Old Blighty’s Plight = Right Time to Book Flight?

I’ve been stalking airfares to Nairobi for the month of April on Kayak.com for a couple of months now, and today the price dropped $150 to fly British Airways for both legs ($1169) instead in conjunction with American Airlines, the previous best price @ $1311. And this happens on the day that I see the pound sterling hit $1.38. I’m thinking that at least part of this price drop can be attributed to the currency fluctuation. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it.

I was trying to put off booking it until February 16ish because (a) I’ll have to make decisions about my apartment around then, and (b) my credit card statement closes on the 15th, so that maximized the interest-free period…not that I pay interest because I pay it off in full every month, but I like the time cushion and Citibank doesn’t deserve to be treated with any more fairness than absolutely necessary. Anyway, on the principle of “you snooze, you lose”, I’m probably going to buy it within the next few days. And payment on it won’t be due until March 9. Heh.

The week of New Year’s, I made more money than I’ve ever made in a week, and the previous record was from about 3 years ago. To put a number to it: $2510. Now I’m thinking that it would be very, very satisfying to keep the costs of this trip to the earnings for that week. Of course I’ll be bringing a donation to the charity I’ll be helping out at, but that will be garnered primarily from my ThaiForGood takings and any other fundraising ideas I can come up with that don’t feel like “begging”.

Since some of you have expressed interest in my travel plans for East Africa, here’s the outline:  20-25 days in Kenya and Tanzania, maybe Uganda. Must-sees are Olduvai Gorge (cradle of life), Serengeti Plain, Ngorongoro Crater. Would love to climb Kilimanjaro, but I was so ill from altitude sickness at 14,000 feet in the Andes that I’m just not willing to risk 20,000 feet in Africa. I’m also planning to volunteer 1-2 weeks at The Baobab Home, which looks very likely because April is not a popular month. I’m also hoping to do some “fair tourism” hiking in Tanzanian tea country. Zanzibar is a possibility, if I have time. I’m not too jazzed about a big overpriced safari thing, but I do intend to do that for at least a few days. I might also try to visit the community garden project in Kenya that I donated about $170 to last year.

My athletic nurse Bridezilla sister called me last weekend from an outdoor gear store, where a friend was willing to pass on her employee/wholesale price on a good backpack. She wanted to know what capacity I wanted – I told her to pick for me. After all, I know NOTHING about this sort of equipment and it’s really her area of expertise. Normally I’d just borrow from her, but I’ve done that often enough to realize I need one of my own. Plus, I liked the one she lent me for Peru (30-liter, so too small for this trip), so her judgment is proven. I’ll either reimburse her for it or tell her to get the other sibs to chip in and call it an early birthday present (I’ll be away roughly April 4-26, my birthday is April 30). However, I can’t discuss this with her at the moment because the woman who was supposed to become her mother-in-law later this year died unexpectedly on Sunday night.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has been to Kenya or Tanzania — I have no fixed itinerary and am pretty open to suggestions that don’t involve a $500 balloon ride over the Serengeti (seriously, that’s highway robbery).

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4 Responses

  1. It sounds awesome. I love hearing about other people’s travel plans. Unfortunately I haven’t been to Kenya or Tanzania yet (one day), but I’ve just been watching Ewan McGregor’s ‘Long Way Down’ and so far that part of the continent looks stunning.

    I recently backpacked through Central America for three weeks with a 55L pack and it was only about 2/3 full, so I guess depending how light or heavy you travel, that could be a guide.

  2. I have nothing of value to add since I haven’t been to Africa or gone backpacking. But your post just made me want to run out and rent Out of Africa. Your plans are awesome!

  3. I’m so excited for you! I’ve never been to africa so I don’t have any advice to give. Have you gotten all your shots etc?

  4. Hi there-what fantastic plans, you’re sure to have an amazing adventure!!

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