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Old 06-04-2012, 11:43 PM   #1
Sparkie
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New Interest/Have ?

I saw the ABD for Scotland and was intrigued. Actually any of the ABDs are very tempting. But when I priced the Scotland for 2 adults and 1 16 yo the price was close to 15,000 without airfare and tips. I have never traveled internationally or done ABD but can someone give me a frame of reference.... is this a normal price range? Where can I save some money? Are there better times than others to travel? How do you find affordable airfare? How much extra for tips and food do you budget for an average adventure? Are there any discounts available? We are also DVC members but it seems to take ALOT of points for one of these adventures so I am guessing that cash is the better way to go. I would love to have an amazing adventure one day and seems that some of you are able to go on multiple adventures. Give me the inside scoop
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:49 AM   #2
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I saw the ABD for Scotland and was intrigued. Actually any of the ABDs are very tempting. But when I priced the Scotland for 2 adults and 1 16 yo the price was close to 15,000 without airfare and tips. I have never traveled internationally or done ABD but can someone give me a frame of reference.... is this a normal price range? Where can I save some money? Are there better times than others to travel? How do you find affordable airfare? How much extra for tips and food do you budget for an average adventure? Are there any discounts available? We are also DVC members but it seems to take ALOT of points for one of these adventures so I am guessing that cash is the better way to go. I would love to have an amazing adventure one day and seems that some of you are able to go on multiple adventures. Give me the inside scoop

I have been on 3 ABD trips and I have booked Scotland as my 4th. The trips are truly amazing, As for the airfare you just have to keep watching it, and try various routes to try and save money. There is a poster, I don't remember who, save I believe $1000 on airfare by routing through Ireland for one of the trips to Europe. As for tips, ABD recomends between $6 and $9 per person per guide (there are 2) per day and those are the only tips as all others are included in the tour, trust me and a few other regular posters/travelers you will want to go with the higher end of tips the guides are that good.

As far as spending money goes, you can spend a lot or a little depending on where you eat for your on your own meals, there are inexpensive places right up to places that cost a fortune. Other spending money would depend if you are big on souvenirs or not, I am not a huge souvenier shopper and I think when I went to Ireland last year for the whole trip I spent about $700 or $800 which included meals.

The DVC points are high but what you could do is rent your points and use what you get toward paying for your trip, I did that for nexr year as I am going on a DCL Med cruise and I am going to Scotland, two weeks for each trip and only 5 weeks vacation does not allow much time for the world next year.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:40 AM   #3
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Thank you for your reply. I am going to keep reading and researching and saving.
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:31 AM   #4
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Here is my experience just to give you an idea of costs on your own compared to ABD (and this is NOT to discourage ABD travel).

DH and I planned to do ABD Germany this spring, but were having a hard time justifying over $12,000 (including flights) for the 2 of us. We ended up going on our own for double the time, and also went to Czech and Austria as well, for less than $6,000 total. We stayed in nice places and were doing amazing things everyday (many we copied from the ABD trip). However, it took a lot of planning, and we still got lost and had to run to make trains while we were there.

We decided to just splurge and do an ABD for our next trip, so that we can meet other travellers and be more relaxed, and only use it for a country we are less familiar with (we feel more comfortable in Europe than South America since we have been there a few times). But ultimatly if I needed to save the money, I would go on my own.

In terms of saving money, I would sign up for emails from flight providers in your area. I have a subscription to Air Canada deals, and that save us $800 for our flight to Europe. Like the previous poster said, you can budget your money for cheaper meals as well, as opposed to fancy restaurants. Also, Iceland Air offers great deals from many US and Canadian cities, with the option for a 'free stopover' in Iceland (you have to stop there regardless, so you can choose a full day, or a few days, or just a layover).
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:32 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Sparkie View Post
I saw the ABD for Scotland and was intrigued. Actually any of the ABDs are very tempting. But when I priced the Scotland for 2 adults and 1 16 yo the price was close to 15,000 without airfare and tips. I have never traveled internationally or done ABD but can someone give me a frame of reference.... is this a normal price range? Where can I save some money? Are there better times than others to travel? How do you find affordable airfare? How much extra for tips and food do you budget for an average adventure? Are there any discounts available? We are also DVC members but it seems to take ALOT of points for one of these adventures so I am guessing that cash is the better way to go. I would love to have an amazing adventure one day and seems that some of you are able to go on multiple adventures. Give me the inside scoop
You will find that doing an ABD (or really any guided tour) is going to be more expensive than doing it on your own. But the extra money for an ABD is well worth it to me. It really depends on what you're looking for. If you're looking for an amazing adventure, you've come to the right place!

The Scotland ABD is running a bit more expensive than most. This is the first year for that itinerary, and there aren't a lot of departures, and they are filling up & selling out quickly, so the price has risen 3 times that I'm aware of in the 2 weeks since the trip was announced. Dreams Unlimited does have an offer going right now that gives you an American Express Gift Card for new reservations booked by the end of June. Right now, ABD themselves do not have any discounts on this trip, and, with the way it's selling, I doubt they will have any this year.

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Old 06-05-2012, 12:37 PM   #6
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You can also book through Costco travel, and they give Costco gift cards worth nearly ~8% of the trip (excluding airfare). Its a really good deal and I've booked both my ABD vacations through them.

Only downside vs. Dreams unlimited is that the gift card comes ~6 weeks after your trip and it has to be used at Costco. But if you're like me, you can go to Costco weekly to fill up on gas and other groceries throughout the year and easily use up the gift card.
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:28 PM   #7
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As someone who never traveled to Europe before, I was very anxious about going... almost sent DH and DD without me - that's how uncomfortable I felt. So, when I saw the itinerary for ABD, I figured we would pay for the stress-free travel of having someone ELSE do the planning. (I am the planner of the family.)

Let me say - I will ALWAYS travel with Disney from now on!! Everything was taken care of and I truly had a carefree, fun, happy trip. We are looking at next May's adventures to pick another trip. To me, it was worth the added expense to have everything handled for me, especially when visiting non-English speaking vicinities.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparkie View Post
I saw the ABD for Scotland and was intrigued. Actually any of the ABDs are very tempting. But when I priced the Scotland for 2 adults and 1 16 yo the price was close to 15,000 without airfare and tips. I have never traveled internationally or done ABD but can someone give me a frame of reference.... is this a normal price range? Where can I save some money? Are there better times than others to travel? How do you find affordable airfare? How much extra for tips and food do you budget for an average adventure? Are there any discounts available? We are also DVC members but it seems to take ALOT of points for one of these adventures so I am guessing that cash is the better way to go. I would love to have an amazing adventure one day and seems that some of you are able to go on multiple adventures. Give me the inside scoop
Hi Sparkie,

We are going on the Scotland trip with ABD next August and this is our first ABD. Honestly, we have never planned a vacation this pricey. Our 3 week vacation to Australia did not cost as much as this one will BUT I REALLY wanted to do THIS trip! It's a lot of money for an unplanned expense and there's no way we'd go into debt for it either ... soooo I had to get creative with it DH wasn't going to do this trip until I could explain HOW we COULD do this trip. It took me a few days to figure it all out. But, once I did and laid out the plan to him, (at about midnight ) he went right to the computer and booked it.

Here is how I am budgeting for this.

We are also DVC members and I may wind up renting points to cover some of the expense. I gave up a few planned trips for next year. I gave myself a weekly pay cut that is getting direct deposited to a brand new account that came with a $200 bonus for signing up and the bonus and pay cut will all go towards the trip. I am in the process of de-cluttering and will sell a bunch of stuff I don't use and that is taking up space on Craigslist, Ebay and a garage sale. I used to show Champion Golden Retievers and am picking up clients for grooming on the side for some extra vacation money too.

I have no intention of paying for airfare So, I am also in the process of educating myself how to accumulate airline miles with the sign up bouses given by co-branded credit cards. Before the summer is out we should have about 500K miles or so between the two of us which is enough for several round trips to Europe.

Last but not least, I may well take on a part time job in addition to my full time job. Gotta start funding ABD for 2014 while I'm at it

I hope some of this helps.
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:52 PM   #9
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Thank you all for your valuable information.

I like the idea of giving myself a pay cut and putting that towards a dream vacay. We always say, it doesnt matter how much we make we spend it all, so if I have the money taken out before I actually see my check I could force myself to save.

Also, we currently are in a payment program for some credit card debt. And are making alot of progress. So far I have paid off, the IRS, Sears, Bank of America and Belk. I have 3 Chase accounts and a Best Buy that will pay off in about 18 months and that will put a BIG HUNK of MOOLA back in my budget. So maybe this is possible.

Initially when I thought of 15K for a vacation for 3 of us - I thought HOLY COW! But when you break it down and think of everything that you are getting for the 5k each, hotel, most meals, most tips, transfers, luggage handling, guided tours, transportation to each destination, and WORRY FREE traveling, it seems very much worth the money.

I know that it could probably be done cheaper but I would PANIC if I got lost or missed my train. Peace of Mind is worth it.

So, I am going to play around with the airfare. And check out some of the tips I have gotten here. I already have a passport so that is an expense that I dont have to worry about. And that passport is just itching to have a European stamp on it.
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by calypso726 View Post
Hi Sparkie,

We are going on the Scotland trip with ABD next August and this is our first ABD. Honestly, we have never planned a vacation this pricey. Our 3 week vacation to Australia did not cost as much as this one will BUT I REALLY wanted to do THIS trip! It's a lot of money for an unplanned expense and there's no way we'd go into debt for it either ... soooo I had to get creative with it DH wasn't going to do this trip until I could explain HOW we COULD do this trip. It took me a few days to figure it all out. But, once I did and laid out the plan to him, (at about midnight ) he went right to the computer and booked it.

Here is how I am budgeting for this.

We are also DVC members and I may wind up renting points to cover some of the expense. I gave up a few planned trips for next year. I gave myself a weekly pay cut that is getting direct deposited to a brand new account that came with a $200 bonus for signing up and the bonus and pay cut will all go towards the trip. I am in the process of de-cluttering and will sell a bunch of stuff I don't use and that is taking up space on Craigslist, Ebay and a garage sale. I used to show Champion Golden Retievers and am picking up clients for grooming on the side for some extra vacation money too.

I have no intention of paying for airfare So, I am also in the process of educating myself how to accumulate airline miles with the sign up bouses given by co-branded credit cards. Before the summer is out we should have about 500K miles or so between the two of us which is enough for several round trips to Europe.

Last but not least, I may well take on a part time job in addition to my full time job. Gotta start funding ABD for 2014 while I'm at it

I hope some of this helps.
A great way to get miles is shopping, I do a lot of internet shopping to begin with so i just go to the airline ff program shopping mall and i link to the stores that I shop in that offer miles. I have an airline that I only earned k13000 miles on by flying but I have 79000 miles total because I shop through them. I do this with 2 different airline shopping sites and many of the stores are the same, so I look to see which one offers more miles and I link through that site. I had to order a bunch of things from a store today, and I got 5 miles per dollar spent!! I also use my Amex card often, i am a member of their membership rewards points program and there are several airlines that I can transfer the points to the frequent flyer program, i did it last year and paid $120 for round trip buisness class airfare to Barcelona for my DCL cruise. If I pay off my cruise next year and my ABD trip with the Amex card I may be set to be able to get my airfare to Barcelona for my cruise next summer and my airfare for Scotland on awards.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:44 PM   #11
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Thank you all for your valuable information.

I like the idea of giving myself a pay cut and putting that towards a dream vacay. We always say, it doesnt matter how much we make we spend it all, so if I have the money taken out before I actually see my check I could force myself to save.

Also, we currently are in a payment program for some credit card debt. And are making alot of progress. So far I have paid off, the IRS, Sears, Bank of America and Belk. I have 3 Chase accounts and a Best Buy that will pay off in about 18 months and that will put a BIG HUNK of MOOLA back in my budget. So maybe this is possible.

Initially when I thought of 15K for a vacation for 3 of us - I thought HOLY COW! But when you break it down and think of everything that you are getting for the 5k each, hotel, most meals, most tips, transfers, luggage handling, guided tours, transportation to each destination, and WORRY FREE traveling, it seems very much worth the money.

I know that it could probably be done cheaper but I would PANIC if I got lost or missed my train. Peace of Mind is worth it.

So, I am going to play around with the airfare. And check out some of the tips I have gotten here. I already have a passport so that is an expense that I dont have to worry about. And that passport is just itching to have a European stamp on it.
You are welcome Yeah, that will be the key for me. It is taken out before I see it and in an account I don't use Good for you paying off debt! Been there, done that. It is so freeing to pay off one more thing and be done with it

Yes, I do believe the peace of mind will be well worth it. Besides, I do not wish to try my hand at driving on the left side of the road and would probably wig out if I had to watch DH do it

I hope some of the info helps and that we may soon see you on the ABD Scotland meet thread

Quote:
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A great way to get miles is shopping, I do a lot of internet shopping to begin with so i just go to the airline ff program shopping mall and i link to the stores that I shop in that offer miles. I have an airline that I only earned k13000 miles on by flying but I have 79000 miles total because I shop through them. I do this with 2 different airline shopping sites and many of the stores are the same, so I look to see which one offers more miles and I link through that site. I had to order a bunch of things from a store today, and I got 5 miles per dollar spent!! I also use my Amex card often, i am a member of their membership rewards points program and there are several airlines that I can transfer the points to the frequent flyer program, i did it last year and paid $120 for round trip buisness class airfare to Barcelona for my DCL cruise. If I pay off my cruise next year and my ABD trip with the Amex card I may be set to be able to get my airfare to Barcelona for my cruise next summer and my airfare for Scotland on awards.
Absolutely. That is the second part of my miles accruing plan. Part one is to jump start the mileage balances with the sign up bonuses. Part two is to use the cc's that accumulate miles for shopping. I just did that through Chase Ultimate Rewards and got 15 points per dollar from Shoebuy. The points transfer 1:1 with United through Chase UR. I am planning to get the Starwood Preferred Guest Amex which allows you to accrue miles that can be used in over 20 airlines. Plus when you transfer 20K SPG miles into an airline mile program SPG will bonus you an extra 5K for each 20K transfer. We will porbably pay for the ABD trip with the Chase Sapphire Preferred since it earn 2 points/miles for every dollar in travel spending. We will also take that one to Scotland with us since it doesn't incur foreign transaction fees

Way to go! Business class to Barcelona for $120! That is awesome!!!
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Old 06-06-2012, 12:41 PM   #12
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No transaction fees?

I have a Chase Sapphire card and it incures transaction fees. Maybe I"ll inquire if they can upgrade me to Preferred,as I assume that's the difference. Been an account holder since '94. That's gotta count for something. I'd love to be able to accrue points on my purchases. It all adds up!
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:08 PM   #13
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and WORRY FREE traveling, it seems very much worth the money.
I think this is the biggest difference in doing ABD. They really do take care of everything. Having done Scotland many times (including twice with a private driver guide for over a week), you can definitely do it cheaper. If I remember correctly, I paid about 320 GBP a day (includes gas & her meal/accommodation cost) for the private driver guide. This was NOT per person but for the vehicle--i.e. up to 4 people. But I also did a university alumni tour that was much more expensive. Like Disney they took care of everything and had lots of little special things thrown in (like meeting the Chief of MacLeod at Dunvegan Castle on Skye!) It just depends on how much leg work you want to put into it. You also have to compare apples to apples. The places ABD stays at are usually very nice. Do you typically stay at 4 and 5 star accommodations? If the answer is yes, ABD doesn't look as out of the ballpark. It's definitely a higher-end experience. I'd also look at the places they are going to as pretty wide-spread and not as easily accessible to the average traveler (unless you do like I did and hire a private driver guide). If it was just Edinburgh, Loch Ness and something like Glasgow, it wouldn't be as "worth it" to me. But because of Skye, Lewis, Eileen Donan, Dunnottar and the private estate we'll be staying at, it is. Hope that makes sense.
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:49 PM   #14
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I have a Chase Sapphire card and it incures transaction fees. Maybe I"ll inquire if they can upgrade me to Preferred,as I assume that's the difference. Been an account holder since '94. That's gotta count for something. I'd love to be able to accrue points on my purchases. It all adds up!
The Preferred also will give you a 7% bonus dividend every year on the points you have earned in addition to allowing you to redeem 1:1 for miles through UR. The regular Sapphire and the Freedom don't let you do that. You can transfer your current Sapphire points to the Preferred account once you get the card. I'd apply for the Preferred online so you can get the 40K bonus miles after meeting the 3K spend in 3 months. They will also waive the fee for the first year when you apply online. They might not give you the bonus miles or waive the fee if you call to upgrade.
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