Thursday, May 22, 2014

Grecian Road Trip: By the Numbers

 
Go ahead. Admit it.

When reading or hearing about travel – no matter how inspiring the trip might be – doesn’t it spark a few questions that you’d really like to ask, but don’t know how to quite go about it. Questions like,

"How long were you gone?"
"How far did you go?"
"How much did that cost?" 
"How did you do that?"

We certainly have them. It's not just because we are nosy; knowing those things about other's trips can help us plan our future travels. Because so many of you've mentioned that you are either heading to Greece or have it on the bucket list, we thought today we’d tell you a bit about our trip by looking at some of the numbers:

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Greece and Turkey 



Destination: Greece via Istanbul, Turkey. (Remember, last fall I tipped you off to a travel deal: The Scout, nailed us a $608 round-trip airfare (taxes, fees included) from Seattle to Istanbul on Lufthansa Airlines; a steal compared to flights to Athens averaging $1,200 per ticket. The internet deal was available for about a week.)

Our round-trip flights between Istanbul and Athens were about $250 US per person – still less than a direct flight to Athens and gave us a chance to explore Istanbul.
Incidentals: $40 US for two Visas, valid for 90 days to enter Turkey (purchased at Ataturk Airport after arrival in Istanbul).

Yikes! Unbelievable Checked Baggage charges: 25-euro ($35 US) per bag to Crete from Athens on Aegean Airlines; 35-euro ($49 US) per bag Athens to Istanbul on Olympic Airlines.

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Near Leonidas - Peloponnese Greece

Duration: 42 nights. A three-week road trip through the Peloponnese, a week in Crete, a week in the Cyclades Islands, couple nights in Athens, five in Istanbul.


Transportation: eight airplanes, five ferries, four rental cars.

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Greek ferries

  
Ferry travel in Greece isn't a cheap way to get around - but it is fun, more comfortable than airplanes and doesn't require any security screening!  We traveled by 'fast boat' those sleek modern hydrofoils that nearly sail over the water, by the larger cruise-ship sized ferry, and the small one that is legendary on the southern coast of Crete. Prices, in euros, ranged from $4 US (Sfakia to Loutro, Crete) – $70 US (Tinos Island in the Cyclades to Athen's port of Piraeus), depending on ship and destination.

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Our 'wheels' in Greece


Rental cars: On the flip side, those itty-bitty cars we rented did seem reasonably priced, averaging about 22-euros a day, everything included. Note: None of our rentals required an International Driver's License.   Those little cars fit those narrow, winding roads well. On several occasions we squeezed past on-coming vehicles, maneuvered around goats or cattle lazing in the road, or inched our way through small town streets.

Gasoline. . . Gasp!  Prices ranged from $8 US - $10 US a gallon.  It sometimes took 50-euros, or $68 US to fill the small tank.

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This room cost 40-euros a night, kitchen, large bathroom and deck  - Ios Island Cyclades


Accommodations: We stayed in 15 hotels.  Prices varied but were generally in the 35 - 40-euro ($48-$55 US) range and the places were charming. Most had kitchenettes which allowed us to eat a couple meals 'at home' each day - a real money-saver. The least we paid was $38 US for a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment with fireplace and sweeping views in Astros, a town in the Peloponnese. The most, at $200 US a night, was the five-star hotel (booked on Expedia and still a deal compared to regular prices) a block of Syntagma Square in Athens where we spent two nights.


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Greek style Greek Salad - Heraklion, Crete


Food and Drink: This is where the travel dollar savings are unbelievably good in Greece!  We spent about 22-euros ($30 US) which paid for multi-course meze meals, a half-liter pitcher of wine and tips.

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Porto Kagio - Peloponnese
Wine: for 3-euros ($4.50 US) we purchased excellent wines in one-liter plastic bottles at farmer's markets and grocery stores. The 'fancy' glass bottles with corks could be had for 7-euros and up.  For 3-5-euros we drank half-liter pitchers of wine at restaurants.

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Two 'filter coffees' - Tinos Island, Cyclades


Coffee: Greece has gone coffee crazy in recent years and coffee shops proliferate in cities and small towns alike.  Cappuccino and filter (pressed, usually) coffee for two was 5-6-euros.

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Street Market open daily - Heraklion, Crete


Street market shopping: It was a joy to do our grocery shopping at local street markets. We saved an enormous amount of money and had some of the freshest, best tasting food imaginable.  Two examples:  strawberries 3-euros ($4.50 US for a kilogram, 2.2 pounds) and oranges, fresh picked, 1-euro per kilogram.

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Mykonos Island - Cyclades


What are the questions you wish bloggers and travel writers would answer about places? (BTW, if you've got questions these numbers didn't answer, send them our way.  If you have some money saving tips for future trips, add those as well.)  That's it for today - as always, thanks for your time! Hope to see you again soon!

 Linking up with Travel Photo Thursday and Mosaic Mondays and Travel Photo Monday.

31 comments:

  1. This was a really interesting post. You can see how so many costs add up and why one doesn't stay in fancy hotel rooms for more than a night or two. Gas does sound pricey but at least the vehicles would get good mileage.
    For 42 days I think you did really well - and I love the idea of flying to Istanbul and then onwards.

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    1. You hit the nail on the head, Leigh. We certainly wouldn't be able to afford a 5-star price -- no matter how good the deal -- for that long nor would I want to eat 'out' -- again, no matter how good - for that long. Istanbul was a great add on to the trip. Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. I think knowing the prices of every day items is useful if you intend visiting the place yourself. Love the photo of the greek salad. Makes me want to get stuck in. :)

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    1. Hi Jan, Yes, I love it when fellow bloggers not only tempt me with new destinations but prepare me for what the cost might be to experience that place. It does impact how high or low it falls on my bucket list. Thanks much for the visit today!

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  3. Your photos and all your descriptions of your stay in Greece make me smile. Is that you are so nice that you find beauty and loveliness everywhere.
    Wish you a happy week end and thank you for your sweet words on my blog.
    Olympia

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    1. Kalimera Olympia! Yes, we loved Greece and hope to return in the near future. It would be difficult to pick a single 'favorite' place because every place offered something special. Enjoy your weekend and I look forward to your next post~ Jackie

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  4. I WANT TO GO WITH YOU !!
    I have never heard of deals like the airfare you described.
    What a fab trip you guys had. I have read every single word and want more.
    Great post !!

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    1. Yes, we did nail a 'screamin' deal as our neighbor from Istanbul exclaimed when we told him the price. Glad you enjoyed this one and want more, because I have many more Grecian tales to tell! Thanks for your visit, Marsha!

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  5. You certainly did very well on this trip in every way, Jackie, and reading through all the figures here is most instructive, so many thanks for that.

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    1. Thanks Andrew for taking the time to visit the blog and to comment - always nice to see that blogosphere friends have stopped by! Have a great weekend~

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  6. How much? is often so important. I know that I can travel longer in SEA on my available budget than I can in Europe or North America. I have to plan accordingly. Gas is pricey! Are you able to rent an automatic, or standard only. I don't drive a standard, so that's an important "must know" for me. I love the fact that food is so cheap, and the markets are definitely calling my name!

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    1. Nancie, that is one of the nicest things about the Peloponnese in Greece; you basically get Tuscany with an ocean to boot and for far less than the price of Tuscany. About the cars: yes, they do rent automatics but they are slightly more costly than the standard (and I suspect there is a charge for a second driver which hasn't been a problem because we've rented standards with Joel as the driver. I am like you and drive automatics. I would like to explore the world of the automatic though and will suggest we try renting one on our next visit to Greece. And then I'll let you know!)

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  7. I really like the information in this post. It's a good way to categorize and summerize your trip in a very quantifiable way. I'm always horrible about tracking cash spending on trips, but that's usually a very small portion of the overall cost. That green ferry boat is cool.

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    1. I usually am good with recording-keeping our costs at the start of the trip and then I get so caught up in the trip I find I am one-or-two days behind, and then I have to think hard to remember where we ate and what we drank all of two days ago! Thanks for your visit, Michele, always appreciated!

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  8. Hi Jackie, thanks for sharing your trip by the numbers. It truly is helpful especially for those planning a long trip. I like the photos that accompany each of your tip. They gave us a good feel of your travel. The Scout really did well finding that great travel deal to Istanbul. That was about how much I paid when I traveled from NY to Istanbul - 13 years ago!

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    1. It does seem he found an exceptional fare -- we've been looking at the cost of flights back to Athens and the 'cheapest' we found was $1,415 from Seattle. . .gulp. But I read another social media friend's lament that they cancelled their trip plans to visit Hawaii this summer because airfares from the West Coast were $900+. . . yikes! Thanks for the visit - as always, it is appreciated!

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  9. What a handy post! I was in Greece about 10 years ago and everyone has told me that prices have risen incredibly since then. But it doesn't seem so from your description. Your photo of the hotel room on the island of Ios makes me want to book a trip right now!

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  10. Thanks so much for all of the details. It seems bloggers are hesitant to talk about prices, but it really is such an important thing to know for anyone planning a trip. Thank you for all of this information that will be helpful for me while I visit Greece in July :)

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    1. Where will you be in Greece in July? Any set destinations or just where the 'wind blows you' as we like to explore this wonderful country?

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  11. Very useful info. Wish I were going to be able to use it some time soon.

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    1. You never know, Carole. When you least expect it, you mind find yourself there!

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  12. This is really useful information to help figure out what a trip might cost and to decide on choices for how/where to spend money. I like to stay someplace where we can have some kind of kitchen facilities, however small, to be able to eat at least one meal in a day, maybe more. I was in Barcelona with my sister last summer. She'd arranged a house exchange with a couple there, so we stayed in their apartment for nothing. That is a great way to save money on a trip, providing you can find someone who wants to spend time in your city while you're in theirs.

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    1. That is a great idea, Donna. We've yet to try a house exchange, but it certainly would save money. The response to this post has been so amazing that I think I'll give a sneak peak at some of the places we stayed soon -- nearly all in the villages of Greece have small cooking areas and come with all the equipment you need to cook and eat there.

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  13. Since we've become perpetual travelers costs are always something we're interested in and your post hits the mark! Your information is timely, too, as Greece and Turkey are on the list for 2015. Thanks!

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    1. Anita, Thanks so much for stopping by today. You will have a great time in Greece and Turkey -- any set destinations in either of the two countries? Hopefully, you'll be a regular here and get inspired by some of the places we plan to write about! Thanks for taking time to comment!

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  14. Scary how al the little numbers add up to big ones! But the experience: Priceless~

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    1. The nice thing though is how many little numbers (and days) it took to add up to the big one; that's a huge selling point for Greek travel over say, Tuscany. Thanks much for the visit, Irene. You are absolutely correct: the experience was priceless!

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  15. This is an interesting and helpful post. It's true that most bloggers in our demographic (moi included) don't usually like to discuss "money", but it is helpful to others. (Young backpackers love to discuss how little they spent at their hostels, but my hostel days are long over). How did you find the places you stayed at in the Greek countryside and on the islands? We leave for a trip to Munich, Vienna and Budapest in September. I'm going to try to keep good track of our expenses----something tells me that our daily tab is going to be higher than yours was on this trip.

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    1. I've had more emails, comments, and personal messages about how much people liked this approach and they want more. So I will start focusing on that. You are correct though, I think your daily tab will tick a bit higher than ours, but as Irene noted above, 'the experience: priceless'. . .I'd love to read a similar post by you about your travels since they are on our bucket list.

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  16. Helpful and interesting breakdown of your expenses. I hope to get to Greece in the fall and will return to this post for some tips. I don't ever seem to snag such great airfares, but you've inspired me to try harder.

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    1. Cathy, we saw an October airfare from Seattle to Athens in the $800+ range the other day while looking at possibilities for the fall. Compared to the $1700 for the summer months, that seemed really reasonable. Try Costco if you are a member.

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So happy to see you took the time to comment. We read them all - and each is much appreciated. We hope you will be a regular here and comment often!

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