A mum, dad and their three kids from Tasmania, go on an epic adventure in Borneo for 3 weeks in December
Last night we lit a fire on the bank of the Leven River and rolled the snags around the BBQ plate on our friends block. It was our last chance to say merry xmas and a bit of a farewell. One asked if I was excited. I said not really. It’s not really til I’m on the plane that I get excited. There’s just so much to do before taking a family on a six week trip.
Despite my months of preparation there are just some things that can only be last minute. I had rung my ISP and asked to suspend the account for a month and unlike my mobile provider they refused. Damn you i thought i’m going to have to run up my downloads. I get up at 2am to check their progress.
At noon I manage to stash my car at a virtual friends place 8 km from the airport. “Who is this guy?” Nani wanted to know. “Oh he’s a fly fisherman I met on Facebook”. “Yeah but who is he?” “Oh you don’t need to worry – he’s a fly fisherman” I say. Anyway we met IRL today – not the first time I’ve met in person someone I first met online. He’s taken his lunch break to drop me to the airport. See what I mean?
We line up for the scan and I say good luck getting that full water bottle through to Nani knowing there is some paltry 100ml limit for carry on. She turns pale and says she has a full bottle of Midori in her bag. This is the same person who told me this morning they weren’t bringing their netbook for us to download photos onto and back them up on our trip. She tells me I’ll have to figure out another way of saving our photos. Pour me a few glasses of Midori and I might come up with a way…
I sit in gate lounge 2 and check in on facebook but there’s no location for Launceston airport under “Places”. It’s a small airport but surely not that small. I add it, update my status and close my eyes.
I fade off and alpha brainwaves lap the shore of my consciousness and I relax only to jump when I’m suddenly poked in the eye by Abbey. I asked how would she like that when she’s sleeping. She looks scared and shakes her head. I must have had my crazy “I just got woken up” look. I promise to poke her when she’s sleeping.
Two Chinese girls are having a convo with someone on speaker phone – loudly. It’s funny how when we have trouble hearing someone that we talk loudly – as if the listener is having the same trouble.
A noisy kid behind me shouts loudly “Pwane! Big one! Pwane!” I mean bloody loud. He looks about two and sports a bandage on head. I think maybe ADHD. I hope to God he’s not sitting behind me on the plane. Amazing how intolerant parents can be when their kids are just that little bit older.
They call for boarding and the passengers leap up as one and form a queue that snakes around the small room. The two boys jump as well. This must be some kind of sociological “Simon Says” effect but I refuse to move. Can’t quite come at standing in a line to board a plane. I like to wait for the line to clear before I board. At 6’2″ there’s a whole lot more leg room at the gate than in cattle class.
Can’t quite figure out the deal with “priority boarding” for that matter. Why would you pay more to be crumpled up in a plane for longer? I’d be happy to board early if they knocked a fiver off my ticket though.
I dole out Vicks Menthol drops to the kids. At least one of them have a cold at any point in time and aren’t great at clearing the pressure and don’t like to suffer silently. They tend squark and squirm about like a monkey with its finger in an electric pencil sharpener.
Oscars rips open his packet and the white drop flies out and hits the floor just as a flight attendant walks past. It hits her foot and it’s kicked under the seat behind. I momentarily consider retrieving it then hand him another one. He sucks it and his face screws up. “What does it taste like?” Abbey asks her brother. Lachie answers “like medicine”. She sucks on hers for a bit then tells me her cheek goes rough where the lolly sits. She sucks for a bit but gives up on it and spits it out before the wheels have even left the tarmac. My right ear blocks up then clears eventually with a creak.
Thankfully ADHD boy didn’t sit behind me – he’s in front. He randomly shouts “Cwouds!” and “Lolly!” I look over and notice he’s a twin. I feel the beginning of a headache.
Short arms and long pockets. That would be me! If I can save a buck, I will. And cheap flights are always great to just pounce on if you know what you’re doing and have time to wait.
When I booked our international legs via AirAsia, I didn’t book our domestic legs to get to Melbourne for the flight to KL because I thought I might hold out for a sale. The advice I got was the $69 fare from Tasmania was probably as low as it was going to get for that time of year, so I was somewhat resigned to paying it – until today.
Today, I got an email from my friends at Travel Zoo which I subscribe to (free). They send out a weekly deals email, where they scan airfares, accommodation and packages to see what’s cheap and send it out. On the second line, the words screamed “$30 & up — Ends Tonight: Fares Cut Around Australia“. I hastily clicked the link, and selected Jetstar and Virgin to compare, and lo and behold, fares came down from $69 to $39 available for November. So I booked our flights out of Tasmania, but not back because the January ones aren’t on sale and remember I’m cheap and I’m going to hold out to see if I can get a similar sale.
I nearly got stung on payment when I selected to pay with Visa. Some tiny tiny fine print materialized (no pop up box) to add $28 to the booking. Horrified, I looked at the other options, and hit PayPal. Using that, there was no charge so I just saved even more. I feel so happy. All up that’s nearly a $180 saving just by holding out, waiting for a sale, and subscribing to a good free weekly newsletter.
Oh and by the way, I subscribe to Jetstar’s newsletters and there was no peep from them about this sale.
Also a bit a trivia for you. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are the cheapest days to fly. The cheapest tickets can be bought at 3pm on Tuesdays, and the optimum window for booking tickets is between 3 months to 14 days out from travel when the heaviest discounting takes place. I found that out by subscribing to the free newsletter from FareCompare.com
And just in case you think cheap flights are a myth, this might actually confirm it. And it’s hilarious.