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Next Stop?

Well, I’ve been debating this one for quite awhile.

I kept waffling.  I discovered that I had built up a pile of points with my American Express card over the past few years.  It helps that up until this month, I could charge work travel to my own card.

Once I figured out I could book through Amex and use my points for a big chunk of the ticket, I was thinking strongly of Egypt.

But I waffled and waffled.  Maybe I’d wait again.  You see, last year, I was in this same place, and I decided instead to take advantage of some cheap flights and go to Scotland again.  And I don’t regret that at all, I had an outstanding time there, even if I partially re-traced my steps.  The Highlands more than compensated for that, and I will be seeing more of those lovely Scottish Isles again one day.

So, last year, the prices went up literally a couple hundred dollars between when I first looked and two days later and they have stayed there for a solid year.  I don’t know what sale was going on then, but it’s obviously not coming again.  In fact, right now is the cheapest I’ve seen in quite awhile.

Over the weekend, I started thinking about Turkey for my nearly annual New Years trip.  Or maybe Greece.  Neither are in optimal weather, but if I followed those concerns then I would never have gone to Scotland the first time nor the second.  I looked at Turkey…  and tour company after tour company shut down October through March… hmmm… looked up the weather…  Cold and wet season… hmm…  maybe somewhere warmer…

This morning, I pulled up the tour I’ve had my eye on for over a year now… 1 seat left for the trip I wanted… one seat… okay, obviously, it was time to decide.

Checked out the airlines…  The best price would have had me paying about $500 after cashing in my points…  The catch?  A 13 hour layover in Amsterdam airport.  Not the worst airport for a layover from everything I’ve read, but considering I was going on to a non-euro country, I wasn’t sure I could go through immigration twice and make it worth getting in for sightseeing…  There was that and that I was arriving in Cairo at 2am on the same day my tour starts… groan…  I wrestled with that…  I could tack on nearly $300 and have less of a layover, but… I’m sorry, I am a cheap, cheap man… I know I am…  $300 for a good night’s sleep is what that translated into…

So, I continued to waffle…  This evening, I finally called my boss to make sure that a little over two weeks off was no problem.  While she knows about my trips, I didn’t work for her the last time I took such a lengthy time off.  No problem..  In fact, she’s going to Egypt in November. 

I sat back down and booked the tour first.  Because it would absolutely have sucked to book the flights and for the tour to vanish first…

After that…  I logged on and some new flight options appeared!  I paid $600 for this version that gets me into Cairo at 7pm the night before my tour!  There’s still a 5 hour layover in Paris…  And less than two hours in Franfkurt on the way back which worries me a little but… it was meant to be…

So, yep, I’m flying out of Atlanta on December 28th, arrive in Cairo on the 29th.  Tour is from the 30th through the 13th.  The 13th is a do your own thing day in Cairo, and my own thing is flying back to the states.

So, two weeks in those ancient lands seeing places I’ve only dreamed of….

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