August will be a big month for dancing, with the Bal d'Argent locally, and St Vitas Dance Weekend in Canberra on the 29th and 30th. I had a ball at the last st Vitas, and I plan on going again and maybe arriving early and catching up with a few canberran non-sca friends.

so, planning notes for my reference and the aid of the many melbourne dancer who i hope will accompany me: (please discuss, ammend, use, propose, etc...)

cheap airlines:

flight time 65 min
last check in 45 to 60 minutes before flight

jetstar
- does not appear to fly to canberra

virgin blue - http://bookings.virginblue.com.au/
4 to 7 flights a day  to canberra 7:15am, 8:30am 12pm (14:30pm) (16pm) 17:45pm (19:30pm)
6 flights a day  to melbourne 6:30am 10:15/11:15am 13:35pm 15pm, 17pm, 19:20pm
go fare (cheapest fare) $65 each way (limited availability), available fare $85 each way (incl taxes) +$3 booking fee
23kg of checked luggage costs extra ($8 pre booked or $20 at airport)
no cancellations, expensive to change timings

tiger - sale until 18 June http://booking.tigerairways.com
mostly once a day to canberra - Mostdays 20:20pm except Sat 14:25pm Mon 17:20pm 20:20pm
most days 21:55pm except Sat 16pm Mon 18:55 20:55
$35 each way (icl taxes and charges)
no cancellations, expensive to change timings
7kg carry on,  extra $10 each way for 15kg or more available at expensive cost

qantas from $89 each way (on limited flights)  http://travel.webjet.com.au

getting to airport:

drive - airport carparking - cheaper at the nearby shuttle airport places
eg $40 Thurs -sun evenings  at http://www.parkingport.com.au/
possibly others are cheaper, quicker or faster (I haven't done a comparison)

shuttle from home - for me (mid to outer suburbs) return trip $28 from their route or $53 from my door
very limited number of services per day
http://www.airportbus.com.au/bookings

or train to southern cross then shuttle - about $26 return (may be cheaper options)
every 10? minutes
http://www.melbourneairport.com.au/to_from_airport/skybus.asp

driving:
travel time : 8-10 hours
luggage restrictions: minimal
cost: approx 3 40L tanks of petrol? = $120/trip, plus a portion of car servicing costs

Definately cheaper than flying, for a full carload (but not a single), but transit time costs if you need to take a day or two off work.  It's not a long weekend.


getting around in canberra
if driving up = easy

hire car - this site lists the major companies and estimatees $153 for 3 or 4 days (yes same price - wierd)
https://carhire.com.au
I daresay some discounts exist, or a little cheaper could be found, but that's a guideline.

charity - I can ask for lifts, since I'm prepared to offer equivalent hospitality for retun visits

public transport - canberra has a well developed system of busses, but they aren't very frequent to tuggeranong, where I think st vitas will be again.  Canberra is a very disjointed city with the various hubs acting likevillages that don't often play with each other as far as I can tell.  No quick trips on public transport, and may have to leave places early sometimes because of that.

other melbourne visitors driving - car pooling may be an option

combinations - combinations of transport options work

accomodation
I like bouncy springy beds. sprung matreses.  Yes that's your couches, not any that have been stuffened to be more bedlike.  Worst night's sleep - in a canberra motor hotel.  Best night's sleep - on a canberra couch.
I dislike paying for hotels because I dislike paying for a bed I may not be able to sleep on.

other costs
food.
ball entry
not much for me assuming I'm working.

conclusions

tiger's sale looks like the cheapest option considering the time conponent of driving, but with only one flight a day, you wouldn't want to be on the friday night flight and have it be cancelled and be bitterly disapointed (I hear rumors they've been doing that a bit).

But if I fly up on thursday say (to have time to visit people - hoping they are home), then if they jolt me to the next flight on friday, it shouldn't be a problem except some dissapointed friends.  The tiger flight is late enough at night that I could go after work (assuming I'm in work), and only have to take friday off work if I flew on thursday. And If the flight home is late, well I might be unable to work, but there's lots of canbera sight I haven't seen yet.

Discuss....
(or not if you prefer, but  I welcome company on the flights, and general sharing of resources, although I'll want some time apart to visit non-sca friends, I hope)
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