Technically, I will be in Orlando this week — I fly on Sunday (which is the end of a week, dumbasses, not the beginning of it: see ISO 8601).
There have been some bumps along the way. The smarter of you may notice that it is not, in fact, June 2020. But this counts as my June 2020 trip as the flight I’m taking is the one rescheduled (many times) from then.
There may be some further bumps. Britain is a disaster area right now.
First off there’s this:
A national rail strike. Technically, they’re striking on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, but this will cause disruption all week. As you can see, my local train operator recommends people avoid trains for the next seven days.
And then there’s this:
Virgin Atlantic — who I use — cancelled three flights today.
Knowing this was all coming, last week was very much crisis planning week. I was originally due to travel down to London on Saturday for my flight on Sunday. That’s a strike day so a clear no go. I switched my train to Friday. And booked a second, back-up train. Just as well I did: the first one got cancelled, despite it not being a strike day. I’ve also booked an emergency back-up hire car. Just in case
So the new plan has me arriving in London on Friday and staying overnight. Kerching. Try finding a decent hotel at short notice in the summer in central London for under $400 a night.
Why stay in central London? Well, I figured: what should I do with my free day? Answer:
The joys of travelling solo. They had very few seats left, but they had a pretty decent one at the end of a row in the stalls. I like being at the end of the row: easy in and out (it’s the end by the doors) and only one COVID carrier sitting next to me.
The seat was $200, which I was surprised by. I thought it would be more. It’s two two-and-a-half hour shows presented on the same day, with a couple of hours break.
The hotel I found is only a couple of blocks away. The cheapest room they had was this one:
(Stock photo.) That bad boy is costing me $450, all-in. Including breakfast. I know, right? But it looks nice, gets good reviews and, as I said, it’s in a killer location.
How to get from there to Heathrow? The Heathrow Express, of course. Notoriously the most expensive train in the world (probably) by cost per mile, it is incredibly convenient and fast.
Oh, and it’s been cancelled. Well, for the time I was going to use it. So I’ve booked a cab: $100.
I’m less ragey about all this than you’d imagine. The changes that have been forced on me have all actually made the trip either better or more convenient. For example, the train I’m now booked on runs direct from Harrogate to London. No changes. The taxi to Heathrow is, obviously, door to door. No dragging luggage around tube stations.
Oh and, as we’ve discussed elsewhere, the US finally dropped its COVID test requirement. And I got a refund for the one I had booked, thanks to Amex, who are always amazing at getting your money back. Big fan.
Four more days of work — ugh — and then I’m off. I hope.
Next up: packing excitement. Spoiler: I started last week.