Monday, December 26, 2011

Planning to Head “Down Under” in 2012

You know you are hooked on travel when you are making airline reservations before opening gifts on Christmas morning. 

But then, at our house, we think travel is the best gift we give ourselves. . .so in a way, we were opening a gift.

Our plans are to head “Down Under”  in 2012 to explore areas we’ve never been and along the way we will visit an old favorite, Singapore, a place where we celebrated New Year's Eve 28 years ago. 

It’s a trip that will guarantee we won’t  be home for Thanksgiving and will barely be back and over jet lag by Christmas. (Note to friends: the cards and gifts will be late).
DSCF2235It’s a long way off, or so it sounds right now, but it was even more futuristic back when we set the trip in motion eight months ago. It began with a $200 deposit on a future cruise, paid while we were sailing across the Atlantic in May on Celebrity’s Solstice. 
Frequent Flyer Seats

The reason we were making airline reservations on Christmas Day is because we are using frequent flyer (FF) miles to get us to Singapore and back home from Bali, Indonesia.  As those of you who use FF miles know, you can’t sit back and wait if you want to nab those precious seats – especially for flights around the holidays.

DSCF2366Thanks to Joel’s diligence  (it took calls made over a three-day time span to book the flights because of  time changes we’ll experience on our return flight)  we will fly to San Francisco on Alaska Air and there connect with Cathay Pacific which will take us to Asia. That airline will also return us to Vancouver, B.C. and we will fly Alaska Air home.   The Asia flight is some 14 hours so we’ve each used 100,000 Alaska Air miles to secure Business Class seats. . .which will make the flight almost fun.
 
Money Saving tip: we spent 100,000 air miles each and about $100 in taxes and fees.  To put that in perspective, a Business Class round-trip ticket from San Francisco to Singapore costs $6,018.75 per person! We got a good deal to our way of thinking.

The Cruise

The cruise will depart Singapore and over the course of 17 days will take us to Sydney, with several  ports of call along the way. We’ll spend a few days in Sydney then head to Bali. It’s a six hour flight between those two cities. . .somehow I thought it was closer. 

Money Saving Tip: We’d made reservations for a cabin in Concierge Class – the one that offers a some special amenities on board – but a recent cruise sale email from our travel agency caught Joel’s eye . . .with a quick phone call, he got us  moved to a regular cabin – same size  as Concierge Class – saving us $1,800 on the price of the cruise. (We can buy a lot of ‘amenities’ with that savings!)

We know ‘life happens’ and plans can change – final payment for the cruise isn’t due until next September which means changes can still be made until then. The airline seats can be cancelled (for a fee) and the FF miles returned to our accounts.  But for now our gift is open: the planning, reading, research and dreaming begins. 

So blogosphere friends, do you have some recommendations for us as we begin to plan? If so, please send us an email, travelnwrite@msn.com or jot a comment below.

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