Let the planning begin!

Today is a big day for my blog. Today is the official start of my Transatlantic Planning Extravaganza. To be technical, I have been planning this for this trip for quite a while, but it's now finally time to start to share my plans. Plus, I really need to share this stuff because I've become obsessed. I have been reading, researching, rereading, booking & rebooking so much that I think I'm gonna go insane. I have read & researched so much you'd think in 78 days I was taking my medical boards, not going on vacation! I'm gonna need a vacation from planning my vacation. I'm really starting to think I should be charging my parents a fee. I mean really. How spoiled are they?! I digress. If you are new to my blog or need a refresher course you can check out my earlier posts that explain this trip here and here.

Where do I even begin? I guess I'll go in the order of our trip. Today I'll do a quick rundown of our flights and my first thoughts on packing.

First Flight
We will be flying Air France (Delta) to Dublin on Monday, September 13th leaving JFK at 10:40pm and arriving at DUB September 14th at 10:30am. First things first, I can not tell you how something so small like flying in & out of airports with the appropriate abbreviations excites me. HPN & MCO are you listening?! Anyways. No, our flight is not 12 hours. Dublin is 5 hours ahead of us. Our flight is only 7 hours, which is totally doable. Seriously, I have six 11+ hour flights under my belt & two of them I did when I was 11, so long flights don't bother me. Actually, I find that the longer the flight, the quicker it feels to me. With these long flights, between the nonstop food, personal tvs with movies, tv shows, games and music, sleep and reading they fly by, literally & figuratively. Our plane even has power outlets for my laptop, so I'm good. Maybe I'll even do a little blogging from the air. The seating situation on our plane is 2-3-2. So for my sanity we have my dad on the aisle of the middle triple row and then my mom on the aisle on the double row and then myself at the window of the double row. This is just a better situation for everyone involved. (aka me) These flights are usually never completely full so when we do seating like this, my dad ends up with an empty seat next to him, 'cause who likes to sit in the middle seat?? I don't! Air France (Delta) allows one checked bag each free of charge for long haul flights so that worked out well.

Second Flight
After our 3 days of fun in Ireland, we'll be taking a quick flight over to Barcelona. This flight we'll be flying Aer Lingus leaving DUB at 6:40am and arriving at BCN (I love it!) at 10:10am. This flight is 2 hours 40 minutes, Barcelona is an hour ahead of Dublin, 6 hours ahead of home. Since we will be flying within Europe, this flight dictates our packing situation for the entire trip, as they are much more strict. Aer Lingus is a tricky one. We are allowed one checked bag each weighing no more that 44lbs (20kgs) which they charge 15 euros for each, about $19 usd! We will also be charged an additional 15 euro ($19usd) for each 2.2lbs. (1 kilo) over 44lbs (20kgs) we are. Yeah, so one bag each weighing no more than 43lbs for us! Just to be on the safe side.

Third Flight
Our last flight will be our flight home from MCO (ugh!). We'll be getting off the ship in Port Canaveral, Fl and taking Disney's shuttle to the airport. We haven't booked this flight, as we're hoping for a sale. It will end up being a Jetblue flight to either White Plains airport or Laguardia. and it will be pretty uneventful I'm sure. They do not charge for the first checked bag. Why can't they fly to Dublin and Barcelona???!!

This is the thing that has me most concerned about the trip. We will be packing for 18 days, seeing three different "seasons" and needing clothing for all types of events from swim suits to evening gowns & suits. God help me! The cruise ship has three laundry rooms as well as laundry service, so you can bet we'll be taking advantage of that service. Yes, I'll be doing laundry on vacation, unless I can work a miracle packing wise. I mean the start of our trip we'll be seeing temps of 49 - 62 degrees in Ireland, then temps in the mid 70s in Spain and then ending with temps in the 90s in the Caribbean. I haven't even begun to figure out what clothes I need to buy. I have started to buy little items here & there each month, so that I'm not hit with a huge shopping expense in September. Because every pound counts, I have been measuring out exactly how much shampoo & conditioner, etc. I will need and buying travel bottles that cary exactly that much liquid. So far I have bought some 8oz. & 3oz. bottles, travel size bag of cotton balls ,travel jewelry case, travel size hair brush, among other things. To help with packing we will also be carrying a 21" (biggest they'll let us) rolling carry-on each as well as a personal item, mine will be my new slash-proof backpack. Barcelona is famous for architecture & pickpockets.  So I am buying a PacSafe backpack and camera strap. You can check those out here and here. They are really cool and the best part if I've found them half the price on ebay! Gotta love ebay. My plan is to put all of my electrical stuff, jewelry and other heavier items in the rolling carry-on with my laptop and dslr camera and then my important papers, money, point-and-shoot camera & smaller things in my backpack. That should help with the weight of everything and I may be able to fit enough to not need to do laundry. Now, you'll notice this leaves me no room for souvenirs. Believe me I'm planning to shop A LOT! So how am I gonna do it? First, I'm packing one of those fold up, lightweight duffle bags in my suitcase. I will have to leave room in my suitcase/carryon for whatever I buy in Ireland, but once we get on the ship it wont matter. Then I'll do the rest of my shopping. On one of our last stops is St. Maarten, shopping mecca. By the time I get to this island I'll have a pretty good idea of how much more room I'll need, so I'll buy a second suitcase there & then just pay for a second bag on our flight home on Jetblue, since the first bag on Jetblue is free. See! I'm telling you. I have literally thought of everything! I think I just may have to charge my parents. So that's the packing situation. I'm excited to be able to get started on that, as I've always loved Tetris. Two more things I definitely need to buy is a 18 day supply of gum, no Disney property, including their cruise ships, sells gum, only mints. They're smart, kids+gum+miles of carpet & upholstery=disaster! Also, I'm in the market for an eReader. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna go with Kindle but I'm not positive. This is going to be a splurge on myself. I don't really have that much time to read and therefore I don't read often, except for while on vacation. With the luggage limitations I'm going to have and the amount of free time I'll have to read (five days straight at sea), I need an eReader. If you have an eReader, please leave a comment about which you have & how you like it. I'm surveying everyone!

Well that's all I'll subject you guys to for one day. It's actually been quite a busy Saturday for me and it's not even halfway over yet. Because I know how everyone loves pictures I've posted some pictures of the travel items I have purchased. Nothing exciting, but apparently people like pictures, even if it's of shampoo & deodorant. Go figure.

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