Buon Viaggio

My Italian grandmother gave Chuck and I an offer we couldn’t refuse.

At almost 90 years old it’s unlikely that she will be able to make the trip from Florence, Italy to Long Island for my wedding. After nearly 30 years of “commuting” between the two countries, she finally settled back in Florence a few years ago. Knowing a trip was unlikely, she offered to pay for our plane tickets to Florence as a wedding present.

How could we not go? Who wouldn’t want to go to Italy on their honeymoon?

The problem is Chuck’s undiagnosable stomach condition that puts him into the hospital at unpredicted times (anyone know a real Dr. House?). It’s hard enough dealing with American hospital staff, though the health care would probably be better in Europe, but I’ll stop before this turns into a rant about the state of the American health care system. Because of this fear we’ve been looking to stay within the 50 states.

Staying local not only gave us the security of being near an American hospital and under the insurance we’ll hopefully have by then, but it also keeps the cost low.

A flight from Raleigh to West Palm Beach could cost as little as $99 each way. A flight to San Diego on the left coast is about $159 each way. Compare that to the few hundred it would cost to head somewhere internationally, and you’re looking a large savings.

That’s not to mention the cost of a passport, which neither of us have ($100 each) and a difference in the exchange rate. A dollar in Florida is the same as a dollar in North Carolina.

We could also hop in our car and take a road trip. Chuck and I are two hours from the Outer Banks and no one said a beach had to be in the Caribbean to be romantic. By staying within a day’s drive, we cut down on the flight all together. We also exclude the need for a rental car. That’s a savings of more than $500 right there.

Chuck and I are very fortunate and thankful for my grandmother’s offer and hope that we can take her up on it, but if we decide it’s too risky I’ll be happy being anywhere I can see an ocean.

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