Monday, November 3, 2008

Dreaming of Reno

Exciting news! Because Boyfriend has to travel frequently for work he has been racking up lots and lots of frequent flyer miles! This has left us with the exciting prospect of being able to take three roundtrip flights for FREE! After spending a chunk load of money on my flight to the Destination Wedding, this comes as amazing news.

But where to go? First, we are limited to destinations serviced by Southwest Airlines, which is fine since they fly to a zillion places. And we can only take domestic trips. Second, I earn 3.75 vacation hours every two weeks and currently have 37 hours available, whereas Boyfriend gets a limited amount of vacation days per year. Thus we are looking for trips that we can live it up the most in 4-5 days (thus not lose two whole days to air travel).

We've already picked one destination: Orlando. Call me a sucker but I love me some Disney. I've been to Disneyworld probably 10 times in my life but never with a romantic partner and never since I turned 21. I think we can have a completely awesome grown-up experience in Disney without breaking the bank. Also we have free/cheap accomodations already lined up for whenever we book the trip. One trip planned (sorta).

The second and third destinations are still up in the air. My first choice would be Ft. Myers since we also have free accomodation and it's a city than can be done well in a long weekend. New York winters can be unforgiving and getting away to the beach is something I would definitely relish. Also, how much money can one spend on the beach? My sister and I went to Ft. Myers a couple of years ago and the only thing we spent money on were drinks at the beach and some bar food. Also the flight is only 4 hours so we can leave Friday morning and be back at work on Monday after having spent 3 wonderful days on the beach. This is definitely a good option.

Second option for trip #2 is New Orleans. Boyfriend and I have never been and I've always wanted to go there. The flight is slightly longer (the oddities of not living near a hub airport) but it's definitely more authentic a place than Orlando and Ft. Myers. I would love to tour the cemetaries and taste some Gumbo. Oh but would that trip be a Budget Buster (when compared to practically free Ft. Myers). Who knows? It depends on how much free hotel points Boyfriend has earned but New Orleans is definitely on my list of places to travel to.

For trip #3 I want to go Out West. I've never been west of St. Louis and I'm anxious to change that. Out of the places Southwest flies, my top choices would be Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Reno. Salt Lake City for the skiing. San Francisco because it just seems awesome and it's my parents' favorite city. Las Vegas because it's Vegas, baby and I've never been. And Reno because I think it could be a neat place to get a little big-city-gambling feel and still get to do some amazing West Coast skiing. I subscribe to a skiing magazine and frequently get mailers for affordable ski/stay/play packages in Reno. And, paradoxically, the flight is only 6 hours when compared to the other long flights out west (San Fran = 11 hours, Salt Lake City = 9 hours).

The free flights don't kick in until January and then we have 13 months to use them so it's not something that's happening anytime soon but it's fun to have some vacation planning in the back of my mind while the tempurature drops.

Anyone want to weigh in on my options? Is Reno the travel destination of our (affordable) dreams? Let me know what you think!


paisley penguin said...

Love me some Disney and have never been to New Orleans but it's on my list.

I have not been to Reno or Vegas but your travel plans sound exciting. Jsut the thought of going somewhere is great! Good luck with your plans!

Shtinkykat said...

With respect to trip#3:

Re: Reno, you can ski/snowboard in Tahoe. It won't be a cheap trip with ski rentals, taxi/car rental, lift tickets. If you throw in night time entertainment at the casinos, it can add up.

Re: Vegas can be done relatively cheaply since there's a lot of free things you can do. Be prepared to do a lot of walking though since cabs/car rental can add to the cost. (Be sure to take advantage of the casinos' shuttle service or the Deuce double decker bus.)

I would opt for San Francisco. The city has an excellent public transportation system and there's a lot to see and do. I wouldn't call it a frugal place to visit but costs are controllable with effort. :-D

Escape Brooklyn said...

I'd vote for S.F.! But definitely plan to spend more than a weekend there if you can. I tried to do a weekend trip there a few years ago and got stuck in serious flight delays that pretty much took up the entire weekend, flying from the East Coast!

Anonymous said...

SF is pretty expensive. No hotels under $120.00. Bring warm clothes. It's Cold!

Reno - Hotels are cheaper than Vegas. The town is really getting run down.
It's about an hour to Tahoe.

Vegas - I don't gamble much, but there are other things to do. Shows are very expensive.

Hope you have fun. I want to go somewhere.

Sallie's Niece said...

I would love to do San Francisco but it would probably have to be at least a five day trip to justify the flying time. I don't know, the west coast trip is probably going to be the most expensive and therefore the last one planned.

I have seen some pretty cheap hotel/lift ticket deals in Reno though so it may be doable.

I wish I could go somewhere today!