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About bluebird

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  1. @sdfamily thank you so much for all of the great info. I didn't even consider a booking service to help me. What a fantastic idea; it would be worth a few to get better seats at a reasonable amount of miles. If you do have that name, please let me know. But I'll do some Googling as well! @BieneMaja, so glad to hear you've had good overall experiences using miles. It sounds like it's worth the search to find the seats we want!
  2. @pomkiwi and @marg thanks very much for the info. You've given me a lot to think about, especially if Delta One from Europe is that much lower in SkyMiles to JNB. (Right now from Atlanta, it's more than half a million miles per person!) Maybe we can extend the adventure a bit in order to have a more comfortable flight. I'll definitely play around with Google Flights before making any decisions.
  3. @Crimson255, good to know. Maybe I'll give my travel agent a call and see what she recommends. Where I was assuming I'd use miles, I figured the earlier the better. But maybe I should wait a few more months regardless. I was surprised by how much basic economy was adding up to--especially because SLC is a Delta hub.
  4. @janzin and @Caracal, thanks for the boost in confidence. I'm happy to hear flexibility doesn't change all that much with miles. (I haven't used them for much for booking because I've been saving them for so many years for this trip.) @Tulips, I wish I had just opened a credit card with that type of rewards system; I think it makes a lot of sense for travel and would make the booking process much simpler. As it stands now, Delta controls everything. @AandA, great info. So far, searching in July 2018, flights are right around $2,100 per person, just in economy. I wonder if, as the safari season heats up, it gets more expensive or if I just need to wait for a deal...? It's a bit of a gamble if I end up deciding to use miles. Out of curiosity, how was the long-haul flight in the Delta Comfort section for you?
  5. I've been saving up Delta Skymiles for years with my upcoming safari to Africa in mind (Zambia, Aug./Sept. 2018!). Now that it's almost time to book my flights, I'm starting to worry if using reward miles is such a good idea. Have any of you experienced pitfalls because you used reward tickets for a long, international trip? Pitfalls meaning issues with getting seats you want, rebooking problems after missed connections, inconvenient schedules, etc. What I've noticed thus far I've noticed with Delta that I won't be able to book a Delta Comfort seat (slightly roomier economy seats) if I use my Skymiles, although I would hope an upgrade might be available closer to the actual flight. First class is not going to be an option, as it looks like I'd need about 1.3 million Skymiles to book two first class tickets that way. And I hear that first class upgrades never happen on Delta's ATL to JNB route--certainly not for someone with only Gold status (I'm inconsequential as far as Delta is concerned). Potential savings Using miles (I'm estimating around 550,000 total) would save me approximately $4,500 USD, assuming my dad and I flew from Salt Lake City to Atlanta to Johannesburg. So, it's obviously a big deal. But I don't want issues with flights to hamper our trip. Any thoughts? Am I just being an over-planning paranoid? ;-)
  6. @treepol, here's the itinerary. I feel like a little kid waiting for it. Aug. 28-Sept. 8, 2018 1 Night, Mfuwe Lodge, SLNP (Bushcamp Co.) 2 Nights, Bilimungwe Bushcamp, SLNP (Bushcamp Co.) 2 Nights, Chamilandu Bushcamp, SLNP (Bushcamp Co.) 3 Nights, Mwamba Bushcamp, SLNP (Shenton) **Wish this one were longer. 3 Nights, Busanga Plains Camp, Kafue (Wilderness Safaris) 1 Night, Shumba Camp, Kafue (Wilderness Safaris) **We're doing a quick stop here because of a double-booking Departure
  7. That sounds like an incredible itinerary. I'm especially jealous of your stop at KaingU Lodge, mostly because KaingU has been so helpful on this forum and I'd love to see their camp now!
  8. @Treepol are you heading to Zambia next year? Would love to hear your itinerary.
  9. @Grasshopper_Club thank you so much for the advice and all the links. It is more than I could have hoped for. I have two of the books on the way as I type this. @janzin thanks for your recommendations and especially the list of species--so helpful! I'll look for that Hupe guide and your trip report when you get back. @Caracal I've started a search for the Kafue guide, but it appears to be sold out. I'll keep looking for used copies, though--it sounds perfect, especially for my dad. Lastly, @marg, the Sasol app was just what I was looking for. I've downloaded it and will get it for my dad for his birthday. This forum is filled with remarkably helpful, generous people. I feel fortunate to have found it!
  10. Now that our very first safari is booked for 2018, my dad and I want to start improving our ID skills for birds (especially) and mammals. We'll be in Zambia (South Luangwa and Kafue National Parks) in late August and September. My searches thus far for field guides have not turned up a lot for Zambia. Do you have any recommendations of books that would help us for this area? Or should I just order guides that cover bordering countries and cross-reference lists from our chosen camps? So far, I've purchased used copies of Birds of Southern Africa (Princeton; it does cover Zambia along with many other countries) and Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa (does not technically cover Zambia, although maybe it doesn't matter). We won't likely take these books along with us, so if you have any apps or pocket guides that you'd also recommend, please let me know.
  11. As someone looking forward to her first safari (and the kind of person who loves to read online reviews), this forum helped me make major and expensive decisions. My tour operator literally laughed (in an appreciative way) about how much research I'd done before contacting her; I told her most of it was straight from SafariTalk. This week, we received news of a minor mix-up with our Busanga bookings, and I needed to make a quick decision. Rather than rely on my gut or even my tour operator, I knew exactly who to message and ask here. (Thanks, @KaingU Lodge ) It made me feel much more confident. So thank you for all the hard work many of you put into this forum!
  12. Ugh. Hadn't even thought of this. Thanks for posting the question and for all the great responses.
  13. Just a quick update. Thank you to everyone for your advice here and for your trip reports, which I have pored over. My dad and I booked the South Luangwa and Kafue itinerary this week; we'll be leaving the last week of August 2018. It's going to be amazing. And now I face the hardest part: Waiting almost 17 months to go!
  14. @@Julian I have been following along on your trip plans, as I'm in the middle of planning a 2018 safari in Zambia. I'm so sorry to hear Rachel has more treatments ahead of her. I hope it all goes well. Who knows--maybe I'll meet both of you on safari next year instead. Best wishes!
  15. @@KaingU Lodge that picture made me gasp. It looks so amazing!

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