Planning three – yes, three – trips this year

It is the beginning of a New Year. That means it is time to think about vacation plans. Those of you who read my blog know I am a planner and sometimes have vacations in the work for quite a long time. And this year is no different. For two of these destinations, I have been researching and planning for the past few months.

South Padre Island

Every June, my husband attends an attorney conference. It typically has been in one of two locations – South Padre Island (SPI) or Los Pines Resort (in Burnett, Texas). Last year, they deviated from the norm and had it here in San Antonio at the Riverwalk.

View from the balony of the Isla Grand

This year, it is back at the Isla Grand Beach Resort on South Padre Island. It will be a short trip – Wednesday through Saturday – but it is the beach so you know the kids will love it.

New Orleans

Last year, the kids and I went to Corpus Christi, Texas with my brother and parents. We talked about going somewhere this summer, but we have a big trip (Disney) planned as do my brother and parents (14-day cruise next January). Originally, we considered Washington DC, but the cost was prohibitive since we would have to fly all 7 of us there. Then my dad mentioned he wanted to go to the World War II museum in New Orleans and thus our vacation destination was picked.

It is only an 8-hour drive (without stops) to New Orleans. We will go up on a Thursday and come back the following Tuesday. In between those days, we have trips planned to the zoo, aquarium, swamp tour, bus tour, paddleboat ride up to a Civil War battlefield and of course a stop at the WWII museum. And then we crazily decided to take a ride in a PT-305 boat, a small, fast military boat that typically would have been armed with torpedoes and machine guns. The one in New Orleans is the world’s only fully restored combat-veteran PT boat in operation. It promises to be “the ride of a lifetime.”

Disney World

Twenty-five years ago, my husband and I married and took our honeymoon in Disney World. Since then we have gone back several times with the kids (and once without them besides that honeymoon trip). We last went in December of 2016. It is definitely time to go back – especially with the Star Wars themed Galaxy’s Edge having opened at the end of 2019.

That last trip was the weekend after Thanksgiving week which is a great time to go. You see all the Holiday decorations and the weather is pretty good – or at least not hot and humid like the summer. But now that the kids are in middle school, I am hesitant to take them out of school for a full week. My husband suggested going during their Christmas break, but the kids don’t want to be away from home on Christmas day, and the parks are insanely busy.

I suggested our Spring Break which is in March, but Lexie’s birthday is right then, and she doesn’t want to be in WDW during her birthday. (Weird I know.) That left us with summer break (hot and busy) or Thanksgiving break (crazy busy). It seems the kids don’t mind being gone on Thanksgiving as that is the week we picked. Yes, it will be crazy busy as it gets closer to Thanksgiving, but we will be in Disney…that makes up for any aggravation the crowds might cause.

We have already booked our hotel. We rented Disney Vacation Club (DVC) points and will be staying at the Kidani Village at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. This is a deluxe resort which we could only afford because we rent DVC points.

If you don’t know about the Animal Kingdom Lodge, it is surrounded by savannahs where zebras, giraffes, hippos, impalas, ostriches, cranes, wildebeests and other herbivorous animals roam. It is wonderful to wake up to see animals out your window or while you are eating your lunch. The kids and I can’t wait!

Here is hoping to three great trips this year.

Planning some weekend getaways for the family in 2019

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am a planner. I have vacations planned months, sometimes years, in advance. When our family decides on a Disney World trip or a cruise to Alaska, it is usually with months of planning.

It is odd that this year begins, and I don’t have definite plans for a family vacation. Last year at this time, I knew we would go to Albuquerque in March, Bastrop in June and an Alaska cruise in August. This year, I have ideas, but nothing has been set.

My husband owns his own law firm. And it sometimes is hard for him to get time away. Honestly, I think since he is the boss he should be able to take time off, but he sees it as more of pain to work extra hours to take a vacation that most likely he didn’t want to go on in the first place. He doesn’t love cruises like the kids and I do as he doesn’t like being without access to email (which is why we paid for the cruise internet plan).

So, to give him a break from planning a week-long vacation, I am thinking this year we plan a few weekend trips. This would mean he would only miss one day – maybe two days – of work and they would be spread out throughout the year. At least in my mind, it sounds like a better deal for him. Of course, his answer was why don’t we only do one weekend trip. Ah…no.

Here is what I am thinking about for this year.

April – The kids have a three-day weekend at the end of April. (All San Antonio schools close for the Battle of Flowers parade which is part of Fiesta, a 10 day festival held every spring.) In the past, my husband and I have used this time for us to take a couple’s vacation but one year, we did take the kids to Dallas. My thought is we again go to Dallas – or more specifically to the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas. Great Wolf Lodge is a indoor water park that is only open to people that stay at their lodge.

I have always wanted to go to the Great Wolf Lodge and would like to go before the kids get too much older. I think this date would be good as it shouldn’t be as crowded at this time since most kids are in school.

June – Usually we go to wherever my husband’s attorney conference is being held – Bastrop or South Padre Island. He works and we play. But this year it is here in San Antonio. Now while we may go stay on the Riverwalk for an evening, it isn’t the same thing as going somewhere that has a beach or other outdoor activities. The kids love the beach. And since we didn’t get there last year, I am thinking we should head to South Padre Island for a weekend. Of course, working this into my husband’s schedule may be challenging and we can always change the date to July or August if necessary.

I am also in the beginning discussions with my parents about maybe going some where with them for a few days. This would be without my husband. Just as we left him here when we went to visit my brother in Albuquerque, I think another trip might be fun. My parents haven’t been to Corpus Christi which is only a few hours’ drive away. And this trip wouldn’t have to be a weekend trip though it will have to wait until summer break.

September – In 2017, my parents rented a cabin at the lake. We went up on Friday and stayed to Sunday. It was great. The place wasn’t crowded, and the weather was still nice enough for the kids to play in the lake. We had smores, campfires, and got to see plenty of deer. The kids are hoping we get to go it again. The good news for my husband would be that he would only miss half a day of work. Of course this trip all depends on my parents since the cabin can only be rented by military or retired military personnel.

And that pretty much wraps up our trips. It would be tops 3 1/2 days off for my husband but we would still get to do some fun activities.