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:
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