Thinking Ahead to Christmas Travels

My last Saturday in Kansas City.  After rushing around the United States and Canada on business, I’m glad to be back home for my last week.  Lots to do, though.  My parents are in town for the weekend, as my sister is throwing a Bon Voyage party for me this evening.  On the menu: tri-tip roasts prepared two ways (Santa Maria rub and Teriyaki marinade) along with a slew of side dishes prepared by other people.

Christmas Trip – This week I finalised the itinerary that Tawn and I will take for our trip back to Kansas City over Christmas.  As I wrote previously, this was a tough trip to book for several reasons:

First, Tawn only has five vacation days left this calendar year and since Christmas is not a recognized holiday in Thailand, we couldn’t count on any additional days off.  Second, we wanted to hit both Kansas City and San Francisco, as Bruce and Howie were quite adamant when I last saw them that they expect to see us for New Year’s.

Finally, prices were just out of control.  I found a trip on Singapore that would get us to San Francisco and then we would have to book SF to Kansas City separately.  The price was about $2800 total but we arrived on Christmas Day.  To book United the whole way would run us $3600 but we would arrive on Christmas Eve instead.  When I spoke with my sister, she indicated that arriving on Christmas Day wasn’t very workable (at least, that’s how I interpreted her message – maybe inaccurately), so I put up a mental roadblock that the Singapore option wasn’t workable.

It is interesting how putting up mental roadblocks really doesn’t allow you to make good decisions.  Tawn and were discussing the pricier alternative and were at the point of deciding that we would skip the entire trip because $3600 was just too much more than we were willing to pay.  Following that conversation, I stopped by my grandparents’ house and was telling them about the tough decision we faced.

My grandmother, always a woman of great sense and clarity of thought, pointed out that my aunt wasn’t even going to arrive until the day after Christmas and so we would not have the entire Tebow family together until afterwards anyhow.  That was enough to jolt the mental log jam loose, and as I drove back home I realized that if we arrived on Christmas Day, then we arrived on Christmas Day.  That isn’t a good enough reason to spend a ton of extra money.

So that evening I sat down at the computer and made a fresh start of it.  Sure enough, with the mental river flowing unobstructed, I saw options that had previously not been visible to me.  In the end, here’s what we arrived at and booked:

December 24th

    • Leave Bangkok 7:45 am and arrive Singapore 11:10 am
    • (6 hour layover in Singapore – Otto and Han, will you be in town?)
    • Leave Singapore at 5:00 pm, stop in Hong Kong for 1 hour, arrive in SFO 5:55 pm on the same day.
  • (Overnight in San Francisco, staying at the SF Airport Marriott – anyone in town on Christmas Eve and want to have dinner?  Maybe Watergate is open?)

December 25th

  • Leave SFO at 7:15 am, connect in Denver, and arrive Kansas City at 3:00 pm

December 30th

  • Leave Kansas City at 7:10 am, connect in Denver, and arrive SFO at 12:10 pm

January 2nd

    • Leave SFO at 12:05 am (five minutes after January 1st ends)
    • Connect through HKG and SIN
  • Arrive in Bangkok at 2:30 pm on January 3rd.

All this for only US$2,100 plus about 20,000 Mileage Plus miles and one domestic free ticket (for a volunteer denied boarding earlier this spring).  Very good.

Packing – Good news.  Most of what I want to move to BKK on this trip will fit into the suitcases.  I did most of the packing last night.  However, I’m thinking that since the Christmas trip is a go, I might pull out some of the heavier items (I don’t really need all my DVDs right now, do I?) and save them for December.

This will allow some extra room for lighter items like sheets and towels.  Tawn has asked me to buy some here as the quality is better than in Thailand.  Plus, there’s no need to have suitcases that are 50+ pounds apiece.  Better to lighten them up a little bit so they’re easier to handle in New York. 

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