• I got invited to give two talks this summer in Europe within a week and in nearby cities.  They’re both doing the “you pay your way, we pay your stay” thing and my bursary will cover my flight.  One of the cities is also near a lot of second cousins I’ve never met, but my sister has met.
  • After a lot of thinking and concern about covid etc. we decided that the whole family should go.  I don’t know if this is the right decision or not (the state department doesn’t think so), but who knows what European rates are going to be like compared to US rates in the summer.
  • While we were booking our flights, United brought to our attention that we still had $1900 of travel credits left(!) from our anniversary trip and DH’s family trip getting cancelled by Covid.  I totally thought they had expired.  Thank you for bringing that to our attention, United.
  • Total flight cost after credits and minus my flight:  $1600.
  • It’s kind of weird realizing that in a year and some change, DC1 will be off to college and may not always be included in family trips anymore depending on what zie is up to.  This is kind of our last chance to give hir these travel opportunities I never had as a kid.  Maybe zie will study abroad a semester, but that’s not the same as experiencing things as a family.
  • I also have two flights for giving talks scheduled for May.  I’ll also be going to an in-person conference in July.
  • Turns out DC2’s passport expires just before our summer trip.  We renewed DC1’s over break because it was going to expire earlier, but we figured we weren’t going to be going anywhere and could renew DC2’s at our leisure sometime after the school year.  Unfortunately even with expedited we need to renew hirs right away, and we can’t do it locally because there aren’t any appointments available.  We’re going to have to drive an hour and a half to a post office in a small town we’ve never heard of.  (We could do an emergency renewal but we’d have to put off renewing until right before and do it in the city, and we’d rather have that be a last resort option if it truly is an emergency.)
  • There was a last minute cancellation in the town next to ours, so we were able to only drive 30 min instead of 70.  It took half an hour (not including the travel time) and over $200 with all the expediting to get it to arrive in 5-7 weeks.  But it will be worth the peace of mind so long as it actually comes in 5-7 weeks.
  • After we bought our flights, the mask mandate thing was cancelled.  Though it would have expired in early May anyway.  I wonder what international flights will do.
  • I bought some more large masks of various types so DH will have things to choose from.  I also got more POSH masks for the rest of us because the BOTN masks are getting complaints about the nose piece being worse than it used to be and if that happens with POSH I want to have backups.

16 Responses to “RBOMoneyAndTravel”

  1. Coree Says:

    Oooh fun! It’s nice to have conferences and events to go to again, I’m happy to do Teams meetings with colleagues and students but I’m zoomed out for conferences. Masking within the UK is basically gone… I fly tomorrow on my normal work route (travelling parent from last summer) and I suspect most people will be unmasked, but I’m trying to be zen and just keep my mask on throughout.

    My dad tested positive while we were with my parents last weekend, and 7 days out, our rapid tests are still clear (my mom, husband, me and unvaccinated 4 year old), so who knows how Covid works???

  2. CG Says:

    I hope you have a wonderful time in Europe! What a neat experience for your kids.

  3. Steph Says:

    I also have an in-person conference scheduled for this summer, and I’m already nervous about travel. I’m definitely going to that one, even though I’m glad I backed out of another meeting in May.

    I’m thinking that once students are gone in a few weeks, I might downgrade to Level 3 surgical masks in most situations, and I’ll keep my heavier masks for going to stores or on planes.

  4. bookishbiker Says:

    How great to get to go to at least two cities in Europe while DC1 is still available to join you! I think there’s a great argument for plane masking in just avoiding the regular colds that I used to pick up when traveling.

    I came back from a week-long conference a couple weeks ago – minimal masking but only low numbers of reported cases post-event.

    I have an Ask the Grumpies question: is there a particular blogging platform that is easy to post to strictly from a phone app? I’m going to be taking a year off and doing some travel and might do a limited duration blog if I can find an easy way to do it. I’ll have an iphone but no laptop and probably no tablet.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I do not know the answer to that question. But maybe someone in grumpy nation does. WordPress is ok but not easy. You might want to look into getting a keyboard for your iPhone. I’ve seen them at conferences.

      Congratulations on the travel!

    • Jenny F. Scientist Says:

      Blogger has a function where you can email in your posts. I don’t know about photos though!

    • Steph Says:

      Tumblr has a pretty good mobile app. I used it for a travel blog while I was in the UK several years ago, and I did have some trouble posting on wifi sometimes, but I also didn’t have any real cell service there. If you’re planning to get a better phone for international travel, it will probably work well with Tumblr.

      You can also look into IFTT – IF This Than That. I used it to crosspost Instagram posts onto my Tumblr blog, and they have interfaces with a lot of services.

  5. Debbie M Says:

    This sounds super fun. Yay for vaccines!

  6. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    I hope the travel all goes well! I’m glad people can start doing in person again but I wish they wouldn’t be so quick to trash the hybrid / remote options.

    We also need to renew JB’s passport but because they’re under 16, we have to go into the city to get it done. It’s a massive pain so we’ve been putting it off a bit.

    My fingers are crossed that DC2’s passport arrives quickly!

  7. Matthew D Healy Says:

    For boosted adults and vaccinated kids, COVID-19 now is less dangerous than the flu. I’m willing to eat an occasional restaurant meal and enjoyed Easter Potluck at church (our first meal together as a congregation since BEFORE). I still use my KF94 mask in situations like shopping where I can do the activity just the same with the mask on. DW and I most definitely will continue wearing our KF94 masks on airplane, but even more importantly will continue wearing KF94s in the airPORT, which has much less air filtration than the jets.

    As for what happens next, nobody really knows, but my guess is that the wave now coming will probably be much less severe than the Omicron wave that began late last year, because Omicron gave lots of people a dangerous but effective immunization.

    Since so many people are testing at home, the official case numbers are even less informative now so I mainly watch (1) hospitalizations and (2) wastewater Dara. Google
    biobot wastewater
    and Google
    Covid Act Now
    for the sites I use for such data.

    Nobody knows how to convert wastewater data into cases, but the Biobot data have been a great leading indicator of previous hospitalization surges. When wastewater numbers go up in a County, hospitalizations usually go up a few weeks later.

  8. Socal Dendrite Says:

    We just went through a remarkably similar experience, except that American Airlines only informed us about our $1500 flight credit *after* we had just booked three flights to the UK… (we had originally been told the credits would expire in Jan 2021 and were never given any indication otherwise, even though my husband gets regular updates from AA about his status). My husband valiantly spent 160 minutes on hold over two days and eventually managed to get them to re-book our flights using the credits – hurrah!
    I became a naturalized citizen last month so needed to get a passport with great haste: I found an appointment 45 mins drive away, expedited everything, and got it back in just 3 weeks – double hurrah! So some cause for optimism for you there. I’m freaking out a bit that we might get Covid the week before the trip and have to cancel, or catch it on the flight and have to avoid my parents… but all we can do is wait and hope (and mask on the flight)! Wishing you smooth travels.

  9. First Gen American Says:

    I had a lovely trip touring colleges with my son in California last week. It was great bonding time with him thanks to the hours stuck in traffic on the 405.

    We haven’t taken a family vacation in 4 years as one adult usually stays home with my mom these days. Your plan sounds amazing.

  10. teresa Says:

    That sounds like a great trip. I read yesterday some countries in Europe are still requiring masks on both arriving and departing flights, so maybe you’ll still have masking on the longest flights? I remember France and Germany being specified but not where else.

    I finally sent my passport (which expires tomorrow) to be renewed 2 weeks ago for a trip in August- after having it sitting out to remind me for a full 6 months. I just saw my check got processed so hopefully that means the new one gets here quickly.

  11. Europe in the summer is expensive! | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] DH and I have been booking hotels.  One of the problems is that we’re visiting when most of Europe is on vacation, so hotels that are 99 Euros/night now are $200+ Euros (often more) when we’ll be there in a month.  I wonder a bit if we might have saved money going over Spring Break or the very beginning of summer without any conferences to defray expenses, especially since flights are less expensive now too. […]

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