Help please, brains trust!

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SamR

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Hi Folks

I am in a bit of a pickle.

As some of the old regulars will know, I have a partner with an anxiety disorder who has always refused to travel, because anxiety. Early this year he agreed to come on a trip to the US this coming November, which I have spent the year planning with his comfort in mind. It involved a friend's birthday weekend in Vegas, road trip to OK to meet up with another friend, and then New York for Thanksgiving.

The Bloke had a bit of a meltdown yesterday. His anxiety has got the better of him. It's not just flying, it's the whole shebang, and three weeks of Doing All The Things in the US was really overwhelming him. We agreed that we would cancel the US trip and go to Fiji instead, which he was fine with. But I have hit a major snag.

I was thinking that I'd be able to cancel our flights to the US (J, companion fare), turn them into a credit voucher, rebook flights to Fiji and burn up the balance by the end of Jan. However, I have just learned that isn't possible. It's a non-refundable fare, so while QF is happy to re-route us, the fare needs to be of equal or higher value of the fares to the US. Basically, I have to use it in one hit, which rules out Fiji.

SO. How do I get around this without being out $11k? I'm thinking the easiest way might be to try and talk him back into going to the US, but for a shorter time and a less complex and intimidating trip. No road trip to Oklahoma, no visits to New York. Just something kinda quiet on the west coast (I'm thinking something with spectacular views in Northern CA...?)

Ideas, please: quiet, relaxing but fun things to do on the west coast, or any knowledge about how I might parlay an expensive non-refundable fare into something useful for my circumstances.
 

docjames

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Fly "just" to lax and do the rest by road.

Road trip lax-sfo via coast road. One of the worlds great drives.

Napa valley

Road trip to Vegas (2-3 days max).

San Diego

Basically there's so much to do (or you can do "so little" ie take your time) that driving only around California might be easier than tackling things further afield.

Maybe friends/relatives in the us can meet you in lax or sfo?

So lots of options in California, and a flight to lax is likely to be just as hard/easy as a trip anywhere.
 

Cocitus23

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Some good suggestions there from docjames, but for me it would be up the coast road to Monterey and San Francisco, then across to Yosemite National Park, then back to LAX.
 

docjames

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Some good suggestions there from docjames, but for me it would be up the coast road to Monterey and San Francisco, then across to Yosemite National Park, then back to LAX.

Yep agree also good suggestions.

Yosemite will be pretty cold at that time of year....
 

MEL_Traveller

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Fear of flying course? I just did a quick google - they aren't cheap - but this one has a session 11/12 or 18/19 October (in time for your departure to the US!)

Fearless Flyers Inc.

$950 though, but might bring many future years of happiness!
 
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SamR

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Ah, thanks for posting the backstory, serfty.

Yeah, it's not just flying, it's everything. Being out of the country. A couple of planes dropping out of the sky this year. Not being able to escape. The thought of doing customs and immigration surrounded by a lot of people. The unknown, in general, and things being out of his control. It's a full-on anxiety disorder, not just being a nervous flyer. It also stops us from things like going to the theatre, or going to restaurants that are more than a two minute walk from home. He's only just in the last 18 months or so been able to catch a regular, neighborhood bus.

TBH, while it's a sensible suggestion, I don't think a fear of flying course would help him. I think they're a great idea if you have a few nerves, but essentially a FoF course aims to ally fears through logic. A full-on anxiety disorder is not based in logic or anywhere near it.

Anyway, we seem to have detente. US trip is back on. We come home a week earlier than planned before. We're staying on the west coast. Most likely plan is Vegas for the friend's birthday, then fly to SFO, where we have another friend. We'll spend the week there, exploring the city, shopping, eating, might even go to a B&B in the Napa Valley for a night or two. Fly back to LAX. Might spend a night there before flying home, or just hop straight on QF12, depending on what he thinks he can handle.

Haven't blown too much money with all the changes. Just the usual change fee to change our return flight. The flight I had booked and paid for OKC-LGA neatly becomes a first class flight LAX-LAS with all change fees taken care of. A few cancellation fees between $20-$30 each for a few B&Bs along Route 66. The only cash that might be blown is the $200 deposit I paid for the resort in Fiji, but he says he's happy to go there in winter next year, so I might just be able to change booking dates to 2015 and not lose anything. SFO is a great city. Haven't been there in years and it will be nice to have time to do things at leisure. And he sent me flowers to apologise.

So all in, not a bad result, all things considered.
 
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