Not So Last Minute Arrangements

My extended family is celebrating two special ‘0’ birthdays and a golden wedding anniversary this year.  The couple wanted to mark the occasions with a family celebration in Paris later this year.  I was given the unenviable task of booking the holiday.  Normally booking a couple of nights in Paris is easy.  But 8 people travelling from different parts of the country, some of whom are going to fly, others who are going to arrive by Eurostar, not all staying for the same duration and both single and double rooms needed, made it not the easiest thing to arrange.

I decided it would be easier to visit the travel agency that was so helpful when we booked a last minute holiday to Carcassonne.  The car parks near to the travel agency were heaving; anyone would think there was nothing better to do than shop on a wet and cold bank holiday Monday.  The travel agency was also packed which meant a bit of a wait before we could talk to one of the representatives.

When a representative appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, by some strange quirk of fate it was the same person who helped us last time.  The first thing he said was ‘thank you for the postcard.  If you recall from my previous holiday post, no one in the travel agency had heard of Carcassonne.  So whilst we were away we sent him the postcard to thank him and prove that Carcassonne really does exist.  I was impressed that he had remembered us and to my surprise find that he had kept the postcard which he produced from his folder and showed again to his colleagues.

I arrived armed with the flight details and a short list of hotels and I advised that I was booking something a bit easier this time.  This turned out to be famous last words…

The online flight details were rather confusing and they didn’t mention baggage allowance.  A phone call was needed to check out the prices and the baggage proved to be extra.  I found it rather shocking that most of the cost was down to airport taxes!!

The next task was to try to find a reasonably priced hotel in the right location and with the right number of rooms available…  I therefore settled on the first hotel that met my criteria and that looked OK from the few photos that were available.  And it does have a small garden.

All this took two and a half hours to arrange and when I had finished the travel agent said ‘I need a lie down now’.  I quipped, ‘I bet you well hide if you see us come in again’.

When we phoned the celebrants later to inform them of the ‘good’ news, the response was not quite what I expected:

‘Is it possible to cancel rooms if we need to?’

Some people!!

I am now left with the task of arranging the itinerary for when we go.  This has been left almost entirely to me so it is proving a lot easier to arrange.  Although I do have to leave out art galleries because one of the party doesn’t ‘do’ art.

Wish me luck, I might need it 😉

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One thought on “Not So Last Minute Arrangements

  1. By the looks of it you are doing amazing Cherry. I am sure in the end it will a gathering everyone will remember!

    What a pity, staying in Paris and no being able to “do” art 😉

    Good luck to you
    September 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnyes – Far Away in the Sunshine

    I love that you sent the travel agent a post card. What a job you had to book the accommodation – and what a huge task to plan the itinerary. Could you do one with art and one without?
    September 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElephant’s Child

    Oh yes – travel arrangements…always such fun!! But – more seriously – what a fabulous trip! In spite of the complications in planning it – it’s a wonderful way to celebrate these special occasions. Can’t wait to hear all about it!
    September 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterMarcie

    I think I would have to extend my trip a little to make sure I would be able to take time to enjoy things that interested me — such as the ‘art.’ But, I’m sure there will be plenty of other things to enjoy with your family…food, for one! Enjoy! Sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
    September 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSue

    My hope for you is that it all comes together and that a good time is had by all. Personally, I’d be sneaking away to art galleries anyway, for a little ‘time out’.
    September 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

    i laughed at the whole booking thing…you are quite the kind soul to take it all on…frustration and all, but i have a feeling that you know the silver lining is that all the angst will be forgotten with the first raised glass of french wine. bon voyage!
    September 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhoney

    OMG, Cherry. Brava to you for taking on this immense task, trying to please everyone. Is it really possible to please all the people all the time? If so, congratulations. If not, I hope you can just give your famous smile and let everyone know someone else can make the Plan for next time. HA!

    So, when exactly is this big occasion?! We wish you nothing but the best of memories with no hitches. I love the serendipity of getting the same agent helping you. You are a perfect case-in-point of how a little act of kindness (your postcard) reaped you great benefits! Carry on.
    September 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGinnie

    I know you will have a marvelous time!
    September 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPuna

    Kudos to you, Cherry, to do all this arranging. How sad that just because one person “doesn’t do art” no one can do it… Is it possible to two alternatives itneraries for an afternoon or something? You certainly have to tell us how this trip worked out. Hope you have a great time!
    September 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarola

    WitH all the work you’re doing prepping for this great family celebration, i say don’t forget or neglect to have time for the things you enjoy too, so that you have great memories too! Wishing you luck, as you requested, but also wishing you joy and Paris!
    September 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarb

    Thank goodness there are still helpful travel agents! and that you are up to this task ~ it’s sure to be a marvelous time for all, it’s Paris, right?!
    September 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

    What an unenviable task but it sounds like you have risen to the challenge. There will probably be no pleasing everyone all the time but no doubt a drop of wine and some good food in the evenings will sort everything out. Have fun!!
    September 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

    oh no, this all sounds a bit of a nightmare, but i hope it doesn’t spoil the pleasure of the trip….or the planning?
    having worked in the safari business, for many years, i know how hard it is to plan things out here – flights and transfers, accommodation…all that stuff.
    but it’s always worth it in the end 🙂
    September 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterEliza

    Kudos to you Cherry for taking on this assignment. They’re never easy when dealing with humans! I can relate to the person who doesn’t “do” art…for years and years I never enjoyed going into museums and galleries and now I can’t get enough! So things can change! Have a wonderful trip!
    September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGotham Girl aka Robin

    Travel arrangements tend to frustrate me and make me a nervous wreck. I wish I had you to do it for me. 😉 Enjoy!
    September 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaery Rose

    After reading this incredible story, I just rolled my eyes….. I think you just shortened your life with 5 years and the travel agents with 10 years. A postcard from Paris will make his day. I hope that after the trip, the ‘family’ is as close as before the trip. GOOD LUCK and have tons of fun.
    September 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAstrid

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