ticket). During this time of year the JFK to AMS ticket was super cheap. I scored a one way “crazy ‘$99 Dollars to Europe for Winter” so yeah it was about $115. The flight is a little over 7 hours from NYC to AMS. You leave at midnight, arrive aroun 7am (ET) but it’s actually 1PM Local time, by the time you arrive at hotel it’s check in time, you can refresh and hit the streets. The money we saved on traveling, we made up with food and fun:

The Housing Situation: we stayed in a charming Dutch AirBnB for four nights at the cost of $145 a night / (72.50 pp), and it could realistically sleep FOUR. It was an entire apartment for half the cost of a hotel. Perfection!

Next up, London. We flew again. This time it was an hour long flight on British Airways, for the low, LOW cost of $30!!!! #WINNING! Stayed at an Airbnb that was $130.50 per night (65.25pp) for a decent size studio in a lovely area for three nights, and saw some friends and theater. Plus a little champagne of course:

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Then there was the situation of returning home. It was right before Christmas and NYC so we braced for the worst…which was about $170 via good old Norwegian once more for the win. As well as the Victoria Station bookstore where I picked up my book to read on the plane ride back, however I was so excited I decided to start the night before with a little night cap:

The perfect ending to a perfect trip….

The perfect ending to a perfect trip….

Summation for flights and accommodations :

Airline ticket JFK to AMS: $120. Carry-on ONLY. No more than 10 KG! (I wore a lot of sweaters that trip)

Accommodations in AMS: Airbnb $580/290 pp

AMS to LGW: Flight on BA $30.00

Accommodations in London: Airbnb $391.50/195.75 pp

Airline ticket LGW to JFK: $170. However this time I was allowed 12kg.

Total: $805.75 pp for a WEEK IN EUROPE!!!! It can be done.

BONUS: Nothing needed but a passport if you are an US citizen!!!!







Japan Airlines Economy Class kicks A$$

Flying Japan Airlines has always been on my radar as many rave about the service, the food and the space.

Welp...I had the opportunity to try it out from Bangkok to Tokyo.

And well it was better than most US Carriers version of economy.

In Japan they haven’t jumped on the “basic”, “reg economy” “premium economy” band wagon and it shows in a VERY good way.

The flight time is about 5 hours, and I chose an evening flight in hopes that I could sleep. I sat in 25D an aisle seat. And honestly I’ve sat in Domestic First class US seats with LESS space. I had plenty of room to stretch my legs. Then entertainment system while dated with their tv shows, the movies were current. I was kept quite entertained. AND they serve all booze, all free.

Now the cons and there are many...the way they turned on and off the plane lights was VERY annoying especially on an overnight flight. There was no warning. No gentle...”hey sleeping passenger the lights are coming up” just a BAM ...we have lights. Also they did not collect trash often so my area was littered with empty glasses, but not two many as they only ran the beverage cart through twice.

The plane decor seemed dated. I noticed the business class seats with dark woods just seemed “old” like the plastic on the couch at grandma’s type of old.

And the food was ok. They gave a chocolate croissant and some Japanese snack mix at the start of trip along with a small bottled water.

For dinner was a soupy rice with beef mix, salad, some sort of pudding (that I avoided like the plague) and fresh fruit. Luckily for me I wasn’t very hungry, and we would be landing soon.

So overall I would STILL chose this carrier over a US carrier for all the amenities included that on domestic US international carriers (American, Delta, United etc) you would pay extra for. On a scale of 1-10...I give the experience an 8.

Stay tuned my next post ...as this leg was economy but my Tokyo to NYC is the coveted Japan Airlines First Class. I’ve heard that they don’t have apartments on private suites( like Emirates or Etihad) but the food and drink are supposed to be phenomenal and you best believe I’m gonna have the champagne.

And big apologies ZERO pics of the previous flight. My phone and I were both dead on arrival for that flight. But once I got to NRT I perked up real quick.

Japan Airlines First Class Flex is coming soon.

Living My Best Life ...

This has been a hard week for us at LOLA with the death of icon Kate Spade.

We launched in Amsterdam because of bags and purses. Kate Spade was a major influencer in my love of a nice purse. Then today, travel guru and icon Anthony Bourdain. He showed me places I would never have ventured out on my own.

They both seemed so strong and to have it all, but that's just it, even the strong have moments of weakness. I am learning that self-care is first and foremost in my life. Granted this is not the life I planned for myself but it's the life I have and it's a good one.

June is a hard month for me: it the's ...it's just... bad.

This year I decided to take it back. Kicking off the summer in Italy.  Life is too short to "wish I had time to travel." or "if only I had the money". Sometimes you just have to go for it. Work out the details later.

This trip was all food, wine, fun and perfect.

Please remember, words hurt; pain is real. Please show some respect for those who appear strong but may not be. Compassion and love.

Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566

National Suicide Prevention Hotline (USA): 1-800-273-8255

You Can Always Go Home Again...Amsterdam

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, from parts of SE Asia to Japan to Amsterdam.

Amsterdam has my heart unlike no other. It was one of the first (of two) places I ever visited outside the United States. The other was Paris. I called the trip the "Kittykat Olympics". It only made perfect sense as the trip included the iconic shopping mecca that is Paris, as well as the ahem, 'recreational" activities of Amsterdam. Seriously, if shopping or smoking EVER became an Olympic event...I'm READY. No need for training. SEND ME IN COACH!!!! (especially if it's the shopping)

Amsterdam is a city no matter when you go you can always find something new or interesting. This trip was a last minute, "let's go see some friends for a couple of days" and that's exactly what I did. I strolled the canals with Lexie, we shopped, drank a lot and ate a little:

And the highlight of this little excursion was the pleasant surprise of the "My Name Is Prince" exhibit. More details and pics on my next post.

Remember...there's no place like home,

Love,

Dorthy aka Kit n Lexie

 

Sometimes Piggy (or Froggy) gotta EAT and Eat and Eat

Today in Koh Samui some ladies on the lam knew that some real clean, organic food was needed. And it was absolute Heaven.  

The last two days I have gone to Vikasa Cafe which is apart of the yoga sala and yogis at Vikasa. The staff is lovely and Susu is amazing with children. Today’s chef was one of the “hot chefs” Chef Cyril. Abd seriously all of the chefs are gorgeous. It’s almost like a requirement.  

But enough about the eye candy let's see the real MVP...the food. (ps the drinks aren't bad...I had the Sin Gin which was gin mixed with kale juice and pineapple...SHUT THE FRONT DOOR delicious) and The Last Straw (fresh strawberries, vodka, soda and just plain yum!)

I love Samui as it one of the healthiest places I have ever been to in this word. The medical facilities are beyond amazing, the food healthy, beautiful and mouth-watering, and the exercise/training programs rivals those in NYC, London, LA etc.

Seriously the food is delicious but the experience is life-altering. Yeah I said THAT!

Tokyo Memories

Seems like just yesterday I was walking the streets of Tokyo glancing at vending machines which had everything from little toys to full meals ...in a VENDING machine. #icantevendeal #mindblown

Tokyo was a treat for the senses from the food, the sites and even a little romance. 

 

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the city is mine for the taking...Tokyo♥️ 

 

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cooking class...lunch. #nomnom  

 

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dinner time ... 

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new friends

performing in Tokyo open 🎤  

performing in Tokyo open 🎤  

time to say goodbye my love ...cue #sadface

time to say goodbye my love ...cue #sadface

And YOU Get an Avocado, and YOU get an avocado, EVERYONE HAS AVOCADO

and it was good. The END

Oh wait...you want me to continue? I had you at avocado, didn't I?

The Avocado Show is situated in the hip, and trendy De Pijp area in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Great area for shopping, drinking and you guessed it...eating. I have been looking forward to this place since I first heard about it last November. It was supposed to open early 2017, and it did.

This past February Amsterdam had a NEW yet not so leafy green...THE AVOCADO SHOW. Where every dish features avocado. A glance at the menu:

They also have a special breakfast that is not on the menu. It is basically a eggs benedict with softer bread and heavenly chorizo. It melted in my mouth...

And of course Itried there signature Avocado Daiquiri. It was surprisingly delicious, and I showed some restraint in the fact that I only had one. It was on 1030 in the morning for goodness sake.

The Avocado Daiquiri...YUM!

The Avocado Daiquiri...YUM!

Now for the real deal....the intel:

COLD HARD PLASTIC...yup you read that right..no cash, money, dinero, euros, pounds, baht...CARDS ONLY!

If you go past 1015...you WILL wait. This was my THIRD attempt to eat here. The first two were once late afternoon (1430) and then yesterday evening (after 7) each time it was over an hour wait. I decided to try for breakfast and it worked like a charm. I walked in and had my choice in tables...within 15 min the entire restaurant was FILLED. I arrived at 1015...and if I would have shown up even 15 min later ...I would have earned myself a 15-30 min wait. So GO EARLY...they open at 9.

The food was quite scrumptious and hearty. Not something I'd eat everyday but when in Amsterdam. Seriously the bread was so soft, with the avocado, and tomato based salsa with chorizo, topped with a yummy hollandaise sauce. I get excited by the memory. Now what was pleasantly surprising was the cocktail. It was sweet yet very refreshing. I could easily see myself having 10 of them...sigh.

All in all, the food is delicious and I'll definitely go again. However, I'd rather get a solid start on my day so my game plan (and I recommend you do the same) save yourself some time and get the most important meal of the day, go early for breakfast. Bonus: they still serve the booze. You're welcome.

 

 

Cooking in Tokyo...easy as 1,2,3 with ABC Cooking Studio

Whenever I go off on an adventure, I try to immerse myself in the culture. While in Japan I did not only attempt to eat all of Tokyo but wanted to learn to make some sushi as well. I then went to my boyfriend, Mr. Google and found a tour of the fish market with a cooking class. SCORE!!!

The morning was wet and cold, but the people in my tour were kind and warm: a family from Chicago (who travels all the time to NYC), a couple of guys from NYC, and a family from Italy:

The day begins...all smiles

The day begins...all smiles

The day began walking thru the fish market. It was crazy hectic and they WILL run you over in their fish carts... (don't forget to click on pic to see the next one if slide show option doesn't run on your computer)

After touring the market. We split up into two groups.  ABC Cooking Studio is great because they keep their classes and instruction in very small groups of six, therefore the Midwestern family went off with their instructor, which left Team NYC vs Team Italy. However I don't really think that was fair as Team Italy was made up of a chef, pastry chef and their kid who was charming, as well as creative. I was nervous, but they give you Sake to drink as you cook so I just drank until we got better.

It was a fun adventure and costs less than 60$ USD. If ever in Tokyo and you've ever wanted to try your hand at making sushi...then ABC Cooking Studio is for you. Remember how we started the day off...all smiles, well this is how it ended:

ALL Smiles...

ALL Smiles...

And I graduated: