As we approach a new school year, the COMM 373 Australia Winterim trip has almost firmed up its itinerary (with only a couple of minor items not scheduled) and it’s time for students to get their airline tickets. Here are a few critical tips for doing so.
From everything I’ve been able to gather so far, it’s not particularly likely that you’ll be able to get flights much cheaper than the $2,600 or so that it’s costing for my flight. I’ll post again on this topic by Saturday with some more tips and links, but for now, go to the next page to see a bullet-point list of basic reminders.
- Key Point #1: My flight arrives at 8:45 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29. It’s critical that you try to schedule something right around this time if you want to travel with the group to our accommodation. Obviously, being on this same flight is the best thing you can do to guarantee you miss no group activity. Click this link for my flight details.
- Most flights flying west from the U.S. will come into Sydney within a limited time range on any given morning. If you don’t take the same flight as I do but still travel westbound, there’s a good chance you’ll be coming on one that arrives around the same time.
- It’s only about 15 minutes from the Sydney airport to our accomodation (more below), so you wouldn’t have too much difficulty on your own. Still, always remember point #1 above.
- There will be little flexibility in our schedule on the first day, as we have check-in at our hostel, a group lunch, an orientation, and a walking tour (4 p.m.) scheduled for Day 1. Although you could get by with missing one or more of these activities, all are obviously important to take part in — they’ll help you get acclimated right away. Three weeks really isn’t that much time given all we have to do, so I really stress early-morning arrival in Sydney on the 29th and taking the same flight as me if you can.
- The only flexibility we’ll really have on the 29th is if the group falls behind for some reason — my flight is late, traffic is bad, etc.
- You’re free to arrrange pre-trip travel of your own; for instance, you might want to spend Christmas in California and originate your round-trip ticket from LA or San Francisco, where you might find something cheaper on United, Qantas, American or some other airline. Again, keep point #1 in mind.
- There’s a lot more flexibility for your travel at the end of our class. We have a week between the end of class and the start of the UWSP semester, so if you want to travel more in Australia, New Zealand or elsewhere, you don’t have to be anywhere near my 11:30 a.m. departure from Sydney on Jan. 17 if you don’t want to. Feel free to arrange whatever return flight time (and from whatever location) fits your schedule and desires best.
Remember that we lose a day when crossing the international dateline going west and gain a day going east. Based on the 8:45 a.m. arrival time Dec. 29, we’re estimating a 10:15-10:30 a.m. departure time from Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport on a charter coach. You’ll want to schedule an arrival before 9 a.m. if at all possible on Dec. 29; any later and you’re likely to need to arrange your own transportation to the Urbanest Cleveland Street, our accomodation.
A couple of weeks ago, United tickets originating at Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee, going through Chicago and LA to Sydney, were actually a few dollars cheaper than my flight originating in Chicago. In December, however, you’re running a greater risk of weather issues in Mosinee that could cause you to miss your Chicago connection. That’s why I’m not on the afternoon flight (it was around 4 p.m.) from CWA.
Instead, I will almost certainly be spending the night in Chicago on Dec. 26. Purchase tickets originating at airports other than Chicago or the West Coast at your own risk. There now appears to be an earlier flight scheduled on United out of CWA, however (11:54 a.m.), but I haven’t checked to see how that would impact ticket cost to Sydney.
Feel free to share info with me and your classmates on your own searches!