Live Blogging: Planning 4 Trips in 5 Months

ipad travel planning

Goal: 4 trips in 5 months
Time Left: 4.5 months
Completed: .5 of 1 trip, ideas for the other 3

As I write this post, I'm listening to the Moana soundtrack on youtube. What better inspiration?

… "Who knows how far I'll go?" …

For those new to my blog, I recently got a new job. My time for planning, researching, and blogging has been cut in half. Furthermore, my vacation time will be cut even more following January 1st, 2018. So, I'm trying to take advantage of the time I have available for travel. Unfortunately that leaves little time to focus on the blogging of past trips. I will get to them eventually (like in 2018 when I don't have time to travel), but in the mean time I've decided to live blog the trips I'm currently working on.

A little background:

I've known about my limited travel time since the first week in August, but in August I was planning travel for the (1) eclipse, (2) Labor Day, and (3) my nephew's birthday. Yes, three trips in just under a month. Overwhelming to say the least, especially when you are working and commuting 13 hours a day.

Now, all of that is past, and I can focus on the next four trips. My work day has decreased some, to nine hours, so I have a little bit more time to research and devote to blogging. (Especially now that I've mostly caught back up on sleep.)

fall foliage

Trip #1: Road Trip from Boston –> NYC –> DC –> Asheville (Leaf Looking) in early October

The plans for this trip have been all over the place. I knew I had time off and that I wanted to go leaf-looking, but I didn't know where. Or, rather, I did know where, but I didn't know if the leaves would cooperate. As it turns out, according to the Smokey Mountains website, apparently, my preference (Vermont) was out of the question. So, then, I settled on Oregon. But prices for flights out west remained high, so the new top choice was NYC. Not the city, exactly, but more a cheap-ish place to begin a road trip. Of course, as it does, the prices jumped overnight before I was able to book. The next cheapest place for me to fly to, Boston, was only four hours away, so my husband and I opted for that. Who knows when and where we will find peak fall leaves, but at least we are giving ourselves plenty of time (five days) and space (approximately ten states) to find the color that we seek.

After booking the flight to Boston, I researched rental cars. Turns out a rental car from Boston to Atlanta would cost upwards of one grand. Umm… no thanks. Back to the drawing board I went. Could we use Amtrak? Or take a bus? But those options wouldn't provide us with any flexibility in leaf-looking. Turns out the price of the rental car was greatly reduced if we agreed to return our Boston rental to NYC and pick up a new rental car in NYC to drive down to Atlanta. That worked out for me. I mean who wants to pay the high tolls and parking fees inside the city of New York? Just … no.

Now, I'm focusing on hotels. I broke our travel up by city, because it was the easiest way I could think of to balance the 17 hour drive time. According to Google, NYC is approximately four hours away from Boston. It will probably take us more as we meander slowly and make our way south. DC is four and a half hours away from Boston… So on and so forth. (I think you get the idea.)

Right now, I have booked a hotel in Boston, one in D.C., and one just north of Asheville, NC in Little Switzerland. Of course, most of the rooms I've booked, save the Boston hotel, are cancelable, so you can be sure I will be continuing to seek out the best deals as I firm up my travel plans. It's just really complicated when you are trying to put together a predictable itinerary around something as unpredictable as leaves. Along with that, I will work out other details – like whether or not my husband will be going to see the Chihully exhibit at the New York Botanical Gardens.

Trip #2: NYC in November

This trip is the easiest to describe. I want to see NYC. That's it. I've booked two hotels so far, I'm watching plane ticket prices with the Hopper app, and I know that Billy Joel will be hosting a concert at Madison Square Gardens. End of story.

New Orleans

Trip #3: New Orleans in November

Right after Thanksgiving my husband and I will be making the five hour drive to Louisiana to see the land of creole and jazz. I know that I want to stay at The Roosevelt New Orleans for one of the nights to see the Christmas decorations, see Christmas lights, eat beignets at Café du Monde, and maybe go to a jazz concert. Aside from that, I'm open to suggestions. Have any of my readers been to New Orlean before?

London travel?

Trip #4: ???!? in December

In December, my husband and I are looking at making our way to Europe … perhaps to London. We've also talked about Vienna, Salzburg, Paris, and Berlin. Of course, I've also been watching flight prices to Hawai'i, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and French Polynesia. Basically, we want to get out. Preferably to somewhere with a good fireworks display, though I'm open to beaching it up instead. Or dancing New Years night away in Vienna (not that I dance). SO hmm. If the airlines would lower their prices on any of my chosen destinations, I could actually make a decision. :)

Grand Canyon

Finally, Trip #5: Road Trip to Grand Canyon –> Las Vegas –> Los Angeles –> San Francisco (in April 2018?)

Trip #5? I know, I know. I said four trips in five months. This one is a bit of an outcast, though, since I am only thinking about it in preparation for next year. I think the plan right now is to explore these areas in April. And I only recently added the Grand Canyon to the trip details a few hours ago. I have no flights, no rental cars, no hotels, no dates for this trip. I'm not even sure if we will visit all of these places within the same "trip". Maybe we will go to the Grand Canyon another day. Anyway, this is just a rough outline. Has anyone I know made the drive down the Pacific Coast? What about a trip to the Grand Canyon? Does this all sound feasible within a 7 day period?

SO, yes. This is what my next few months will amount to. Then, I have no idea… I don't know what 2018 will look like as far as travel goes. It will be a totally new experience for me to not be able to request vacation time off at my whim.

I hope you will follow along as I work my way through planning these trips, and I hope it will help you learn something new along the way: whether it's about the locations, a way to save money, or something I can't even think of right now! Because, that's what blogging is about, in my humble opinion: learning from one another and becoming better versed in the ways of the world.

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