Our travel plans for 2018 began during an eventful summer of 2017.
My younger brother, Carl, was fighting cancer, and, from May to June last year, had to undergo two months of continuous radiotherapy. These daily radiotherapy sessions also meant that each week Carl was losing a large percentage of his work salary; every radiotherapy session needed him to travel a round-trip of almost 80 miles each day; not even the ‘supportive’ organisation Macmillan would help with his travel costs.
This vicious disease was causing Carl’s income & savings to suffer, too. On top of his battle with cancer and his decreasing finances, he also had to cancel a flight & accommodation package to Munich for a ‘stag-do’ weekend, a cancellation that cost him £187 – and, Easyjet being Easyjet, could only offer him a refund in the form of a voucher that would expire on December 6th 2017.
Carl isn’t an avid traveller. And, travel was the last thing on his mind. With no thoughts of conducting travel plans before December 6th 2017, this loss of £187 was just another dent to his finances.
At the end of this two month radiotherapy period, Carl desperately approached our Dad for financial help, asking for a loan of £300, to help keep his head above water. Our Dad, much unlike Easyjet, doesn’t issue vouchers, and, he generously gave Carl the £300 (in cash), with no obligation to pay it back…
And, our Dad, a believer in equality, couldn’t give one son £300 without giving his other son the same, too…so, last August, I was also made £300 richer!
But, knowing that Carl had dire financial (and health) issues by no fault of his own, and, knowing that he was sat on a wasted £187 Easyjet voucher he would never use, it made sense to try putting the lost £187 back into his pocket, using the money our Dad had given us.
The challenge to reimburse my brother properly had begun…
Plan One: To fly somewhere for Christmas 2017 & New Year – in 2016, for New Years Eve, I’d bought reasonably priced flights to Funchel in Madeira, but for this same time in 2017, Easyjet had escalated their flight prices during the holiday period, where just ONE return flight would’ve used the entire £187 of the voucher.
I wasn’t interested in using/spending the £187 on just one return flight…I knew I could do better than that!
Plan Two: To just find cheap flights to places that I’d never been before…this plan was much more successful (yet, more time consuming, too).
After an hour of thorough searching the Easyjet website, checking flight times & prices of travel during the first half of 2018, I’d managed to find THREE return flights – along with the extra costs of seat allocations – for a total of £165:
In February, I’ll be flying to Porto, Portugal…
In March, I’ll be flying to Thessaloniki, Greece…
And, in June, for my 40th Birthday, I’ll be flying to Dubrovnik, Croatia.
The rest of the money my Dad gave me was spent last September, on a trip to Brussels in Belgium AND for travel costs to attend the London Premiere of Kingsman: The Golden Circle…the remaining £22 of the Easyjet voucher was never used before the December 6th deadline (although, I know I probably could’ve found another cheap return flight somewhere, had I searched again)…
And, while the next few months will be spent aggressively finding spending money for these three trips, there’s nothing nicer than knowing you’ve three trips abroad on the horizon!
I’ve always booked flights (and accommodation) waaaay in advance, when prices are lower, and this is proof that, if you’re willing to put in the time to search months before you go anywhere, you can often buy six flights for the price of two!
Cancer tried, but it didn’t stand a chance against my brother; Easyjet tried, but they didn’t stand a chance against my belief in getting your money’s worth!
Today, Carl regularly attends his hospital check-ups where he’s always told he’s clear of cancer; His financial circumstances are now much better than they were back in the Summer of ’17; And me, I’ll be looking forward to these three trips from Winter to the Summer of ’18…
And, I feel that, although it was my brother who beat cancer, we both came out on top:
Unconditional support prevailed.
“A brother is the friend you’ve never had.”
Our Travel Blogs will soon be published on The Travel Tab – Coming later this year!
Featured picture from Getty Images
Porto, Portugal picture from businessinsider.com
Thessaloniki, Greece picture from truegreece.com
Dubrovnik, Croatia picture from wikimedia.org