Sabbatical and a New Car

I’ve been working at Constant Contact since March of 2005. One cool benefit we have is a paid one month sabbatical (in addition to regular vacation) after ten years of service. Around the holidays last December it occurred to me that mine was coming up and I ought to start thinking about how to spend it.

Anne and I have done only a little overseas travel. We went to Vienna, Budapest and Prague in 2000, had a long weekend in London right before I started at Constant Contact in 2005 and went to Paris for a week in 2013. But having a month seems like a perfect chance to do some European travel before retirement. Anne has been at least temporarily retired from paid employment for the last couple of years, so we don’t have to worry about time off for her.

For various reasons, Italy and Germany are the first two countries on our list. Around the time I was thinking about this, I remembered reading about European Delivery—buying a European car and picking it up at the factory. I’d had my eye on the BMW 2 Series for a while, so I looked into BMW’s program. Turns out you can order a car through a US dealer, pick it up in Munich, drive it for up to five months and drop it off at one of several locations in various parts of Europe. BMW will then ship it to the US and redeliver it to your dealer six to eight weeks later. Its a US-spec car, and all the registration, insurance and shipping details are taken care of as part of the program. Even better, the car costs less than buying it normally. (If you don’t count the cost of the trip!)

So early in January we headed to a dealer for a test drive. Our first test drive was a five mile loop with the salesman in the back seat. When I asked the dealership for a longer test drive they told me it wasn’t possible. In the mean time I had been researching the car and the program in online forums. The folks at Bimmerfest pointed me to Alex Dytko at BMW of Peabody. Alex let us take a 228i for a two hour test drive that sold us on the car. We negotiated a reasonable deal and generally has made the process so far very smooth. Here’s the car I ordered:

I’ll write more about trip planning soon.

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