Paula and I have an online affiliate business as well as our Alanda Craft YouTube Channel and Website. As part of our business, we often attend conferences in the US and one upcoming conference that we were planning on attending was the Affiliate Summit in Las Vegas in January 2012. Unfortunately however, when it came time to book the tickets the cost of airfares had more than doubled for the time we wanted to go.
Meanwhile a friend of mine had recently returned from a trip to Europe and since we haven’t been there for quite a while now we decided to change our plans and hold off going in January and instead go in March to Europe with a side trip to the US on the way.
One of the best parts of travelling is the planning. And our trips to Vegas have become a little passe because we are so familiar with where we want to stay and what we want to do, so it doesn’t require a lot of planning. Often we just up and go at a moments notice and only book in for the first one or two nights before actually deciding what we want to do from there. Thank god for the internet, it makes travelling on the fly so easy.
Where to go?
The first thing we had to do was decide where we wanted to go. This is the exciting part as the trip evolves and changes. Its a long flight from Australia to Europe – around 23 plus hours so we decided to call by the US and break the trip there. We tossed around a few ideas and finally settled on 4 nights in Vegas to start. We haven’t been to Universal Studios so we looked at stopping in Los Angeles first, but that idea soon gave way to going to Universal Studios in Orlando, so that is to be the next stop.
Okay so where to from here. We decided it was about time we went back to Europe and that was how we arrived at Orlando as the return trip point for the Europe leg. We did consider New York because of the cheap fares to Europe from there, but when we weighed it all up there wasn’t much difference in the airfare to Paris.
Okay so now we have settled on Paris as the starting point in Europe. What next?
Paula wants to go to Prague and Vienna, I want to go to Mont St Michel and Barcelona. So we toss all the ideas around because we both want to do all these places so as usual there is no dissension and we decide to incorporate all the places into the trip. We are both so accommodating of the others wishes when we plan these trips that it sometimes takes a while to actually make a decision on anything.
So the plan now is to stay in Paris for a week then make our way down to Mont St Michel, stay a couple of nights and then carry on down to Barcelona to see Gaudi’s influence on the architecture. We are thinking of taking a look around at Perpignan and maybe even Carcassone on the way down to Spain. As we haven’t booked anything for these 20 days we can stop where we like.
Then we will fly or take the train to Vienna and on up to Prague where we have 5 nights accommodation booked before flying back to Orlando to spend another 6 nights at the Swan and Dolphin Hotel in Disney World. The last time we were in Disney World we stayed at the Port Orleans French Quarter which was rather nice. Then it is back to Las Vegas for another couple of nights before we fly back home.
So the decisions are made on the content…now to organise it all.
We always book our trips through Expedia, simply because it is so easy to to select exactly what you want, however, this time we came unstuck.
The first thing we did was book the trip to Las Vegas with four nights accommodation at the Bellagio. We have always been going to stay at the Bellagio and hadn’t gotten around to it, usually choosing the Paris, Caesars Palace or the Venetian instead. So this time we decided to try Bellagio.
From Las Vegas we booked flights to Orlando and accommodation near Universal Studios for 4 nights. So I am looking forward to that. We are theme park junkies and haven’t been to Universal Studios before.
Okay now onto the hiccups. When our itinerary arrived from Expedia it had our return flight from Prague as going to London. No worries there, until we realised that we had to change airports and getting from Heathrow to Gatwick had all the elements of being a disaster with us possibly missing our connecting flight for one reason or another. So I got straight on the phone to Expedia and spoke to one of the consultants – Jai, who was extremely helpful and we ended up cancelling the flights but keeping the hotel bookings. Mainly because the hotel in Prague was going to charge some ridiculous fee for the cancellation.
So then it was back onto the internet to book the flights. We tried and tried but couldn’t get the flight to accept so it was back on the phone to Expedia. It turned out that the flight from Orlando to Paris was unavailable, and Tim, the consultant had to search for another flight. But he found a direct flight from Orlando to Paris for only another $40. Excellent!
So now our trip is just about all booked. Just need to get another two nights in Vegas before flying home.
And we aren’t booking ahead for the 20 days in Europe between the Paris and Prague bits so fun times ahead. But if we do decide to make any more bookings we will certainly be using Expedia. The website is easy to use and the staff are always friendly and extremely helpful.