I Need Your Help Planning A Trip

I’m not one of those people who books vacations disgustingly early.  Sure, I preach that philosophy.  But, even before a brutal travel year in 2016 I wasn’t that good at booking ahead of time.  After this past year, I’m that much worse at it.  My good friend Summer, who writes the blog Mommy Points, already has her December 2017 award trips booked.  She’s insane.  And, I’m sure she thinks I’m insane for my predicament.

I sit here staring at an empty week on my calendar for Spring Break.  I had contemplated Hawaii but never quite got around to booking it and now awards are disgustingly expensive.  United really wants 90,000 miles for a one-way flight in a premium cabin.  Ouch.

I need your help picking a location.  Give me your best suggestions, with the following parameters in mind:

  • No Zika areas.  Maybe we’re being overprotective, but just not worth it.
  • Probably prefer not to go somewhere cold, but “chilly” could work.
  • We live in DC.  There’s no way my wife will sign off on Asia for such a short trip.
  • We’re looking to travel late March/early April.
  • Someplace where the kids can explore and have fun.
  • We have plenty of miles with United Airlines and American, as well as Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
  • We have plenty of points for Hyatt, Marriott and SPG hotels.

I’d really appreciate your suggestions.  Maybe it’s a place you’ve already been.  Or, it could be a destination on your bucket list.  If I do ultimately pick a destination someone mentions, I’ll find a cool something to send your way.

Yup, I’m that inept right now.  It’s almost Christmas and I don’t have anything booked for Spring Break.

What Would You Do In My Situation?

The post I Could Use Your Help was published first on Pizza In Motion


  1. Phoenix – maybe catch some spring training games but plenty family-friendly stuff to do there.

    New Mexico – we did one Spring Break there. Kids loved Ski Santa Fe. It is only time wife and I have skied. Go to White Sands (magnificent), Santa Fe, etc.

    Palm Springs, Key West (Zika?), Tahoe/Yosemite are other ideas.

    Then there is the rest of the world…

  2. Ed, should we include famous donut locations such as PDX and LAX? 😉 My kids liked SEA, BOS, LAX, PHL, and there’s always NYC.

      1. Ed – Forget Voodoo, go for Blue Donuts. They are fantastic!! I love PDX and it’s an easy city to get around. They have a huge Farmer’s Market on Saturdays (not the Saturday Market…that’s different) and their museums are pretty good as well. PDX Airport is one of the top ten airports in the country and actually enjoyable to be in. I’ll probably be visiting again soon sometime in 2017; was there twice in 2016.

  3. israel! tons of star alliance options to get there, you can fly direct from EWR or connect in europe via other star alliance partners. i flew there on austrian business class and loved it. no zika, very warm that time of year, about the same distance from the east coast as hawaii, maybe even closer. tons of culture and alot of exploring to do, not to mention the great food and beaches. no hyatt and very limited spg but you can stay at the ritz in herzliya for a the bargain price of about 16k spg per night, less if you stay 5 nights and get the 5th night free.

        1. ed, Bermuda is expensive. I’d be okay paying for hotels if I could get there using points. But, I might try to visit there when there’s an actual chance we could go in the ocean (summertime).

  4. There are a lot of places to suggest but I’m going with San Antonio Texas. Weather is super nice that time of year. The Alamo, six flags, Sea world, river walk. Close to Austin. Not super far from Waco or Houston even.
    Better yet. Do a house swap with Summer. She’s in South Texas 🙂

  5. You should take a look at the reduced mileage awards on AA and see if there is a city that pops up as one that suits your needs. Things are only posted through March right now, but in rewards for procrastinating, you could wait until the April locations are posted and go from there. It’s probable borderline between the chilly and cold categories, but FLG is on the list (thru March) if you wanted to do a Grand Canyon or Southern Utah parks adventure.

    1. International is totally fine, FTG. Not sure we would go all the way to Canary with only a week to travel. Canary and Portugal are right around where I think it’s still workable with time/jetlag.

      1. Yeah one week is not going to cut it considering you have to connect in the mainland and overnight on the return. I would just consider the Caribbean. I just got a new favorite beach ever, Anse Marcel and can’t beat Maho for the kids to plane spot. Zika shouldn’t really be an issue anywhere in the winter, and definitely not an issue unless you’re expecting or planning to.

  6. We visited Monterrey CA for the first time this year and loved it. There’s a lot of nature stuff to do as well as great beaches and food. Flights into MRY are pretty expensive, but was able to use miles on AA. It was about a 2 to 2.5 hours drive from San Fran. I’d maybe fly into one and fly out the other and then drive up/down the coast. Hyatt cash + points can get some pretty expensive rooms for a good price in Monterrey and usually have decent availability. MRY & SJC are Citi reduced mileage awards too if you go that route ( and can find availability).

    Good luck!

  7. Fly to Malta. The island is beautiful – lots of history – WWII museums, an old flight museum. Gozo is the place of mythology (Calypso’s cave). And the island is small enough that you can ‘discover’ the whole place in a week.

    1. Susan, not sure I’d try to conquer a destination that deep into Europe with only a week. No kids, for sure. We generally try not to do a sprint when we’re on spring break. That’s more for longer summer trips.

  8. Jump off the treadmill for the break :). Short motoring holiday. Mohonk for 4-5-6 days. Then home via the slightly scenic route through Finger Lakes area & Hershey’s. Think of the points you’ll earn for the next time you miss all the cheap awards 😉

  9. This may fall under too cold but I have to suggest Montreal. It feels like being in Europe, there’s tons of things to do, and it’s easy to get to with AA and United(Air Canada). Its by far my favorite city in North America and if you haven’t been you need to go sometime, even if you want to wait for it being a little warmer.

  10. Internationally with kids, would recommend Portugal and Spain. Have done both with our daughter. For something easier, Arizona of course is beautiful. Our kids still remember riding over the boulders in the pink jeep in Sedona. Lisbon down to the Algarve was a great road trip for us.

  11. My first thought was Casablanca, since I think Royal Air Maroc is supposed to fly direct (this a bit easier for a week long trip), but if you’re on the bubble with Portugal, you’re probably on the bubble or less for Morocco.

    Close-ish I’d say Charleston, its close enough that you could pair it nicely with Hilton Head. Savannah is nice as well, that pairs even better with Hilton Head.

  12. Keep it easy! Floida’s west coast (Tampa, Sarasota, Ft. Meyers, Naples ) have beautiful white sand beaches and lots to do. You could even do a couple of days in Orlando with a car rental. No language or currency conversion problems. I live in Sarasota and Siesta Key’s beach always makes the top 10 list.

  13. Hyatt House recently opened in Naples/5th Ave FL (downtown/walkable – actually). 12K/n. Beaches, downtown, zoo. They also have 2BR suites for $$.

  14. You could do a Fl road trip – Keys/Miami to Vero (if you have DVC points it’s a inexpensive stop) and then home from Orlando. Check out the Space Center in Cocoa?? Spring break is busy but not as bad as summer crowds.

  15. Phoenix is excellent at that time of year (that is where we live) with a side trip to Sedona. Or try Los Cabo, the best place in Mexico.

  16. I have nothing to add other than to say what a great list, going to share with my wife for some quick getaway ideas.

  17. With the kids, what about national parks in the south? Not sure how chilly the Grand Canyon would be.

    Central California coast is beautiful. Monterey has a beautiful aquarium for the kids and could combine with Santa Barbara or San Luis. Great road tripping possibilities.

    New Orleans? Maybe not super kid friendly.

    A cruise? Granted, Caribbean is littered with Zika.

    Vancouver? Kids get some “foreign” travel and lots of outdoorsy things to do. May even have some ski opportunities that time of year.

    1. Naomi, I thought about Vancouver. My wife and I love the city and the kids haven’t seen it. Was wondering if that should be more of a warm weather trip or we should chance it. Central California is moving up the list as well.

  18. San Diego – warm climate, sandy beaches & a great city with lots of things to do for both kids & parents + on AA, saver Biz awards available for whole family (RT ex BWI). Easy domestic trip, not too far to travel & going West, will still arrive during daylight hours (easier on the kiddies). In addition, you ought to be able to score both rooms & car on points.

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