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Old 01-29-2013, 12:28 PM   #1
Jillpie
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We're going to Africa on an 18 day safari!! Any tips on the two long flights ahead?

My husband, as a 10 yr associate at his office, can choose any of their trips offered (he works for a travel company) and he can bring me too!! We have been looking forward to this for a very long time. But wait till you hear the air itinerary to get there: an 8 hr flight to Amsterdam, then a 5 hr layover. We then get on another 8 hr flight to Nairobi to begin an adventure of a lifetime!! I can't wait for this, but am a stranger to very long flights, this will take 21 hrs all together. Any advice for us?

(UPDATE PG. 5)
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:09 PM   #2
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I was stuck at the Amsterdam airport once for 11 hours. It's a very nice airport and there will be alot of confusion for you when you exit the plane, navigate the terminals and see lines EVERYWHERE.

Here's what I didn't know---as long as you have your connecting flight's ticket, you can bypass all of those people standing in lines at the various airline counters. Walk right pass all of them since you don't have to check in again.

Dumb tip, I know, but as I was standing there (and I'm a pretty well traveled person), EVERYONE got off the plane and got into one of those lines. I thought maybe it was protocol. It is not.

The airport has tons of restaurants and even a casino (I believe). Food is pretty good, so don't worry about that.

Go to your assigned terminal early enough to be safe but LATE enough not to be annoyed....once you pass through immigration (again) to get to your terminal gate, you can't got back. We also found that the gate area we were in didn't have central ventilation turned on. So it was winter and it was freezing cold in the actual gate area, but in other parts of the airport they had the central vents turned on. I guess it's a weird Europe thing.

Have fun!
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:18 PM   #3
Jillpie
Can you package some Main St. music and send it to me?
 
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That is really helpful information, thanks! 11 hrs, that's a long time, did you lie down anywhere? That's what I'm wondering about because our layover will be midnight to 5:00 am Boston time, I know we're going to start to be really exhausted. Then another 8 hr flight!
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:26 PM   #4
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If you can start adjusting to the new time several days earlier, that would help a LOT. I've always wanted to go on a safari. Color me jealous!
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:27 PM   #5
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You might want to consider staying in a hotel at the Amsterdam airport (if there is one) and just resting & showering after your flight.

If that isn't an option, I would also look into your airline's VIP club (like United Club, etc.) and see if you can buy a day pass. Those lounges are really nice to hang out in and sometimes they have showers also - you could get some good rest there, by maybe bringing an alarm to wake you up...typically you alert the front desk staff at the lounge to your flight departure and they announce when the flight is boarding.

Another thing I would definitely do is invest in a media device like a Kindle or Nook and download several books and movies on it - this will make your flight go much quicker. You can get a portable charger to give you more juice on those long flights.

Have a great trip!
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:56 PM   #6
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I used to live in Holland and flew to Schipol many many times. It's a beautiful country. With that many hours to spare, why not walk around Amsterdam? Try some food!! I love my Dutch french fries and mayo! =) The trains take you everywhere. Amsterdam is beautiful to tour.
Enjoy! I miss The Netherlands. =)
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:02 PM   #7
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I am over the moon excited for you!!! We went on a two week African vacation in October and it was the most amazing experience!!! We flew direct to Johannesburg from JFK (15 hour flight) then another 2.5 hour flight to Cape Town, so with the layover and all it was about 24 hours door to door, which is about what you will have.

There is plenty to do in Schiphol - they even have a smaller version of one of their art museums. But it is a hectic airport. My advice is to find out where you will need to be and make sure you have your flight in order. We stopped through there once and needed to be re-issued tickets, so just make sure you have all you need and your boarding passes before you go find something to do.

As for the time difference, it's only a 6 or 7 hour difference from the East Coast, which is similar to Europe. But it wasn't the time difference as much as the length of travel that was tough to recover from. Plan to be tired the first few days - there isn't much you can do about it. Hydrate, walk around the plane, etc. South African airlines had these exercises you could do in your seat on the TV screen and I would do them from time to time throughout the flight. It's just LONG. Not much you can do to prepare for that except bring things to keep you occupied and let yourself sleep when you can - you will be jet lagged no matter what.

But oh, my when you get there! It's just so incredible. I was singing the Lion King soundtrack in my head the entire time

If you have any other questions about it, what to bring, etc. just ask!

I just have to share a couple of pics. The first is us on an elephant back safari (this elephant and her two babies are tame) and the second is a wild elephant that just came up to our jeep (I love elephants!):



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Old 01-29-2013, 02:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jillpie View Post
That is really helpful information, thanks! 11 hrs, that's a long time, did you lie down anywhere? That's what I'm wondering about because our layover will be midnight to 5:00 am Boston time, I know we're going to start to be really exhausted. Then another 8 hr flight!
I agree with the advice to buy a lounge pass for you and your husband. What airline are you flying?

There's tons of AA and United lounge passes on ebay since everyone was getting them for free w/all the credit card deals this year.

You can also purchase the lounge pass retail directly from your airline's website or if you have the Amex Plat Charge (not credit) I believe you can get into some lounges.

There is a hotel if I remember correctly, but you'd have to google it as I have no idea which it is.

Have fun!

(And yes, we ended up sleeping in the chairs b/c we didn't know it was an 11 hour layover until we got to the freezing gate. It was supposed to be 5 hours, but they delayed our plane for another 6 hours. We took a 2 day trip to Rome from California. Crazy right)

BTW, 5 hours IS NOT enough time to go into the City and back w/security, customs, etc.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:11 PM   #9
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Can you package some Main St. music and send it to me?
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bahacca View Post
If you can start adjusting to the new time several days earlier, that would help a LOT. I've always wanted to go on a safari. Color me jealous!
I have heard that a lot! I will be able to do that, but my DH will be working right up to the very day before. Then he's got a nice month off for sabattical to take this trip.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:14 PM   #10
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Can you package some Main St. music and send it to me?
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beauty & the Best View Post
You might want to consider staying in a hotel at the Amsterdam airport (if there is one) and just resting & showering after your flight.

If that isn't an option, I would also look into your airline's VIP club (like United Club, etc.) and see if you can buy a day pass. Those lounges are really nice to hang out in and sometimes they have showers also - you could get some good rest there, by maybe bringing an alarm to wake you up...typically you alert the front desk staff at the lounge to your flight departure and they announce when the flight is boarding.

Another thing I would definitely do is invest in a media device like a Kindle or Nook and download several books and movies on it - this will make your flight go much quicker. You can get a portable charger to give you more juice on those long flights.

Thank you, we won't be able to leave the airport, 5hrs is a long time, but not long enough. So we'll have to stay put. We're on Delta (with the TV's, nice!), so maybe they have a lounge, that is good advice.

Have a great trip!

Thank you, we won't be able to leave the airport, 5hrs is a long time, but not long enough. So we'll have to stay put. We're on Delta (with the TV's, nice!), so maybe they have a lounge, that is good advice.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:15 PM   #11
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I really have no advice, but SUPER jealous!
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:17 PM   #12
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Momto3grtboys...WOW, thank you so much. LOVE those pictures!!! And what great advice, I need everything you can tell me! Would it be possible to get your email? I know I'll have a million questions over the next few months!!
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jillpie View Post
Momto3grtboys...WOW, thank you so much. LOVE those pictures!!! And what great advice, I need everything you can tell me! Would it be possible to get your email? I know I'll have a million questions over the next few months!!
No problem...I will PM you!
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:22 PM   #14
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Try Melatonin for jet lag .. We use it for all of our Transatlantic flights and when we go to Australia.
It's not a sleeping tablet per se, but rather a tablet that tells your body to release the natural drug that sends you to sleep.

I would also recommend an airport hotel. There's nothing like getting off the plane after a long flight and knowing you are only 30 mins away from a hot shower and being able to stretch your legs!! Bliss.

You can get Melatonin from Walmart in the natural health dept.

Have a lovely holiday.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:30 PM   #15
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We're doing a similar trip in July, but to Johannesburg, with a layover in London. I think Amsterdam airport has a Yotel like London. They are basically like capsule hotel rooms you can rent in four hour blocks. I think ours came to about $100 for eight hours. It's pretty small, but its your own space to nap, shower and relax.
Have you looked into using points to upgrade one of the legs to business class? we're doing that for one leg and it will give us access to the business class lounge between flights as well. We tried it on the return, but there was no availability, thus the Yotel option.
Oh, and while you're in Amsterdam, make sure you try to find some pommes frites with mayonnaise!
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