spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

Bits & Pieces: Disneyland, Dallas, and Drew

Boy, I really thought I would have more free time now that DD is in college! No more marching band rehearsals/competitions, musical theatre rehearsals/performances, senior year/graduation stuff, etc.  I was wrong.  Ah, well.  We proceed…

  • Disneyland planning: we’re moving right along.  I purchased the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2020 and have been sticky-flagging like a madwoman.  In my spreadsheet, I’m making lists of must-do restaurants, snacks, rides, and attractions.  I’ll then take that info, plus the Touring Plan guidance from the book, and begin a preliminary itinerary.  Disneyland vacations are much less involved than Disney World: 2 Parks vs 4, Dining Reservations 60 days in advance vs 180, 1 flight vs 2 🙂  The planning is half the fun, so I’m trying to stretch the process out a bit by working on the spreadsheet/book/websites just 1x/wk.  Currently IMpatiently waiting for my next Alaska Companion Fare code to be valid so I can buy the plane tix!  Should be just a few more weeks.  DS still has no idea.  This is going to be so fun!                           candace heart eyes
  • A few days ago I was chatting with my husband about our future plans to move back to the mainland, and about needing to take another trip to Ecuador before then.  I was bemoaning the timing, because of course getting to South America is much, much easier from the mainland, both in terms of flights/airlines available and with regard to travel time.  It’s at least a day and a half of travel time each way, blerg, mainly because direct flights to Guayaquil (GYE) were limited to Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), and just recently, Fort Lauderdale (FLL).  BUT!!!  I saw a notice that (despite their recent loss of codeshare with LATAM), American Airlines is adding a direct flight to Guayaquil from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)!  It will begin December 19, 2019, and it means that I can get home in 2 flights with American Airlines.  The trip would still take about 22 hours, because the Dallas layover is 9 hours.  But the layover would be during daytime hours, so maybe we’d leave the airport and go eat some BBQ or something.  Anyway, I’m thrilled, and will be beginning the next Ecuador trip planning process in the next 6 months- this time, I’m aiming for the Galápagos Islands 🙂

    bfb

    Blue-footed booby

  • Totally non-travel-related: I have always loved to read, and vividly remember spending some money that my parents gave me to pick something out at a yard sale on some old Nancy Drew books.  I love the character, and have read most, if not all, the books, in both the original and more modern series.  I also saw that tragic 2007 movie starring Emma Roberts.  Anyway, there is a new Nancy Drew TV show on the CW network.  I was undecided after the first episode, because they’ve added a supernatural twist to the mystery, with jump scares (boo), and I didn’t love Nancy’s personality.  A few episodes in, I’m a fan.  Check it out if you can!                                    nd books
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Europalooza Trip Report Part 12: in which I dip my toe into the freezing Mediterranean

After a fun 2 full days in Sevilla, it was time to travel to Barcelona.  Our friend graciously drove us to the airport 🙂  Our flight was at around 9:30a, and we arrived at the airport by 8:15a.  I had reincorporated the duffle bag that held the dirty (now clean) clothes, so were back to having 5 pieces (1 backpack for each traveler, plus the rolling carry-on).  Shouldn’t have to get into that long line to check in a bag at the Iberia counter then, right?  The problem was that European airlines’ definition & dimensions of “personal item” are much different than the American airlines…  Read the rest of this entry »

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Europalooza Trip Report Part 3: in which my optimistic nature is tested in 2 different countries

Part 2 left off with me and my family heading to Raleigh Airport (RDU) on Christmas Day to catch our nonstop flight to London on American Airlines (AA).  BTW, I updated that post.  Can’t believe I forgot to mention The Nutcracker and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences!  Go read it, I’ll wait.

Ok, now that you’re back…the European adventure was about to begin!  First, though, we had to drop off the rental car.  This is where some of my troubles began… Read the rest of this entry »

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Europalooza Trip Report Part 1: Escape from Hawaii

You may have noticed that I changed the name of this trip for purposes of simplicity.  Easier to type Europalooza than Spain and France in 2018 or So Help Me, which is a name I still love because of the Monsters, Inc. reference.   Anyway, Europalooza it is, for the duration of this Trip Report.

Departure day dawned…sunny? cloudy? rainy?…actually I didn’t pay attention to the weather at all, haha.  It just dawned, and it meant that I was up early due to have a pesky all-day work training to attend.  The packing lists had been printed and posted a few days prior, with almost all of the packing already done.  Just a few housechores left to do: Read the rest of this entry »

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Leggings, Linking, London, and Lauderdale

Pre-trip prep time!  It’s down to the details now that all the big stuff has been settled.

—First thing I’ve been thinking about lately is WARM clothing.  We’re typically wimpy re: winter weather after living in Hawaii for so long.  I started an inventory of cold-weather gear and quickly realized…

im-gonna-need-cold-weather-meme

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An Adventure in American AAdvantage and Avios

…ay ay ay 🙂  My mission: get the 4 of us from Seville (SVQ) to Barcelona (BCN) using less than $420, preferably on nonstop flights, preferably later in the day. Seemed easy at first: Iberia MUST have a nonstop flight between these popular Spanish destinations, right? And I could totally use my Avios on Iberia flights, so that would be a cinch, right? You would think so…

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Paris to Seville UNbooked! And Newark-Honolulu finally booked!

Why would I UNbook something when the cancellation/change fees are crazytown?  Trust me, all will be explained.  I had all my price alerts set and had been manually checking prices as well…and it paid off!  I used my trusty Alaska Companion Fare to make some travel magic…and I was able to stay (sort of) on budget.  Here’s how I did it… Read the rest of this entry »

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Confession: I just bought 4 tickets…with cash

I KNOW!  It’s so rare for me to pay for anything but taxes when using miles/points, or pay for 1 or 2 fares and use miles/points/companion fare for the rest.  But this time it made a lot of sense.  I still have some tickets to buy for the European trip, but I’ll discuss some nice updates from Chase Ultimate Rewards that may just help me out with those. Read the rest of this entry »

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Award travel success- transatlantic flights

I plugged our voyage  into the Great Circle Mapper, an excellent site to determine flight miles between destinations, potentially very useful in the near future (see Flights to Spain and Flights within Spain further down).  This is what came back!

europe trip route map

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Unaccompanied Minor Services- a comparison

Buckle up, everybody- your captain has turned on the ‘fasten seatbelt’ sign.  This here is a crazy ride through the huge variety of services, policies, and practices of the rules for Unaccompanied Minors (UMs) on 6 US-based airlines.  Each airline name is a link directly to the Unaccompanied Minor policy of that airline- some pages were difficult to find navigating from the home page, so I figured I’d save you the work 🙂  Also, I would have torn my hair out trying to decipher what is recommended versus what is required for international travel, given that they all advise you to call in for that info AND it can vary per country, so I limited this chart to domestic travel policies, unless noted otherwise.  Some basics that apply to most major airlines: Read the rest of this entry »

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