May we all live long enough and be so fortunate to make plans, and perhaps, to follow-through on those designs. In attempting some travel plans for this new year, I had taken to counting out some of our past journeys – usually a Stanley-type thing.
Together, we’d traveled by air back and forth from home in the USA’s west coast to Europe (east and west) four times in the past six years, to and from Asia/Australia twice. Stanley’s list is longer, but he – for once – wasn’t the one counting.
We traveled as frugally as possible, watching prices, flying on off-days and times, comparing near-by airports, and always choosing economy. We tried to reserve aisle seats for a bit more comfort. Frequently, though, flight delays, reschedules, and rerouting knocked us off our reserved spots. On each of my last three trips back from Europe, I swore I would never fly those long-haul flights again. I would find another way that didn’t include knocking knees for 11 hours with perfectly nice people whose charm waned after a second missed night of sleep.
But Stanley is not done with Europe, and I am willing to tag along, just not happy with all that time in the air. Hop-skip-and-jumping our way there proved only to prolong our travel in places we really did not want to see. It also added far too much to our expenses. We had cruised before with some success, and I knew that deals could be found with trans-Atlantic ships. But those one-way return flights are inexplicably pricey. I decided to buy round-trip tickets and use just one portion. Then I undecided. Turns out that the airlines can charge you for those one-way tickets if you try to deceive them. They probably won’t, but I am not a lucky sort.
Add to all this malarkey that next on Stanley’s list is the most expensive area in the world to travel – the Baltic. I ignored my growing dilemma about how to get there, and focused on the prices of being there. Staying in hotels, we could afford a week, maybe two – not enough time for a visit that is so far away from where we live that we probably would never return. Air B&B was more affordable, but mostly when I looked at places located away from the city centers, not where we wanted to be. Long-term apartments might work, but we wouldn’t be staying that long in each place.
Sometimes the trip planning can wear me down, especially when what I really want to do is just get up and go (it’s not a wise option, just what I would prefer.) That’s when I started looking into food prices. Unbelievable.
Okay, all this travel planning was getting to me. This was Stanley’s list, after all. Where were his travel plans? (This is a strictly rhetorical question, because Marsha knows that Stanley would gladly travel 4th class overnight last-century school bus with no bathroom stops – not an option for Marsha. You can’t do that from west coast USA to Europe, you say? Stanley would find a way, and kill himself getting there. Gleefully.)
Then I eye-balled a month-long trans-Atlantic cruise that stopped in all the cities that were on Stanley’s list. And I would have to unpack once. I checked the price, didn’t quite believe it. Checked my figures for a month of air and land travel with lodging and food estimated. The cruise was less. By a lot.
Now, what can I do about that un-affordable one-way airfare?