So, I did it. I took the plunge and bought airfare to Europe. Now, I don’t fly often, partly because flying is not exactly on the “things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint” list, but I’ve never been to Europe (or off the North American continent), and this is something we’ve been talking about for more than two years.
During that time, I hem-hawed, waiting around for airfare that fit within my rather limited idea of “what I thought I should pay for airfare to Europe.” When I didn’t see fares I liked for Fall 2008, I put it off until Spring 2009. Spring 2009 fares not low enough? Let’s wait for fall. And so on and so forth.
We were already leaning heavily toward just doing it in 2011, when we received a bit of an extra nudge in November. So a few weeks ago, I bit the bullet, found a decent (but still high for my frugal mentality) fare and actually bought the tickets.
I decided to be very well-behaved and not torture myself by continuing to track fares after that point. All was well until I read “11 Tricks to Cutting Travel Costs in 2011” (see trick #4) — of course I had to take a peek at fares.
Now, I booked our tickets directly through the airline, thinking that if, for some reason, we needed to make a change, that would be the best and most reliable way to go. Imagine my surprise (and excitement) when I searched that airline’s website and found the EXACT SAME itinerary for $150 less PER PERSON.
Three hundred dollars would be a nice chunk of extra change for our trip. I immediately called the airline to inquire about a refund. The customer service rep quickly dashed my hopes, claiming there would be a $250 “change fee,” which would eat up a large portion of the fare difference. I asked a few more questions, trying to see if I could find any loopholes, but the conversation ended in disappointment.
After a brief retreat to lick my wounds (and scratch my very itchy torso), I regrouped and wrote a letter to the airline, expressing my disappointment with the situation. I’ve pretty much accepted that we’re stuck with the original fare (which really was not too bad), but the letter can’t hurt anything. Either way, we are Europe-bound in 2011, and I’ll spend the next few years working off the environmental impact of the trip 😉
Your trip sounds very exciting. My husband and I got engaged in Belgium. We love Europe. Your going to have a blast. Have fun
It’s been a long time since I was last in Europe, but unless things have changed dramatically, prepare to ooze with jealousy over the train system. Don’t know if you plan to have a set itinerary or to wing it, but if it still works the way it did 25 years ago, I’d highly recommend the euorail pass… it’s cheap, easy, infinitely flexible, loads of fun and vastly superior to traveling by car.
So, when is the trip? How long are you staying? What parts of Europe are you going to? I can’t wait to hear all the details!
And don’t worry yourself about the carbon footprint. Everyone should see Europe at least once. My trips there in my formative years had a huge impact on me, and really did influence me to become much “greener”, so for green inspiration alone I’m sure it will be worth it.
Our itinerary isn’t completely set, but we’ll be spending the majority of our time in Italy, and definitely getting around by train while we’re there.
Italy is wonderful! I’d love to go back. Most of my time in Italy was spent in Venice, which is just beyond wonderful. It’s totally amazing because the canals sort of take the place of streets… I don’t remember there being cars in Venice, although I’m sure there were.
Speaking of no cars… if you get a chance to make it up to southern France, I highly recommend Avingon. The city is walled, and there are no cars inside the walls… talk about amazing! It gave me fantasies of another lifetime!
If I ever make it back to Italy, I’d love to go visit the towns where my great grandparents came from: Forli del Sannio and San Pietro Avellana, both tiny towns about half way between Rome and Naples. This and your pasta post, and the box of potatoes that I recently bought from a fellow peddling produce in the neighborhood are making me think perhaps it’s time to make some gnocchi!