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Last summer my family had this big idea to spend some time in Ireland next summer. We wanted to deviate from our normal travel patterns and go for more than just a couple days. We wanted to rent a cottage and pretend we lived there for a couple of weeks. My husband finally had been with his company long enough to earn enough leave to be gone more than a few days here and there, our daughter was going to be plenty old enough for that sort of adventure, and we were all very excited about trading a few weeks of Texas heat for the green hills of Ireland.
We used our British Airways Travel Together Certificate we earned by putting $30k in a calendar year on our British Airways Visa Signature® Card and 150,000 total British Airways Avios to book us all in British Airways First Class on the outbound flight, planned to stay a few nights on points in London, and ultimately would be returning from Dublin in business class on Aer Lingus, also booked with Avios to Boston for 25,000 Avios each.
It took a good amount of searching, work, and phone calls to put all those pieces together. We were more excited about our time on the ground in Ireland than the premium cabin flights, but I’d be lying if I said we weren’t at least a little bit excited about those, too. We had been saving up our Avios for such a splurge for a long time, and it was kind of like watching a piece of art come together to see all of our different miles and points work in harmony to make this big and exciting trip possible. That may seem like an over the top description, but for me it was 100% true.
Then since last summer a whole bunch of life happened.
First the great news was that we found out I was expecting our second child next summer. The due date and timing of the trip made it unlikely it would have been realistic to go on the journey, but I resisted cancelling for a very long time. Then, this winter my husband unexpectedly found himself looking for a new job. This made money extremely tight overnight, and it also made knowing advance schedules impossible. There was no way to know if he would have a job by the summer, or if he did have a job, it was very likely he couldn’t get that much time off in a new position.
For many reasons, the trip now really had to be cancelled, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. To conserve cash I could bring myself to cut-off cable, cancel the gym membership, stop eating out very much, stop booking new trips, etc. but I couldn’t bring myself to “destroy” this amazing family trip I had pieced together. I simply wasn’t done day-dreaming about it.
At least a dozen times I logged on to British Airways to cancel the flights only to close the page without actually pushing the cancel button. With all the chaos and changes our family was experiencing at an increasingly rapid rate, I don’t really know why this one obvious task was so difficult for me to complete, but it was.
Even though I knew it was just a matter of time before I had to press the “cancel” button, what made me finally do it was knowing that we needed to get started on really prepping for this new baby. We needed some baby gear. Our older daughter needed to move to a “big girl” room. There were “need to have” and “very nice to have” purchases that needed to be made, and if we canceled the trip and got the (pretty hefty) amount of taxes and fees paid to British Airways back then that could easily take care of some of the things we were needing to obtain for our daughters. Practicality won out over continued dreaming. Who knew that paying big fuel surcharges could be so useful…from a certain point of view?!
In light of very tight budgets and stressful days, it suddenly became pretty easy to turn what would have been an amazing family vacation into practical and needed items for the family. I logged on a few days ago and was easily able to cancel the reservations online and get a refund of the taxes/fee and Avios paid minus $55 per person.
It really took me months to come to terms with not taking the family vacation that we had been dreaming of, and that took so much time and work to put together. However, the reality is we will be on an even bigger adventure by the time we should have departed for Europe as we will be in our own home with a newborn baby.
Not to jinx it while it is still very new, but my husband just started on a new work adventure of his own this week. More on that later as it really will be a change to how we travel and function, but fingers crossed it is a good fit and we can put this chapter of uncertainty behind us. Lots of changes around here, and not going on our big European adventure this summer is just one of many, albeit one that took a while to for me to come to terms with.
Have you ever had a hard time pulling the plug on a big trip that you put a lot of effort into building?
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