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Sometime in February, I decided that we would be going to Australia this summer.  I have both  a friend and cousins in Sydney.  I nailed down timing—Julia’s spring extracurricular, the Penguin Project, has a closing night of June 24.  Cheer (crossing my fingers that the new coach will allow Julia on the team) begins around August 1.  With those date in mind, I bought Quantas tickets in the middle of March.  Unfortunately, I bought them two weeks before a sale and paid a few hundred bucks more, proving that there is no way to insure the best price for plane tickets.  There is a recommended time frame in which to buy international tickets and I was right there.  I had seen a sale around Christmas but I wasn’t ready to commit.  There was no way of knowing that Quantas would have another sale.  I wonder if a travel agent could have done better?

I’ve done nothing but casually thumb through guide books until today and exchange a few emails with the folks in Sydney.

Today, to get started I tackled some less than exciting document work.  Julia needs a new passport (hers expired on August 12).  I want TSA-pre(check) status.  Julia has it, done for us by someone at Southwest.  Most of the time, because her tickets are marked TSA-pre, we both go to that line; however, it is not always the case and splitting up for security checks doesn’t work for us.  There have been a few times, like in a very crowded London security line when I was fending off a terrible cold and Julia was feeling anxious, that I would have done anything for shorter, less involved line.

I also called airlines—Quantas and their USA partner, American Airlines—to ask for some disability concessions.  I didn’t want to pay extra to choose my seats but we do need to sit together.  Also, pre-boarding is also a great help.  American assigned our seats and put an alert that we like to pre-board.  Quantas put in a request for both but guaranteed nothing.  17+ hours apart on a plane could be a bit of respite for me but I doubt that the person placed next to Julia would feel the same.  

And so it begins—9.5 weeks and counting!