Saturday, March 25, 2017

Travel Bug Cure-Some Planning

I'm very ready for a destination vacation, but with a couple weddings, an expensive hotel stay for one of them, and unknown expenses yet to come on the cabin, 2017 will see us as home bodies. Yet, that does not preclude me from doing a little dreaming and a little hopeful planning for future trips. I do love planning and researching destinations, in hopes  that when the time is right, I'll have realistic expectations of cost and the best use of our time once there.This strategy has served me well. Despite one vacation to the Black Hills in South Dakota when the older kids were nine and seven that was marred with  a trip to the emergency room due to illness on route, a wretched hotel experience, mudslides, and power outages, we've always had terrific vacations. Even that one, once the antibiotics kicked in for DS, the torrential rains let down, and we had sorted out alternative accommodations, it ended up OK.

We have yet to finalize our October anniversary get away, so I have that to dig into. Our extra day before our nieces wedding is wide open for exploration so I want  ideas to get out doors, besides just using the hotel water park and amenities. As I've eluded to, I've got the bug to go to Europe next summer, and am exploring options.

We received a mailer yesterday for Norwegian Cruise lines, the line we were on in Alaska. I hopped on their site and found there is a Wednesday to Wednesday sailing, leaving from Rome, with stops in France and Spain. Ideally, we would fly in on Sunday and have a couple days to really explore the city. I would love to have DD1 and DS come along. Very fast initial pricing between the cruise line web site and Orbitz for air and hotel, roughly estimating meals for the ground days, and extra excursions on the port days, I'm up to a price tag of $14,000. Expensive, yes, but for five adults (DD2 sort of), 11 days, it's abut the same cost per person as DD1's seven day trips to Spain and Costa Rica. That's one option. I had to fudge the dates to estimate for air and hotel as the sites don't go to summer 2018 yet, but it helped give me an idea. This truly would be "the" vacation for several years, taking small get aways and long weekends before and after.
Other ideas I'm toying with in my head are Paris, with train travel to Brussels and Cologne. I also want to explore a broader ground only trip to Italy. The benefit of a non-cruise all ground holiday is that we perhaps save on accommodation by getting a vacation apartment rather than two cabins, and save on food by having kitchen facilities. That might save thousands in my estimates, plus provide more down days, and allow more flexibility for the older kids to spend more or less time as their schedules allow. The older kids I'm sure could contribute some of their expenses above what we would be willing to pay. Ideally, I would want to travel as my nuclear family at least one more time before it would be too cost prohibitive as significant others, and potentially another generation came along. 

Regardless, I am going to enjoy the planning and developing options. I'll check out guide books form the library and search Internet sites, creating my nerdy spread sheets that track the options. Perhaps I was a travel agent in another life? 

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