Friday, July 20, 2007

Lets talk travel

As I have said many, many times on this blog, traveling to Ethiopia is more difficult than usual this summer due to the huge Millennium celebration taking place on September 11th. (For more on the Ethiopian calendar see here.) It’s rumored that the government of Ethiopia is offering free land grants to expat Ethiopians who return home for the celebrations. As you can imagine this makes getting plane and hotel reservations tricky.

We won’t have a firm travel date until after our adoption is ratified in court, hopefully next Tuesday, but because of the travel issues I’ve mentioned we are already shopping around for plane tickets for when we estimate we will be traveling. Actually we already have two completely different sets of reservations on hold. While it’s a little nerve racking to hold tickets with no guarantee we will be traveling, we thought it would be better to get our tickets now and pay a small fee to change them then be stuck without any hope of getting some at all.

To the best of my knowledge, since our agency has a standing embassy appointment time, which date we travel will be up to them. Our travel agent is confident that if we tell the agency when we have tickets reserved for that they will do their best to work within our plans. Our agency says that we should have an embassy date around 4 to 5 weeks after court. We took the longer time frame in making our reservations, hoping that this would allow more flexibility on the part of the agency. Also, because Princess starts school the third week of August, I want to be there to settle her into the new schedule; not to mention square away all my start of the year volunteer duties at the school.

We reserved one set of tickets with a well known travel agent in the ET adoption community. These travel plans would have us leaving Washington DC on the 31st of August and arriving back in DC on the 8th, flying Ethiopian Airlines, coach. Getting to and from DC from Alaska, no small feat in and of itself, will be up to us. We plan to use airline miles to get there and maybe stay a day or two on either end to help combat jetlag a little bit. Ethiopia is 11 hours off from Alaska!

The second set of tickets we have on hold are using our many, many airline miles with Alaska Air to fly business class from here to Vancouver BC to London and hanging out there for 4 or 5 days. This would give us a little bit of a second honeymoon before adding another baby to the family and really allow us to shake off the jet lag as London is only 2 hrs off from Addis. We would then head over to ET on the 30th and stay a few extra days there to leave on the 9th of September. On the way back we wouldn’t have much of a layover at all in London, only a few hours, and would overnight in Vancouver on the way home.

The two big benefits of the second option is flying business class over coach and getting to vacation a bit. The down sides are that we would be gone a lot longer and use up all our miles. Really I think which option we take will depend on when we hear about travel dates. The ET airline tickets can be held for 2 weeks while the mile tickets can only be held, best case, until Wednesday.

Of course, as I’ve said before, all this is contingent on a successful court date next Tuesday. We’ve been told that we should hear about the court outcome sometime on Tuesday and I’m sure that this weekend is just going to drag by. Thankfully we have the new Harry Potter book to distract us. That might get us through the weekend…

Cross your fingers for us!


KrazyMom said...

Best wishes for smooth travels...and enjoy your new book!

chou-chou said...

whoooo. I've exhausted just reading about all the travel planning you are having to do.

I'll keep fingers and toes crossed for you!!