|Santorini Caldera View|
This is not going to be a cheap trip by any stretch of the imagination but has been in the plan for the last several years. I just was not able to get a decent air price from my area for less than $1300 as have been looking ever since we moved here. Well, for $935 per person including all taxes we are flying Westjet and British Airways to Greece. That price is lower than it was 20 years ago! Yes, if you live in a major East Coast City you might get it for cheaper but not from the West Coast. It was only cheaper if you lived in Vancouver and Calgary by about $80 each. I have only flown British Airways once and that was to Egypt about 18 years ago and am looking forward to flying with them again.
We have a one night layover on the way there at London Heathrow and I have managed to book that night using some of the airmiles I won back in June with only taxes to be paid of $25 so saved us another $150 there. Airmiles must be booked waaaay in advance so good that we got this sale so early which is highly unusual. In the old days you would only ever see seat sales within 4 months of travel. Things have definitely changed in the travel industry.
And now the planning begins. And the saving. There was enough in the travel fund for the two tickets, insurance and a couple of nights hotel, now I have to save for the rest of the hotels and ferries and spending money. The rough plan:
1 night in London
1 night Port of Piraeus (Athens Port) as ferries leave 7am the next morning
3 nights Island of Santorini
2 nights lesser known Island, tossing around Naxos, Hydra and Aegina
3 nights Athens
I do not like large cities but I loved Athens! All the history every where you look! We love archaeology and neat places to wander and I also remember loving the shopping Plaka area of Athens with small alleyways, tons of tiny shops and restaurants. You might be wondering why I have roughed this out so fast - well, Santorini books WAY in advance and the cheapest rates are gotten booking well over 6 months out. Also, Greece is notorious for transportation strikes which include ferries, airport workers, taxis and metro. There was actually a strike action about to happen in Piraeus the last time I was in Greece as I remember we had to get up at 3am to board our 4 day cruise. That is why I have placed Athens at the end of the holiday, just in case any plans get messed up so we don't miss our flight home. The best way to enjoy your travels is to be flexible and know stuff happens and you have to roll with it. Depending on how much Santorini Costs we might just do 2 days there and do an extra day on a smaller cheaper island. The ferries vary in price too with high speed ferries costing the most but it might be worth it in the end based on our short time frame - all the time we can be away from our business. All of this can be changed/rearranged as I will only book hotels with no booking penalty until a couple of weeks out just in case I change my mind. Yes, we do hotels -there are those that think air bnb is always cheaper. It simply isn't. If I happened upon the exact right property on air bnb I would likely book it but hubby and I know our travel style and it is hotels. My favoriate are small family run hotels and inns which can be a greater bargain in Greece other than Santorini (**expensive due to amazing amazing amazing views - did I say amazing! Freaking amazing!) We have two non-negotiable requirements - fridge and good wifi so we can connect with our business. A fridge for inexpensive snacks and drinks to keep the food bill down. Those 2 items are must haves but everything else can be flexible. Most Greek hotels include breakfasts so that at least is built into the cost.
It is our 11th wedding anniversary today and I am not sharing it with my husband other than by facetime as he is in Alberta helping clear out my Mother-in-laws unit so she can go into long-term care. This was the only weekend that worked for him to go so we booked it knowing that we were spending our anniversary apart. At least we both know that in 3 weeks time we will be spending a lovely weekend on Gabriola island for 3 nights and in 8 months I will finally get to return to one of my favorite places on the planet with my husband. And order as much chicken souvlaki and greek salad I can eat :) I also remember it was one of my favorite food places in the world. Fortunately we both love Greek food. Late May/early June is one of the nicest times to go there in terms of weather, rainy season is over, things are still green as the extreme summer heat is not there yet although it will still be between 23-30 degrees celcius every day. Life is good - travel is my favorite way to spend money and I tend to not spend money on everything else so we can do it. My happy place - let the planning begin!