On our trip, Tal and I were on an airplane 7 out of 10 days. We flew on 9 flights. We spent approximately 55 hours in the air. We traveled by plane, car, bus, shuttle, boat, ferry, and taxi.
Tal and I also saw some beautiful sights, including the Outback, Ayers Rock, Sydney, and Auckland:
When Tal and I got home, Savannah and Hadley were excited to see us...
During our stay in Sydney, Tal and I got a water bottle, multi-colored pen, mermaid wallet, and Australia magnet for our girls:
We also got T-shirts for Savannah and Tal...
...and some Australian board shorts for Tal:
Tal did an excellent job planning and organizing our trip. However, we will do a few things differently on our next international trip:
- Don't plan a vacation before or after Easter. There were long lines at the airports, as well as many full and overbooked flights, which caused delays and cancellations.
- Carry a carry-on. Yes, it would be a pain to pull our luggage around the airport. However, Tal and I spent valuable time (15-30 min) waiting for our baggage in-between flights that caused us to miss or almost miss some of our flights.
- Plan 3 or more hours for layovers. Tal and I discovered that flight delays are common when traveling internationally. We also spent 1-1.5 hours in-between flights picking up baggage, going through customs, going through security, and checking our bags before our next flight. In addition, many international flights started boarding one hour before take-off and closed the doors 30-minutes before take-off.
- Don't schedule activities the day that we arrive in case our flight is delayed or canceled. Tal and I nearly missed our 8-hour Outback tour because our flight from Cairns to Ayers Rock was delayed a few hours.
- Use a well-known car rental service (Hertz, Budget, or Avis) that is located at the airport. In Sydney and Auckland, we had car reservations with lesser-known car rental companies (Europcar and Ezi) that were located off-site. As a result, we had to take a shuttle from the airport to the car rental place. In Auckland, we had to get a taxi to transport us from the car rental place to the airport because Ezi was not open at 4:30 A.M. We spent time and money riding shuttles and paying for taxis.
- Get international cell phone coverage on BOTH of our phones. To save money, Tal and I paid $10 a day for international cell phone coverage on my phone. While we were in Australia and New Zealand, Tal could only use data when he was on Wi-fi. However, Tal still racked up $75 in overage fees. We would've have better off paying $160 for 8 days of international talk and data coverage on both of our phones.
- travel insurance
- international cell phone service
- car rental
- food and activities for Savannah and Hadley while we were gone
Tal and I are already dreaming about our 15th anniversary trip. Maybe an Alaskan cruise? Or a trip to England, Ireland, and Scotland?