Category Archives: Travel

What to pack

Traveling can actually be quite a hassle.  Or, it can be a forced rest.  Sometimes, sitting on a plane with nothing to do sounds nice.

Every time I travel, I am always envious of the the cool, carefree travelers with one backpack.  I am not envious when I watch the travelers who couldn’t decide what to pack… and, so they decided to bring it all.

Have you ever found yourself wondering exactly what you should bring on a trip?

Now, you no longer have to wonder.

Bookmark this page: https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/packing-light/ricks-packing-list.  Next time you travel, you will be glad you did.

My family and I have used Rick Steves packing checklist for years.  Keeps us from bringing too much.  It also keeps us from forgetting important essentials.

Here is the checklist itself: https://d3dqioy2sca31t.cloudfront.net/Projects/cms/production/000/014/077/original/586156d1a1849a3cb0a2bc1b10693ba1/RickStevesPackingList.pdf

As Rick Steves says, “Remember to pack light to enjoy the sweet freedom of true mobility. Happy travels!”

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Have a happy Saturday!
Dwane

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Every Saturday, I send out a tip of the week.  I also include announcements, upcoming classes, and so on.  If you would like to hear from me every weekend, sign up for my weekly updates here:

On the road…

I will not be responding to email this afternoon and I will not be responding on Tuesday, August 1.

When we flew to Athens, Greece we flew out of Miami, FL.  We left our car parked there.  We were going to fly back into Athens later and drive home.

Then, when my son’s accident happened, we skipped Miami and flew to Denver, Colorado.

We never did go pick up our car in Florida.

This afternoon, I am flying down to Miami.  Tomorrow, I will be on the road all day as I drive home.

It’s not all bad.  It is my plan to catch up on Coffee Break Italian.   I am really looking forward to the drive, actually.  I could use some intensive Italian training.

If you are around…

As everyone knows by now, my son survived a brutal car accident on April 13.  Three months tomorrow.

While we were in Denver, there were several fundraising parties thrown in our honor… in Franklin.

One of my girls complained.  They are throwing parties for us in our own hometown, and we don’t even get to go!

Heh.  That’s true, actually.

Since we have returned, my wife has decided to throw several parties to celebrate God’s mercy on my son and on our family.   If you know the story, you know that it is a miracle that my son is alive.

If you are around, consider yourself invited.  Even if you are not around, consider yourself invited.

The first party will happen tomorrow night (from 4 to 7ish) at McCreary’s Irish Pub in downtown Franklin.

The second will take place in a local park on July 25th.   More details soon.

Protect yourself before you go.

One of the great inventions of the modern world is insurance.  (I know.  I know.  It’s also one of the great nuisances of the modern world.)  But, think about it.  By pooling your resources with others, you can protect yourself from massive financial setbacks.

By now, all of you know that my son was in an accident in Colorado.  His accident brought my family back from Athens, Greece.  I had gone there to study Greek intensively.

When we heard of the accident, I immediately went online and bought a ticket for my wife.  She was on a plane for Colorado eight, or so, hours later.

My girls and I stayed in Athens.  We waited for more news.  How serious was the accident?  How badly was my son injured?

As news slowly filtered in, we realized the situation was, indeed, quite serious.  We settled all of our affairs in Athens and boarded a plane 24 hours behind my wife.

Last minute flights for myself, my wife, and my girls cost roughly $2,000 each.  So… $12,000.  With airport taxes and such, it was actually a bit higher than that.

Before our trip, my wife had purchased travel insurance for the family.  It cost $158.

This week, Allianz Global Assistance refunded the entire amount.  They deposited a little more than $12,000 directly into our checking account.

I am a bit of a complainer when it comes to taxes and insurance.  I shouldn’t complain, I know.  But… it feels so good.

Maybe I will stop complaining now.  Those $158 dollars my wife spent now numbers among our top 10 purchases for $158.

If you are traveling alone, you could possibly justify the risk of going without travel insurance.

But, if you are traveling with a family, do it.

And, if you are going to purchase travel insurance, consider Allianz Global Assistance.  They were easy to work with, and they upheld their end of the bargain.

Have a happy Saturday!
Dwane Thomas

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Athens, Greece, Georgia and the prices I charge.

People often ask me, “How can you afford to move to, and live in Europe?”

It’s simple.  Europe is about 40% cheaper than the United States.

I received an email offer from Holiday Lettings.   You could stay in California for about $110 per night.  Texas for about $75.

And… Italy?  Tuscany, Italy?  THE Tuscany, Italy that everyone dreams of visiting?

You could stay there for about $50 per night.

Here’s a fun one.

I went to Airbnb.com.  I plugged in the dates for this weekend.  June 29 – July 3.

I picked two cities.  Athens, Georgia and Athens, Greece.

This is what I got:

The average price for a place to stay in Athens, Greece this weekend is $66.

The average price for a place to stay in Athens, Georgia this weekend is $295.

Not to put too fine a point on it… America is expensive.  The rest of the world is available at a discount…. for the most part.  There are always exceptions, of course.

Flying to Europe is expensive.   Living there is not.

As Tim Ferris points out in the Four Hour Workweek, “… if you can escape the confines of the United States, you will find your money is worth five to ten times as much.”

This, by the way, is why I offer my classes at low prices.  I was born in Europe.  I was raised in Europe.  I am still a British citizen.

I have a very hard time charging high prices just because I am also an American citizen.

Tired of paying too much for online classes?  Want to join any of my classes?  Just click the button below: 

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Oh, and one more thing.  Athens, Georgia… you are Athens, Georgia.  You need to stop acting like you are THE Athens.

You aren’t.

How my son is doing.

Many of you have asked how my son is doing.

For those who don’t know, my son, Jackson, nearly died on April 13, 2017, when the 15 passenger van he was driving flipped on I-70.  He was just west of Strasburg, Colorado.

Here is the newspaper article where the picture appears: http://i-70scout.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/04-18-2017-Full-Edition.pdf

He and a friend, Mitchell, were heading home.  They had finished a photography road trip out west.  You can look at some of their pictures if you like.

You can see some of their pictures if you like.

Here is Jackson’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jacksonkthomas/

Here is Mitchell’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mitchell_mullins/

My son was critically injured.  Miraculously, he survived.  Even more miraculously, he is recovering at a ridiculous rate.  We are so grateful.

My wife, Gretchen, has been blogging through the entire ordeal.  You can follow her updates here:

https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jackson.thomas?utm_source=SilverpopTransact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Repeat%20Author%20Autoresponder%20(10.24.16)

As for me, I’m not blogging through the events the way I would like.  Had to get back to work.

Travel books?

I received this question from one of my students:

I was wondering if there were any books you would recommend which you or your family members may have read in preparation to travel and live in a different country.

Hope you are enjoying Greece so far! I am loving your daughter’s blog. You guys are in my prayers.

Here is my reply:

Hi!

I apologize for the delay. Recovering from a family emergency as you probably know.  Finally catching up this evening…

My kids get annoyed with me because I am really only interested in Europe.  They tell me the world is bigger than Europe, but I don’t believe it.  I grew up over there, and I love it.

That said, my favorite travel book is by Rick Steves.  Europe through the back door.  It is more of a tourist book, but I find it helpful and interesting.  

My favorite book about a traveler is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

One of the most useful books on travel I have ever read is Vagabonding, by Ralph Potts.  This one comes with a PG-13 warning, at least.  Perhaps R.  Overall, it is great.  But, there are moments….  We try very hard to travel cheaply.  This book helps with that.  

I hope that helps!

This may be a great question for Lydia, too.  I’ll bet she has her own list.

Have a great night!

Dwane Thomas