On March 4, 2016, my daughter emailed me about an amazing deal for flights to Japan. “Want to go to Japan?” she asked. Although she was kind of joking, four family members and I decided to travel to Japan for a long weekend (I know, crazy). The dates for the trip were near my daughter’s birthday.
Again this year, my daughter sent out a message about a birthday trip. This year her birthday falls on Easter weekend. She has Good Friday off work, and could also take Monday off if needed.
Looking for a Destination
Last time, we planned the trip around the good deal we found for airline tickets. This time, we are starting from scratch. Her only request is that we go somewhere different – so Paris is out. We have been brainstorming all day to come up with possibilities.
Since we don’t have a lot of time, we are somewhat limited in how far we can travel. If we travel outside of the US, we will have to get a nonstop flight – otherwise, the travel will take up too much of the time. If we stay in the states, we have to decide if we will fly or drive.
The weather this winter has not been good, so I would prefer to go somewhere warm – at least warmer than Northwest Indiana.
Destinations in the States
My nephew lives in Austin, Texas, so that was one of the first cities that come to mind. It should be warm there in April. I’ve followed Nomadic Matt, another travel writer, for several years. He and a friend have opened a hostel in Austin and I’d love to try it out sometime.
I have a friend that lives near Phoenix, Arizona, so I also thought about visiting her. Sedona would work for a day trip or an overnight. The weather should be quite comfortable in April. I have another friend that lives in South Carolina. If we go that direction, we might be able to drive along the coast or visit Savannah, Georgia.
Destinations Beyond the States
The first foreign destination that came to mind was the Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands. Although my daughter and I have been to the Netherlands, neither of us have been to the famous garden. Keukenhof is only open from March 21 to May 19 – so time to visit is limited and in the past it hasn’t fit our schedule.
If we want to visit the Netherlands or any place in Europe, we will have to find a non-stop flight. Although there are some, we may not be able to find one that fits our preferred time.
Although it’s part of the US, I would consider Hawaii a destination beyond the states. For some time, I’ve wanted to to go back to Hawaii and April weather should be pleasant. Flights to Hawaii would be longer than flying to Europe, though, so I’m not sure three or four days would be worth the flight time.
Since I’ve cruised some lately, I thought about the possibilities of taking a cruise. There are some three and four day cruises to the Bahamas and parts of the Caribbean. We will be looking at available itineraries.
As is our usual plan, we will try to keep this trip within a reasonable budget. We haven’t actually talked about a dollar amount yet, but we will save where we can and spend where it matters.
If we go to a destination where we have friends or relatives, we might be able to spend a night with them.
My daughter and I both have credit card, hotel, and airline points, so we will make using them a priority.
Most of our points are with Chase Bank. These points are transferable to United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and others that I fly less frequently. Chase also has partnerships with Hyatt, Marriott, and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).
In addition, I have separate IHG points and points with American Airlines. My daughter has points with Marriott and American Airlines.
If we use our points wisely, we may be able to fly and stay for nearly free. Our budget would have to include expenses for meals and activities. If we choose to cruise, we would be able to use points for our flights, but at this time I don’t have any cruise points.
The more time we spend researching, the more we start to narrow down our choices. As I said above, some of the destinations are probably too far away to consider unless we would be able to get an amazing flight deal. If we used points, the flight would cost the same as if we used them for a three week vacation.
We have an opportunity to go to Austin, Texas, later this year for a conference. Although we don’t know any of the details yet, we might be better off skipping Austin for now. If the conference doesn’t work out, we can plan a trip there at a later date.
Trying to Decide
Have you been to Phoenix and Sedona or South Carolina and Savannah? Have you taken a short cruise?
We are open to suggestions. Please give us your input and help us decide. Are there other destinations we haven’t considered yet?
Thanks in advance for your comments.