Hi friends! Did you miss us? After two weeks away from our blog and out of the country, we’re back! So where did we go and what did we do? And most importantly, how much did it cost us?
Before we begin, we want to point out that while this trip did cost a substantial amount of money, travel (especially to visit family) is a priority for us and is a luxury we choose to spend money on. Now that that’s out of the way, read on.
With yom tov in the middle of the week this year, Pesach seemed to be the perfect opportunity vacation-day-wise for a two week trip to visit Fiona’s parents and the kids’ faraway grandparents in the US. We’re fortunate that they live in a nice big house in Midwestern suburbia, with plenty of room to host us, and a yard full of squirrels, rabbits, exotic (to our Israeli eyes) birds and deer twice the size of our dog. And next door neighbors who allowed us full use of their swing set. 😉
While roundtrip flights from Israel to the US for Pesach can go for up to $2,000 a piece, we managed to snag a good deal back in August for $1,100 per person. The flight included a brief layover in Europe on the way back, which was less than ideal because it added a third leg, but it saved us about a thousand dollars in total. As this was our first time booking four seats, it was particularly important to us to find a good deal.
On our first full day on the ground – Erev Pesach – we popped over to the local Social Security office to apply for a Social Security card for our son (for the second time), as the Embassy here in Israel finally admitted to losing our application 13 months after we submitted it. At our visit, we presented his American passport and CRBA, answered a few questions, and that was it. His card was delivered two days before the end of our trip. As we had used money we received from the American Child Tax Credit program to help pay for these tickets, we’re excited to be able to include both kids on our 2022 American tax return.
Since we were fortunate to have room and board covered, our biggest expense on the ground was admission to attractions. Unlike in Israel where we know how things work and have become experts at inexpensive outings, we don’t know the discount hacks in the US. So we ended up paying full price for visits to an educational farm where our Israeli kids met pigs for the first time, a children’s museum, a baseball game (thanks grandparents for babysitting!), and the planet Mars, apparently.
In addition, we also spent money on expensive snacks at the airport, pre-Pesach donuts, unhealthy Pesach nosh, copious amounts of bananas and grape tomatoes, train tickets from the suburbs to downtown and back twice, a post-Pesach Walmart run, and post-Pesach pizza and ice cream. In total we spent $530 on the ground, which seems like a lot until we remind ourselves that had we hosted seder, paid for two weeks worth of (Pesach) groceries here in Israel and gone on Israeli chol hamoed outings, we may have spent just as much – or more. And while we usually have our dog stay with friends for a few days at a time when we’re away, this time we spent 1,400 shekels on a dogsitter, who was home with her and doted on her the whole time we were away.
More important than anything above, we got to spend a good chunk of time with (grand)parents who we don’t see often. It was great reliving childhood memories with our own kids and watching their bonds with their grandparents grow.
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and couldn’t have done it without our wonderful hosts. We love you and thanks so much for having us. We hope to see you again soon. ❤
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