Hello nmac, and welcome to the Camera labs forum!
Well, well! You sound like me when I set my eyes on the D80. The availability of the 18-200VR was much worse in those days. So I bought the body and thought and thought.
Finally I gave up and went for the 18-200mm, because:
- Image stab
- No need to carry around a bag with another lens
- No loss of valuable time as you don't need to switch lenses
- Less risk of aquiring dust
- having the best super-zoom with a DSLR
And yes, you're right. Even below 70mm the VR helps a lot: avoids shake, lets you shoot at lower ISO=lower noise!
That's all you need to make your trip a fantastic experience!
Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews
, My Pictures
, My Photography Blog