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Tag Archives: Hong Kong
THERAPIK: MY NEW BEST FRIEND ON TRIPS
The best $12 I’ve ever spent.
I bought this device a while back but didn’t have the opportunity to use it until a huge insect bit my ankle in the hotel room.
I was itching it like mad until I realized I packed the Therapik.
I put it on as directed, for about a minute or longer, and felt a little pain from the heat like an insect sting but as my bite was so itchy, it kind of relieved it.
…and it worked.
I can’t believe it worked!!!!!! I do NOT need to worry about getting bitten any more and suffering the itch a thousand times worse than chickenpox.
This is also not a placebo situation as I have extreme eczema and when it itches, it itches. I never pretend that anything works when it doesn’t, especially for itches.
So remember how I wanted to spend $0?
My budget increased to $100, but then as I mentioned an enabler on Twitter made me realize there were some Asian brands I had to try!
Here’s what I bought:
ISEHAN SARASARA DAILY MILK SPF 50 = $15 EACH
I bought 2 bottles, and I wish I bought 6 (I didn’t have the space). I LOVE this SPF lotion.
It’s like a milk.
It is as loved as my Skinceuticals SPF 50 cream, but it is even better to wear in the summer (I think), under makeup.
It doesn’t leave a sticky, greasy film, it isn’t tinted (AT ALL! No white cast from the zinc oxide), and it has made my skin feel softer.
I’d definitely consider buying this in bulk once I run out.
KATE KANEBO BB CREAM = $15 EACH
I bought 2 bottles of this, in the darkest shade they had OC-D (which will be too light when summer comes around).
It blends nicely onto my skin, feels light, dries to a powder and has a sheer coverage, nothing too fake or makeup-y.
I have to learn how to use a light hand, however.
KATE KANEBO UV MINERAL BASE SPF 30 (CLEAR) = $15
Yes it does feel a bit like eyelash glue, and it DOES smell a little, but it’s a clear, SPF 30, UV mineral base, and it does the job in a pinch.
It is not as loved as the Isehan Sarasara Daily UV Milk, but it’s a makeup primer with SPF 30. SPF 30!
KOJI NO. 70 EYELASH CURLER = $6
I can’t say it is as well-made or as comfortable as the Shu Uemura eyelash curler, but it was $6 and great for in-a-pinch moments.
It curls my eyelashes better, if that helps. I notice that it grabs more of my lashes as well.
DOLLY WINK LIQUID EYELINER = $15 EACH
Amazing. I suck at liquid eyeliner application, and this is more like a felt tip pen. There’s not too much liquid, and it draws a fine, thin, precise line.
KEANA PATE SHOKUNIN PORE PUTTY POWDER = $15
Kind of hate this.
It is way too drying for my face. Even over an SPF lotion it is TOO DRY.
Not sure what to do with it.
KEANA PATE SHOKUNIN PORE PUTTY BB CREAM PACT = $15
It’s BB cream, in a pact. I was suckered in, what can I say?
It is a bit light, but enough for a quick cover.
TANK TOPS = $75 WORTH
Just like what the old men wear here in Asia!
No seriously. I bought lots of tank tops and long-sleeved basic tops in white, black and grey. They’re great to wear under clothes or just around the house.
I must have spent close to $75, and picked up about 15 tops at about $5 each.
2 JADE MARKET NECKLACES = $10 EACH
Faceted beads, the only colours I don’t have.
NEOGENCE HYALURONIC LOTION = $3
The Yu-Be cream was too moisturizing (made my skin very congested) for the humid heat here, so I was desperate to find another option.
Found this kind of watery-ish liquid that had hyaluronic lotion in it which helps grab moisture from the air onto your skin.
Can’t say I hate it, but I also don’t love it either. Doesn’t feel moisturizing, but it did help relieve my tight skin.
That’s it for October and the first half of November.
As promised in an awesome infographic that I spent a lot of time on.
(Gawrsh those things take a long time!!)
Update: It is actually 24 days, because in addition, 4 days were spent traveling (time zones) which makes it 28 days, or 4 weeks.
It isn’t exactly 5 weeks (as in 35 days), but it was the tail end of one week, and the beginning of another, so I thought of it as 5 calendar weeks in my head, when the actual weeks by numbers is really 4.
I am making this long-winded note because I don’t want to redo the infographic. *sigh*
Update 2: Damn it. DAMN my OCD self. I updated it to say 4 weeks.
Here’s what the budget looks like in terms of percentages:
As you can see, flights and hotels obviously cost a lot more than everything else.
SAVING MONEY ON FLIGHTS = $800 SAVED
We took flights that had a stopover and that was about $400/ticket in savings.
Actually, this is probably better than a direct flight because it gives you a break from the plane.
Our flights were basically 2 legs: 15 hours, 3 hour stopover, 1 hour flight from somewhere in the U.S. back to Canada.
It gave us a nice break from the airplane, a chance to stretch, and either the first or the last leg was very short.
SAVING MONEY ON HOTELS = $720 SAVED
As mentioned, we stay in cheap hotels like Ibis.
There were two of them in Hong Kong — Ibis North Point and Ibis Sheung Wan, with the Sheung Wan location costing about $30 more per day.
We didn’t stay there because it was new and we didn’t know how big it would be (almost double the size of the Ibis North Point, and the size of an American-normal-sized budget hotel room).
As a result, we saved a lot by sleeping in a 120 square foot closet, also known as the Ibis North Point hotel.
SAVING MONEY ON FOOD = $935 SAVED
Food is the third biggest cost, and it could have easily been double if we had not been avoiding restaurants, and eating pre-made meals and buying fruit from a grocery store instead.
The hotels we stayed in also had mini fridges, so we bought milk for the morning and were able to keep small things in there.
A typical breakfast would be about $10 per person, and lunches and dinners are $20 per person, so had we been going out to eat every day for 24 days, it would have been $50/day per person on average.
24 days x $100 (for 2 people) = $2400 which is a reasonable budget for what we consider good food
(Also, we don’t like cheap or junk food when we go to restaurants because it’s crap, and if I’m going to a restaurant, it had better serve real food.)
Instead, we bought everything we wanted to eat (fancy yoghurts and sushi), and spent only $30.51 per person, or a little over half.
24 days x $61.02 (for 2 people) = $1464.48 is what we really spent
We saved about $935 doing that, although BF was getting antsy about the food costs near the end and wanted me to stop stuffing my trap so much.
SAVING MONEY ON TAXIS = $1000+?
We used the handy Octopus card, and spent $252.39 for the two of us to travel pretty much anywhere we liked in Hong Kong.
In contrast, taking a taxi would have probably tripled that budget, to about $1000. Or more.
$1000 / 24 days = $41.66 per day for transportation.
(We have no clue what it costs, as we don’t take taxis even in our daily lives, but if the prices are anything like in Toronto, it’s an expensive luxury.)
Cabbing to and from the airport, to and from sights and back and forth from the hotel adds up.
Anyway, the tram was way more fun and a great, cheap way to tour the city for the low price of $2.30 HKD or $0.29 USD!!!!!
TOTAL SAVINGS = ~$3455
Not too shabby.
Every little bit and every little sacrifice adds up to significant savings when you travel. That amount that we saved above, is enough for another week or two weeks somewhere.
Hong Kong is not exactly a Third World country, but it is not a country full of excesses like what I’ve been used to in North America even as a minimalist.
Traveling is one of the best educations a person can have, and I daresay it is far more valuable than going to college especially if you can’t make a decent living after all that student debt.
You don’t even need a lot of money to travel if you’re willing to stay in hostels and eat on the cheap.
(I have a whole rant on college building up in my head as we speak)
So far, this is what I’ve observed in Hong Kong in terms of necessity:
THEY DON’T OVER EAT OR EAT IN EXCESS
Being fat or obese here is a rarity, and it’s no small thanks to all the stairways, the tight spaces, public transportation that moves quite fast, and that people are not used to all-you-can-eat buffets.
They buy their food twice a day so that it is as fresh as possible for their lunch and their dinner, and they don’t really buy a lot of junk food.
A photograph I took in Hong Kong (2012) of a butcher in one of their outside wet markets
I do find the meat being outside, and not refrigerated being a health issue, but I guess if they haven’t died yet, it must be all right for a few hours….
The younger generation eats badly (I can see in their their pimpled, makeup-slathered faces), but I don’t see it as much in the older generation. They stick to their customs of boiled, steamed or fairly low fat foods.
There are old men here who are working past their 60s, with rock-hard abs and nary an ounce of fat in sight.
There is also a greater emphasis on tofu, vegetables, healthy soups in the morning (yuck, herbal soups make me gag), drinking teas and soy milk rather than soda.
They don’t eat unnecessarily, it seems. Or at the very least, they sure burn it off.
THE AVERAGE INCOME IS $1700 USD/MONTH
If you are willing to live far away from Hong Kong Island (or perhaps just across in Kowloon), you can grab a closet for about $300 – $500 USD / month.
If you want to live on the island (much like the island of Manhattan), it’ll run you about $2000 – $3000 USD / month.
What do we really need in a home, after all?
Due to necessity, they can’t really have a sprawling mansion, unless you are a millionaire many times over who can afford to live on The Peak.
SMALL, TIGHT SPACES ARE THE NORM
A photograph I took in Hong Kong just last week of some small apartments (2012)
For one thing, the hotel room I am in is 11 square meters. Yes. 11 square meters or 120 square feet.
Imagine walking in about 3 steps, and your bed is right there. No real space to manoeuvre.
Not even big enough for what some North Americans might call a decent-sized walk-in closet.
This hotel was a former apartment building, to be sure.
The ceilings are far too high, and we think that there used to be a ladder and a loft-space where you’d sleep up top, and a very small kitchen and living area where we now sleep.
I think it may have been apartments for singletons (the view is incredible), but I wouldn’t put it past the Chinese to live as a whole family in a space like this.
It made me think of how much space we’re all used to. When I watched HGTV, I would listen to people wrinkle their noses at a 2000 square feet, saying it was too small. They have NO IDEA what small is.
Even this is luxurious compared to how people in Japan live at times (hotel capsules, anyone?)
YOU DON’T CARE OR USE AS MUCH AS YOU THINK
As a traveler, you really start to realize that you just don’t care about how people see you. Out of necessity and for comfort, you simply don’t care.
Yes, I look like some crazy hobo, but I am making sure I don’t burn, and my feet don’t blister and hurt after 5 weeks of touring.
You also don’t use as much of what you packed as you think.
This is of course, what started my minimalism, but it’s so true.
I am currently living for 5 weeks on 3 tops, 2 bottoms, 1 pair of shoes and 2 pairs of socks (I rotate and wash nightly).
I’m thinking of cutting back on a top next time.
I am starting to see what I do and don’t use, which is helpful for packing the next time.
WHAT ELSE IS UNNECESSARY IN LIFE?
It started making me think about what else in my life was not really that necessary.
If people can live in 11 square meters (120 square feet) of space, and if I can live with just a few pieces of clothing (albeit a bit unhappily), we are certainly living with too much.
There is a lot of marketing noise about what to buy and how to live.
The worst I think, is the marketing of CLEAN.
These marketers would have you believe that you need anti-bacterial everythings, from towelettes to air fresheners just to live in this dirty, filthy world.
So why are all of the kids these days popping up with more and more allergies to everything under the sun?
Maybe it’s because we were ill-informed as to what an allergy really was, but I have a sneaking suspicion we are too clean as a society.
We need special, disposable, anti-bacterial towelettes to wipe down counters now, not some plain ol’ soap and warm water, which is in my (and many medical professionals) opinions that it is still THE BEST way to clean something.
Think about it — you wipe a counter with a towelette, that anti-bacterial stuff dries on it, your kid puts a sandwich on the counter afterwards (because children can be little piglets, as I once was) and ends up eating the chemicals from that towelette.
I find the following unnecessary for my life:
- Air fresheners — I do not need my home to smell like a basket of fruits exploded in a forest or that I am traipsing through a lavender field
- Detergents — I don’t use it 99% of the time; a little hot/warm water and agitation is enough
- Dryer sheets — My clothes aren’t full of static and I was once told that they use pig fat to give that nice, soft feeling
- Body washes — They really dry out my skin (I have eczema), so I use little shampoo if need be
- Antibacterial sanitizers — Kills 99.9% of germs, but not all germs are bad for you
- Cleaning agents — White vinegar, soap and warm water pretty much cures everything that ails
- Most face things — Under eye & wrinkle creams, I am a realist who doesn’t believe that stuff works
- A bed — I tried sleeping in a bed and felt uncomfortably high off the ground; I much prefer a Japanese futon
- Boxed and canned foods — It’s a luxury to be able to buy fresh food, let alone organic stuff
It’s kind of weird. I don’t buy ‘normal’ things that most North Americans buy, but I have electronic equipment up the wazoo.
WHAT DON’T YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE?
Traveling overseas always makes people groan because of the work involved to plan it, but also the cost of it.
On average, we spend about $1000/week each on vacation, which is at least the flight and hotels, but depending on what continent and country we visit, can include food, transportation AND entertainment.
This is by far NOT the super uber frugal way to travel, but I am traveling with some basic comforts in mind such as staying in known hotels (brands I’ve heard of) of at least 3 stars, in a central location.
That amount varies due to a few factors:
- Staying in one place or going from city-to-city
- If we have family to stay with
- Staying in low budget, but still decent hotels (around 3 stars)
- Flying economy, with a maximum of only 1 stop for a trip
- How expensive the city is in general (Sweden is more expensive than Portugal for instance)
Here’s the breakdown of how it works when I figure out a budget when I decide to travel:
When I book flights for the cheapest
Booking on Tuesdays at around 3 p.m. is apparently the best time, but I don’t really subscribe to that.
When I book for flights, these are the 2 main factors:
- Flying on a Tuesday (tends to be the cheapest day)
- Booking 6 weeks in advance (unless it’s in the summer when it gets crazy)
Flying on Monday, Friday, or the weekends are best avoided. It’s because a lot of business people fly on those days, and/or vacationers starting their holidays.
For the time of the flights, I HATE early morning or late night red-eye flights.
I know they are cheaper, but I don’t want to get stressed out trying to get to the airport on time when the subway isn’t running, or other factors I haven’t considered just to save a hundred bucks.
If I was saving $1000 just by flying at 11 p.m. instead of 11 a.m., sure why not? But I find the price difference is not that big enough for me to justify the hassle.
Overnight flights don’t count as ‘red-eye’ and being miserable, if I have to fly to let’s say Hong Kong, and it takes 15+ hours.
I care more about arriving at a good time to get settled in, hunt down some food because some stores are still open and so on.
I do not love the 2 a.m. arrival.
How I book flights
I play around with multi-city trips (layovers here and there), single flights added up to see if it’s cheaper than a multi-city flight, and if flying to another airport would end up cheaper in the end as long as it isn’t inconvenient.
For instance, I usually fly from Toronto, but what if I flew to Vancouver, and then from Vancouver, flew to Hong Kong?
That might shave off a few hundred dollars, and I wouldn’t mind the break in between flying Toronto to Vancouver (5 hours), before the long trek across the ocean to Hong Kong.
I also check to see if going to other airports is cheaper. Newark in New Jersey is a popular airport to fly into when going to New York City, but it costs almost double in transportation to go to Manhattan.
$80 versus $40 if you take cabs, considering that they charge a very unfriendly $12 toll crossing from NJ to NY, and it’s almost 45 minutes in a cab versus 20 minutes from La Guardia, depending on traffic.
I’d rather not fly into Newark, so that I can just take the bus and subway to get to my hotel ($2.25, wuh-what!?), although this is more a choice out of convenience and health than it is cheapness, because I don’t want to travel any more than I have to, especially if the landing was rocky.
Public transportation doesn’t trigger my motion sickness as much as taxis do.
Other amenities I am willing to pay for
Exit row seats. The legroom for tall people (like BF) is really nice, especially on super long flights.
I also try to pick my seat so I don’t get stuck near the bathroom, or near the kitchenette areas on the plane.
I also think it goes without saying that YOU NEVER CHECK IN ANY BAGS. EVER.
It not only costs money, you can lose everything.
I have never lost a bag, but that’s because I’ve only checked in suitcases about 4 times in my entire life (forced to).
I always have everything I need in a carryon and a purse, and I pack as light as possible, knowing that
I could….. I mean I may… Okay FINE. I will bring back something.
Why I don’t stay in hostels or Air BNB
It’s a personal preference. I like 3-star or higher hotels, as long as they’re worldwide brands because service is generally consistent around the world, and I’m not surprised when I arrive.
Plus, if I’m unhappy, I can call a corporate office.
It’s harder to argue with a manager of an independent hotel who isn’t interested in your repeat business if you are unhappy.
What kind of hotels I book
- 3-star or higher (tends to be the minimum in terms of service/amenities I like)
- Brand I recognize
- ..preferably a brand I collect points with
- Location, location, location!
For instance, if I traveled to New York City for a trip, but I would stay in New Jersey and commute each day by ferry an hour just to get to Manhattan, then I am not interested.
I’d rather pay $30/night more just to be centrally located so that I don’t have to think:
UGH. It’ll take me an hour to get back to the hotel, and it’s already 9 p.m.
Then I want to maybe shower, relax… I won’t be sleeping until midnight.
I also look for hotels near public transportation, as I generally avoid taking taxis (I consider it in my personal life to be a ripoff, so I keep the same philosophy when I travel).
If I HAVE to take a taxi, I will, but I am not budgeting for it if it’s a city where I can avoid it within reason.
How I book hotels
I always check the general price of hotels on travel sites, but ultimately, I book directly with the hotel.
I do this, because if you go through a travel site (let’s say Hotels.com), I’ve noticed 3 things:
- They don’t give you good rooms — they have specific ‘travel site’ rooms near elevators or pipes
- You have to still negotiate and talk directly with the hotel if things go wrong
- Hidden fees — fully refundable is not always true in all cases
If you go directly with the hotel, you are very clear on whether it is refundable or not, and you might even get the same deal (or better) through them.
Not only that, you get hotel points with them, so you can stick to one budget-friendly brand or groups of brands, and rack up enough points for a night or two.
How much I budget for hotels
About $100 a night is reasonable as an estimate to start. Some hotels in very expensive cities will jump up to $120 – $150 for a ‘budget’ hotel, and then I have to make a decision to stay there less to fit my budget, or pay more money.
I start by looking at all the hotels in that city, and the price of a budget hotel like Best Western or Holiday Inn. From that benchmark of what it costs, I browse the rest of the hotels to see if there’s something better for about the same price, from a brand I’ve heard of.
Also, please note that BF and I split the cost of everything including hotels. This saves quite a chunk of change in the budget, so when a hotel costs $100/night, we’re really paying $50/night each.
Hotel brands I like
- IBIS Hotels — Part of the Accor Group; it’s a budget-friendly brand I stay with a lot
- Candlewood Suites — This is only for the U.S., but it’s a decent hotel with a kitchen to cook in
- Marriott Residence Inn — Kitchen or a kitchenette is really nice to be able to cook basic meals
Otherwise, I don’t mind staying at independent hotels as long as they are 4 stars or higher — Tiara in Lisbon for instance, is very nice.
Photograph I took in Lisbon, Portugal
I always budget for this, but I also consider that if I stayed in my home city, I’d be paying for food too. So my budget is about $600/month for food (just for myself, organic, fancy schmancy stuff).
I start with that as a base amount, and then I double it because we’re in a foreign country.
BF and I are also not fans of eating in restaurants. Sure, if it’s something incredible, why not? Otherwise, we’re interested in (clean) street cart food (in China we avoided those carts), grocery stores, and assembling food in the hotel like making sandwiches or eating ready-made meals.
Restaurants are nice once in a while, but 80% of the time, the food they serve you is not worth what you’re paying, especially when you know you can make it better at home for a better quality with larger portions.
We’ve also been known to spend about $200 equipping ourselves with a burner, basic frying pan, and utensils to cook in our hotel room. Not recommended if you aren’t used to cooking, but let me tell you…. we made some delicious, basic meals doing that.
Otherwise, we try to book places with kitchens so we don’t spend $15 on a breakfast we can cook or make ourselves for $5.
We always have a few hundred books for entertainment. This includes museums, temples, or anything we know ahead of time we’d like to see.
I usually research the places beforehand, get the approximate cost of the tickets, and then add a 50% contingency.
As I said, we don’t take taxis as a rule when we travel (even going to and from the airport), so I usually estimate about $5/day for public transportation.
1) Cabs in North America are awful
The cabs are crap in North America, when you think about the Mercedes and wonderfully kept cars in Westernized countries in Europe (even Portugal).
Here, cabs are old, they squeak, they drive like they are learning for the first time, and it’s dirty inside for the most part.
But even in Europe or other countries, I am not in the middle of nowhere that I need to take a cab.
2) I don’t take cabs as a rule
I haven’t taken a taxi in my personal life for about 15 years now.
Every time I’m out late (past 10 p.m.) and I am tired, I will sometimes have a fleeting desire to take a cab back home.
Every single time I think about taking a cab back home because I don’t want to wait for the bus, I think:
But it’s $2.25 for a subway ticket, rather than $30 for a cab ride.
That’s SO CHEAP. I could take 12 subway rides for the price of one taxi.
…then I tough it out, tell myself not to be lazy, and I take the subway.
Of course, I also live in very safe cities, so I am never worried about being hassled when I am out. If I were in a more dangerous city, I’d take a cab instead for my safety.
For business, I always take the cab to get to the airport, or around the city, because it isn’t my money and I don’t have leisurely (client) time to waste by taking the subway.
Otherwise, if it’s my time, I’m cheap enough to want to save that $27.75 per trip.
I don’t want to pay more than what I have to.
HONG KONG TRIP: ESTIMATION AND ACTUAL
For our upcoming trip to Hong Kong, I applied the above rules in this order.
General Base Cost of a Week on a Trip = $1000/week
We wanted to stay 3 weeks, so it’d be $3000 in per person, or $6000 together for the whole trip.
That became our budget for the whole trip.
We then discussed that staying a week in Macau might be nice instead of ferrying back and forth 2 days a day, so the hotel costs might be different (higher or lower), and we’d have to plan the timing correctly to make sure we don’t waste money.
On that budget of $6000 for 2 of us:
- Hotel: $2800
- Flight: $3000
TOTAL = $5800
Let’s say $6000, to round up as we weren’t sure when we would want to go and what we would do for going to Macau or not.
Fixed Cost Research: Flights & Hotels
At this point, I can only control the Hotel and Flight costs. I can look back on my notes for transportation, but the basics have to be there: Can I afford to go for 3 weeks on $6000 to 2 cities?
I always start with the flight, because you need the ticket cost to understand what is left of your budget for the hotel. It came out to:
Flight: $2174.40, which is $625.60 CHEAPER
A full $600+ below what I expected! BF and I then concluded we would increase our total budget by a little, and stay a FOURTH week in addition so that we get to go to Macau.
We could still do 3 weeks with Hong Kong and Macau, but we were taking into account the jet lag which would take up 3-4 days to overcome while in Hong Kong.
Changed our minds and added a week
Now with 4 weeks, everything will go up, including the hotel cost, and our confirmation that we would stay a week in another city aside from Hong Kong.
Our original budget of $2800 for 3 weeks = $933.33 a week
$933.33 x 4 weeks = $3733.33 as the new budget
Hotels: $3834.08 for 4 weeks or $100.75 MORE than estimated
We did some searching on Ibis hotels, and what we could reasonably expect to pay in Hong Kong and Macau, and it was in the range of what we expected.
We ended up at only spending $100.75 more than our estimation at 4 weeks, which is not a bad deal at all.
TOTAL FIXED COSTS: $6008.48
Wow. Not bad at all.
Only $8.48 over.
We budgeted $6000 for 2 cities for 3 weeks, increased it by a week, and still stayed around the $6000 range.
Variable Cost Research: Food, Entertainment & Transportation
Our variable expenses are more easily controlled than fixed dates for flights and hotels.
4 weeks x 7 days x $40/day* = $1120 x 2 people = $2240
$40/day = My $600/month food budget divided by 30 days, multiplied by 2 because we’re traveling
$1.20 per trip x 4 trips a day x 4 weeks x 7 days = $134.40 x 2 people = $268.80
TOTAL ESTIMATED VARIABLE COSTS: $3008.80
Let’s say $3000.
This still doesn’t include shopping, however
TOTAL ESTIMATED TRIP COST: $9008.48 for 2 people
$6008.48 + $3000 = $9008.48 for the 2 of us
Each person, it’s about $4504.24 for 4 weeks in Hong Kong and Macau.
$4504.24 x 4 weeks = $1126.06
That’s just around the average of $1000/week (slightly higher, as the $1K is a rough estimate) per person traveling overseas, the way we do it.
What contributes to that extra $126.06 a week is:
- we decided to take a very nice hotel for part of the time
- for the month of October, the IBIS hotel was sold out on the weekends, which monkey wrenched our timing slightly.
I’ll update once we actually go on the trip to say what we spent.
- Google Online Matrix Flight Fare
- Hotels.com (Owned by Expedia, just for checking rates, and/or booking through them or not)