Friday, 5 May 2017

Journey Planning

Over the last couple of weeks we have been looking at flight options between the UK and Australia.  Jan has ruled out going west via the USA or Canada.  This leaves the “Kangaroo” route (via Singapore), the Middle East (Dubai/Doha) and Hong Kong.  Price is a critical factor but I’m quite selective about airlines to use.  My “don’t use” list includes Aeroflot, Garuda, MAS and all the cheap South-East Asian airlines. 

Whilst searching on the internet yesterday I found some very cheap Singapore Airlines tickets for less than £300.  This morning the tickets were £308.  This led to a long conversation where it was agreed the RTA (Return to Australia) date was the critical milestone.  I then developed a simple project plan on the laptop using Microsoft Project which enabled us to identify the other critical tasks and dates.  By the time this was completed the airfares had risen to £325.  I preferred to purchase the tickets directly from Singapore Airlines which raised the price by a further £4.  Eventually I managed to book an evening flight from Heathrow to Singapore with a 1.50 layover before continuing on to Australia.  Opting for a night flight has two advantages.  The first is it helps keep the body’s natural rhythms so we can probably get some sleep.  The second is we won’t require any London accommodation the night before departing.  Despite Heathrow having higher departure taxes than the likes of Birmingham or Manchester the Heathrow flights were cheaper.  More competition I assume?

The next step was to select our seats.  To do this I used the website Seatguru which shows the best seats on the aircraft.  Having identified our preferred seats I went to the airline seat allocation option only to discover 90% of the seats were already allocated.  This meant we couldn’t select the best seats; but didn’t get the very worst either.

Meanwhile Jan was researching and booking our pre-departure accommodation.  I then started looking at rental cars, before realising I had paid for a flight leaving on a Sunday evening (another reason why they were cheap).  All the car rental companies are closed on Sunday!  How would we return the car?  In the end we decided to reduce the car rental by a day and return it on Saturday.  Jan rearranged our last night in the UK, which we will spend in the Rugby Travelodge beside the railway station. I booked two £10 train tickets from Rugby to London for Sunday morning.  We still have an Oyster card with enough credit on it for two Tube tickets from London to Heathrow.  What I don’t know is whether two people can use the same Oyster Card by running it through the turnstile twice?

The last major outstanding task is to pack all the possessions that will be returning by sea.  We’ve bought sufficient cardboard tea chest (I hope) and allocated two days for the task.

Everything appears to be coming together.


Pip and Mick said...

I don't think you can use an Oyster card for two people as you have to tap in and tap out at your destination. However you can use an ordinary contactless bank debit card in the same way and you won't get charged any more than you would on an Oyster card.
We're expecting to be in Braunston tomorrow (Friday), will you still be around?


Jaqueline Biggs said...

Crikey you two!! This post takes me back to 2011 when Lesa and I were doing very much the same but in reverse--coming here, not going. I can tell you that the Premier Inn at Terminal Five is brill. We stayed there every time we came home to get over our jet lag before commencing to traipse via bus and train to Rugby and then taxi to the boat.

Oh I will miss you both something fierce but I am so pleased we met and became friends. I wish you both well on this next leg of your new adventures and look forward to reading all about it.

Love Jaq xxx

Tom and Jan said...

We're at Norton Junction and will be here tomorrow. Then it's on to Crick.

Tom and Jan said...

Jaq I don't think our budget could stretch to a Premier Inn 😁 I did suggest to Jan I knew a place where we could live on the towpath under an old and torn cratch cover!

The canal adventures may be coming to an end but there are other adventures ahead!

Thanks for the company!

Tom & Jan

Judith Emery said...

Although we knew you were selling up and leaving the UK we didn't realise it was that imminent, had hoped we would catch up with you before the event! When is it you leave? Will look forward to hearing your next installment of life's adventure.
Judith and John nb Serena

Ade said...

Sad times for us Waiouru fans 😕. Is she sold Tom? Good luck with the travel back down under and your future adventures.

nb.bobcat said...

glad you didn't opt for the dubai route. My sister informed me the other day that there are 7 destinations that do not allow you to take any electronic items into the cabin with you. Laptops, net books even a kindle are all no nos now. Dubai is one of them. Good luck with the future plans. Kath

Xxduh_its_ gracexX said...

I am so sad you are going before I have had a chance to meet you in person!! I've enjoyed your blogs (especially sandy tales) so much.
Good luck to you both and please don't stop blogging.
Kath (nb Herbie)

Quaysider said...

Although I don't make it everyday, I shall miss my catch ups of your travels. Your writing style is very easy to read and your dry wit appeals to the Yorkshire man in me.

Good luck with it all - x x (1 each)