For a super short trip, I managed a lot this time in the motherland. In New York, I got to hang out with my cousins and their friends at the bar, had dinner with the Grandmas which is always the greatest, saw the MoMA for the first time, managed an impromptu meetup with Val, who I haven’t seen in forever and happened to be in NYC on the same day I was, and ate most of the New-York-y things I always miss. Chocolate egg cream for the win!
In Philly, I had an AMAZING brunch at Mixto (I had the Costa Rican, which was amazing, but every other option on the table made it hard to choose. The pork on the Cuban alone was enough to make me weep with joy), including many guava mimosas and friends I wish I’d had even more time with. And I also got to go back to Silk City with Sara just before flying out, where we sat outside in the gorgeous weather and talked about life and schemed our next adventure. (Originally that was going to be Greenland until we discovered how freakin’ expensive the flights ALONE are to get there. So now it may be Morocco or a cruise to St Petersburg or something equally awesome. Watch this space.)
And in Delaware, I saw my parents’ new (enormous) house, hung out with the dog, drank a lot of wine, and took another trip to Dogfish Head, which is still my favourite. If I ever have to move back to the US, I’ll just go work there, thanks. But I’m quite happy my parents live right down the road from it now. I also got to go down to Salisbury to see my friends and their farm and their kid. And I got a Delaware driver’s license. Crazy!
All great things. But the kind of whirlwind trip that also makes you happy to be sitting still at home again.
I didn’t do a flickr set for this trip because I mostly just instagrammed everything. US trips to see family aren’t usually photography-heavy anyway. Not because there’s nothing to take pictures of, but more because I’ve got other stuff to concentrate on.
As with photography, trips to see the family are not really representative of normal travel spending. I don’t have to pay for places to stay, relatives are super generous and pay for most of my food and drink (of which there is TONS), and then I end up buying a lot of clothes and stuff I can’t easily or cheaply get in the UK. And this time I didn’t even pay for the airfare. This trip only happened because originally my parents were meant to meet me in Ireland around the same time. They decided they didn’t want to go but still wanted to see me so my Dad bought me a ticket. Sweet deal!
Still, I actually set a budget this time and pretty much stuck to it. Which was surprising as I arbitrarily chose £40/day without thinking much about it at all because I’d forgotten to set up the trip before I left and was rushing to get all the info in.
Trip total: £407.84
That’s an average of £40.78 per day. As I said, there’s a lot it doesn’t include. Most notably airfare, which was £639.56. I milked it for all the Avios (frequent flier miles) I could though. I paid with an Avios American Express which got me 1598, plus the flights themselves which were 8104, PLUS the entertainment system on the flight home wasn’t working, so they credited my account an extra 5000 miles. That’s 14702 Avios, which is more than enough for a return flight somewhere nearby in Europe, or a return Eurostar ticket.
£122.88 on food. Including a VERY tasty brunch in Philly, and CHIPOTLE! (in New York). Plus bagels. Lots of bagels. And a fair few trips to Dunkin Donuts.
£99.61 on transport. Amtrak and various local public transport.
£49.92 on drinks. About half of which was a bottle of bourbon in Duty Free. I shudder to think what this figure would be if I actually personally paid for all I drank on this trip. Let’s just not think about it.
£10.73 on gifts for other people. Candy, mostly.
£102.65 on gifts for myself. Not too bad considering this included a new waterproof jacket and three pairs of smartwool socks (god I love good socks).
£22.06 miscellaneous. A load of random crap at Target.