Ever since we were married, Denisa and I have tried to get over to Slovakia once every three years. That’s the goal. We’ve gone in 2012/2013 (for our European Christmas tour), 2011 (where we got over to London and Vienna), 2008 (where we got to see Dublin), 2005 (with a trip to Prague included), and 2002 (my first trip over). So doing a bit of math, we’ve gone 5 times so far, with the Christmas trip making it so we’d gotten a bit ahead of ourselves. (Twice in two years!) The hope was to go again this year, but when we had MC get added to the family, we realized trips to Europe might have to become less frequent.
Still, it never hurts to try, right?
And I’ve been trying everyday for months. Checking the prices, hoping that they might come down some. Kayak is my go-to source for price checking, though I’ll throw in other sites now and then to be thorough. But even with all my checking, the lowest I’d seen a flight this summer was $957 on Turkish Air, and that was with a long layover in Istanbul. (It also was a month ago. I didn’t pull the trigger then, because I thought the prices would come down. I hoped to get a ticket for $850 or so.)
These days? The best ticket I could find with reasonable layovers (meaning, no 6 hour monstrosities) was $1,210 on Aer Lingus, Boston to Vienna. With the bus ticket to Boston and all the other transportation costs included, that meant we were going to have to pay $6,100 just to get to Slovakia. That . . . is a lot of money. Enough that Denisa and I were seriously considering just skipping this year’s trip and saving for next year.
DC, however, had other plans. She really wanted to go to Slovakia, and she decided to pray and fast this past Sunday that I’d be able to find tickets we could afford. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I’d been trying nonstop for months, and that God wasn’t going to bring the prices down just for us.
Note to self: don’t doubt the power of a 7 year old’s prayers.
Yesterday (two days after DC prayed and fasted for this), I saw a ticket on Kayak for $850 or so. The only problem? It involved two or three layovers and 40 hours of travel time. I’m willing to try to go beyond the call of duty for a deal, but even I have my limits. I’d seen this wacky deal before, and I’d always dismissed it out of hand. This time? I decided to look more carefully at it. I saw it was leaving from Toronto, so I checked prices leaving straight from Toronto. $750 or so.
A quick jaunt over to Google Maps told me Toronto was over 9 hours away from me. So . . . not that practical. But I had the scent of blood now. Give a librarian a toehold somewhere, and we’ll find out anything we want.
Long story short? I found tickets out of Montreal (4.5 hours away) for $720 roundtrip, including a 3 night stopover in Paris. Yes, Montreal is a bit of a drive, but so is Boston. (Boston is 3.5 hours away.) It’s a simple Montreal to Paris, Paris to Vienna flight, all on Air France.
Denisa and I bought the tickets last night. DC was overjoyed.
I don’t know why I never thought about Canada before. Say what you want about prayer, I personally feel like DC was a prime helper in this year’s trip planning. It took a while to convince myself that Montreal was doable. Can you just leave from Canada on a trip? Just like that? But yes, you can. The plan at the moment is to stay the night in Montreal before our flight leaves, thus allowing us to park the car there for free. We’ll be able to go to Slovakia and Paris for a total cost (including hotels, meals, and rental car) that will be less than what we would have paid for just airfare from Boston.
Anyway. If anyone’s looking to meet up with us, feel free to drop me a line. We’ll be over there in August. If you live within driving distance of major Canadian airport, I’ve got a few tips for you . . . 🙂
(End note: It’s Wednesday, and that means I have to stick to my goal to report on the no-sugar thing. This week, I had a bit of maple syrup on pancakes yesterday, and some granola that Denisa made that has a bit of maple syrup in it. That’s it. Still feeling great. Weight loss was minimal, until this morning, when I was suddenly down two more pounds. Total loss is 6.8 pounds as of today, but I expect that to tick back up, most likely.)