A Canadian Birthday: The Planning

Birthdays are great excuses to get away and for the first time, I will be out of the country for my birthday!

Most of my birthdays have been spent hanging out with friends and eating (actually mostly eating) with a bit of conversation on the side. But as I am getting older, I have more of a desire to travel on my birthday.

When I was on my Japan/S.Korea trip last year, my mom took a road trip with her friends to to Vancouver B.C. for 10 days. When she returned from the trip, she raved about Vancouver and I was really intrigued so I began to look into visiting Vancouver for my next trip. When my birthday came around, I proposed a getaway trip with my inner circle friends for my next birthday. Out of my inner circle (I have a very small inner circle), only my friend W agreed to this trip. We didn’t purchase the tickets for the trip until December, 3 months after I suggested the trip.

Normally I would use miles/points for my trips, but I didn’t want to fly separately from my friend. A month before we purchased our tickets, I was browsing around to find the best price for our trip. We had set a budget of $550/person for flights and hotel. The flights and hotels had to match the following criteria:

  1. Non-stop flight (if possible).
  2. Early morning departure/arrival.
  3. Hotel must be close to downtown and/or near a subway station.
  4. Preferably American/US Airways or United Airlines flights (free checked bag and priority boarding with my airline brand credit cards).

The criteria were reasonable and I was able to find a vacation package through Orbitz that matched what we were looking for. The price was $545/person, which meant we were under budget for our flights and hotels!

Unfortunately, the bad thing about booking your trip out so far is the dreaded flight changes. I must have got like 10 notifications that our flights were going to:

  1. Arrive 5 minutes early
  2. Arrive 10 minutes late
  3. Change of equipment
  4. Departing 5 minutes late
  5. Departing 5 minutes early

and etc. but 3 months before the trip, I received a notification that our outbound flight was changed. We would be arriving in Vancouver at 5:30 PM instead of 10:30 AM! I researched my available options (American Airlines) and called up Orbitz to change our flights.

So in the end, we ended up with…

AA508  LAX – PHX
AA506  PHX – YVR
AS2435 YVR – PDX
AS570  PDX – LAX

… we shall see how that works out.

It is now T-4 days out and i can’t wait for the trip. It will be my first time visiting our friendly neighbors to the north! Please note that this will not be a live report, I will try to post as I go but will probably not post until I return from the trip.

Until next time,

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