Hello Hamburg

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Finally down to the last stretch of the trip. As previously mentioned, I wanted to be in Hamburg on the 26th for a birthday/wedding/graduation celebration.  So I probably should not have tried to party like a rock star the night before. Getting up for the 8 am train was brutal……

At some point in my various travels, I know that I tend to be disoriented when I arrive in a new city. So I had the foresight to print out a map of where I need to go. Which would have been great, if I were not so tired and it was not so hot…. So what should have been a quick 5 minutes walk to the hotel, turned out to be a 15 minutes scenic route of the Hamburg train station.

Finally, salvation at the Park Hyatt Hamburg.  The entry was kind of weird, not your normal hotel entrance, the main lobby was on the 2nd floor, which in my state, was confusing. But no sooner did I give my name, no problem, your room is ready, but maybe you should go to the lounge and have some coffee and something to eat.  Seriously I look that bad?????

So I took their advice had a little breakfast and went to my room and promptly feel asleep.  Oops so much for my grand plan of taking a harbor cruise.  When I finally came too, I decided to go for a walk to check out what

Hamburg had to lot offer.

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Including to my horror, a food and wine festival………

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I think if I drank anymore wine at this point, you would have been able to squeeze me like a grape. I wanted to eat but given the fish fiasco in Berlin, I was not going to push my luck. So I went back to where I knew it was safe, and had the best Wiener Schnitzel.  It truly was a cure all.

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So it’s time to get ready for the party, so I start to pull out my clothes and fear starts to overcome me. I had bought a new outfit to wear, a top and pants. Pants that were snug when they arrived in the mail 2 weeks ago. Pants that I would need to put on soon, after 10 days of cheese,wine and never saying no to a croissant. OH SHIT……..  Not going to lie, I sat there for about 5 minutes thinking about what I was going to do. Finally when I could no longer hold out, I put them on. THEY FIT, whew. Not only did they fit, they were a little loose. I guess there is something to be said about a wine and cheese diet.

The party was at A.mora on the water.  The weather was perfect. It was quite the enjoyable evening.

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The first after party continued on at the 20 Up club. Amazing views.  And then headed over to Reeperbahn. Hmmm not sure I have the right words to describe it.

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This was at 2 am!

And then we went to a Club! Flo in a club in Hamburg at 2am. Yes there are pictures and no you will not see them on this blog. The funniest part? Some of the music they were playing was the same music playing last time I was in a club, back in the 90’s……

 

 

 

Rookie travel mistakes

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I am usually a short haul traveler. I can usually travel with a carryon and I very rarely check bags. So planning for 12 days in Europe was eye opening for me.  Oh boy did I make some rookie mistakes.

1. Overpacking- there is this amazing thing called laundry, you can even pay someone to do it for you.  No need for 12 days of clothes.

2. Trains, planes, automobiles and stairs?- only pack what you can carry because at some point you will encounter a sitaution that requires you to carry,lift, pull your bags.

3. Make a list- less likely to forget something.

4. If packing multi-bags, try to put what you need the first few days in bag 1, so your not having to shift thru bags every day.

I started with my 2 rollerboards fully expanded and very heavy. I ended up with, having to do laundry at some point. But for 12 days it could have been worse.

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Convenience Money

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I am normally a pretty frugal person. Well about certain things. Sometimes I am not a frugal person, but then again I don’t have to be because I was frugal other times, so it balances out. Or so I like to think.

A few years ago, I planned the “trip of a lifetime”** or so I thought at the time. I researched and studied the travel blogs and bloggers, and figured out how to book a first class trip to Bali, Indonesia for 12 days for almost free.

So here I am going on this fantastic trip and I start being “cheap” about stuff. Not frugal, mind you, full on cheap. It was at that moment I decided I could give myself a pass and use something called Convenience Money.

Convenience Money is set aside amount of money that can be spent “guilt-free”. Convenience in the sense that there was probably a cheaper option, but this one just works better. Like paying for someone to get my Indonesian Visa and get by bags in Bali, yes I could have done it myself, but for $20 money well spent!

So rather then get upset about “over” paying, I just started assigning a value for convenience for each trip. Like when I order room service instead of going out to eat. Or when I decide to take a taxi instead of taking the train. Before this concept, I would stress about oh I could have saved $5, but now I just think hmmm this taxi ride was such a great idea!

So stop penny pinching and enjoy the trip. Setting a budget is important, so if you are hit with unexpected expenses, you can plan for it. And use common sense, convenience money is not meant to be stupid money. Still spend wisely, just don’t let the little things potential ruin your trip.
For the record, I had saved money doing some things cheaper on my Bali trip. Like opting not to take the nice hotel Mercedes from the Conrad Hong Kong, but instead opting for the free bus to the subway. Yes I honestly felt a little tacky rolling out of a hotel that cost $1,500/a night (I got it for free) and asking for the free bus. But if I had not taken the free bus, I would have not able to afford the room service hamburger. So it balanced out.

And of the $100 convenience money I had assigned for the trip, I came home with $40 and great memories!

**”Trip of lifetime” is no longer a phrase I use. Calling a trip “trip of a lifetime” puts unnecessary stress on it to be perfect. No trip is perfect. So I prefer “a trip in my lifetime”.

To Air or Not to Air, that is the question

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When researching hotels for my upcoming trip to Europe, I noticed that it cost more to get a room with air conditioning. So the frugal person I can be, thought for a minute, air or no air. What surprises me is that I even considered it! There are just certain necessities one needs when it’s warm. I could bend on location, room size and maybe even lack of room service, but I am not willing to suffer through no air conditioning.  I would rather travel less but travel well then travel more and be hot!

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