Saturday, March 27, 2010

Another Day of Making Travel Arrangements

Spent another day making travel arrangements for our May/June trip.  This will be a 21 day cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Amsterdam, Netherlands and then we will go to our daughter's villa in Tuscany for a week before we head back home.

The cruise arrangements had already been made. In fact, we made the booking while on our Panama Canal cruise over Christmas and New Years. The reservations made today (and part of yesterday) were to get to Tuscany and then to London for stand-by flight to Miami.  If you recall other travel arrangements I have described you recall my number one travel rule - if I'm paying, use the cheapest airline!  Probably the cheapest airlines in Europe are either RyanAir or EasyJet. RyanAir, an Irish airline, unfortunately wouldn't get me to I want to go so its EasyJet.  We have flown EasyJet before on our trip last Summer from Basel, Switzerland to London.

The cruise ship arrives in Amsterdam too late for the EasyJet flight to Italy (actually to Milan) so we will spend a day and night in Amsterdam.  I booked a night at the Ibis Hotel near the Schipol Airport in Amsterdam.  We stayed there a few years ago following a transatlantic cruise.  The cruise ship line (Holland America) will provide a shuttle from the port to the airport. From the airport the hotel provides a shuttle. After checking in we will probably take the train into the city.  The next morning we will fly out of Amsterdam.

EasyJet is probably on a par with some of the budget airlines in the US but they are real cheap.  I mean real cheap. British Air has flights from Amsterdam to Milan for $220 per person; EasyJet does the same route for about $48 per person.  That's why I love EasyJet.  Of course there are some drawbacks.  For instance, there are no reserved seats.  Get there early if you want an aisle seat.

We leave Amsterdam at 9:30 AM and arrive in Milan at 11:10 AM.  Our daughter's villa is closer to Pisa or Florence than to Milan but EasyJet has no flight from Amsterdam to Pisa.  As a result we have to get from Milan to Florence so we will take the train.  Next step, make train reservations.  (The tickets will be sent to us by mail.)  We will leave Milano Centrale (Milan central station) at 2:15 PM and will arrive at Firenze S M N (Florence central station) at 4:00 PM.  This is $75 per person for second class and for a less than two hour ride second class is all you need.  At the Florence train station our daughter and her family will pick us up.

We will spend about eight days at Castello di Casole and then have to think about going home.  Because we want to fly first class (or business class) to Miami and don't want to pay for it, we have to get to a European city serviced by American Airlines.  The best chances are Paris and London so will EasyJet get us there.  There are EasyJet flights from Pisa to both Paris Orly and London Gatwick so we opt for London.  Make reservations with EasyJet and we will leave Pisa at 2:40 PM and arrive at Gatwick at 3:50 PM. 

We're in London at Gatwick airport but to get to Miami on American Airlines we have to get to Heathrow airport.  That means a coach (bus) ride of about an hour and a quarter. It's not that bad. We've done it before.  

We're at Heathrow in the afternoon but the direct flight to Miami is in the morning so we need a place to stay for the night.  The Park Inn Heathrow is at the airport so I make reservations there.  We stayed there last Summer when on our way home from or ocean cruise/river cruise trip.

Now the only thing we need to get home is open space on an American Airlines flight to Miami.  Last Summer Nancy got a seat in First Class. I ended up in Business Class.  I know, it's tough. 


1 comment:

Eileen said...

Sounds like you should have your travel agent license by now.