As anyone who knows me will tell you, I like to plan in advance. It can be a good thing, when we are able to get great deals, or seats on flights which later sell out; but I do recognise that it comes at the expense of spontaneity. However, I like having something in the diary to look forward to so booking ahead always wins for me.
My wife has been working really hard these last couple of years juggling a Masters degree (she got a distinction!) and her successful career in Publishing, and she deserves a holiday of more than 5 days somewhere – she just doesn’t know where yet! I am leaving it up to her to decide where we go and what we do; of course I will be happy to help research / plan / book, but I am also happy to go with the flow and do her thing. In the mean time, I have booked myself a trip to the west coast of the USA during the long school holidays!
The plan is to have a couple of days in Bucharest, Romania before the main trip kicks off. A neighbour is Romanian, so I am looking forward to getting some top tips from him before going. I intend to stay at the InterContinental there – a bargain at 25,000 IHG points per night, but will change to cash if there is a decent offer on from the Accelerate promotion in the summer.
MummyAirmiles decided to join me for the first part so it will be nice to carry on our little summer jaunt which started with our Wide-bodied Jet Tour of Europe in 2016 and then a weekend in Luxembourg last year.
Then it is a trip across the Atlantic to Phoenix. There has been talk online of exceptionally cheap tickets between Bucharest and Phoenix which include generous mileage allowances and conditions. I have a few friends who are routing via Helsinki and back to London before the transatlantic leg for additional tier points as well as some who are travelling First Class all the way. In both examples, the fare will earn around 40,000 Avios (worth at least £600 to me) and up to 1080 tier points which is excellent value.
Whilst I could have stretched the journey out, I have decided to do it all in one, leaving Bucharest at around 0830 and arriving into Phoenix by 2200 local. There are loads of hotel options near the hotel which I will avail myself of on arrival and the night before I leave – currently an IHG property on points, but, as above, subject to change.
I then have 6 days to fill in the summer heat of Arizona. I will hire a car, although not sure from whom as prices seem to be a lot higher than the last couple of years. Avis is my normal go-to, but I might have to branch out. I am currently planning a couple of days in and around Phoenix and then a couple in Vegas. I will probably fly for two reasons; I don’t much fancy a solo trip across the desert in the 40 degree heat and I have a $200 American Airlines transportation voucher from a previous trip that will otherwise go to waste.
The journey home will be the reverse of the outbound with the transatlantic crossing being the overnight flight and a back to back in Bucharest.
I am really looking forward to flying on a British Airways 747 again, as well as American’s flagship Transcontinental service from JFK-LAX on their A321T. I love Las Vegas and it will be nice to see some new parts of it as well as some familiar places. I love the open roads and the intense, dry heat of the desert so will have a great time.
And, of course, whilst I am planning this trip, I will be leaving my wife alone to think about where she want to go in her own time without me pestering her to book something – a win-win in anyone’s books!