Posted by: wildflowerz | February 1, 2011

Help me [insert name here] . You’re my only hope.

Our trip to Disney (our first family trip in what seems like ages) has me thinking.  I’ll get to that in a minute.  Did I ever mention how the Disney trip came about?  At some point last year, Chris’s stock at his work became vested and he cashed it in for a bunch (a bunch in our world, at least) of money.  We promptly paid off the credit cards, bought a few small splurges, and set aside the money for a trip to Disney.  Well, we were just talking the other day about our taxes and more stock stuff that’s coming up.  We were getting a pretty large refund.  (Honestly, I know we’re loaning the government money and all, but I rather like getting a big, fat check back at the end of the year.  If we’d had it all along, we’d spend it on stupid little shit.  This way, we can think of big shit to buy!) Anyway, it was going to be enough to cover our credit cards and have some left over.  Chris is could get more stuff from the stock sales.  So, we were just kind of daydreaming about traveling places and where we’d like to go as a family.  We came up with quite few places, but we didn’t even have a jumping off point for how much it would actually cost to go to these places.  I haven’t been on an airplane since Chris worked for a Delta subsidiary and got free (or cheap?  I can’t remember) standby flights.  Before that, any trips I took where with groups and someone else organized it and all I had to do was fork over the money.

So today, armed with a fresh Excel spreadsheet, I started trying to figure out some prices.  I have a small list of places we’d like to visit and I’m trying to figure out a rough estimate about how much we’re talking about.  Most of the places, the only other major money we’d be spending would be on food ‘cause no where else is like Disney.  So, I was just looking at hotel and airfare.  I also wanted to look at travel time.  I’d scanned a few things at Expedia the other day and they give you flight lengths.  I looked at Orbitz today and they don’t give you flight time, but takeoff and landing time…with time zones to consider.  It started to make my brain hurt.  We also don’t have any particular time of year to think about going, so we’re open.  Also, we’re open to general areas too.  For instance:  a beach in the Caribbean.  We’re open.  We don’t really care which one.  But at travel sights I even have to pick which airport I want to fly into and frankly I could care less about that.  It’s more about where I can go for cheaper.  Here’s what I wonder if any of you (2 or 3 people) know:  Where should I start?  How can I find out the best times to take a trip where we can spend less money?  Even something as simple as driving down to Destin or Gulf Shores was a pain in the ass because none of the sights I was looking at let me search by “beach front’ which is a must when you’re going to the beach.

Since that’s a whole bunch of mess, I’ll tell you some of the places (or general areas) we were musing about, wondering on prices:  London, Toronto, Hawaii, Washington DC, “a beach in the Caribbean” (we’re not picky), and a beach in the Gulf (we’ve done Gulf Shores before and would prefer somewhere with a little more shopping and dining, but not as awful as PCB).

Let me also say, that mostly this is just dreaming for now.  We (mostly me) would like to know what kind of general figure we’re looking at should we decide on another vacation.  We probably wouldn’t do anything this year since we just did our big Disney thing.  And I know prices change a lot, but where should I look to get some good ideas?

Help me <insert name here>.  You’re my only hope.


  1. Not sure to tell you about where to look/research, but here is what I know (or at least think I know) about the places you listed. London ticket prices are SOMEWHAT seasonal, but not really. The summer prices are more expensive that school year ones. It is a very expensive place to stay in, hotel wise, and food that is good is not cheap. It is also kind of hard to feed a picky eater there (which I would define as anyone who prefers not to have fish at every meal). It can be done, it’s just pricey, or you need a place with a kitchen. In general, you can get a ticket there between 800-1200 bucks for a grown up.

    Toronto: you can drive to it, it’s Canada so although it is not as cheap as it USED to be, the exchange rate is in your favor. Been many times, not enthralled frankly but I went well before kids so maybe there is stuff to do there for kids that I don’t know about. 🙂

    Hawaii is redekalously expensive. You could do London cheaper. Once you get there, you have to pay A LOT for virtually everything – island hopping, any kind of tour, etc. I think it would be awesome to go there someday, but I usually wind up picking somewhere else because for the price, I’d rather do something in Europe.

    D.C. is drivable and relatively cheap compared to London or Hawaii. It is also chock full of stuff to do for FREE (nat’l museums, etc) so once you are there, if you are willing to walk and use METRO you can see a lot for very little money. If you go there, we should chat because we could combine that with a sailing trip and stay with my inlaws and do a day trip into D.C. (or two) and a day trip to Williamsburg! The most expensive thing would be the Williamsburg tickets. 🙂

    I don’t know nothin bout no beaches, I fry to a crisp. When I go, I go to the Gulf and go to Gulf Shores, which has the outlet malls at Foley that i love (about 20 min away) and basically eat in the room or picnic style 2 meals a day, then one night out and you are close enough to other places to eat there if you plan ahead. But that’s just me. I have also been to Santa Rosa beach and heard good stuff, although the FL beaches are a bit pricier. I also have some good friends wtih a condo they rent out very reasonably and only to “friends and friends of friends” down more toward Tampa that is supposed to be awesome, but haven’t been to it yet. On the Carribean front, I have heard good stuffs about the all inclusive places (like a cruise, but on land) as far as that they cap your expenses, etc. The one I looked at before was in Punta Cana, at the rec of a friend who goes there a lot.

    Hope that helps! I would love to plan a dream DC joint vacation sometime, even if we never go. 🙂 The girls are about old enough to appreciate the history! 🙂

    • London I went to back in high school. So, while I didn’t plan the trip or pay for it, I was definitely old enough to remember a lot of stuff. Chris would also love to travel there. And as I’ve become a bit of an anglophile lately, I’d love to visit again. The flight time is a bit prohibitive to take Em, though, not insane. Toronto was our cursory pick for Canada. We’re pretty open to places there too. Hawaii is only listed (instead of listing it as included in “random beach”) is because Chris was born there and really wants to visit. This is probably going to stay low on our list, though, because of the expense and the flight time. But still, I like to have an idea of what kind of price we’re thinking about! DC was kinda high on mine and Chris’s list, but Em wasn’t so enthusiastic. She thinks we should do a beach. We went to Gulf Shores a few years ago and it was fine, but there was NOTHING to do. There were only a handful of restaurants near our condo (I’m talking about 20 miles in each direction). The only chain place was this godawful Ruby Tuesday. We tried one other place that was mediocre. The rest of the places looked skeevy. There was absolutely NO shopping. The more I think about it, the more I think that if we decided to do this, we should just go the TA way. It seems that researching most of this crap on my own is just too overwhelming. /sigh

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