NOTE: This article is the first in a series by AFL Travel Blogger Kileen Prather who will share her recent exploits to the South Pacific. Kileen’s helpful hints and words of travel wisdom are always deeply appreciated!
I like to cruise in January for my own personal vacation. There are two reasons for this. First, the week after New Year’s is the deadest time in the cruise industry so prices tend to be rock bottom if you watch for the sales. And second, where ever I travel on a ship, I unpack once and keep moving. Spending over 100 nights in hotels every year, staying in one room for long periods of time is very appealing.
This year my brother wanted to go to the South Seas. Since paying a single supplement doesn’t appeal to me, we found a cruise that seemed good for both of us.
HELPFUL HINT ALERT!!!
I have 2 credit cards—one for airline mileage and the other for stays at Holiday Inns—so I have enough points to fly free and stay free at hotels in the cities I travel to. This definitely helps with the cost of the vacation.
The first leg of our journey started in El Centro, California where a 12 seat plane took us to LAX. Naturally there wasn’t a flight attendant. The pilot turned in his seat and opened his curtain to tell us information. This was a first for me.
At LAX my brother and I split up because he was flying a different airline. Crossing the International dateline I lost a day. Fifteen hours later I arrived in Sydney, Australia. There was a seven-hour difference, minus a day in time, from where we had departed.
I know it sounds like a long flight but we left in the evening so I slept most of the flight away. Plus, they served a snack and two meals so the time seemed to go by quickly. I have done a lot of overnights or longer on trains so this did not seem that long of a journey. And you have plenty of free movies you can watch to make the time go quicker which you don’t have when traveling by train.
On arrival (9,000 miles later) I discovered Customs was easy. We had to get an Australian Visa ahead of time but we did it online so it wasn’t difficult to do. I must have been listed in the computer because they never asked for proof on arrival. Perhaps this was just a good way for them to tax you coming into the country.
Luggage carts in the airport were free which is unheard of where I come from… or go to! It took sometime for the shuttle to arrive but I got to the hotel around noon and luckily my room was ready. After 15 hours of flying I was ready for a shower and change of clothes. As I finished up my brother arrived.
It was a lazy afternoon. There was a huge Public Market right across the street from our Holiday Inn Darling Harbour. We stored our excess bags at the hotel for our return from Melbourne and went out to explore.
We discovered we were also just around the corner from Chinatown, which was very lively since it was a Saturday. By 4:30 p.m. we went back to the food court in the Market and had a Chinese dinner since Chinatown was so packed.
By 6:00 p.m. I could no longer keep my eyes opened. I am not sure how long my brother stayed awake. The downside of going to sleep so early was I was awake @ 3:00 a.m. However we were planning on getting up at 4:30 a.m. to catch our flight to Melbourne so I got on my computer for an hour since the hotel had free Wifi.
Next up: Melbourne, Australia
***Note*** I am having a special book sale. If you go to my website (www.kileenprather.com) you can preview the first few chapters of each book. I am selling the books for $10.00 apiece and if you buy three or more, shipping is free. For more information email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.