Friday, January 25, 2013

The price we pay

Yesterday I had to finalize our plane tickets to our next big upcoming trip: I have a conference to got to, Zoe's dad is also going and we therefore decided to bring her rather than trying to drop her off at Grandma's. The conference is in the US so I am also making it into a visiting trip where I go to see a colleague/friend for some quality research time (he has kids Zoe's age and a nanny who can look after all of them during the day) and then seeing an even dearer friend in-between for some relaxation and red wine while Zoe sleeps at night. The plane ticket turned out to be insanely expensive and this is even without the internal return flight over to my first colleague (which his university is generously paying because I will be giving a talk). The problem is that we live in a not-so-well-connected city with few direct flights to the US and I had a few constraints (which could have saved a few hundred dollars but not more than that): I am not taking a 6 am flight from Stockholm. The airport is far out of the city and we need an hour and a half to get there. Getting up at 3 am with a two year old is just not an option. Flying through Frankfurt is also not an option; I have only bad experiences from there, cancelled flights, late flights and the airport is the most unpleasant one I know. Munich okay, Frankfurt not. I am also not having a five hour layover when we land and our body clocks are 9pm. That is way beyond Zoe's bedtime and she would not be able to walk from one gate to the other without crying and screaming. In the end we got the magic tickets: A fairly late start from Stockholm, direct to the US and only one more leg to the destination. On the way back I convinced my friend, whom Zoe adores, to take the same flight. I might be traveling on my own with her, but there will be somebody else to take the edge off if things get out of hand.

So I paid $1500 for Zoe's ticket. I tried to do a comparison and basically I am paying the equivalent of two new iPhone 5s for Zoe's ticket. Okay, her dad and I are sharing, so I guess we are paying an iPhone 5 each. Kids are expensive, but traveling kids are extremely expensive. I keep thinking of the saying "travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer". Not entirely sure of the sentiment but it reminds me that Zoe and I get richer on experiences at least.

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