It's done. Everything is done. All the bookings I intended to make are made, plus a few additional ones. The last one I made today. It was our train tickets from London to Liverpool. I've been watching Virgin Trains website for weeks...months even. Charging £81 for a one way train ticket was just ridiculous. It would drop, eventually, I thought. And thanks to a website called SpottedRedHanky, I found my deal today.
Getting the best travel deals is a full time job. It has been MY full time job since we first started planning this holiday in July, 2015. Anything that could be obtained at a discount, was booked at a discount. Flights with Air Canada...seat sale. Train tickets...seat sales and group bookings. Who knew that some train lines in England consider 3 a group! I even used a discount code for booking our Dublin hotel because I had stayed there before, and they offer a 5% discount for making future reservations direct with the hotel versus using a third party site. That's not to say that I don't use various hotel booking websites to get good deals. In fact, I have our London hotel booked with Booking.com and our Liverpool hotel via Expedia.ca. The benefit to some of these sites is that you have the choice to pay in advance, or pay at the hotel. When you pay in advance, it is in Canadian funds. I hesitate to pay for my hotels in advance. You're locked in, and what if a better deal comes along? Then, when it's closer to departure, you can revisit the sites. We did. We re-booked our Liverpool hotel, paid in advance on Expedia and saved ourselves $100.
One of the upsides about starting your planning so far in advance, you are always finding new things to add to your itinerary. The main sites were no brainers. We got Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey) tickets as soon as they went on sale; Harry Potter Studio Tour tickets and Ceremony of the Keys bookings. Shelley got the most highly rated Beatles Tour Guide (Stevie T) on Trip Advisor. Then we started filling in the gaps. We got Motown the Musical tickets, Fashion Rules ReStyled. Shelley and I booked the Giant's Causeway/Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge/Game of Thrones tour in Dublin and followed that up with the Cliffs of Moher. And then out of left field came The Gingerliners and their Chambers of Flavour. That is something I stumbled across last year. It is a secret, adventurous dining experience only available during certain times of the year. Low and behold, tickets went on sale for a few dates during our stay. We got some! We don't know where we will be dining, but it's somewhere on the London Overground Train Line. We get an email at 4pm on the day of with further directions. All very mysterious. How the dress code comes into play, we're not sure, but we all have to dress monochromatically. One colour head to toe. And the food is supposed to be exceptional!
And not long ago, I found an ideal "surprise" for my 2 travel companions. Something we all will enjoy. Can't say anything more about it...cause it's a surprise!!
So everything is booked. All we have left is the London Eye and the Beatles Museum which we can book upon arrival to get small discounts and "skip the queue" benefits. Now what? This has been my job, my hobby, my pastime for the last 8 months. There's nothing left to research and there's no time left on the calendar to squeeze anything else in. I'm now, officially, in withdrawal. Guess I'll just start the countdown...56 days and counting...is it too soon to start packing??
Spotted Red Hanky
Wednesday, March 02, 2016
Quispamsis, New Brunswick, Canada