Planung nach Deutschland zu gehen (Hint: Google translate)

I recently learned that, due to a clerical oversight, I had an additional week of vacation from my “day job” which I would forfeit if I did not use by the end of the year. I decided to take the opportunity to book a trip to Frankfurt.

This time of year, which is known as “the shoulder season”, flights are cheaper than the summer or even when my wife and I were looking at traveling in September. Since we actually enjoy cooler, damp weather, going to Frankfurt in December is just fine.

During the shoulder season, fares represent a real value. When we were considering a September trip, round-trip passage on Lufthansa from Seattle (SEA) to Frankfurt am Main (FRA) was about $1,600 per economy ticket; the same flights in December – before the Christmas season – are less than $1,200.

I decided to use some of my accrued United Airlines MileagePlus miles and travel business class, which is always what I prefer for longer trips. In addition to traveling on a carrier I have not experienced before, which I always enjoy, being of German heritage will make Lufthansa a special treat. Of course, I will report my experiences, as I have for Spain’s IberiaAirlines, Japan’s ANA, and AmericanAirlines.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I could book my round-trip for 100,000 miles plus about $130 in fees: $108 for German airport security charges and transportation taxes and $22 for U.S. Customs and Immigration fees and a 9/11 security fee. Had I purchased that ticket, it would have cost $6,200, meaning my miles had a value of approximately $0.06 each; well above the generally accepted standard of $0.02 to $0.04 cents per mile.

In addition, hotel room nights will be more reasonable than during high season. I’m currently considering the hotel ranked #3 on TripAdvisor, the Hotel Hessischer Hof. While undergoing construction on the façade, any construction noise will be limited to the daytime hours, so I’m not concerned about that. In addition, the staff gets consistently high marks from other reviewers, and as I’ve noted before, excellent service can more than make up for shortcomings in the physical property. Within certain limits, of course, though the limits are different for every traveler.

Finally, a German neighbor of mine said I must take the S-Bahn (Schnellbahn, or high-speed train) and visit München (Munich). It will be a fairly short trip so we shall see what develops, but Deutschland awaits!

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