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!!!!







SS: A Tokyo Love Story

I met him on Tinder with one and only one thing on my mind.

I've often wondered when I became attracted to their culture. True, I loved their food but was that/is that enough? Was it the mild soft-spoken manner in comparison to my loud boisterous one? Their delicate frame to my solid dancer's build with a bunch of midwestern meat and tater's over my belt? Or was it that they too have flawless anti-aging skin? True, "Black don't crack" but "Asian don't raisin". The Japanese skin regime is on point. And he was no different. Also, there was his hair...he was in his early 40's and has a full thick luscious head of hair. The times I have stroked that hair, GOD, the times I've pulled that hair. The beautiful babies we would have made.

I had it planned. It was to be one night and one night only. So different from my other Sabbatical Smooches stories as I was gonna try for a little bit more than smooch.  

He was sweet, soft-spoken, and while English was not his strong point, he had something quietly sensual about him.

He... was the one, and surprisingly he knew of the perfect love hotel. Hence, the adventure began.

 

It’s a Ryokan Life

A couple of years ago I went to Tokyo for the first time. While I was there I met a guy who was awesome and we dated while I was there, and when he'd come to NYC. The thing with dating across the ocean is you get lonely. One day I asked him to send me a pic. He did. The difference is in this pic he looked totally relaxed and very Japanese formal yet informal. Like some sort of Japanese Tea service.  He explained to me he was staying the night in a ryokan...a ryo..what?

A Ryokan is a traditional Japanese Inn which stems from the 8th century. They are hard to find in a big city like Tokyo as many of the Japanese have taken to western culture and hotels, however in the smaller towns you can find them, but be prepared they are EXPENSIVE.

As a treat my friend surprised me with a two-day trip to Kyoto as well as a Ryokan. It was so charming, seeing old world Japan.

A Ryokan: The Traditional Japanese Setting

My apologies as I was so excited I did not get pics of the bathroom, and because of other clients no pics of the Japanese baths, but it was glorious.

Definitely an experience but for the price and sleeping on a floor...well I prefer the St.Regis.

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!

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.