As a teenager, my summers were spent going to band camp and traveling for band competitions across the United States. It was a defining point in my teenage years and helped form me to the person I am today.
When my youngest daughter asked me if she could visit a friend, to her surprise, I said yes. I knew that this was an opportunity that could help shape her view of the world and would figure out a way to make this happen.
Normally, I take my time planning vacations. I do a ton of research to find a good deal, location, and a place that we could all enjoy. This was a little bit different of a trip. She was visiting with friends and would be staying a whole month.
Unfortunately, her passport expired over three years ago. I had to rush around to get a new passport and with the rush, came a price! Before I could purchase tickets, I needed to know her passport would be ready, otherwise it would all be for nothing.
I went down to Walgreens and got a new passport photo, that was the easy part. Next was the decision to go to Miami, which is a 4-5 hour drive to get a passport directly from the Department of State or pay an agency additional fees to rush the passport. I decided between the driving, hotel, gas and other expenses, it would make more sense to pay for a passport service. The appointment was immediately at the local passport service office. They were able to guarantee the delivery two days before departure. Knowing this, I felt comfortable purchasing an airline ticket.
Attempting to find an airline ticket to Europe in the summer that was less then $2,000 was near impossible. I tried every trick I could come up with. Finally, using google flights, I started to look at other departures within the United States. After hours of searching, I found that there was a round trip flight from Philadelphia–> Iceland–> Germany for less then $700. I was able to find affordable tickets from Florida to Philly, making it less then any other flights. Another variation of this plan was to have her switch flights in Europe, such as a direct flight from US to UK and then a cheaper flight from the UK to DE. However, the risk of something going wrong was much higher. In the end, the flights all worked out and the stop over in Iceland was a pleasant change from the heat of Florida.
Germany, Austria, and France