Work has a new computer programme for holidays. I now have to work out 2018 holidays by the end of March 2017. Given holidays were a right on the anniversary of your starting date, it will be a fairer system. If I requested Christmas holidays last year, which I had and was given them, I am unlikely to get them this year, but probably will next year. If you began your employment on the 15th of December, you were guaranteed Christmas Holidays as a right. This new system changes that. The only problem with the new system is that it's a very long way to plan ahead.
Holidays for this year are sorted. We have two nights in Dubai on the way, a few days in Lisbon, a few days in Porto, a few days in Barcelona where we will meet with R's sister and bro-in-law, and then along with them begin the 11 day cruise concluding in Rome.
We will fly to Barcelona from Porto, a short distance. After a few failed attempts and struggling with Portuguese, I have finally managed to book the ALFA Pendular train first class from Lisbon to Porto. We have our seats reserved and the advance purchase price was €51 for both of us. The best our travel agent could do was €108 and that was not with reserved seats. (AU$74 as against AU$150) ALFA Pendula is a tilt train, so it can go fast. I love speed. Faster Dad. Faster Pop.
We have booked and paid for flights, our accommodation in all places plus a tour in Dubai. The only thing to worry about now is whether to buy the drinks package for the cruise. The cost is AU$74 per day per person, which gives unlimited drinks up to $10 per drink, unlimited soft drink and unlimited flavoured coffees (yuk). We don't really drink soft drink. It is a hard call as to whether we would get our money's worth each day (you, that girl down the back. Can you stand and repeat what you just mumbled?)
During our last overseas holiday, we were slugged quite a bit by bank fees, so this time we are going to try a prepaid travel card. The rate is set when you buy the card and a load your currency(ies) onto the card, and there are no bank or transaction fees at all, aside from the initial $10 fee. On special at our bank is free top ups should you underestimate how much money you need. Normally it costs about 1.5% of the top up amount. You receive a back up card in case you lose the main one. The only question yet to ask is what happens to unused currency on the card. The banks push this card to travellers. What is in it for them aside from currency rate gambling?
Next year, I want to see a bit of Western Victoria and maybe go to Surfers again, or Sydney. That is two lots of two weeks. I am a bit short of leave, aside from long service leave.
The seldom content with local holidays R, replied with maybe we could find a cheap deal to Hong Kong for one of your two weeks off. Argh. But don't be surprised if that is what we do.