I’ve been on vacation for about 10 days (having written articles ahead to auto-post while I was gone). Thanks to those who commented while I was gone, and to MS Mom’s Money for making sure my blog wasn’t overtaken by spammers. We went to Rome and Venice, and had a great time.

We normally pack light, but I unintentionally learned that the three of us could get by with packing even lighter, since our suitcases were lost and we realized just how little we really needed. (And how few clothes we actually have; we’ll be wearing dressy clothes to work if our luggage doesn’t show up, since that’s about all we have now.) I also got to experience spending time in a pretty cash-based society, which was a major switch for me.

It was strange to see people thumbing through fifties and hundreds, and to have withdrawal requests at the ATMs start at €50 instead of $20. (I assume because people spend so much more cash.) For someone who might normally have 20 cents on me, walking around with one or two hundred Euros was unnerving. And cash flowed from my hand like water, even though I only spent €10 in cash on physical items. Most of the cash was spent on transportation (a city pass in Rome, and passes for the vaporettos in Venice) and meals (gelato counts as a meal too, right?). I’ve been saving for this trip for a long time, so I had a spending-money budget of $100 per day for myself and my son combined (which I stayed under). The most expensive parts of the trip were the flights, the apartments we rented and the boarding bill for our dog when we got home ($400, ouch!).