Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Vacation do-over

Let’s try this again now, shall we?

After my airline-aborted flight to Italy and then my stay-cation in October, I still hadn’t really felt like I’d scratched the itch. I needed another trip and I almost immediately started running through potential vacation scenarios in my head.

Looking at the coming winter months, along with work, economic and all-around sanity factors, I decided this would have to be a relatively quick trip, maybe 5 nights, so that would call for a direct, short flight somewhere to maximize the time I have. With the pound to dollar exchange rate becoming more favorable for us (falling from 2:1 to 1.47:1 recently), I decided on a trip to London in February. So in mid-November I added London to my fare watch and waited for a blip in the fare to score a deal. In very unfamiliar fashion (you know my luck), the fares continued to drop $10-20 a week until the second week in December, when it was $60 less than when I started watching. It turned out to be for that day, and that day only. So I snagged the fare for $508, all inclusive. The next day the fare started to go back up.

I’m experimenting in the name of research for my readers and taking the day flight out of Boston to London, leaving at 9 a.m. and arriving at 8:30 p.m., rather than taking the overnight flight and sleeping on the plane, arriving bleary eyed and like a zombie for the entire first day. My theory is that even if I only sleep 5 hours or so in a hotel that first night, it will be in a bed, uninterrupted by fellow passengers, food service and turbulence. That has to be good, right?

I’m meeting a cyber-friend there and after much discussion we chose a hotel in Bloomsbury, right across from the British Museum, which is pretty centrally located. Better still, it’s 85 pounds a night, which is nearly half what most other hotels are looking for. This includes VAT and full English breakfast, which makes it an even better deal. Two tube stops on main lines are close by so we should be able to get wherever we need to be easily.

Furthering my better luck, I was browsing London theater events and saw that a British comedic favorite of mine (Rowan Atkinson of Mr. Bean and Four Weddings and a Funeral fame) is starring in Oliver while I’m there. And they happened to still have single seats available on one of the nights I’m there. Score again! Are the travel gods smiling upon me or what?

So fingers crossed that none of this joyous New England winter weather strands me at Logan on the day I leave (I have to have something to worry about in the meantime!) but I really am looking forward to re-visiting London, and am pulling together my “to do” list over the holidays. With an impending U2 tour on the horizon, this may be my only non-U2 related vacation in 2009. We'll see...