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Because of my prize to Santa Barbara, USA....(Grand Canyon Pic 1/9)

posted 31-3-2010 @ 08:48 PM www


EPISODE FIVE

Well, I've already received the spending money component of my win!!
Cheque arrived two days ago and is now deposited into my account and due to clear tomorrow:)
With the dollar so high at the moment, I will be cashing it in for US dollars:)

And, after Easter, I'll be calling the Grand Canyon hotel, to book a night there, because you can't do it online:( So popular there apparently, that you have to call to book, as soon as possible! One of the hotels has 'cabins' right near the South Rim, for only $90. Two double beds, a bathroom and free brekky, sounds good to me! I think the cabin will give the Canyon visit a better feel to it too:)

elisso (aka Louise) called me today and she was very excited, because someone from work was telling her how wonderful SB is, so she was gushing over the phone and willing the 5 month wait (till we take the trip) to be over with, NOW!

Keep telling her, the time will fly, but she still wants it to be NOW:P:P:P

What exciting adventures will the next week bring?? Stay tuned..again!:)
posted 1-4-2010 @ 05:15 PM www


Time does fly,,,,,,,,,before you know it episode 6 will be posted!!!!:):):)



posted 15-4-2010 @ 08:59 PM www


EPISODE SIX:
Well, the past week has been a bit exciting, for (the new, improved) Thelma and Louise!
Firstly, ordered those US Dollars at Australia Post and the cash arrived a couple of days later! All those lovely, crisp, brand new notes....that are ALL exactly the same color!:P Whatís with that? Iíve always wondered why the Americans donít have pretty, colored notes like our Oz dollars!
Iím sure youíve read in other posts that there are NO fees when you exchange money, at Australia Post, but realistically they must still getting some sort of commission, because I was still about 5 cents short for each dollar exchanged..so, there ya go!
Then, found fabulous Pink suitcase, on Ebay, to match my fabulous pink other bits, so Iíll be the one that stands out at the luggage conveyer belt!:cool::D:D:D:D
Now, I might have forgotten about my Winnerís Circle duties on Monday night, because I was on night shift, (thanks again, thinkwin!!) but I didnít forget about booking our Grand Canyon accommodation, at 2 A.M.! (Thatís 9 a.m., Canyon time, for those that donít know!;))
I had rung a couple of places at the Grand Canyon and they said, (as mentioned in most travel site forums) no, no...you canít book online..you have to call..yadda, yadda... So, dippy me who had forgotten to take the phone number to work, Googles said place and what do I find? Yep, an online booking site! Same place, same price, immediate confirmation! But, being the careful traveller, I still called the site booking line, as soon as I'd paid and the lovely operator put my payment straight through, so I wouldnít have to wait for the confirmation email! All done now, confirmed Cabin within walking distance of the South Rim of the Canyon, all for $96! ($6 in US taxes!!) Total converted to AU dollars on the night, equals AU $103. Not too shabby, me thinks.
And last night, email communications again with the UK booking agent and our tickets and everything else are soon to be posted to us! Minor panic session, because we werenít told we had to have our ESTA authorisation number BEFORE flights can be confirmed & tickets issued, so did that straight away and soon discovered, it's an instant Authorisation for Australian Citizens.
ĎESTAí is the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation, to the USA. Anyone travelling to the USA now has to have Authorisation, PRIOR to confirming their flights! Flights CAN NOT/ WILL NOT be confirmed unless you have Authorisation to enter the USA! Australia is part of their Visa Waiver Program and if you answer ĎNOí to all the online form questions, authorisation is immediate. You have to supply your booking agent with your Application number first! The Authorisation is valid for Two years. I learnt something new and maybe you have too, now!
4 months, 1 week to go............but, whoís counting??
WE ARE!:D
Stay tuned for the next, action packed episode...................the one where I book our LA Accomodations:)

Are you bored yet???????????????????
posted 15-4-2010 @ 10:19 PM www


This is so much fun it is like we are coming with you!!!!!



posted 2-6-2010 @ 08:55 PM www


EPISODE SEVEN
Da plane! Da plane! We have da plane tickets!:P:P
Yay..our e-tickets just arrived!
How exciting...good to know we are officially booked and ticketed now:)
The countdown clock started for me a few days ago...less than 3 months to go, till we leave and I can't believe how quickly it seems to be coming up!
The lovely promoters gave me the money towards the rental car component, so I could book a better car for the longer period and they've only asked for a copy of the receipt, which is fair enough! So, now to go 'car' shopping:P
The originally had us slotted in for a small rental car, but that wouldn't even fit one of our cases (:o) so, we're going for a larger sedan. Plus, a larger car is more comfy for that long drive to the Grand Canyon;)
I'll be singing 'Come fly with me' all night:D
posted 6-6-2010 @ 02:34 PM www


we booked our car through expedia and got awesome rates...
we ended up with a mini van that we drove from disneyland to vegas and back to hollywood and for 9 days it cost us $118us! amazing rates!! i think from memory we only used about $35 in fuel too, so we had a good run, although it was odd having to pay before you pump and not knowing how much you needed...:o
we had also looked at a chevy malibu, and also a dodge charger and our two suitcases would not fir in the boot, so best you are looking at a bigger car!!
enjoy your trip!
posted 7-6-2010 @ 01:41 AM www


Thanks jokaboobie, I'll look into that! How long ago was your trip, just so I have an idea, how much prices have gone up? :)
posted 7-6-2010 @ 06:42 AM www


january this year, we went to disneyland on the magical journey....
the cheapest we were quoted through a travel agent for what we wanted was $600, so we did really well....you can watch the rates daily and we first booked at around $160us and then changed at $118.... it allowed cancellation....
we have used both enterprise rentals and fox car rentals...

for some reason fox has bad reviews but we loved them, brand new cars great staff...the only thing was their office wasnt a massive flash building like avis and enterprise, it was set up more like a car yard with a huge lot and an office...i think thats why their prices were lower...
hope that helps....xxx
posted 7-6-2010 @ 09:29 AM www


Thanks again, jokaboobie;) Just checked Expedia and their prices are much cheaper than even than going direct thru the rental sites! A saving of over $200 for our same dates..go figure:)
So, there ya go gang...Expedia is not only good for hotel bookings, but car rentals too!
posted 23-6-2010 @ 03:17 AM www


Misskittykat!
You are both going to have a fantastic time!!!!!
I just got back from a two month trip. I did a road tip from Memphis to New Orleans with 5 girl friends and it was a blast!
Don't forget to stop in at some American Diners along the way and soak up the atmosphere and huge meals
:D
posted 5-7-2010 @ 11:30 AM www


EPISODE EIGHT
The excitement is mounting...only 7 weeks to go..YAY! We'll be counting the sleeps, before you know it!

So, in the past week, I've received my renewed Passport. Sad to be leaving the other one behind, but at least we still get to keep them and all those memories of trips gone by. I may be a regular traveller, but I still had blank pages. We should get a refund for those blank pages:) Forgot to mention..hate the photo!

And thanks to those handy tips on car rentals, finally booked the car we wanted! Handy tip: Keep checking sites before you book and book on a weekend if possible, because the prices drop, big time! Really wanted an SUV and finally got one, with a $300 US difference, so persistance paid off. $504 US total, for the two weeks, which is a really good price, compared to what we pay here!

Was at Elisso's last night and we've tracked down a couple of outlet shopping places, so we'll be spending at least one day in a mega mall, doing what women do best..SHOPPING!:P:P:P We are champion shoppers and are determined to maintain that status, while away;)

And we've changed our minds about our LA accomodations and we'll be staying in West Hollywood now, instead of Rendondo beach. We figured we were having a week at SB beach anyway, so we're gonna stay central to all the Hollywood/Bev Hills fun, because it's Elisso's first time in the US and with the car, we can cram in as much tacky tourism as we like:D We're going to do our own Celeb houses tour (:cool::cool::cool:) with Brad Pitt (for her) and Keanu Reeves (for me) high on our list! Corny, I know, but who cares?:):)

Still wanting to get to a taping of The Ellen Show, but they're on hols, so our available dates still aren't available on the site, but I have found the 'Tickets on Day' phone number, so the plan is to ring that number first each day, in an attempt to get tickets, then do the rest of our exploring around that, unless of course, we DO manage to get tickets before leaving.

And last, but not least, Disneyland tickets. Not sure whether to buy online, or just roll up on the day. Plenty of time to decide that yet. And I've forewarned Elisso, that my first purchase there will be Mickey Mouse 'ears' and I'll be wearing them around, ALL that day:P:P:P I will definitely be reverting to childhood, for those 12 hours and will wail loudly if I don't get a photo with Mickey and Minnie:D
posted 5-7-2010 @ 11:38 AM www


Just a little warning. Friends of mine got back from LA last week. They were robbed while they slept in a hotel in Vegas, on the 6th floor. The Security guy told them it was quite common. They thought because their door was a swipe card one that would be safe enough, but since that night they said they always used the latch as well.
The thief took a bag that had the hire car key in it lucky they had dumped it in the bin near the elevator. If they hadnt it would have cost them a fortune because the hire car company said they had no way of getting another key for it??? Apparently different hirecar companys 'share' the cars and it would be near impossible to get a replacement key.
posted 5-7-2010 @ 12:48 PM www


Thanks mcwinner, but not heading anywhere near Vegas!
I really feel sorry for your poor friends, because that Hotel REALLY should have told them that it was common for that sort of thing to happen and warned them on check in!
I would have screamed at them big time, being told AFTER the event. I hope they demanded their money back, because that's just not good enough.
If I was them, I'd being writing to the Hotel Chain/Management and lodging a formal complaint, to that effect. If it is such a common event, their security should have been upgraded, long ago.
I'd also put that into any website where 'feedback' can be left. The Hotels read that stuff and don't like negative feedback being advertised, so maybe that'll make them attempt to fix the problem.

And, I've never just used the latch. I always place a stopper under the door when I sleep and put my case up against the door, too. I've got this small shoe shaped door stopper, that I take with me! It usually fits under a door, but if it doesn't a face washer does the trick. Fold it up, jam it under the door (lock side) but don't forget to take it away when you head out in the morning, or you'll walk into the door! (Ouch..been there, done that!:D)
Being a (usual) solo traveller, I've learnt to take extra precautions, just for my own piece of mind. I'm full of fab tricks, but realistically, if someone really wants something, they'll get it anyway, so I'm all for the 'just take it'. That's what travel insurance is for and there's no point in being paranoid, because that just spoils the trip. Inconvenient, yes, sometimes, but what's more important? ME. Things can be replaced, I can't.
I've been to some places, where everyone warns you 'never' to travel to, especially on your own and really, a lot of it is just hype.
Do the basic 'homework' before you leave, respect the country your going to, learn a bit of the lingo, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is and don't scream 'TOURIST'!
It never ceases to amaze me how many people just never use their common sense when they go away (or even at 'home' for that matter). The things I've seen and heard over the years!
Just remember, safety first, ask questions at your hotel, or wherever, when you arrive and listen to what you're being told, or just go to the local Police station and ASK. They don't bite you know and are usually very helpful. Some hotel staff have looked at me very strangely when I ask my usual set of questions on check in, but do I care? NO! I just explain (or try to explain in broken Spanglish, or whatever:P) why I want to know. A lot of times, I actually get complimented for asking such 'sensible' questions!
Hotel safes are there for a reason, use them. How much cash do you REALLY need to cart around these days?
Gosh, I could go on and on.....(and usually do!;))
posted 5-7-2010 @ 12:51 PM www


You sound like you have all bases covered, well done :)
posted 5-7-2010 @ 01:11 PM www


make sure you check the parking price of the west hollywood hotel you stay in...some charge nothing whilst some others are up to $60usd a night, which really smashes the budget!!!
we stayed at the andaz west hollywood which is one of the the most delightful and blissfull hotels i have ever stayed in...included free mini bar, breakfast and pastries all day plus a wine bar at night...was right in the heart of west hollywood and was booked out with celebs for the grammy's...made our trip even more awesome, but we did pay $26usd a night to park....
we also wanted to see a taping of ellen, but she was not taping when i went over with a pal (not january when i went with my fam) but we instead settled for jay leno...boy are we glad we did!!! amazing show!!
i would skip booking tickets before hand as most of them are standby and you are not garraunteed a seat in, so you could wait three hours and then not fit into the studio...
however, if you go to universal studios while you are in hollywood, you can pick up tickets for the next days taping which are confirmed... you wait in a different area and get to go in first with the family and friend guests of the stars appearing that day...so much easier!! we had tickets for a taping with george clooney (we skipped this show because it was bedlam) and tickets for a taping with the guy who did the voice for mister potato head... that night/afternoon they would have turned away atleast 300 people...it was insane!! so if it is a huge guest, you would want confirmed seats..they told us to liune up from 3pm but people had been there from early hours of the morning...
keep in mind that the shows tape in the day and it will be half a day out of your itinery to see the taping...we loved it though and would definitly do it again if we had a day spare and were not short on time...
posted 29-7-2010 @ 10:30 PM www


EPISODE NINE:

Well gang, this'll be the one last Episodes, until we get back! Got our final itinerary, so we're all set to go. Only 3 weeks to go and we'll be off! Can't believe the time has flown and it's almost time to leave on another winning trip:)

So, to round off the S.B. journey you've taken with us, so far:
Arrive L.A., in the morning, pick up rental car, drive to Santa Barbara (with a brekky stop on the way, no doubt!) then 7 fun filled days and nights in SB. Guided winery tour on the Friday, pampering day on Saturday (in time for big night out:D) and posh dinner on our last night. Drive to Grand Canyon, Monday...back in L.A., Tuesday, and 3 days of fun in LA LA land, especially to say Hi to Mickey and Minnie and the gang:P

I love it when a plan comes together:cool:
posted 22-8-2010 @ 10:16 AM www


EPISODE TEN
Well, the bags are packed, weíre ready to go, flying out tomorrow. YAY! In just over 24 hours, weíll be off to Santa Barbara! Itís been 6 months, since getting that WPC and now the time has finally arrived!:D:D:D
I was too excited to sleep last night, so around midnight, I double checked I was happy with everything Iíd packed and had a Ďminií fashion parade! Culled a couple of things then locked the suitcase! LOL! Only my toiletries left to go in the other bag and all the gadgets to be charged up. Checked the weight with my luggage scale and come in just on 17 kilos, which means I should be able to shop to my heartís content, while away!
But, I still have that Ďhave I forgotten something?í feeling.
And, the one thing I still have to do and donít really want to, is take my darling kittykat to the Cat Motel! I know sheís more than ok there, but I still get a little sad.:(
The new netbook is coming with us, (I killed the old one!!) so might try and post a couple of pics while weíre away, but not promising anything, in case weíre having TOO MUCH FUN!;)
Win lots while weíre gone, because weíll be having Lottos DTís!!!!! Toodles.
:):D:P:):D:P:cool:
posted 22-8-2010 @ 10:27 AM www


Enjoy your trip misskittykat and will look forward to hearing about your wonderful travels:)
posted 22-8-2010 @ 12:42 PM www


Have a wonderful trip misskittykat, i'll be over there next month,,,also staying in west hollywood,, then driving up to San francisco. we'll be going thru santa barbara i imagine, to get to hearst castle. will you be going there?
posted 22-8-2010 @ 01:00 PM www


have a fantastic trip! can't wait to see some pics when you get back :):)



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posted 22-8-2010 @ 06:57 PM www


Thanks gang! And yes..we are going to go to try and get to Hearst Castle! Been wanting to see that :)

And I remembered what it was that I had forgotten!
A Lottos t/shirt (shock horror!):D

Have ordered one, splashed out on Priority postage and getting it sent to our SB hotel! I love the net:P
posted 23-8-2010 @ 09:27 PM www


LOL missskittykat:)

You have everything covered now;);):D:D

Enjoy:):):)
posted 23-8-2010 @ 09:40 PM www


have a fantastic trip misskittykat :)
posted 24-8-2010 @ 12:09 AM www


I have really loved this thread, it is like we won the holiday with you!!!
Cannot wait to hear all your exciting holiday news when you get back.
Have an amazing,awesome holiday.




posted 24-8-2010 @ 12:15 AM www


Thanks for sharing, have fun:):):)
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