Monday, February 13, 2012

the cheap pilot and his wife, the tempation, the kids and Babcia...over the ocean, and through the woods, to Poland we go!

I have made it known that I was born to Polish immigrants.  I have been to Poland multiple times.  Steve's favorite trip ever, as a matter of fact, was to Poland.  Ben, and when CC is of age, attend Polish class.  I value my connection to Poland, and I am bound and determined to keep this heritage alive in my family.

We are taking the kids to Poland for the first time this fall.  My mother is traveling with us, and my father will already be there since he is in Poland for about 6 weeks every fall.

Of course we want to take advantage of FREE tickets to Europe.  Who wouldn't? Especially, when you are cheap, your pilot husband is cheap, and tickets are about $1k a piece (give or take).  The temptation is totally there to save $4k, no question.

We are starting to plan the trip, because it WILL take this long to get all the logistics down.  Oh, did I mention that the main reason for this trip is to celebrate 10 years post Peace Corps, and we are going to visit a dear friend from Slovakia.  We will be there for 2 weeks.  There is a lot of traveling to be done, Poland is a big country!, lots of people to see,  so two weeks is quickly eaten up...exact planning is a must!

We go back and forth all the time:
- maybe we should just bite the bullet and fork over the $4k. The kids are still so young, so this may be a good idea so we just get where we are going without any hassle.  We have a lifetime to non-rev, so maybe it is just best to buy tickets this one time.
- but, $4k is a lot of money!
- since there are 5 of us, we need to look at what equipment is flying the route. A wide-body surely fits more bodies than a, say, 757.
- do we take a train, a plane, or an automobile once we land in Germany? Or should we land in England? Wait, what about Amsterdam?

What to do? What to do?

Have I mentioned that the kids will be young: 5 and 3.  I am curious as to how they will handle the journey.  Everyone says they will handle it just fine.  But, then I start to worry about me.  Last time we went to Poland, we flew CLE to London Gatwick.  We then took Polish Lot/Central Wings into Krakow.  Then we took a 2 hour train ride to my Dad's family.  I slept pretty much the entire second leg, and again in the train.  I don't handle the sleep thing well, and that concerns me. But, I am sure the kids will keep me awake and going.

What to do? What to do? 

And then I start to think about this train travel from German into Poland...that means our luggage has to be light.  We have a rucksack, and I think this is the way we will go.  Luggage on your back is so much easier than pulling it. Oh shit, and then we have car booster seats...

What to do? What to do?

Don't forget that I am married to a pilot, y'all.  Because of this, he sometimes puts on his handsome pilot hat and thinks about all the real situations that may come up.  Like the fact that a 757 may be weight restricted on this route...of course gas is quite important, so you need to make sure there is enough.  Conversations aren't as simple as "oh a 757 has 182 seats - great!"  Conversations are more like "well, based on the winds, they could weight restrict the flight."  You heard that right, "based on winds"...something that isn't a given.  One day the winds would be good for us, and the other day not...and the great thing is that you wouldn't know if we are weight restricted until we are waiting at the gate, ready to go.  Great! So, the flight could look way open, but if there are restrictions we are a "no go."  Fun times.  And to the, with all due respect, ignorant folks who say "oh you must fly for free...how awesome!" I say, "yeah, not too awesome." 

What to do, what to do?

So, Babcia qualifies for a special buddy pass which means her ticket is $300 plus taxes.  Just a reminder: Steve, the kids and I are free.  Ok, so if we DO buy airline tickets for travel in Europe, instead of train tickets,  that just adds to Babcia's cost.  So, a $300, plus taxes, buddy pass + $300 ticket on Lufthansa = $600, give or take.  Why not just spend an extra $300 and get an actual seat on a plane?  Belive me, that $300 extra is SO worth it for not worrying.  Oh, DON'T FORGET! --- we may not even make it out of the states when we want with non-reving, so if we do buy tickets on Lufthansa we need to make sure their cancellation/reservation change policy works in our favor. 

See all the thoughts that run through your head with non-reving?

I will not get stressed.  We will plan this all out very well.  Babcia knows what she is getting into, and she is okay with it all.  She and I actually travel really well together, so that helps.  She has never non-reved before, so ignorance is bliss.  While Steve deals with all things plane, she and I will just be along for the ride.

Of course with non-reving you have to have Plan A, Plan B, and even Plan C.  We are also watching tickets, plan D.  If they get to be $600-$800 we will probably just buy.  We will watch ticket prices from our airport, as well as multiple others in the states, since we can non-rev there and then be revenue the rest of the way.

Any suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated.  Since this trip will really be great, all the hassle and planning will be all worth it!

favorite pics from our last trip to Poland:
Wroclaw

Zywiec on a train to Krakow. I will not comment on how much beer we drank that evening, or how hungover I was the next day...


Enjoying a beer after visiting the salt mines

Near Wroclaw, at the tabletop mountains, with my cousins

My birthday cake

what gal doesn't like flowers on her birthday

6 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, you are so brave to think about non-revving overseas... and with children too! I always get nervous when it's just me and my husband, so I cannot even imagine the planning that will go into going to Poland with your whole family!

    I can't wait to hear more about what you decide! Even though your children are young I bet it will be a trip that shapes them in the future. I think it's great how you want to keep your Polish heritage alive for your family!

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  2. Joanne ... Adore your comments on FL390. Yes, I would prefer to send you an email, but don't see that option here. I think I'm gonna have to make time to see what you are up to here. That "kiss my ass " thing ... Here in the deep south "that's nice" is totally code for kiss my ass. Charm school darling'! I am pretty sure I will be doing peace corp stuff in my next mutation ... When our eleven year old leaves for college. I look forward to reading you. Sincerely, DeAnn. Ps ... Obviously non rev is the way to go for a can do girl!

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  3. Ashley - yes, this would be an act of bravery to take them over, which is why we are considering buying tickets...*just* this once...

    DeAnn - I will add an email address...I never thought about that before. Peace Corps really is the toughest job you will ever love. There were plenty of people in our group that were doing this well into their 40s, 50s, and 60s. As a matter of fact, there was a man in his 80s, or was it late 70s?, that was in our group. He was a tough little thing :) Welcome to my blog!

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  4. Weight restrictions... Ha. This reminded me of when my DH was bumped off his commuter flight home due to weight restrictions, for a very unusual reason... Apparently a priest was escorting 500 gallons of holy water on that flight!

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  5. Ren, that is awesome! Talk about a blessed flight!

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  6. Oh we just got back few months ago. You will have so much fun. When you are there try the beer Tatra it is my personal fave. Of so much fun. If you have any questions pm me :0) have fun planing you guys will have the best time. How exciting.

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