We wrote earlier is year about making travel a priority and we have been taking our own advise. While we haven’t taken any major trips yet in 2012 we have been traveling. Like any big goal it isn’t reached in one big leap, it takes practice, persistence and focus. To that end I wanted to share with you how we have been traveling without really leaving home.
It is awesome to plan for a big trip. I love thinking about, researching, and preparing to go to a new place. When there isn’t anything on the horizon we don’t let our travel skills get rusty. We look for any and all opportunities to get out. Case in point…this last week.
Clark had a work trip that took him to DC. Our usual first inclination is to have the whole family go and turn the trip into a junket, but when we considered the long and pricy cross-country flights and expensive add-on nights in DC, it didn’t make sense.
Then there was the problem of getting Clark home from the airport. We only have one car, a conscious decision to cut down on expenses, and the Reno airport is about 1.5 hours away from our home. Clark usually takes a shuttle, but was getting into town after the last shuttle stop.
Faced with the option of paying $100 for a taxi my mind started working on a travel solution. I saw an immediate $100 travel budget and I wasn’t going to let that opportunity pass me by. I checked into some hotel rates, using hotels.com of course!, and found we could stay at a hotel with an indoor pool and free breakfast for $55! Save $45 and get a great mini-trip that my kids would love.
Side note: do you remember going to a hotel as a kid? Was there anything more exciting than staying the night in a hotel with a pool? I remember it and was so happy to see the excitement on my kids faces when I told them.
I spent the few days home alone with my kids. We took that time to do some fun things together. In the mean time my mom called and asked if I would be able to come to Santa Barbara for a few days to help with their business and just have some girl time with my sisters. A free plane ticket and a few days of kid-free girl time! I was for sure going to make that happen.
I was on my way to Reno already so if I could get a next day flight I could save a round trip to the airport. So I got on Priceline, and although I don’t ever use them for flights I decided to roll the dice and see if I could get a flight the next day that would take me to Santa Barbara directly. Since I was traveling solo and I knew the airports I was flying into I decided to chance it. (In case you don’t know, Priceline lets you specify your airports and dates, but not the times.) I was a bit nervous pushing the “bid now” button, but it paid off. I saved about $200 on my flights and got a decent itinerary. The one caveat; I arrived back in Reno at Midnight…after the last shuttle.
Clark took the free shuttle to the hotel Wednesday night and I got on a plane the next day out. Then yesterday Clark and the kids headed to Reno again to stay in the hotel another night to pick me up. They were so excited. Jackson actually wouldn’t go to bed until he packed his suitcase.
Clark viewed his time alone with the kids as a mini-stay cation. They visited the swim center in a nearby town, went to McDonald’s for dinner and he generally let the kids run the show. They had a great time. Clark and I haven’t seen each other in almost a week. Just a 1/2 a day between flights, but we have each spent some quality time with the kids alone, each had some alone time and the kids have had an adventure.
None of this was on our schedule. It was an impromptu trip pieced together because we are always looking for ways to travel.
Be on the lookout, there are small trips out there waiting to happen. Look for travel budget in unexpected places and take every opportunity.
Have you had similar experiences? Have you done last-minute or close to home travel? We would love to hear your story!