I'm not sure how long we've been talking about going to Italy with my parents, a few years at least, I think. But the whole time I have STRESSED and STRESSED about how much airfare was going to cost. Even though I knew that everything ELSE about the trip was going to be horrendously expensive as well, maybe I felt like I would have some measure of control over plane tickets? Maybe? That seems silly, but you know subconsciouses, they don't always make sense.
Anyway, today I finally clicked BUY. [Insert Appropriate Shriek or Dry Heaving Sound Here.] I went through this big long process last year where I read about how to work the frequent flyer system and I signed up for a bunch of credit cards and I actually DID amass a crap ton of miles. Plus Phillip still has a bunch of miles from his Traveling For Work days (REMEMBER THOSE? HOW ABOUT LET'S NOT.) But you guys, I could not figure out how to make those miles work for us for this trip. I can see how they would have worked if it were just Phillip and me, or if we were taking our whole family somewhere stateside, or wanting some kind of vacation package, but the frequent flyer gods were stubbornly against letting us use our miles for Europe. The best I could do with our combination of miles was getting us a one way flight to somewhere in Europe, but with RIDONKULOUS fees. Like so many fees it didn't make sense to use the miles at all. Not when the fees were ten times smaller to go somewhere like HAWAII. (Look out, Honolulu! You are going to improve my seasonal affective disorder come Winter 2016ish!)
Today I purchased a one way flight from Seattle to Venice on Condor Air, a subsidiary of Lufthansa, with a layover in Frankfurt, for less than half of the price of roundtrip airfare to Venice. And then I purchased a one way flight from London to Seattle on Icelandair, with a layover in Iceland, for less than half the price of roundtrip airfare to London. It was still a quiver-inducing chunk of change, but a chunk that was about two grand less than I expected to pay. So. NOT BAD, ME!
Should you be interested, when I went to the actual Condor and Icelandair websites, the prices were even lower than what was quoted on Kayak and Expedia because CHILDREN'S TICKETS ARE LESS. I KNOW. Kayak sent me directly to the Condor website to book, but I'm not sure about Expedia - I might have done the whole booking process THERE. I paid $400 per kid to fly home from London. That's crazy! The roundtrip flights to London were like $1200! AIRFARE IS SUCH A PAIN IN THE YOU KNOW WHAT!
At one point during this process I found roundtrip flights to London for $4045. Total. I mean, it came with terrible times and layovers and extra stops, but still, when you're expecting to pay something like EIGHT thousand dollars, seeing that price helps you keep hope alive.
I chose to do the one way flights mainly because of the Venice to London situation we'll have to do in the middle. A round trip to London would have involved a round trip (or two one ways, depending) to Venice, but the layovers, the possible overnights, and traveling between different airports in London was not worth the couple hundred dollars I MIGHT have saved. So.
We fly to Venice on May 20. My parents will pick us up and take us to their rental house in Sacile. The only for sure while-in-Italy plan right now is to go to Venice on the train as many times as we can stand. Which is probably a lot. But we'll also probably rent a car (I am expecting the car plus gas to cost as much, if not more, as our plane tickets, sob) and take the kids to see castles in Austria, maybe go as far as Munich. Also Phillip and I recently watched Band of Brothers and Phillip might need to see Berchtesgaden (as do we all.)
I mentioned the just-us getaway to Paris, right? Yeah. I mean, we'll see. But we have GRANDPARENTS. IN EUROPE. THINGS NEED TO BE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF.
And guess what. The OTHER set of grandparents are coming too. I know. Maybe the universe is all, "Poor Maggie had a REALLY shitty July and August and we need to make it up to her." I know some of you aren't big on your in-laws, but mine are pretty spectacular and also retired and big time travelers and HEY, WHY NOT. My mother-in-law's sister lives in France, so they're thinking they'll go visit her, then spend a few days with us in Italy (our parents get along! They like each other! It's adorable!) and then spend probably the whole week with us in London. SO YOU KNOW. I don't have to fret too much about taking 3 kids around London by myself while Phillip's at the office because I'll have Fantastic Grandparents tagging along. I am seriously giddy, you guys. Right now I cannot wait to take FIL to the Chinese restaurant in the small town my family lived in Italy, not because he'll like the food (I can pretty much guarantee he will not) but because he is Mr. Outgoing and makes friends wherever he goes and he will be delighted to meet the Chinese family living in Small Town Northern Italy.
Also! Also! Phillip's work, when he asked them if he could work, say, a Wednesday/Thursday/Friday, and then, say, come back on Monday, thereby requiring a WEEKEND STAY, was all, "Sure!" Which means we have a whole weekend! With Phillip! To do stuff! By which I mean spend more money!
Oh man I am so freaking excited.
I wonder what it means for the bakery that I'll be gone for three weeks.
Actually, tomorrow is cookie subscription mailing day so I, uh, better get on that. Instead of yammering on here. You are probably super annoyed with all of my stars aligning I'M SORRY I'M JUST SO HAPPY FOR ME.