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alisoncooks

Update: Let's plan a trip (specific parameters)

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Updated with trip plans downthread :)

 

 

DH has a good friend who attends our church. This man travels extensively for work, and has a ton of air miles and hotel point. He has offered to send DH and I (or even the girls, also) away for a weekend using his points/miles.

 

We're thinking of accepting. (This friend keenly feels DH's new diagnosis; part of our friendship with this family stems from the fact that they have a child with cancer, a similar one to DH's first).

 

Boundaries:

If we fly, we need cheap (hotel shuttle? Uber?) transport to a hotel.

Shuttle/city transport/walking distance to inexpensive sights (natural wonders, national monuments, museums).

Easy access to affordable food (if we fly).

DH has physical limits (can't walk very far, can't handle uneven walking surfaces)

 

We are not savvy travelers. :p

We are unsure if we want a couples weekend escape...or a family vacation to store up memories (in case things go south later).

 

We're in the Raleigh, NC area, if that helps for ideas. Some I've been rolling around:

D.C. (kids have never been)

Niagara Falls (but maybe too cold still? and pricey)

Edited by alisoncooks

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DC is what popped into my head, but it’s a lot of walking. Food can be expensive if you only go to restaurants. However, if you are using hotel points, your hotel will likely have either free breakfast or come with coupons for free breakfast. Public transport is very easy to use and the majority of attractions are free.

 

When are you thinking about going?

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If you did a hop on/off tour in DC you may be able to cut down quite a bit on walking and you could drive past monuments instead of walking to them.

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If you did a hop on/off tour in DC you may be able to cut down quite a bit on walking and you could drive past monuments instead of walking to them.

 

This is a good idea.  I love DC but it's a lot of walking.  

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I wonder if your DH would be helped by a "Walker" or a small Wheelchair or even a motorized scooter for this trip. That would cut down a lot on the walking he needs to do.  DC isn't inexpensive, but there are a huge number of wonderful things to see there.

 

My first thought, because you mentioned a couples thing, was to maybe go to Orlando and be in a Timeshare for 7 nights. If you stayed where we did in April 2016, that would be very relaxing. But, no nearby museums. Two very different types of vacations.

 

I am sad that your DH has this issue and hope that you can make this trip ASAP.

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I wonder if your DH would be helped by a "Walker" or a small Wheelchair or even a motorized scooter for this trip. That would cut down a lot on the walking he needs to do.  DC isn't inexpensive, but there are a huge number of wonderful things to see there.

 

My first thought, because you mentioned a couples thing, was to maybe go to Orlando and be in a Timeshare for 7 nights. If you stayed where we did in April 2016, that would be very relaxing. But, no nearby museums. Two very different types of vacations.

 

I am sad that your DH has this issue and hope that you can make this trip ASAP.

 

I think that might be a great idea. 

 

 

I don't think DC is a cheap place, from what I remember and have heard. 

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Since you are trying to go in a month and aiming for a weekend. I think you should pick a nice hotel that has a pool and maybe a water slide in a city that has one or two activities you would enjoy. Take some books to catch up on reading. Plan a meal out at a nice restaurant.

 

Fly out there, enjoy that activity, and enjoy the time in a relaxing environment. If you get bored at the hotel, go to a movie or a local park. Niagara Falls would be cold this time of year but if you are just going to see it and not do one of the boat rides you could bundle up.

 

It’s hard to do much in a weekend especially if your husband tires easily. As for whether you want time with just your husband or a family trip I think you need to make the decision as to what would benefit your family more. You are facing a hard time and I could see pros to doing it either way.

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DC isn't cheap to stay, but many of the Smithsonians are free, and the city is very accessible (for a wheelchair), including the Metro. 

 

So if you were talking about a short time, the main expense would be lodging - you can eat breakfast "at home," carry picnic lunch with you, and then plan relatively carefully for supper, and it *CAN* be cheap. 

 

And will be much warmer than Niagara. 

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DC is super handicapped friendly - more so than NYC. But it's a lot of walking. I think any city would be. I second thinking about getting him a wheelchair if you're going to do DC or any city really. You might be able to rent one and I know there are health equipment loan programs (my mother helps run one in Durham, actually and I'm sure she'd get you a wheelchair loaner if you needed it).

 

DC is a great vacation if you've never been. That said, it's an "on" vacation - walking, seeing, doing, etc. It's not a relaxing vacation. If you want a relaxing vacation, I'd try to hit a beach - Florida or maybe the SC or Georgia coast. Or go somewhere inclusive.

Edited by Farrar
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I like the beach idea...  Could you find a place in Florida, a hotel on the beach or something?  

 

If it's a beach/pool hotel and you brought your kids, you and your dh could still have some "couple" time sitting together by the pool or on the beach while the kids are swimming in the water, or sitting on your balcony at night after the kids are in bed.

 

 

 

 

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When we went to DC many years ago with young kids we stayed at the Embassy Suites Chevy Chase pavilion.  It was convenient because the metro was right there underground so there would be less walking for you there.  They also had a huge free breakfast and a manager's reception at night (beverages and snack foods).  It probably wasn't the best idea, but we used the manager's reception as a light dinner every night we were there to save money.  So, free breakfast, free dinner, and we went to Subway or McDonald's or somewhere like that for lunch.  We don't normally eat like that but it saved a lot of money!  

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I live in North Florida and we are having temps in the low to mid 80's. The beaches are around 75 degrees but the water is still at 62. So it would be lovely to sit at the beach, enjoy the breeze and build a few sand castles. Maybe not the best time for taking a dip. The water temps may not be much better further south but you could check.

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Thanks for all the feedback! The more I think about it, the more I'm thinking of skipping the flying, and just driving into Raleigh to stay at a hotel downtown (sans kids). Sleep and hang out and eat at a grown-up restaurant. The thought of planning a trip is feeling stressful right now.

 

Or maybe Charleston? Staying somewhere nice, eating somewhere nice, leisurely strolling the waterfront (does Charleston have a waterfront? My geography fails me now.) And it'd be a short flight.

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Someone mentioned the Great Wolf Lodge. We love GWL - it's our happy place. (We were there in December and I'd go back in a heartbeat...but I don't think DH loves it like the kids & I do.) :p

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OK - So if Grand Canyon is on the wish list....  Here is how I would do it for someone who doesn't walk much.

 

Book flights from where you are to Phoenix using the airline miles.    From Phoenix, either ride the Arizona Shuttle bus or a second flight on a regional carrier to Williams.   Williams has lots of hotels, including chains where the hotel points should be usable.  Food costs are reasonable there.

 

The next day, ride the TRAIN to the Grand Canyon.  Most hotels offer free shuttles to/from the train station.  The train ride is gorgeous and comfortable and requires little walking.  Visit the South Rim visitor center, see the canyon and ride the train back to your hotel for another night.  

 

Go watch the Wild West show in Williams.  There are some other fun things to do there as well (see trip adviser for details).  Fly home the next day or so.

 

ETA - the Arizona Shuttle might not be an option since you are off-season.  But if there are lots of airline miles, you can probably book all the way thru on the regional carrier.

Edited by AK_Mom4
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Thanks for all the feedback! The more I think about it, the more I'm thinking of skipping the flying, and just driving into Raleigh to stay at a hotel downtown (sans kids). Sleep and hang out and eat at a grown-up restaurant. The thought of planning a trip is feeling stressful right now.

 

Or maybe Charleston? Staying somewhere nice, eating somewhere nice, leisurely strolling the waterfront (does Charleston have a waterfront? My geography fails me now.) And it'd be a short flight.

Charleston is beautiful and romantic. We did a ton of walking there, but I bet you could do it without all of the walking.

 

Another idea if you’re thinking of driving and sans kids—Asheville. Have you been? It’s peaceful, beautiful, relaxing. We stayed at the Village Hotel on site at Baltimore. It was so nice and we had delicious grown-up meals on site. Didn’t drive the whole weekend yet had plenty to do. I’d highly recommend it if you want relaxing with just your DH.

 

ETA: Charleston does have waterfront. You can stroll it and take a ferry trip to Fort Sumter. I’d love to see the Isle of Palms beach but we didn’t have time for that. We did the downtown stuff. You could take a carriage ride downtown (this would give lots of sightseeing without walking!). We also went to Magnolia plantation. There was some walking there, but it was fairly leisurely, and gorgeous. We LOVED Charleston.

Edited by mmasc
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If you know you like GWL... we did GWL at Niagara Falls and it was a great little trip. We drove and we had good logistics for that (dh's family lives in Rochester so we went to see them then drove there) so I'm not sure about the flying logistics, but you could easily stay there for a few days, see the falls a couple of times and chill at GWL most of the time. We did other falls things and also went to Toronto for the day, but you could skip that stuff.

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There is nothing like the Grand Canyon. If your husband wants to go there, I'd plan that trip for sure. The National Park lodges are not fancy but they are ADA compliant and they have shuttles.

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I think the hotel in Raleigh or Charleston sound lovely. You can do the trip with your friend’s points, get some alone time as a couple, and you won’t spend a ton of money.

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I think the hotel in Raleigh or Charleston sound lovely. You can do the trip with your friend’s points, get some alone time as a couple, and you won’t spend a ton of money.

Yeah. I love the idea of going somewhere big (Grand Canyon), but I think when it comes down to it, we've got VERY little extra $ to throw into this. I think we might go local but stay somewhere nice/ish and eat somewhere we'd never eat with kids. Plus, my close friend lives on the way, so I could drop the kids off with her for the weekend and pick them up on the way back.

 

I love all the suggestions, though. Fun dreaming.

I'm not totally removing Charleston from the idea board...I'm just not familiar with that area, so I'm not certain we can do it affordably.

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I would do the Grand Canyon if he wants to see it.   It is incredible.  There are no words.

 

What is the friend paying for?  The flight and hotel? 

 

It doesn't have to be $$. 

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For a hotel, Drury Inns and many Homewood suites offers nightly light dinner (plenty for our family), free snacks and pop, and a free hot breakfast. That makes it so nice and saves a lot of money. They usually have pools, etc as well and are quite nice.

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For a hotel, Drury Inns and many Homewood suites offers nightly light dinner (plenty for our family), free snacks and pop, and a free hot breakfast. That makes it so nice and saves a lot of money. They usually have pools, etc as well and are quite nice.

 

Do they offer a light dinner every night or is it just on week nights like Residence Inn?

 

I haven't stayed at either of those hotels I don't think, we usually pick a Marriott.

 

OP, you say he has hotel points, so, does that mean it is to a specific hotel?

 

That might help us help you decide.

 

One place I thought of that is drive-able is the Disney Resort in Hilton Head.  Although not if you have to stay at a specific hotel chain.

 

Some other locations that aren't far:

 

Myrtle Beach

Savannah

Charleston (already mentioned)

Ocean Isle

Edisto

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Friend is offering to use points to cover a flight and hotel. I'm not sure how the hotel points work; I suppose they are chain-related. (I should probably find out before I get invested in an idea.)

 

:p

(TBH, I'm a "planner" by nature. Disney trip, the school year...I do enjoy the planning. Not always the "doing.")

Edited by alisoncooks

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Friend is offering to use points to cover a flight and hotel. I'm not sure how the hotel points work; I suppose they are chain-related. (I should probably find out before I get invested in an idea.)

 

:p

(TBH, I'm a "planner" by nature. Disney trip, the school year...I do enjoy the planning. Not always the "doing.")

 

Hotel points are good for the chains that belong to them. 

 

Depends what he has. 

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For a hotel, Drury Inns and many Homewood suites offers nightly light dinner (plenty for our family), free snacks and pop, and a free hot breakfast. That makes it so nice and saves a lot of money. They usually have pools, etc as well and are quite nice.

 

Not sure about DI because only dh has stayed there. 

 

But HS is only a dinner on m-thursday.  

The breakfast is daily. 

 

It saves us $$$$ when we stay there.    We don't even need to eat lunch

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Drury inn was supper every day. I would call to double check but we have had it on weekends before.

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I'd ask for details on the points.

 

Thanks for offering, friend, it's so kind of you. Can you tell me what kind of points and how many, so we can plan? 

 

You really can't plan anything without this information. 

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Try hard for the Grand Canyon if it's a place your dh would love to visit. I like the idea of using points in Las Vegas and taking a tour bus to the Grand Canyon. The Hoover Dam is great too!

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UPDATE:

 

Well, for all our big dreaming, we came up with a very practical trip, lol.

 

DH attended a very small, private college. They have annual reunions, which many of the close-knit alumni attend. DH hasn't been in a few years (it's about 4 hours from us), so we decided he'd use the offered hotel points for 3 nights at the reunion weekend.

 

He'll hang out with college buddies for 2 days. Then he'll drive 30-minutes from there to spend the afternoon with his mom. Then he'll meet his bff from college (who can't make the reunion) for dinner.

 

The kids and I are staying home, and I'm totally cool with that. :D

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I missed the diagnosis. I'm sorry.

 

I hope you have a memorable trip with everything you all wish for.,

 

ETA: Just saw the update. Hope he has a great time!

Edited by Miss Peregrine
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