Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane...

We haven't done a collaborative posting yet, so here goes our first shot:

  Steve: We finally had some snow in Vancouver! It was falling fast and heavy as Sarah and I headed over to Travel Masters in Vancouver to get moving on the round-the-world tickets. As it turns out, the airlines are crafty and have figured out that people were buying round the world tickets in order to travel on the cheap, so over the past five years, they jacked up the prices. Star Alliance (which is Air Canada, United, and others) wanted to charge us $12K...a piece. Crafty and completely not happening. Fortunately, our friend Joanna's older sister, Allison, is a superstealth travel agent with crafty skills all her own.

Sarah: It's an amazing feeling to escape from life for a couple of hours and chat about every possible way to make an amazing trip happen.  Whereas mine and Steve's decision-making conversations err on the side of "what do you want for dinner?" or "do you think it's a better idea to pay the BC Hydro bill with a credit card or through the bank?" our conversations this past weekend (in Allison's patient presence) were more along the lines of "How about checking out the pyramids since we'll be in that pocket of the world anyway?" or "I saw some gorgeous photos of Bali on a blog the other day - can we go there?"  Daydreams take on a whole new meaning when the possibilities and $40 r/t plane tickets are literally at yours (or your travel angel, Allison's) fingertips. 

Steve: As it turns out, when you are talking world travel, the shortest distance between two points may be the shortest, but it is definitely not the cheapest. The ideal flight pattern for cheapness is, as Allison describes, "the flower pattern." You choose a hub of a single airline (the center of the flower) and each flight transfers you through the hub to the next location, using only that airline. After much stealthy computer work, Allison worked out that our two hubs should be Hong Kong (via Cathay Pacific) and Istanbul (via Turkish Airways). This was very exciting (see Sarah's reaction above). So, the flights will look like this:
SFO- Hong Kong - Sydney (Cathay)
Sydney - Hong Kong - Thailand (Cathay)
Thailand - Hong Kong - Bali (Cathay)                                                           
Bali - Hong Kong - India (Cathay)                                                             
India - Hong Kong - Rome (Cathay)
Both Cathay and Turkish fly to Rome, so then the second flower begins:
Rome - Istanbul - Tel Aviv (Turkish)
Tel Aviv - Istanbul - Cairo (Turkish)
Cairo - Istanbul - Greece (Turkish)
Greece - Istanbul - Casablanca (Turkish).

Then we find a floating vehicle of some type (I'm thinking rowboat) to cross over the Gibraltar Straight to Spain and begin our 6-week Eurorail pass journey with the only set in stone destinations being France to connect with Sarah's family and London from whence we'll sadly take the flight home.  (Side note: when we returned home in an excited state our new, wonderful neighbor, Drew, said, "How do you fly home after that?"  Good point Drew, talk to us again in May 2011 and we may be setting up shop in Switzerland.)

Sarah: So, the ball is finally rolling.  In a new direction, that is.  We're unable to book anything now (though with mine and Steve's trigger fingers when it comes to booking things in advance, it was a real exercise in restraining oneself) because we need to wait until 330 days prior to departure.  Who knows why that magic number is preventing plane tickets from burning holes in our underwear drawers, but we must wait regardless.  Allison seems to think that we can start booking things in March 2010.  Until then, we're supposed to "spend as much as humanly possible" on our credit cards where we earn aeroplan points.  I don't think we'll do that, but it's good to know that we may be able to use some of our points toward the trip.  Incidentally, back in March of this year, I made some phone calls to Air Canada to find out about round-the-world tickets (because like novices, we thought that was the way to go...until this past Sunday), and they said that we wouldn't have enough to buy a ticket so, essentially, we shouldn't bother.  With that advice, we booked ourselves flights (with the thousands of miles) to California for Christmas and then to London to be with the Haynes famiglia (Hi Haynes family!  See you soon!) into the new year.  Moral of the story?  You can use miles to fly you around the world cheaply, but using miles to be with family is just as wonderful. :) Speaking of which, stay tuned for some blogging from the Bay Area and Londontown....

So, Steve?  How do you think this joint-posting thing went?  Okay?  Think we're going to confuse the masses?

Steve: I think it went fine. However, we need more shoutouts. Everyone loves shoutouts. Gabe! Noah! Rob! See - instant crowdpleasers.


  1. Wow. I was mentioned in a post! Sweet.

  2. Not sure when you will be in the Bay Area, but James and i just moved to the East Bay side of the Bay and are around all season (due to my 29 weeks of pregancy!). So if you have some or anytime, we'd love to see yous... Call or email, stina