This is part of a series where I break down the costs for airfare and lodging for a specific trip, as well as how much PTO time was spent. I am not including costs for food and activities as those prices fluctuate based on traveler preferences. In general, you can assume that airfare and lodging will be the bulk of your costs. All prices are in US dollars.
Thanks to one of the many Facebook travel pages I follow, one day a deal on Turkish Airlines popped up in my feed. It was for a round trip flight from Chicago to Aqaba, Jordan that allowed for a stop in Istanbul. I’d never heard of Aqaba, but a quick Google search told me that it was super close to the ancient site of Petra. That was all I needed to see. Chicago to Aqaba, with a long layover in Istanbul on Turkish Airlines: $463 round trip.
So…. I always recommend considering flights that depart from nearby large cities. It’s sometimes cheaper to fly to the nearest large city and then catch a flight overseas than it is flying directly overseas from your smaller airport. But you have to do this carefully, because it can backfire, like it did to me.
I booked the Chicago-Aqaba fares for over the Thanksgiving holiday. We always travel over Thanksgiving, so that’s standard enough. But I forgot to take into account that Americans will be traveling like crazy over Thanksgiving, so the fares are hiked up. Which means the flight from Minneapolis to Chicago was ridiculous: $356. We were lucky that my husband had a free voucher for airfare – so he and I paid full price, and our son flew for free. That brought our entire airfare up to $819 per person, which still isn’t terrible considering we went to Turkey and Jordan. But still…!
Lesson learned: When booking overseas flights during busy holiday travel days, book deals that depart from your home airport.
We booked a 2-bedroom Airbnb in the Beyoglu neighborhood. Beyoglu is a busy, vibrant neighborhood right across the Bosporus from the historic center of Istanbul. Our Airbnb was within walking distance of both the historic center and the major pedestrian shopping street of Istiklal, so it was a great location. It also had an absolutely amazing view. Our bed was nestled up against the window, so every morning I only had to raise my head an inch off the pillow to see the city skyline. And all at only $72 per night (includes cleaning and service fee)
We splurged when we reached Jordan. I’m becoming a person who likes to mix a little bit of both worlds into my trips – a few days of living like a local, catching public transportation and navigating on our own, and a few days of luxury digs where we’re pampered by staff and get private drivers to cart us around. Movenpick Resort and Residences – Deluxe Room with Sea View: $173 per night.
My husband, son and I took this trip together. I’m splitting costs by two for the purposes of this breakdown. All prices are in US dollars.
Airfare Chicago – Istanbul – Aqaba roundtrip on Turkish Airlines: $463 per person
Airfare Minneapolis – Chicago on Delta: $356 (damn that hurts to type)
Airbnb in Istanbul for 5 nights: $360
Resort in Aqaba for 3 nights: $520
Total airfare per person: $819
Total lodging for 8 nights: $880 (split between 2 persons: $440)
GRAND TOTAL FOR ONE ADULT: $1,259
Paid over the course of: 3 months
PTO time: 5 days