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So I’ve posted a lot about my recent trip out to the Family Travel for Real Life (#FT4RL) conference in Washington DC a few weeks ago.   If you want to read about the conference or what went on there, you should definitely check out the links in the sidebar – I live-blogged the speakers there and I think that it gives a pretty good feel for what the conference was like.  It was a great time, and in addition to the speakers, it was great to meet other like-minded travelers.

I did want to give one last report – the actual TRIP there and back.  I’ll try not to go into a TON of detail, since I’m sure there aren’t THAT many people DYING to know how the pretzels were on my regional jet from CVG-DCA, but there were a few things that some might find interesting

US Airways flight CVG-DCA

Because I had decided to fly there and back all on the Saturday, I had the first flight of the day, which unfortunately necessitated a 4:30 a.m. wakeup.  I always have trouble sleeping when I have to wake up early for something.  The whole night I just toss and turn, worrying that I’ve overslept and thinking “Is it time? What about now?!”

Got to the airport without a problem.  Normally I will do a “park and ride” deal where I pay $3-4 to park at a local hotel and take their shuttle but since it was just the one day – I decided to “splurge” on the $8 long-term parking at the airport (big spender, I know….)

Because I booked the tip through British Airways with Avios, I originally had my travel information come in from BA.  Even after I called to get my US Airways confirmation number, my traveler information came out weird, which resulted in my boarding pass saying MILLER/DANIELMR.  I was nervous that because there wasn’t a slash between my name and the MR, that I’d have a problem.

As those of you who are frequent travelers probably are saying, this was completely NOT a problem.  I waited in line for the US Airways gate agent, who laughed at me and told me it would not be a problem, and the TSA agents did not give it a 2nd glance…

I took the time to create my very own Instagram account and take my first picture

cvg-dca-terminal

Oooh that’s an early flight!!!

The flight was normal – about a 1 hour flight, though we got a good view of the sunrise as we flew east.  I sat next to a pilot who was a simulator trainer.  He was flying back to Providence (via Washington) after spending some time doing instruction this week.  He was intrigued when I explained how I booked our flight for only 9,000 Avios, when you’d spend 25,000 US Airways miles to BOOK THE EXACT SAME FLIGHT!

Renting a car to go from DCA to IAD

I had looked at a few options for how to get to the conference, which was at the Hyatt House near DULLES airport, whereas I was flying into Reagan National (DCA).  There’s no (easy) public transportation between the 2 airports, Uber is $66 one way and I’m sure a cab wouldn’t be any better.

I ended up renting a car, and after I finally got Avis to stop trying to screw me over, it was a very pleasant experience.  My Avis Preferred benefits were added on to the reservation, and when I walked past the Avis counter into the garage, my car was already there waiting for me!

I had forgotten that there would be tolls on the way there, but that ended up adding $7 plus the $3.50 rental car toll “convenience fee”.  Adding the $7 or so of gas I put in and the $30 rental car charge, it was definitely the cheapest way to do it.

Hyatt House Dulles Airport North / Sterling

ft4rl-conference-roomThe Hyatt House Dulles Airport North / Sterling, where the conference was very nice too, and fairly new.  It was also only a Category 1 (!), so only costs 5,000 Hyatt points to stay.  A pretty good deal from what I could tell (though I did not stay there overnight).

It was unclear whether as members of the conference we were “allowed” to take part in the breakfast buffet that was ongoing when I got there.  Some people said it was part of the conference but I felt a little weird so just drank some water.

The lunch was catered and very good, sandwiches, chips and such, and some MONSTER-sized cookies that my friend PJ would have been proud of.

Heading home

Although the after-party raged on (<g>), I had to head out about 5:30 to catch my flight.  Traffic was a bit heavier on the way back to the airport but not too bad.  I had plenty of time to go through security and then catch my flight.  US Airways at DCA has several gates that are not actually part of the terminal, so everyone has to board a shuttle bus to get on their plane.

I was a little nervous that I would somehow get on the wrong plane, but managed to successfully get back home to CVG, where I deplaned and arrived back home around 11pm.  All in all a very fun and successful day – and I felt like quite the jetsetter doing a same-day turn!!!

Ever done a same-day turn before?  What was it like?

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