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15 days in London, Windsor, Amsterdam and South Florida trip report overview

15 days in London, Windsor, Amsterdam and South Florida trip report overview

‘Next time book KLM nonstop Amsterdam to SFO’ is Kelley’s request.

Our trip shutdown clock was two days greater than deliberate after finishing 13 fantastic days of journey from San Jose to London to Windsor to Amsterdam, then again to London for our British Airways flight to Fort Lauderdale and onward flights house to California.

Waking up Monday in the Hyatt Place Fort Lauderdale Airport and Cruise Port on Day 15 of our 13-day deliberate trip was the unplanned and typically unavoidable hiccup in journey. For Kelley, two of the 3 times she has ever hung out in a Florida lodge have been as a result of missed flight connections.

Flying American Airways $536 San Jose SJC – London LGW primary financial system tickets

Getting a $536 ticket San Jose to London for Christmas trip appeared like an enormous rating on the time I bought our airline tickets in October 2018, even with two home stops every approach set into the itinerary.

Kelley lastly managed to condense her cosmetics to 2 zip-lock luggage for carry-on solely journey. One checked bag would have elevated the ticket value for London to $716 spherical trip.

A late arriving British Airways flight from London Gatwick and an prolonged passport management and secondary agricultural inspection verify on my luggage at Fort Lauderdale FLL blew by way of our 95-minutes transit time to make our flight connection to Dallas on Saturday afternoon. Getting out of South Florida on the ultimate weekend of the New Yr vacation break was too nice a problem for these two passengers with no elite standing flying primary financial system low cost vacation season fares. American Airways discovered no obtainable flights for 48 hours to rebook us on for our return to California on Monday.

I didn’t spend an excessive amount of time sitting at FLL analyzing our lodge decisions in Fort Lauderdale/Miami to seek out the most effective deal for a two night time keep. We might have gone to the InterContinental Miami with our free IHG Rewards Membership MasterCard annual night time, stayed in a Miami Seashore lodge on factors, booked any Greatest Western lodge on 10,000 factors reward nights or stayed at a resort lodge round Fort Lauderdale.

Kelley was fairly proud of the Hyatt Place FLL Airport/Cruise Port for 2 nights (assessment to return) as she spent Sunday working arduous on lesson plans for a substitute instructor in her classroom. I took comfort in the truth that we received over $450 in redemption worth for our 16,000 World of Hyatt factors.

Our rebooked American Airways flight from Miami to Dallas on Monday was oversold with dozens of passengers ready on standby and a $700 supply to fly to Dallas two hours later.

Why is it a lot of the voluntary denied boarding (VDB) alternatives come when I’m touring with Kelley? She doesn’t like journey uncertainty and I usually don’t apply for VDB modifications once we journey collectively, whereas, my ideas sitting on the gate in Miami Airport have been about how $1,400 in flight credit score might cowl our summer time flights value to Europe or Australia. California to Australia has been priced round $700 spherical trip with American Airways over the previous month for June 2019 flights.

I’ll write an in depth report on our British Airways flight and solicit opinions on whether or not their position in our two day delay in Florida appears substantial sufficient to warrant a EU 261 compensation declare.

London, Windsor and Amsterdam for the vacations

London and Windsor for the Christmas holidays and Amsterdam for New Yr’s have been a blast. However three nights in airport inns at LGW and FLL after leaving Amsterdam Friday was an extended lodge slog house.

The actual focus of this text is a trip overview for the collection of articles I’ll write in coming days about points of London/Windsor and Amsterdam together with critiques of the 4 inns we stayed and transportation choices.


London Airport Transportation – Nationwide Categorical bus London Gatwick – Victoria Coach Station

£51 complete = £25 per individual + £1.00 on-line reserving charge. This was peak pricing for Nationwide Categorical coach tickets given no different cheaper transportation choice to get to central London on Christmas Day when nearly all public transportation is shuttered.

London Lodge – Consolation Inn London Buckingham Palace Street (12,000 Selection Privileges factors).

Deliberate Loyalty Traveler articles:

  • Arriving to a London airport on Christmas Day? Plan on Nationwide Categorical coach journey.
  • Pay in advance for Christmas Day pub dinner in London or go ethnic regionally.
  • Pimlico space of London information for vacationers

Windsor – Boxing Day (Dec 26-30)

Hanging out a number of days in Windsor, England is a trip determination I made after visiting the city for in the future in October 2018 with a one night time keep at Clarion Assortment Harte & Garter lodge.

I bought our airline tickets in October 2018 for Christmas journey to London about two weeks earlier than visiting the city of Windsor and the Harte & Garter lodge on my method house from Romania. I used to be impressed sufficient with the Selection lodge and the cities of Windsor and Eton to determine it will be a pleasant place to go to with Kelley at Christmas in its place vacation spot to London.

Clarion Assortment Harte & Garter Lodge Windsor Room 402 window view

Even higher than a lodge room immediately throughout the road from Windsor Fort for 16,000 factors in October was Selection Privileges seasonal price at eight,000 weekday/10,000 factors weekend for the Harte & Garter in December 2018 made our 4 nights in a ‘castle view king bed room’ an actual deal at 36,000 factors.

I paid about $180 to purchase 36,000 Selection Privileges factors in April 2018 in the course of the Every day Getaways gross sales. The bottom room fee for the ‘Executive Room with Castle View room’ was $184 per night time on the time I booked.

Charley cuddling with Kelley at Watermans Arms, Eton.

Kelley is an anglophile with a specific curiosity in British royal household historical past. The chance to go to Windsor Fort for the primary time and drink a lot in quaint pubs round Windsor and Eton was an exquisite expertise for us.

London to Windsor Transportation on December 26-Boxing Day:

  • Underground London Victoria Station to London Heathrow Terminal 5 (£three.10 Oyster off-peak)
  • Thames Valley public bus #eight/#9 LHR T5 to Windsor Parish Church (£6.00 a method)

Deliberate Loyalty Traveler articles:

  • Windsor and Eton pubs and eating places
  • Windsor Citadel tour
  • The Lengthy Stroll
  • Clarion Assortment Harte & Garter Lodge
  • London Heathrow to Windsor transportation
  • London Heathrow to Luton Airport by Nationwide Categorical coach
  • Easyjet one keep it up bag warning

Amsterdam for New Yr’s Eve

We now have been to Amsterdam for New Yr’s Eve a few occasions earlier than, nevertheless it had been almost 15 years since our final NYE eye sweet expertise. Amsterdam is a do-it-yourself fireworks extravaganza on New Yr’s Eve. Our panoramic view government room at Ramada Apollo Amsterdam for 15,000 Wyndham Rewards factors per night time was a incredible viewing platform for New Yr’s Eve. We personally had no want to be outdoors on the streets through the metropolis’s annual explosive insanity and loved the spectacle from the security of our lodge.

The Amsterdam Mild Pageant is an annual seasonal occasion in its fifth yr with inventive mild preparations displayed round metropolis canals.

Amsterdam Mild Pageant – Arches-Textures: Portam Civitatis – artist Peter Snijder (Belgium)

Amsterdam appeals to me as some of the livable cities I’ve visited. In contrast to Windsor, the place we relied on eating places for meals because of a scarcity of markets in the city middle, Amsterdam is loaded with supermarkets, usually inside a 5 to 10 minute stroll from any metropolis lodge. The density of city residences in Amsterdam belies the truth that most any lodge is inside shut proximity to transportation, markets, eating places, bars and parks. The town is designed for residential dwelling making it comparatively straightforward for vacationers too.


Windsor Parish Church to London Heathrow Terminal 5 – Thames Valley Bus #9  (£6.00 every a method)

London Heathrow Central Coach Station T2/three to Luton Airport (£28 every a method + £2 seat reservation). I used to be mad at myself for not reserving Nationwide Categorical two days earlier when ticket costs have been solely £17 every a method. The bus tickets have been at peak pricing and I used to be much more irritated to have paid £2 every for seat reservations to seek out solely 5 individuals on board the 60 passenger bus to Luton. We needed to sit individually in totally different elements of a totally loaded bus for the Gatwick to London bus trip on Christmas Day.

Easyjet London Luton – Amsterdam $93 a method every ticket + $23 Kelley one checked bag + $64 for my one checked bag fiasco.

Seems I had by no means flown Easyjet earlier than and didn’t understand they’ve a strict one carry-on bag solely coverage. Most price range airways like Ryanair and Wizz permit a carry-on and small private merchandise for a small payment. I felt like an ‘eejit’ having to whip out my bank card and pay £50 for my small backpack on the gate.

Lesson discovered. I added a checked bag to my Easyjet Amsterdam-London Gatwick reservation the next week earlier than arriving on the airport. That value 23.39 EUR ($27) and was solely barely greater than the 21.00 EUR for Kelley’s checked bag at time of reserving in November.

EasyJet Amsterdam to London Gatwick was solely $66 every ticket with checked bag included.

Amsterdam Trams and Metro

Ramada Apollo Amsterdam provides complimentary shuttle from AMS to the lodge, however costs 7.50 EUR for shuttle from lodge to airport.

We bought one 48-hour GVB transportation move for our 5 days in Amsterdam to be used on the night of Dec 30 to night of January 1 for 12.50 EUR every. Two one hour tickets on January 2 for three.20 EUR every allowed us to journey by tram and metro from Ramada Apollo Amsterdam on the west aspect of the town to Vacation Inn Categorical Metropolis Corridor on the east aspect of the town by tram and Metro.

We primarily walked Amsterdam for 5 days. The stroll from HIX Amsterdam Metropolis Corridor to Centraal Station takes about 15 minutes.

Amsterdam Centraal to Schiphol Airport practice 5.20 EUR per ticket.

Amsterdam Lodges

Ramada Apollo Amsterdam for three nights at 15,000 Wyndham Rewards factors per night time.

Ramada Apollo Amsterdam government king panoramic view

Vacation Inn Categorical Amsterdam Metropolis Corridor for two nights at 20,000 IHG Rewards Membership factors per night time. Word: IHG Reward nights elevated to 35,000 factors per night time someday after I booked my keep in October 2018.

I beloved this lodge location and I’m disillusioned to see it almost double in reward worth. I hoped to plan extra 20Okay reward nights for 2019.

HIX Amsterdam Metropolis Corridor room view 5001

Deliberate Loyalty Traveler Amsterdam articles:

  • Ramada Apollo Amsterdam for New Yr’s Eve
  • Vacation Inn Categorical Metropolis Corridor lodge assessment
  • Amsterdam Mild Pageant
  • Amsterdam neighborhood walks
  • Vacation Inn London Gatwick



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