En Route…

Screenshot 2018-05-14 16.04.58

Greetings from another airline club, a leftover perk from my pre-austerity days. I am heading to a small eastern European country for a conference. In order protect my secret identity I can’t tell you where. Suffice it to say that the cost of a meal out is about the cost of a New York diner. That should narrow things down.

At this point in my academic year, with all the traveling I’ve been doing, I’ve got less than $1500 left in my research account. And I’ve got this European trip and one more. Airfare is already covered, so that leaves hotel, food, and taxis.  In years past, I wouldn’t blink an eye and just say, well, whatever exceeds funds can be a tax write off. I have tax-written-off expenses to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. Good-bye to that rationalization.

So for this trip I have budgeted $280 of my own money for a week of inside the city travel and meals. Even though it’s a work trip, I’ve used miles to make the most of my diminishing research budget, which can still cover my lodging. That lodging includes a lovely breakfast which is oh so much better than what is billed as a “continental breakfast” in the United States. American hotel goers, rise up in discontent over that sad bowl of pastries! Maybe I’ll snap a pic and share.

So, yes, I’m traveling for a week in Europe on just $280 of my own money, which I will deduct from my taxes as a business expense, but not a dime more. Instead of hailing Ubers, I plan on walking a lot. Instead of picking up the tab for my colleagues, I’m going to order modestly and pay just my part. I’m going to make use of the local markets to keep food in my fridge for mid-day and late-night snacks, including maybe some cheap eastern european wine.

I am hoarding the rest of my research funds for my next trip in June to another European country, this time on the Mediterranean. More on that later.

P.S. So that the family would not go crazy in my absence by shopping at Whole Foods, I cooked ahead and bought cheap stuff with meal plans tacked to the fridge. I thought of installing a secret camera to spy on them but ran out of time.


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