Canada, Mexico, Europe, oh my! RTW here we go. | Australian Frequent Flyer
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Canada, Mexico, Europe, oh my! RTW here we go.

Drakecula

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It was many years in the making. I read and researched and read some more and weighed up options. In the end I decided *A would be the best suited based on future travel plans and what airlines flew where. We signed up with KrisFlyer in particular as they had announced they would fly from Canberra which was a bonus. Thus began the journey to amass frequent flyer points with the goal for a RTW J trip.

A few international flights over the years have helped the cause, but it has mostly been hoarding credit card points and some earn and churn cards along the way that got us over the finishing line. None of this would have been possible without the very useful information that people post to forums like this.

After at least a year or more of dreaming and searching, I came up with a plan. Then revised it, and revised it again. I know everyone says for redemptions be flexible but I cannot make that clear enough for anyone else trying this. Thankfully there was only one destination and event I was working around, so everything else could be adjusted as needed.

Drum roll for the final itinerary over Nov-Dec:
MEL-YVR
We're going to visit an old friend of ours, we visited them last in 2013 so it's been a while.
YVR-MEX
A short visit to the land of MrD's favourite food.
MEX-YYZ-LHR
London - A chance to indulge in all my Harry Potter dreams.
Berlin - The pick up point for the reason I'm on this harebrained journey, though we'll have a couple of days for exploring afterwards
Czocha Castle - A three day Live Action Role Play (LARP) event called College of Wizardry (no doubt for legal reasons). I'm going to wizard school! BYO wand.
Paris - Another friend lives here, so it will be good to catch up. If there's time we might do a quick trip to Amsterdam, but we'll see how we go.
CDG-OSL-ARN-KRN
Kiruna to Tromso - Northern Lights! We're going to be in Europe in winter, so it made sense to head towards the North Pole in the hopes of seeing them. I have found a tour which suits perfectly.
TSO-FRA-HKT
Phuket - A week of relaxation after the chaos of travelling across the globe. We'll be going back to a lovely resort we visited a few years ago thanks to a Luxury Escapes deal. Thankfully they offer the LE deal to returning visitors so we're snagging another bargain.
HKT-MEL
Home (well back to Australia) again. Just in time for Christmas.

Suprisingly, despite it being a SQ booking, we're not flying SQ at all. We'll be on Air Canada, Scandinavian Airlines, Lufthansa and Thai Airways.

Now begins more research and planning for accommodation and activities! Any suggestions for where to stay in Paris and London will be appreciated, I've begun checking out Airbnb to start.
 

Major

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Did you book all of this through the SQ( KF ) website as one booking or did you require several efforts ?
 

Drakecula

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Did you book all of this through the SQ( KF ) website as one booking or did you require several efforts ?
I had to call up the SQ call centre to book it in. If there is a way to book a RTW redemption with SQ online I don't know about it. Took a few phone calls as we figured out what was actually available, but a pretty painless process overall. I was very prepared with lists of options and flights I'd found availability for in advance.
 
Last edited:

amaroo

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Really enjoyed MC ... pity you're not seeing more of Mexico.
 

Drakecula

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Really enjoyed MC ... pity you're not seeing more of Mexico.
I'd like to see more of Mexico too, but our main focus for this trip is Europe. The only other part of Mexico I've been is Tijuana very briefly when we crossed the border at San Diego for lunch.
 

Drakecula

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Two months in, I've made some bookings and paid deposits. Ended up with an Airbnb in London near Finchley Rd station. We're going to squish in to our friend's apartment in Paris, so that will save us some money. There's a lot of tickets I'll need to sort closer to the trip, like the WB Studio Tour, but I've got a list so I don't forget anything.

I've redeemed some Virgin points for a return J flight to get to MEL and back for the RTW trip. I'm hoping to keep earning points that I can use to pay for some hotels to keep costs down, so I'll book some more things later on.

I'm also preparing for battle with the Aldi snow sale coming up, hoping to snag some winter woolies, not only for our trip but also because they're needed in Canberra some days too. :)
 

Drakecula

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Two months to go! Things are mostly booked. I did have a snafu in that the College of Wizardry event got pushed back a weekend which threw my already booked plans out the window. I was upset, but I figure that just means I'll have to come back to Europe another time (oh no!) and it'll give me a chance to see something else instead.

So I'm settling on visiting Dresden and Quedlinburg, and surrounds instead, and catching up with a friend who lives near there. Currently looking for places to stay and things to see, which is fun.

I have been mildly anxious (well, okay that's probably my default setting anyway) about tight connections and tours, but am very much a zen traveller in that what will be will be and we can just deal with it as it comes. Probably a weird juxtaposition with my anxious tendencies, but hey, it's how I operate. I'm sure nothing untoward will happen and everything will be just fine.
 

Drakecula

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I'm sure nothing untoward will happen and everything will be just fine.
Oh past me, so full of hopes and dreams. I was caught out with two tours booked with Tempo Holidays and Bentours who have recently got into voluntary administration. Fun times. I've been in contact with the administrators and am chasing confirmation with the suppliers of the tours to check whether they have been paid and things booked. Fingers crossed. If not - then mad scramble for refund and booking of things to hopefully achieve the same thing the tour packages had.

Just over one month to go!
 

Drakecula

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Not long to go. So much has happened since my last post.
I was able to confirm one tour had been confirmed, but just not paid for. So I've since reconfirmed and paid for this one - and today found out my credit card will refund the payment made to Tempo Holidays, so yay!

The other tour ended up with Beyond Travel for reconfirmation and I'll be ringing them up to pay soon. We have an enquiry open with our bank to chase the money I deposited for this tour with Bentours. Fingers crossed. Otherwise I do have a claim with travel insurance - who advised they need the results from bank chargebacks first. Which makes sense I guess, I have never been in this situation before so didn't know what to do.

My friend that we're visiting in Vancouver suggested that since we've been to Vancouver before and done the touristy things, that we go visit his grandparents in Seattle instead. So we're gonna do that for a few nights which will be nice, I've never been to Seattle before. :)
 

Cossie

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Not long to go. So much has happened since my last post.
I was able to confirm one tour had been confirmed, but just not paid for. So I've since reconfirmed and paid for this one - and today found out my credit card will refund the payment made to Tempo Holidays, so yay!

The other tour ended up with Beyond Travel for reconfirmation and I'll be ringing them up to pay soon. We have an enquiry open with our bank to chase the money I deposited for this tour with Bentours. Fingers crossed. Otherwise I do have a claim with travel insurance - who advised they need the results from bank chargebacks first. Which makes sense I guess, I have never been in this situation before so didn't know what to do.

My friend that we're visiting in Vancouver suggested that since we've been to Vancouver before and done the touristy things, that we go visit his grandparents in Seattle instead. So we're gonna do that for a few nights which will be nice, I've never been to Seattle before. :)
It's so good that things seem to be working out for you, Seattle is a great city, I'm sure you will enjoy it, we quite like Tacoma as well, if the wind is blowing in the right direction. (Paper plant!).
Vancouver Island is a must as well, especially if you can eat oysters. :)
 

Drakecula

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It's so good that things seem to be working out for you, Seattle is a great city, I'm sure you will enjoy it, we quite like Tacoma as well, if the wind is blowing in the right direction. (Paper plant!).
Vancouver Island is a must as well, especially if you can eat oysters. :)
I have done a day trip to Vancouver Island before - just to Victoria. And oysters are not my cup of tea. I'm not big on seafood in general (I know, I know).

What does a paper plant smell like? Like new book smell? In which case, that's a great smell!
 

Cossie

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It's a nice little town, we have friends there, but on some days.... Aroma of Tacoma - Wikipedia Also I had forgotten it's south of Seattle.

Several songs have been written about the smell. :)
 

Drakecula

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We said au revoir to our dog today - who went off with my step-mum to go stay at Dad's property. I think he'll have just as much fun on his holiday as we will on ours!

We did a trial packing run, and realised that one medium suitcase between us and our individual carry-ons just didn't quite cut it when trying to pack layers worth of winter gear. I think I underestimated the bulkiness of the clothes. So rather than shove everything in and skirt the weight limits, we're going to get another medium suitcase so we can more evenly distribute weight. This is our first winter holiday, so definitely not experienced travellers in this regard!

I have printed out confirmations and tickets to have a hard copy back-up and have filed them in a folder for ease of reference (and peace of mind!).

The anxiety I've been feeling the past month with travel prep has definitely tipped towards excitement. We're going to be in Melbourne this weekend and this time next week getting ready to board for Vancouver! 😁
 

Drakecula

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After an early start to catch the bus to the airport, we are having some breakfast in the Virgin lounge.

20191102_083702.jpg

Yes we tried out Action buses and it wasn't too bad. Much cheaper than a taxi since we live as far away from the airport as you can (or at least it seems) while still being within the territory borders.

Off to MEL today for a couple of nights before we fly to YVR.
 

Drakecula

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We've been safely ensconced in the Air NZ lounge to await our flight. It's nice and comfy. Fairly busy for a Monday morning, but the breakfast spread is nice. They have a dedicated barista for all coffee requirements. I'm not a coffee drinker but I bet those that do appreciate it.
 

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