May 2017 Planning Update
Thank heavens for Excel spreadsheets! I use them to keep track of where we’ll be every day, where we’re staying, flights, trains, etc. Another spreadsheet is tracking costs and what we have left to book. I even have a worksheet to calculate how many days we need to take anti-malaria meds.
The spreadsheet is getting longer and details are added by the week. We have most of the long haul flights organized and have organized a tour in Jordan for 8 days – seeing Jerash and Petra, the Red Sea and the Dead Sea.
The latest detail is setting up a tour in India. We’ve decided to use Audley Travel with a driver and tour guides in each city. We’ve been working with Byrn Woodworth at Audley Travel and she’s been great, so far. She gave us “homework” to do – check out hotels, make a list of cities we want to see and what we want to see in each city. Bryn took that information and came up with an itinerary along with 3 or 4 hotels in each city for us to consider. The tour includes driver between cities and private guides in each city along with admissions and hotels with breakfasts. Dinners and lunches are on our own. After some more research on our part, we’ve made that reservation!
Now it’s time to start filling in the blanks – trains, a few hotels, short flights.
Today was pretty frustrating when I tried to book 2 seats on the Indian Pacific train from Perth to Sydney on the Great Southern Railways website www.greatsouthernrail.com.au . I made it through the booking process but when I clicked on “Payment”, the website just sat and stared at me for 5 minutes (Yes, I timed it.) with the little message “Payment Processing”. Finally, I checked my credit card website and, sure enough, they’d approved the transaction. No booking number appeared, no email showed up with a booking number and I couldn’t log on to an account, even though I’d attempted to set one up. I couldn’t even get Great Southern to reset my password. Their site SAID they were sending me an email so I could set a new PW but that email never showed up.
I sent Great Southern Sales and Booking an email. The autoreply announced they are experiencing a greater than expected number of emails and to just hang on and wait for a reply. Wonder why?? Now, I’m sitting on hold with Great Southern trying to get this figured out. Thanks heavens for Skype!
5/22/Update – Great Southern was really helpful after I got through the hold – a mere 15 minutes. The booking is done – yeah! Now we have to figure out the rest of the time in Australia!