Europe Planning – The Points Game II

Asheville – November, 2014

I definitely have a few more hotel reviews to share with you, but I decided to catch you up on my europe planning today instead. Yesterday, you read about our financial situation, so you can see it is crucial that Justin and I do our best to stick to points for our travel. No guarantees we will because I like travel experiences, but that's where we are at.

I've been really busy during the past month with weekends fuller than a centipede's sock drawer. Better yet – I've been dragging Justin along. Babysitting, family birthdays, game nights with friends… You name it, we've done it. (probably.)

But I knew we needed to get busy planning as I watched the Delta rewards chart for Christmas night begin filling up. So, right after my last blog post on the matter, I began checking items off of my list.

• Booked Waldorf Astoria for Christmas night @ 50,000 Hilton points.
• Booked round trip flight to NYC from ATL for 2 at 50,000 Delta points.
• Started writing an e-mail to friends in German about our plans in Europe.
• Took my camera and lenses to be serviced so they would be in tip top shape for Europe.

As you can see, I didn't get very far, but I've also been in the midst of planning other trips as well. For one, Justin and I were in Charleston the week after my last points blog post taking advantage of a mystery shop free hotel stay. Then, in two weeks, we will be in Savannah doing it again and seeing my brother. Finally, there is our trip to Orlando that comes up at the beginning of November. We will be attending a wedding, possibly visiting with Justin's sister and brother-in-law, and taking some time out to explore EPCOT's food and wine festival.

Let me just say that planning a trip to Disney is an adventure in itself.

1. The tickets are expensive.
2. The last time I went was approximately 15 years ago, and I cannot remember one bit about how much there actually is to do in EPCOT and whether or not Hopper tickets are a worthwhile purchase.
3. So much has changed. All of a sudden FastPasses and reservations for restaurants are needed. Why?

Then, to top it off, Costco offers a discounted price for a hotel stay for 4 nights plus tickets for 3 days for less than I am currently paying BUT the Costco hotel options are not on Disney property and, from what I've read, the shuttle only runs a few times a day. Is it worth it to stay for cheaper when you are only getting a few days at Disney? (Read: 2.)

Anyway, these questions have complicated my life recently as my husband and I try to stay caught up with our travel itinerary planning. Will I be able to get everything done and make all of the *correct* decisions before there are no decisions left to make (i.e. hotels are filled with other New Year's eve travelers)?

Hopefully, over the weekend (or preferably during the week), Justin and I will be able to send that e-mail I've been writing for 2 weeks now, finish our Orlando booking, take our luggage to be serviced, and possibly put things on e-bay to sell. Or at least, ideally, that is what we will accomplish.

What struggles do you have when managing travel planning? Are you a last minute planner or do you have everything figured out months before hand? Do you have any advice for me with regards to the trips I'm planning? Share! I'd love to hear! :)


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