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A Big Downer!!!!!!!! OUCH!!

Now the $$ is losing daily against the Euro. Per my post below I have until 12/31 to cancel my R/S tour and get my deposit back. Still no job but maybe something after 1st of the year. Just hoping something will finally go positive for a change. Thanks to everyone for your advice.

Have been planning my 19 day 09 trip to France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland for a year now. Trip is not until 9/09 but have booked airfare using advantage miles that I have been saving for 8 years, have booked several hotels, 2 days with Battlebus, and also paid deposit for 12 Day R/S tour. Everything going great until last Friday and I get laid off from work along with a few others. I hated that but more than anything hate the thought of missing this trip as I have been thinking of it for years but planning for over 12 months. Almost went postal with my boss. Have not canacelled anything yet and won't for while but this is the pitts. This trip was my 65th birthday present to myself.

Posted by
525 posts

I'm sorry to hear you were laid off from your job. Many people are feeling the pain along with you.
Don't rush on cancelling your trip. Take a deep breath, rest over the weekend and make a plan. Don't go for your Starbucks, don't go buy that little thing that you don't need. Be frugal. IF you have to cancel R/S tour that is a BIG chunk. You can do it on your own. Hopefully you can get the unemployment benefits soon so you can take your time to figure out what you want to do. September is a long time from now so you have time to "think". Good luck on finding another job and be sure to let your new employer know that you have this special trip planned. Oh yeah, don't forget to sign up for Medicare and Social Security!!! I've been in your shoes. You will survive for the better. B

Posted by
32273 posts


I'm also very sorry to hear that you've been laid off, especially considering your European trip plans. I agree with the previous post in that it might be better to wait for a few months before you make a decision on the trip (it sounds like that's what you're planning also?).

I don't suppose there was a severance package offered with the lay off? Most of the news reports I've heard in the last few days have speculated that conditions will improve by mid-2009, so perhaps you may be rehired before then, and still get your trip?

I sure hope this all works out for you. Good luck!

Posted by
3551 posts

So sorry to hear your bad news. If you need any budget help for your prob trip in 09 we on the graffiti board can help. Myself I can manage on $95 a day when 2 people share lodging and car rental. And poss much better now that xchg is in dollars favor. Hang in there TC , we are all wishing you well and a maiden voyage for 09.

Posted by
588 posts

Since you are going to be 65, can you apply for your Social Security? You can draw Unemployment and look for another job. I wouldn't cancel anything just yet.You won't have to make final payment on your RS tour until June or July. Be frugal. Good luck!

Posted by
11507 posts

TC, I too am sorry to hear about losing your job, frankly at your age shouldn't they have at least bought you off?? And , yes, what about some benefits like Old Age Security,, I am not sure what exactly Americans are entitled too. I too think that was pretty shabby of your boss, but, who knows , it may have been out of his hands too.

I also urge you to really think about NOT cancelling trip. I would skimp on so many other things before that. You have your health NOW, maybe in a few more years you won't( I am not trying to be a downer, but I know alot of people wait till retirement age to do some special trips, then find their health acts up and prevents them from their more adventurous dream trips)

I really really hope things work out for you, and I hope you do get to Europe, I don't think most of us will live to regret things we have done( good things obviously) , as perhaps the things we let slip by us ..

Posted by
1358 posts

I got laid off years ago, after I had won a coach ticket to Germany on Lufthansa. I was out of work for about 3 months. But I was determined to take that trip and not waste the plane ticket. We travel pretty cheaply, anyway, but it was still a big chunk of money. Long story short, we did take the trip after I found a new job. I had to buy travel clothes from the thrift store, but other than that, it was travel as usual.

Good luck, both with the job and the trip!

Posted by
400 posts

Oh TC, we were in the same boat just 2 yrs ago. My husband & I had an Italy trip planned with my son & his wife when my huband & I both lost our jobs(hows that for timing?). Although we told our son to go ahead with their plans, he said they would wait another year because he was sure we would find other jobs and things would look better soon. It took about 6 months for us both to be employed again but we did land up going the following year and had the time of our lives. Don't give up your dreams. Like others have said, you still have time. If the very worst happens and you find out you can't afford the trip anymore, go ahead with the portion of the trip you have planned and drop the RS tour. You already have the expensive part paid for (the airfare) and so why not go ahead and do a budget trip using RS guide books. Needless-to-say, you shouldn't give up your trip to Europe, but if need be, just cut back on it. Who knows though, as my son told me, things will turn around and get better again. Good luck!

Posted by
506 posts


So sorry to hear about this! Wishing you a quick turn-around in finding new employment. Certainly time to explore all options regarding Social Security and Medicare to make an informed decision.

I too encourage you to keep the trip on the schedule if possible. Will certainly be a memorable experience. I would however suggest you spend a bit of time (If you haven't already) exploring all the cancellation terms and policies of everything you've paid for, just in case you decide to postpone (not cancel!). For instance, for the Rick Steves Tour, in their terms and conditions it says

"Deposits for all 2009 tours received by 12/17/08 are 100% refundable until December 31, 2008, and after that time they are not refundable for any reason and will be forfeited if you cancel your tour reservation. All deposits received after 12/17/08 are 100% refundable for 2 weeks from the day received and after that time, the deposit will not be refundable for any reason and will be forfeited if you cancel your tour reservation."

So sounds like you have a bit of time to get your deposit back from RS. I'd call them just to confirm though. Also, Battlebus, you pay the day of the tour and there is no cancellation fees, but they would like to know asap. I'd check with your hotels too and see what their policies are.

Doing all of this will help minimize the loss and preserve well needed cash just in case you do need to postpone (not cancel!) your trip.

Posted by
91 posts

I'm so sorry to hear this. I had lost my job last year and we were cancelled part of our plans for Europe trip though we eventually went in Oct 2008 since I got a job after a gap of 3 months. I agree with everyone above: possibly wait a bit before you cancell. If anything, the trip will revive you!Everyone has such helpful suggestions above!

Posted by
208 posts

Thanks to everyone for the concern and positive thoughts. Only thing I could be out is $75 for a B&B deposit in Bayeux. R/S deposit is fully refundable until 12/31 so still have about 6 weeks. Might just cancel and watch the tour I want and re-book if it starts to fill up. That is the only tour that will match my flight dates. Nov & Dec is probably the worst time to try to find a job. Do have unemployment and last resort is social security. Am not destitute by any means but plans relvolved around saving each month for the trip. Air fare is free but everything else comes to about $5000 for the 19 days. If I find another job then may have a hard time getting off for that long even without pay. Will just take everyone advice and pray for something good to happen for a change. Thanks again for the positive thoughts and advice.

Posted by
809 posts

One suggestion for keeping your lodging costs down on the non-tour part of your trip is a group called the Affordable Travel Club. It's a hosting network for people over 40, so you have to see if their hosts are in the places you want to go, but the cost is around $20-30 for 2 people per night [including breakfast]. My directory shows 3 listings in Austria, more than 30 in France, 28 in Germany, and 4 in Switzerland. I have both hosted and been a guest. We stayed with a wonderful couple in London at a time when friends were paying $250 per night for their hotel, so the savings can be considerable. Even if you can only do it part of the time, it can save you a lot of money. But for me, meeting the people has been even better than the savings! [you can tell I'm an extrovert]. You don't have to host if it's inconvenient; I've hosted twice and turned people down 3 times because we were going to be out of town.
Keep your spirits up, and we'll all cross our fingers for you and hope you can find a way to go. Best wishes,

Posted by
19 posts

TC, I am so sorry to hear about your situation. I agree with above posts focus on the good - your health and your trip. Keep frugal, focused and positive. Keep the trip and celebrate your birth and know that it will all work out. Best of luck.

Posted by
1358 posts

TC, you may be surprised at being able to get the time off. After I got laid off, I had a time limit before I would lose my free ticket. When I interviewed for jobs, I told them of my travel plans, and no one had a problem with it. In fact, when I got a new job, I was in my office for a week, sent out of town for training for a week, and then off to Europe for 2 weeks. And if I remember right, I actually got paid for my weeks off.

Posted by
12200 posts

Go to the library and get the book "What color is your parachute?" It's a great book for job changers and will help a lot. It has some great advice to get past feeling you are "too young/old, too experienced/inexperienced" to find work. The best thing is to start right in making your job search your new full time job. Don't spend money on job services unless your former employer is paying. Use the library and friends as resources.

If you do this right, next September you will be in Europe wondering why you didn't change jobs sooner.

Posted by
75 posts


I do feel your pain. Last year this time, I got laid off... two weeks before our first scheduled trip to Paris.

We went anyway. We were careful with our money while we were there, and as a consequence, we came home with "seed money" for our upcoming trip in March 2009.

Stay positive, network a LOT and investigate every possibility in terms of new employment.

I do hope you don't have to cancel, but ...

And I did get a new job about 6 weeks after we got back. Better job and better people. Luckily we had some reserves to get us through the "money is tight" period.

I will think good thoughts for you and hope you get to go on your trip and find the new job you want.

Posted by
193 posts

My company was bought last March and moved out East from the Midwest. They wanted me to stay on until September to ease the transition. I said only if they send me and the Mrs. to Germany and Oktobefest for two weeks as part of my severance/retention bonus.
They gave me lemons so I had them make lemonade for me.
Good luck TC, make the most of your situation, and enjoy Europe (you'll be there).

Posted by
208 posts

Thanks to all who offered advice on my post shown below.