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Calizzy

$5,000 anniversary vacation WWYD?

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DH and I have been married for 13 years and have 4 children. We have never lived near family so it hasn't been possible for us to go away ever. Like, we have not been away from our children for a single night!! So this year we have decided we will do it!! We have $5,000 to spend and I need suggestions. I have looked at Belize, Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, and Sedona. I really don't know what we want. With the kids we are going to San Diego and Florida this summer so I don't know if we'll be "beached out". We live in the midwest so flights to Central America are the fastest/cheapest. Hawaii would be like 13 hours. While I am super excited to go, I also have some anxiety about leaving the kids. So part of me wants this amazing over the top Belize Jungle trip, but part of me feels more comfortable staying domestic. Any suggestions??

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Have you considered Costa Rica as well? It's so gorgeous. It's been years since I went, so I couldn't recommend specifics. We went to the Pacific Coast. 

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What do you and dh love the do?  Do you like fancy restaurants, shopping, sight seeing, museums, etc?  Or more hiking, relaxing by a pool or beach, picnics and local food?   Do you want to rent a car and drive?  Be in a walkable location?  Use public transit?

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For me, the beach is where I take the kids. Even in foreign countries. If it was just me and dh, we'd go to Europe. I like exploring cities.

We did a wonderful trip to Tulum in Mexico. I hear it got bad... sigh. But I'd still go back to along the coast. We rented a car so we were able to drive around, have lots of adventures.

I think it really depends on you. What have you always wanted to do or see? Go do that.

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I might suggest Costa Rica too.  We lived there for a time.  I can recommend some places in San Jose, or the Pacific coast, or other areas too.  How much time will you have?

Another thought is Aruba.  My dh and I rented an apartment there for 3 months.  Very easy.  Let me know if you're interested in that and I can send you info.

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What do you like to do? Do you want to lounge on a beach, experience culture, hike? That would be the deciding factor in destination.

We spent a week in Sedona in January and it was fantastic! We like to hike. A  tropical island, OTOH,  would do nothing for us.

For $5,000 you can travel to Europe.

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What do we like to do... well that's the million dollar question! I'm more adventurous than he is. I would like zip lining, water rafting, even a theme park with roller coasters. He likes relaxing, historical sites, and museums. But he bas said that I can pick whatever I want 😍

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We will be gone about a week.

I would also really like to see some natural wonder. Something naturally stunning. 

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1 hour ago, Calizzy said:

What do we like to do... well that's the million dollar question! I'm more adventurous than he is. I would like zip lining, water rafting, even a theme park with roller coasters. He likes relaxing, historical sites, and museums. But he bas said that I can pick whatever I want 😍

 

1 hour ago, Calizzy said:

We will be gone about a week.

I would also really like to see some natural wonder. Something naturally stunning. 

 

A week is really not long enough for Europe in my opinion. You lose a couple days just from sheer exhaustion in that very long flight. 

Vancouver, BC would meet everything for both of you. Jaw dropping nature and adventure of all levels are very close to the city or you could stay 3 days in the city and 4 closer to the bays/ocean and mountains. And there’s more than enough history and museums and such to occupy in the city. 

Lots of variety for types of places to stay as well. Though Vancouver is expensive, a couple can have a really good time for $5k. And it doesn’t have the extreme temps in either direction most of the year. If you stay near city transit, you won’t have to rent a car - which is very expensive in Vancouver because parking is nutters. 

I’d hands down do with this or Costa Rica.  Dh and I are very similar to you. I’m the adventure one, he’s the foodie with a good beer at the historical site one. I took him to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and really regret it. I loved the beach but hardly enjoyed it solo the entire time and he mostly wanted to nap.  I’m absolutely never going to be “beached out” in my lifetime. But from now on those trips will be on my own or with other people. 

Edited by Murphy101
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1 hour ago, Calizzy said:

We will be gone about a week.

I would also really like to see some natural wonder. Something naturally stunning. 

For naturally stunning I would hightail to the Swiss Alps. I've traveled fairly extensively and the Bernese Oberland tops my list for the most beautiful area I've ever been.

It's a long flight. To each their own. I've flown to Europe for only 3 nights one and 4 nights twice so I wouldn't hesitate to fly for a week. I've never lost a day due to sheer exhaustion but I know how to handle jet lag. 

Depends on what you like to do though. We all have differing opinions on how we would like to spend a vacation. A beach and tropical getaway would do nothing for me personally. What about maybe somewhere in South America? It would still be in your time zone. Buenos Aires? The Canadian Rockies sounds wonderful as well. If you want a feel of Europe but much closer check out Quebec City and Montreal if you haven't been. 

Edited by tdbates78

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36 minutes ago, tdbates78 said:

For naturally stunning I would hightail to the Swiss Alps. I've traveled fairly extensively and the Bernese Oberland tops my list for the most beautiful area I've ever been.

It's a long flight. To each their own. I've flown to Europe for only 3 nights one and 4 nights twice so I wouldn't hesitate to fly for a week. I've never lost a day due to sheer exhaustion but I know how to handle jet lag. 

Depends on what you like to do though. We all have differing opinions on how we would like to spend a vacation. A beach and tropical getaway would do nothing for me personally. What about maybe somewhere in South America? It would still be in your time zone. Buenos Aires? The Canadian Rockies sounds wonderful as well. If you want a feel of Europe but much closer check out Quebec City and Montreal if you haven't been. 

 

Ditto.   Dh, myself, and the kids have never suffered from jet lag going to Europe.  Take a red eye.  Sleep a little.  We get there, get out of the airport to our home or hotel, eat a bit and bed.  We are totally fine the next day. 

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Not sure this is doable with $5K, but I’ve always wanted to do one of those European river cruises advertised on PBS when I’m watching Masterpiece. 

Wherever you go, make sure there’s enough cushion in your budget to be able to do things on the spur of the moment at your destination, be it eat at a neat little (or fancy) restaurant, tour an attraction, or buy a souvenir (and have it shipped home, if it’s large).

Edited by Seasider too
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1 hour ago, Murphy101 said:

 

 

A week is really not long enough for Europe in my opinion. You lose a couple days just from sheer exhaustion in that very long flight. 

Vancouver, BC would meet everything for both of you. Jaw dropping nature and adventure of all levels are very close to the city or you could stay 3 days in the city and 4 closer to the bays/ocean and mountains. And there’s more than enough history and museums and such to occupy in the city. 

Lots of variety for types of places to stay as well. Though Vancouver is expensive, a couple can have a really good time for $5k. And it doesn’t have the extreme temps in either direction most of the year. If you stay near city transit, you won’t have to rent a car - which is very expensive in Vancouver because parking is nutters. 

I’d hands down do with this or Costa Rica.  Dh and I are very similar to you. I’m the adventure one, he’s the foodie with a good beer at the historical site one. I took him to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and really regret it. I loved the beach but hardly enjoyed it solo the entire time and he mostly wanted to nap.  I’m absolutely never going to be “beached out” in my lifetime. But from now on those trips will be on my own or with other people. 

I second Vancouver, BC. We drove because we live in the PNW, but stayed near Stanley Park, so only needed the car when we went further out for adventures. There’s tons right there to make both of you happy, but you could also visit Victoria or more nearby natural beauty if you desired.

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31 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

Not sure this is doable with $5K, but I’ve always wanted to do one of those European river cruises advertised on PBS when I’m watching Masterpiece. 

Wherever you go, make sure there’s enough cushion in your budget to be able to do things on the spur of the moment at your destination, be it eat at a neat little (or fancy) restaurant, tour an attraction, or buy a souvenir (and have it shipped home, if it’s large).

One of my neighbors did this and highly recommended we NOT do it when planning our trip to Europe. She said it was way too slow moving and they didn’t really get to do or see very much for the cost.

Edited by Frances
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1 minute ago, Frances said:

One of my neighbors did this and highly recommended we NOT do it when planning our trip to Europe. She said it was way to slow moving and they didn’t really get to do or see very much for the cost.

 

Really? They look so lovely! 

Viking, that’s the name. Viking River Cruises. 

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Just now, Seasider too said:

 

Really? They look so lovely! 

Viking, that’s the name. Viking River Cruises. 

Yes, exactly. I’ve always been intrigued by the commercials, too. She said they really regretted it.

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Just now, Frances said:

Yes, exactly. I’ve always been intrigued by the commercials, too. She said they really regretted it.

 

Crossing that off my bucket list. Now, what to replace it with...

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13 hours ago, Calizzy said:

DH and I have been married for 13 years and have 4 children. We have never lived near family so it hasn't been possible for us to go away ever. Like, we have not been away from our children for a single night!! So this year we have decided we will do it!! We have $5,000 to spend and I need suggestions. I have looked at Belize, Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, and Sedona. I really don't know what we want. With the kids we are going to San Diego and Florida this summer so I don't know if we'll be "beached out". We live in the midwest so flights to Central America are the fastest/cheapest. Hawaii would be like 13 hours. While I am super excited to go, I also have some anxiety about leaving the kids. So part of me wants this amazing over the top Belize Jungle trip, but part of me feels more comfortable staying domestic. Any suggestions??

 

Even though it's far away, if you've never been to any of the Hawaiian islands, that's where I'd suggest. It's super chill and relaxing but plenty of activities as well. The snorkeling is unbelievable. In some spots you can sit in the water and see fish all around you.

Hawaii is not simply beaches, waterfalls and lush jungles. The islands have many climate zones from tropical to arid. You can walk through lush bamboo forests, old craters and volcano areas, and even drive up the mountains where it can be very cold and even snowy at times.

https://www.lovebigisland.com/hawaii-blog/climate-zones-big-island/

Many of the hotels, shopping areas and community centers have free concerts mostly of musicians playing Hawaiian music. You can also watch free hula shows which will often include keiki (kids).

The Big Island and Oahu often have direct flights from Chicago which take about 7-8 hours or so direct. Direct returns often leave in the evening and arrive around 6 am CST. Flights have been on the cheap side this summer.

This place is right on the ocean on the Big Island with a natural lagoon for swimming. These are right on the water.

https://www.halekonakai-hkk.com/1-bedroom/

This place is on Oahu and is right on the ocean. There are some tent cities about a mile away or so but you wouldn't likely walk around there anyway. I've never felt unsafe in the area. It's a fairly easy drive down to the resort areas, Disney Aulani, and lagoons at Ko'Olina but driving to other areas of Oahu would take some time. A place on the north shore, like a little beach shack, might be an idea, too.

http://www.hawaiianprincessmakaha.com

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DH and I love to explore cities and hike so either a European (urban) destination or an off the beaten path one (Costa Rica, Peru, etc.) We do not do beaches when it is just the two of us.

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No exact suggestions but it have done a lot of national parks with my kids and they had a lot of history at some to make your husband happy with some nice hiking for you.

Likely though I would want a home base and just Branch out from there.

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We would probably choose a week in the Seattle area or San Francisco.  In both of those places you can experience a few days of the city with great restaurants and activities and then spend some time out of the city hiking, visiting wineries, enjoying scenery.  Or we would go somewhere in Canada.  

If we lived somewhere that we could get a direct flight, we might go to Europe.  IME whether going to Europe is practical for a week depends on if you are talking about a 10 hour flight to your destination, or 24-hour travel time each way because you have to make several connections.

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31 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

 

Crossing that off my bucket list. Now, what to replace it with...

My dad and his wife, who love cruises, did two of them and loved them. And both of them had traveled in Europe in other contexts, so it wasn't just the "it's Europe!" factor. They took some days tacked at the end to explore the final destination (or the starting one? I can't remember). So I think this really depends. For me, I can't imagine doing one now... but I would guess that a a couple of decades from now, they'd be just the right speed for a big trip for me and dh. So, I guess we'll see.

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I really want to go to Scotland. And with that budget and just the two of you, it might be possible.

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I was in your shoes a few years ago down to the four young kids.  We decided to go to Hawaii (I'm actually not a beach person) and the vacation was amazing.  We still talk about it.  We ate amazing food, took amazing car rides along the coast, went hiking, ziplined and took a beautiful helicopter ride above the waterfalls.  It was all awesome.  I don't recommend the helicopter ride unless you have a strong stomach.  My dh and I don't and we barely kept it in.  The ziplining through the mountains and waterfalls was so amazing.  

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Domestic:  if a summer trip, Alaska.  If a winter trip, LV / Grand Canyon / Bryce Canyon / arches or similar.

Costa Rica is a nice, easy vacation any time of year.

Banff in Canada is great for a summer trip.
 

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These are such fun ideas. I never considered Canada, now I'll look in to that more. We lived in England for 2 years and so we've already seen a bit of Europe. Also, I should have me toned earlier, I'm hoping to go in late winter, but that's negotiable.

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We won a trip through DH's employer 2 years ago and went to Costa Rica. Belize was 2nd on our list. Costa Rica had more land based adventures (although the beaches were beautiful too!) and Belize seemed more like a beach vacation. Otherwise, costs were about the same. We loved it and it was sooooo worth it, although yes leaving the kids for a whole week was hard. Go for it!!!! You won't regret it.

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I've never been there, but a couple of friends on the east coast took a trip to Iceland for about three days. Flights were cheap, they rented a car, and had a blast. Lots of interesting natural areas. 

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My husband and I are hoping to take an Alaskan cruise next summer for our 20th. We want to see the area, and it looks like there will be some fun things to do. I've only started looking into it, but I'm pretty sure we'll be able to do it for less than $5000.

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Dh and I aren't spending anywhere near that amount but we are taking an anniversary trip (our 22nd) next month to Mackinac Island. We also live in the Midwest and are just driving. It's about an 8 hour trip for us but we love road trips. I love that no cars are allowed and think it will just be a relaxing, fun vacation for us.

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25 minutes ago, Joker said:

Dh and I aren't spending anywhere near that amount but we are taking an anniversary trip (our 22nd) next month to Mackinac Island. We also live in the Midwest and are just driving. It's about an 8 hour trip for us but we love road trips. I love that no cars are allowed and think it will just be a relaxing, fun vacation for us.

I LOVE Mackinac Island and that area.  We are headed there in 2 weeks.  Our family has gone there almost every year for the past 40 years.   Feel free to message me if you have any questions, etc.

 

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1 hour ago, Ottakee said:

I LOVE Mackinac Island and that area.  We are headed there in 2 weeks.  Our family has gone there almost every year for the past 40 years.   Feel free to message me if you have any questions, etc.

 

We have no idea what we're going to do so any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated! Please feel free to message me what we must do! We will be there three days.

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On 5/31/2019 at 8:18 AM, Frances said:

Yes, exactly. I’ve always been intrigued by the commercials, too. She said they really regretted it.

 

Four years ago we did a river cruise with Grand Circle with my parents (who paid). There were wonderful things about it and some things that made me want to SCREAM lol. The fact that it was "free" made it all right. Our main frustrations were mainly a result of the age of the other passengers (99% were old and although active, slooow) and the usual inherent disadvantages of any kind of group activity, even when the groups are small, as on a river cruise (my husband and I usually travel independently). But the scenery (Budapest to the Black Sea) was amazing, the crew and staff were excellent, and they had interesting programs and tours lined up each day – almost too many. And it was a nice way to spend time with my parents and not have to deal with transportation and packing and unpacking – you just stay in your cabin for the whole trip. 

We've done long-distance train trips in North America and in Europe and would choose that – or a quick trip to Europe – over a river cruise (although we are still tempted by the glossy brochures!). We just got back from 12 days in France (Paris and Dijon) and are talking about going back this fall. Jet lag can be brutal but just follow the advice here. We were fine this trip. We also did a week in Louisiana and Mississippi 4 weeks ago and it was also fantastic. I guess we love to travel. We enjoy hiking and culture; a beach would not interest us (I guess we have them here in CA anyway 😄). In France we did museums but also lots and lots of outdoorsy things, such as walking along the Canal Saint-Martin; walking the entire High Line (Coulée Verte/Promenade Plantée) several times; spending hours in a boat on the Seine; I took a ballet class (in French 😉); outdoor farmers' markets; etc.

ETA: just saw a PP. I've also been mulling over Mackinac Island – it looks so idyllic!

I've been urging a friend of mine who wants to travel to just DO it. Even if it's just a weekend in London or Paris, it will get their feet wet and be a memorable experience.

Happy anniversary!

Edited by Laura in CA
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On 5/31/2019 at 12:44 PM, SKL said:

Domestic:  if a summer trip, Alaska.  If a winter trip, LV / Grand Canyon / Bryce Canyon / arches or similar.

Costa Rica is a nice, easy vacation any time of year.

Banff in Canada is great for a summer trip.
 

 

Yes.  SOOOOO pretty.  

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On 5/31/2019 at 5:12 PM, Janeway said:

I really want to go to Scotland. And with that budget and just the two of you, it might be possible.

The nature is pretty amazing, but some visitors find the mountains less impressive just because it's not a high plateau, like the Rockies in Co.

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On 5/31/2019 at 10:06 AM, tdbates78 said:

For naturally stunning I would hightail to the Swiss Alps. I've traveled fairly extensively and the Bernese Oberland tops my list for the most beautiful area I've ever been.

It's a long flight. To each their own. I've flown to Europe for only 3 nights one and 4 nights twice so I wouldn't hesitate to fly for a week. I've never lost a day due to sheer exhaustion but I know how to handle jet lag. 

Depends on what you like to do though. We all have differing opinions on how we would like to spend a vacation. A beach and tropical getaway would do nothing for me personally. What about maybe somewhere in South America? It would still be in your time zone. Buenos Aires? The Canadian Rockies sounds wonderful as well. If you want a feel of Europe but much closer check out Quebec City and Montreal if you haven't been. 

We did the Swiss alps for skiing this winter and I agree on the scenery. And I don’t even ski! I walked so much in the mountains. But at least where we went it’s a hike (lol), the town was no cars allowed so we flew to Italy, and three trains later there we were 🙂 I did love staying in a car free town so much it was worth it. One week is fine. Maybe 8 days.

My sisters and I do 3 night trips every year. Berlin, Barcelona, Morocco are all places I’d recommend 🙂 oh and Paris. I keep waiting for Paris to get old, but nope. Rome too but it was so overrun by tourists last I went i’m dreading going back this fall. You could rent a car in Europe and do both the city/museum thing with DH and then get out of town for the nature. 

Our last solo trip, DH and I was in Costa Rica. We stayed in a very remote place and drove over mud roads for a long freaking time to get to. It was nice but if he wants museums and such this ain’t it.

i’m going to throw another one here that I don’t think has been mentioned. I was in Jordan with my family exactly this time last year and it was the most amazing time. We are plotting to go back ASAP (DS is beating us to it). It has the nature (spent a night in the desert, omg, like being in Mars), the history (Petra, the Christian town of Madaba with the amazing mosaics) Roman ruins, mamluk ruins everywhere plus all the Christian stuff. And DH and I did the most amazing thing we’ve ever done together which is this hike in canyons (I’d describe it as water rafting on foot? 😂)—it’s 18 and up. Google Wadi Mujib Siq trail.  I blogged about it but the blog is private now. I think I have a video somewhere I can send. Anyway Jordan was amazing and hardly any tourists there. For whatever reason that baffles me.  

Edited by madteaparty
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Y'all are making my TripAdvisor account explode. 

Another suggestion is Cozumel.  It's my favorite in November, not that I'm well traveled, but that's when I go.  There's lots of beach and forest stuff to do, and there's also lots of historical stuff like Mayan ruins too. Perfect weather and warm water all year. You could stay at an all inclusive, flights and several excursions for 3-4K.  I recommend the Fiesta Americana.

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