As if it is not enough to plan one holiday, we are planning two. Our Friend in Japan will be in Sydney on work related business in March, so we plan to have a few days Sydney side to catch up with her and hopefully catch up with Victor and see some sights of course.
I was looking at the website of the hotel where we stayed for our last visit, unbelievably five years ago, and it is all much the same. We were upgraded from a small studio to a large studio with a balcony, so of course this is what we want this time. Although the website indicated one price, quite cheap given the standard and location, when I began booking, a different figure was coming up. I called and queried it. Amazingly the same woman is still running it the show. She explained the price was higher because of a post Mardi Gras conference. Oh well, I bit the bullet and paid the higher price. R has looked at airfares and they are very cheap. I have refused to fly Tiger as I have too many real tales of woe, not just minor whinges.
As for Canada, that part has been booked, our tour, a combination of train and coach, accommodation in Toronto, flights from Melbourne to Vancouver via Hong Kong, (avoiding LA airport), from Vancouver to Toronto, Toronto to New York, and home, again via Hong Kong from NY Newark Airport.
But we really have struggled with New York accommodation. I sought from the aforementioned Victor details of his accommodation when he and his companion stayed in NY last year. The price was very good and the two bedroom apartment looked comfortable. But the price Victor paid was very cheap compared to what we would have to pay, it being the peak of the summer season.
Our travel agent gave us many hotel suggestions which we looked at last year and thought we will worry about it after Christmas, as many do. Guess what. The prices had risen substantially, not helped by our dollar falling against the US dollar. And apparently we have a most expensive and unreasonable requirement of a hotel, two separate beds. The concept of twin share does not seem to apply at all in NY. (So the Brady Bunch was a lie? Married people in the US do sleep in the same bed?) The only option our agent and us too could find is two double beds, which added substantially to the price. It was all becoming a bit much for us as money seemed to be draining away at a rapid rate. Blood pressure and tempers rose if NY was brought up.
While we had discounted where Victor stayed, with two bedrooms being far more than what we wanted, we thought to have a look at what else this website, vrbo.com had to offer, and although we have not chosen a place as yet, there are some excellent properties at prices much cheaper than a hotel room. I have just learnt vrbo stands for Vacation Rental by Owner, so I guess it is not so terribly different to Airbnb.
VRBO is quite good because after you choose your location, you narrow it down by filters. In our case, Times Square, three beds, which gives us separate beds, air con, and wi-fi. We have now selected a place and we are awaiting a response from the owner, but all the info was there. We are just checking there is someone who will respond.
The price for the week is about $1000 cheaper than hotels we were looking at.