Simply Traveling: Lessons in Travel Planning

One of my favorite places in Florida :)
* I wrote this entry before the creation of SimplyEvani but since it's travel related, I decided to keep it!

I'm finally back and I'm back for good! I know I've been so inconsistent with blogging these days but I'll be better about it now that all vacations are said and done. Find a way to forgive me while I entangle you in a post about our crazy vacation.

So for those of you who follow my blog,  you remember my post about planning this vacation to Florida. It was clearly already an ordeal planning for it but it became apparent that planning was only half the beast. Here are some of the lessons I learned on our vacation gone wild:

Despite our problems with Delta, the touch screens were wonderful on our flights!

After all the anticipating building to Florida, 2 weeks before we leave  I'm calling Delta airlines to see what their change policy is. Lesson #1: ALWAYS check airlines change policy prior to purchasing. After checking the weather report at least 5 times a day for a week, it was obvious that thunderstorms were eminent. Suddenly all appeal of Florida was gone. Much to my dismay, the change fee for Delta was $200 per ticket, not including the difference in flight price. After my days of panic trying to decide what to do, Rob made the executive decision that we would go anyways. I moped about the weather endlessly but I resigned to make the best of it and we kept our reservation. Lesson aside, Florida could not have been any more sunny and beautiful than it was when we went.  (We just barely missed Hurricane Irene, which came in 2 days after we left. Imagine if we had booked for that weekend instead!)

Lol

The night prior, I had checked us into our Delta Airlines flight and learned of the checked baggage fee (Lesson #2: Always check for hidden fees on airlines and hotels). For those of you who know how proud I was of us paying so little for our Florida trip, you can imagine the look of horror on my face. At 6:00 am the next morning on our way to the airport, Rob and I were consolidating our luggage into 1 (which was totally do-able!). I had already printed out our boarding passes when I checked us in the night before and as we excitedly go through security check points (yea, we're new to the travel thing), I notice our tickets have seats printed on them. And the seats are in different rows.

Lesson #3: Don't be afraid to ask for what you paid for. As I realized either bookit.com or Delta had screwed us over, I was determined to make this change. Approaching the Delta airlines counter several times, I made sure Delta knew I was not to be denied.  When the employee asked if we were willing to sit in the emergency exit, I willingly jumped on that. Moments later, they gave us new boarding passes to the emergency exit, which was a godsend to Rob's unbelievably long legs. We had the best seats on the flight. Much to my dismay, we were assigned separate seats on 3 out of 4 of our flights. After our first victory, sternly requesting the emergency exits on the rest of the flights gave us seats together.  Although I credit our tenacity at demanding what we paid for, I have to give props to Delta for always accommodating us.

So true

Upon arrival in Florida, the weather was phenomenal. I won't bore you with all the details of how beautiful and sunny Florida was. We ate, drank and enjoyed ourselves to our heart's content (I will probably do a separate blog on travel tips and recommendations on Florida later). The funny part of vacationing was that the more we tried to plan, the more plans fell apart. On Monday, one of our few full days in Florida, we woke up at noon (EST). The planner in me was furious that we slept half the day away but we just went about our day and it ended up being our favorite day at Typhoon Lagoon. Lesson #4: Don't feel guilty about doing what feels right on vacation (aka sleep). The day we slept in, ended up being out best day and we didn't crash mid-afternoon.

After allowing things to go with the flow, we had a fantastic time. Although everything seemed to fall into place this time, travel planning is best learned by trial and error. While some of these seem like common knowledge to travel veterans, it was our first time and we learned lots. Hopefully someone out there can learn from our experiences! When we plan our next  trip, I know there are a few more things I'll be watching for.

I've missed blogging and all my readers dearly, I hope you missed me too! 🙂

Happy Tuesday!

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