Australia-Take 2, November 2015

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After my previous trip in April, you have to wonder why would I go back to Australia again so soon. 2 words, Fare Sale….

It’s not a huge secret, that I like to travel over Thanksgiving weekend. Normally I head over to Europe, to enjoy the Christmas Markets. This year for various reasons, I decided to switch it up. But don’t worry, I will still be getting in my Christmas Market fix.

It’s also not a huge secret that I am sucker for a coupon.  Yes I realize you do not really save money by spending money on something you did not need in the first place. So long story short, I had a coupon for Qantas and they just happen to have a fare sale.  And look at that I am booked to go back to Australia.

I was actually on the fence if I was actually going to go thru with the actual trip.  Just as I was considering cancelling, American Airlines, announced a promotion in which I could fast track to Gold, Platinum or Executive Platinum for about 1/4 of the normal requirements.  You all know how much I love my Star Alliance,  but I was already cheating on them by flying Qantas. So I figured I would make it a full on affair, and go for the status on American.

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It turned out, my flights to and from Sydney would give me Executive Platinum status. So in the end the decision was made for me,  I was going on this trip.

On day of departure, I was so proud of myself, for being so organized. I got everything into 1 suitcase and 1 carry on bag. Since my tickets were not linked, I booked a early then needed flight to LA on American. I had a 4 hour layover, so I made plans to meet up with a friend for dinner. Of course as luck would have it on day of departure, Chicago had some impressive thunderstorms.

Surprisingly there was no line for TSA Pre-Check, they must all be flying United. I made my way to the lounge to see my flight was now delayed til 5.30. About 30 minutes later another alert, now 6.40. Uh oh, I was now in danger zone with my connection in LA.

My flight finally boarded around 6. I am not sure what time we took off. What I do know is that since I was scheduled for 3:30pm departure I had not eaten lunch. And well you know that the food options in the US lounges is not an option. With all the running around I sort of forgot to eat.  #TRAVELFAIL-1. When we were finally departing, I realized I was a bit hungry, oops. My only food option was Kale and Spinach Pasta, which if you recall my Boston trip, I am not a fan of spinach. So I barely ate. I feel asleep and woke up to my blood sugar taking a dive. And no I am not diabetic, just stupid.  This has happened to me a few times before. First time on a flight to LA, where I actually fainted in the aisle. It also happened on my last American Airlines flight in 2011, in which the cranky flight attendant refused to give me water. Clearly, the fault is mine, I need to eat more when I am traveling.

I did make my flight to LA, with about 5 minutes to spare. There were about 10 people connecting on to Australia on my flight, so when our Qantas was delayed a few minutes I thought it was for our bags to be loaded. Until we arrived in Sydney, and the dreaded passenger blah, blah and Flo, please see an agent….

My bag did not make my flight to Sydney, nor did it make the flight that left and hour later. It was still in LA. I was told it was on the next flight to Sydney and it would arrive the next day. Except I was fly down to Melbourne. No worries, they would put it on the next flight and deliver it my hotel.

No problem, except I was traveling light. No back up clothes in my carry on. #TRAVELFAIL-2

Travel Tip-if you are going to be foolish enough to check a bag with out any back up clothes in your carry on, be smart enough to know your sizes in whatever country you are visiting. Also if you are going to Asia, just don’t check a bag. NOTHING will fit you. And I say that with love. You maybe an Extra Small in the US, you probably will not fit Extra Large in Asia. You’ve been warned.

Qantas did give me an emergency cash card to go shopping.  Apparently Australian sizes are “real” sizes.  They are 2 size bigger then US. So a US women’s size 6 is a 10 in Australia. Shopping for me was traumatic. First off, it’s summer in Australia so the stores were full of summer dresses and t-shirts. Which would have been ok if I had stayed in Sydney, where it was 40c/104F weather. But I was in Melbourne and it was 19c/66F.

I tried Target first. Yes, Mandy, Target is in Australia. I got some basics, but no clothes. Next I hit Myer, which is like a Macy’s in the States. After 20 minutes of wondering around, a nice Sales Associate took pity on me. She found me a simple white t-shirt and some black leggings. 2 sizes 2 small!  And that simple white t-shirt, $89 Australian dollars or about $65 US. It’s a wonder that Australian’s bring empty suitcases with them to the States when they travel.

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I admit I probably should have taken a nap before I went shopping. I might have actually thought about what I needed. Like socks, pajamas, toiletries. It was only after I got back to the hotel did I realize I needed more then I purchased. Luckily the hotel could provide the basic toiletries, including a hairbrush. Well I broke the brush in my hair. I have since decided that my toiletry bag will always fly with my in my carry one.

Stay tuned for Part 2, Melbourne.

 

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