“Let’s go to Vegas,” she said…. “Tickets are on sale,” she said!
And were they ever! Allegiant had $130 round trip tickets, the BF was itching to get to the craps table and we all know I’m always down to go – no arm twisting necessary. It was a lethal combination. The Olde Owl Shoppe will go down in the history books (at least in ours) as the birthplace of our trip of a lifetime. We ate lunch, we nursed our excitement, he fake rolled some dice, and we nearly booked flights right there over his Chicken Melt and my Lobster Grilled Cheese. That’s when it happened…
“Allegiant flies to Destin! I wonder how cheap those tickets are? Look it up!”
So, I look it up and guess what? Cheap-O! Just like that, Vegas is out; White sand is in! We laugh at ourselves for actually considering Allegiant, but it’s not far and who needs a bunch of bags to go to the beach anyway? We can suck it up for these fares. What were in these sandwiches again? Never mind. Time to check out the hotels! Turns out, you can’t get near the deal on a beachfront room as you can on the Vegas strip at the beginning of summer. Shocker, huh? We’re already in too deep now. We’ve spent the last ten minutes calling out various fru-fru cocktails like it was a game of beach-side bingo. Oh, and don’t forget about the joys of fresh, local seafood. We sure didn’t. Ok, time to go back to work.
Remember how I told you that there aren’t many good deals on a beachfront room in Destin at the end of May? Well, what I haven’t told you yet is that 3 years ago we went to the best beach in the world. Seriously, El Numero Uno. The internet said so and the internet was right. A beach in Brazil has recently knocked it down to number 2, but I’m not sure I buy that. I’m calling fake news. Really, guys and gals, there is no comparable beach to Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos. This little corner of the world holds a particularly special place in my heart. Powdery white sand, perfect ocean water, fabulous weather (year round!), amazing people, outstanding food AND it’s not overrun with tourists. At least it isn’t yet. Shhhh! Quite simply, it’s a dream (I’ll be making another post about T&C with some reviews of our hotel and dining experiences). We both love it and can’t help but reminisce every time the word “beach” hits the conversation. Since Destin is the beach, we spend a few moments re-living our most primo sand bum days. This is the point where our weekend escape takes yet ANOTHER turn. It just so happens that rooms in Turks and Caicos cost about the same as they do during Destin’s high season. Can you see where this is going?
“If we’re going to spend that much on a hotel room, why don’t we just go to Turks and Caicos?”
Really?!? I’m on it like white on rice. In no time flat I’ve found dates, flights and rooms. Life is good. We are going to the beach. We are going to OUR beach! I’m already excited to see Kirkie – our infamous beachside bartender. We went to sleep with visions of palm trees in our heads.
I don’t know what exactly happened next, but the next morning we took a hard left – straight across the Atlantic.
“If we are going to stay gone that long and spend that much on flights, why don’t we check out Travelzoo and see if they have any good deals for Europe.”
Ah, Travelzoo. We have our Starbucks friend, Jo, to thank for this globe-trotting enlightenment. Thanks, Jo! By the way, does Travelzoo ever not have good deals? They always do! Even more convenient is that the Weekly Top 20 had just been published. Well-played, Travelzoo, well-played. We spot a 9 night Prague-Vienna-Budapest that is right up our alley and the price is right. After a little research, I figure out that we can piece it together on our own and get a better deal on exactly what we wanted AND do it on our own schedule. Perfect! For those of you who are not into research and planning like I am, you can find some pretty fantastic packages on that website that require virtually no effort on your part. I just enjoy planning and the satisfaction that I finagled a better deal than someone else. It’s my competitive nature, and I can’t help it. That process takes time though, along with some online sweat and tears; but it’s just my thing. Anyway, we have officially crossed over from relaxing beach vacation to European excursion, and spend the next 3 days researching hotels and activities. We finally have it nailed it down!
Now, let me rabbit trail for just a moment… Our family has “traditions.” One of them, namely, is “Jimmy’s Egg Saturday.” This tradition is strictly enforced by a 9 and 12-year-old and we don’t dare rock the boat. If it is Saturday and we are all in town, you can guarantee we are out to breakfast. It is possible that we are the most loyal Jimmy’s Egg Club members ever, and I’m convinced we have received the most free meals in the history of the program. Every 8th meal is free and all 4 of us have a punch card. Aren’t punch cards fantastic?! I think so. Anyway, about half way through bacon and eggs, there it was…
“If we are going to go to Europe, what do you think about Italy?”
Let’s face it, who’s here to argue? “OK.” I don’t want to become overzealous until plans are set in stone. Things can still go awry between now and booking and that could legitimately break my heart. Italy is at the top of both of our bucket lists, and it just got moved to the front of the queue.
Despite how often we have talked about it, we’ve always viewed this one, “The Big One,” as a distant trip. Maybe part of that is having Italy on such a pedestal and a fear of somehow not doing it the “right” way. For us, to consider planning Italy meant a commitment to doing it “right,” which meant we knew it would be lengthy. Leaving home for two weeks is a feat all on its own with jobs, kids, pets, and everything else. After careful considerations, we were able to cut the trip down to 18 nights – 15 in Italy and 3 in New York. Don’t you love how this has evolved? It keeps getting better! New York slipped into the trip when we ran across an Emirates flight deal from JFK to Milan, direct. Gotta love those flight deals! Emirates happens to fly the A-380 on this route, and all we could see was Jennifer Aniston ordering a drink from the in-flight bar. Champagne, please! Needless to say, we decided it was a perfect opportunity to cross off another bucket list item and fly Emirates A-380 Business Class. Flights were booked by dinner and we had 6 weeks before take-off. It’s officially safe to be excited.
Let the planning begin!