3 Countries - Bar Trip - need advice

Oct 19th, 2014, 02:20 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2014
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3 Countries - Bar Trip - need advice


First time posting!

My husband and I are planning a trip for after he takes the Bar Exam next summer, and I'm hoping to get some preliminary information/insights. For background, we live in NYC. I've been to England once (last year), and he travelled a lot throughout his teens, but hasn't been outside the US in over a decade.

What we're planning: 5 days in London, 5 days in Santorini, 5 days in Barcelona. My husband wanted London, I wanted Santorini, and we were open for the 3rd location. Based on direct flights (we are adamant about direct flights), it looks like Barcelona is the easiest third option, and we're both pretty stoked on that selection.

As I mentioned, we're not extraordinarily experienced international travelers, so I have a few questions (highlighted with stars below for the TL;DR out there):

1) A lot of travel websites recommend waiting until closer to the date to book flights unless it's a holiday weekend or you're traveling to a very sought after location. We're planning our trip for over labor day weekend, and Santorini seems to fall within the sought after component. **When is the most reasonable time to book flights?**

2) Generally speaking, what is a good price for a flight that goes from NYC-->London, and then Barcelona-->NYC? I'm seeing prices currently in the $800-1100 range, which seems reasonable to me. **Should I expect these prices to drop?** It's my understanding it's a more complicated scenario in which to get cheaper airfare given our multi-city itinerary. I travel back to CA 4-5 times a year, and so I know that generally any ticket price over $400 is on the expensive side, and anything under is on the reasonable side. Hoping to have that same perspective with these international tickets.

3) I'm hoping to do a hacker fare (is that the term?) through Delta in which we'd fly Virgin Atlantic premium economy TO London, and then we'd fly Delta regular economy back from Barcelona. I've read that Virgin Atlantic premium economy is one of the best for the price, and given that it's the only airline I've flown internationally, I don't have much to compare this to. **Has this been your experience? Do British Airways/American have better premium economy?**

Thanks for any advice!!
SoulofaDachshund is offline  
Oct 19th, 2014, 02:37 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
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I thought you were going to bar hop through all those countries from your title. I was going to tag along.
I have not paid under a 1000 to Europe in a long time. Orlando to Dublin is always a cheaper flight for me but not London. My friend just left Wed on Virgin Atlantic premium economy. She sent me some snaps when boarded and it was very nice. I have only done Delta economy comfort and it was well worth it. Her flight was 1400 from Orlando to Manchester. I always book around three months out. Trip insurance with Allianz.
flpab is offline  
Oct 19th, 2014, 02:44 PM
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I watch matrix.itasoftware.com for a few months in advance to see what the going prices seem to be. You can enter all your criterion in the fields on the left. I, too, have not paid under $1000 for travel in late Sept/early October in several years. Travel from May thru August is even more.
mokka4 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2014, 03:24 PM
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The longer you wait, the fewer seats available. The airlines quit discounting seats some time ago due to consolidation and the fact that fewer seats are now available on any given day. If you wait too long, you will have fewer choices. Labor Day weekend will be expensive and international flights full.

By a "more complicated scenario", you must be referring to booking a non-direct flight (two or more stops). You have to weigh how much you may or maynot save with how valuable your time is. Making more than one connection can be a pain. The most direct route is always better, but then you have to pay for it.
Robert2533 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2014, 04:15 PM
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Oh darn, I too thought you wanted to go on a bar hopping trip ! It would be a good theme for your trip, and I'm sure we'd all have some great suggestions. Think on this !
Bedar is offline  
Oct 19th, 2014, 04:19 PM
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hahaha I will take the bar hopping theme under advisement
SoulofaDachshund is offline  
Oct 19th, 2014, 04:27 PM
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Good luck to your husband on his bar exam; I also thought your trip was about bar hopping!
Five nights is way too many for Santorini. Go see it and it's view, then spend a few days on one of the other less touristed islands like Naxos or Paros to get a feeling for beautiful Greece.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Oct 20th, 2014, 05:48 AM
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Oh interesting. @HappyTrvlr, I don't know if we're interested in seeing the other islands. It's my understanding you mostly get to those via boat/ferry, and unfortunately I get extraordinarily sea sick.

The 5 days includes travel time. So, we'd arrive on September 2nd and leave on September 7th. That would give us 4 full days - do you think that's really too much time?
SoulofaDachshund is offline  
Oct 20th, 2014, 05:52 AM
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I too joined for the Bar element but find the law less exciting.

You want "open jaw", in one place, out the other.
bilboburgler is offline  
Oct 20th, 2014, 06:47 AM
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I doubt any other airline surpasses VA--even their economy is more comfortable.
In summer, you should be able to get a low cost direct flight from London to Santorini--try skyscanner or websites like it. Not sure if you will be able to get direct from Santorini to Barcelona as well. I don't think 4 days on a Greek island could ever be too much!
Book it when you can afford and are comfortable with the cost.
I know the flight over is the overnight one, so maybe that is your priority for comfort (and premium), but if I had a choice, I would suffer on the overnight flight (when I wont be comfortable no matter what) and splurge for premium on the longer day time return flight--when I care more about not being miserable.
yorkshire is online now  
Oct 20th, 2014, 08:31 AM
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Most of the people I know who took the bar, needed a day or two to decompress after taking it.
IMDonehere is offline  
Oct 20th, 2014, 08:34 AM
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@IMDonehere, yes, we'll have approximately a month
SoulofaDachshund is offline  
Oct 20th, 2014, 09:49 AM
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Well I don't have any knowledge about some of the flight questions BUT if you are seeing an open jaw ticket from NYC to LHR and then BCN to NYC for less than $1000, say wow-wee and book it - or were you just asking for guesstimates?

I think your itinerary sounds delightful - 3 very different locations, each with much to offer. I don't think 4 days is too much on Santorini BUT do be prepared for the swarms that come off the cruise ships. I'd probably advise staying away from the main port and maybe even away from OIA as many do find their way there - but in the evening it will be very pleasant.

But I had to add to your post because of your screen name! I am the "mother" of two doxies. When you say "soul of a dachsund" does that indicate that you like to dig? beg for treats? or that you are a tad ill behaved and stubborn, but so cute you can get away with it and everyone still loves you!

Hope your trip planning all falls into place!
suec1 is online now  
Oct 20th, 2014, 11:06 AM
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@suec1 Thanks!

I have a long hair doxie, she looks like a tiny golden retriever. She's very mischievous and independent. Definitely stubborn. Not sure I get away with it the way she does. She's much cuter than I am!
SoulofaDachshund is offline  
Oct 20th, 2014, 11:17 AM
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In case you get antsy about maximizing time, one thing you might consider is visiting one of the Balearic islands instead of Santorini. You would be close to Barcelona, and they have shaken off their reputation and emerged as destinations for the non-partier as well. Just a thought!
yorkshire is online now  

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