I didn’t get to take a vacation in 2016. I used my available vacation time during the first week of our son’s life in late August and didn’t leave the state of Minnesota the entire year. For a travelholic (someone addicted to travelhol) like me, it was a definitely a struggle. I lived vicariously through my Facebook friends as they traveled the world (an activity that was both thrilling and jealousy-inducing). I may have been confined to quarters all year but my mind continued to roam free in the form of travel planning. I’m always planning future vacations and it’s time to examine my specific plans for 2017!
February – Fly to Houston
Beth has visited Houston every year since her nephew Carter was born (usually in February for his birthday). This year, I have enough vacation time to actually go too! This will be our first trip with James. I’m nervous to fly with a six-month old (as he will be by then) but I’ve heard it may be easier to fly with an infant than with a toddler. I just hope he sleeps okay. He’s generally a happy baby but has been going through a sleep regression lately that has made him feisty when he’s sleepy. Our previous Houston trips have been fairly packed with activities but I’m not sure what this one will include. We’ve been to a couple of Houston Dynamo games with Val and Dave (that’s soccer for the uninitiated), visited the Museum of National Science, toured the Houston Zoo, and dined at many fantastic establishments including authentic Tex-Mex, the best burger I’ve ever had (Lankford Café), and the first time I ever tried Indian food. This trip is only a month and a half away so I guess I’d better get planning the specifics!
The Already Cancelled March Trip – Las Vegas Bachelor Party
My cousin Todd is getting married in May (see below). The original plan for his bachelor party was to fly to Las Vegas for three days and two nights. I don’t know all of his friends but it would have been, at a minimum, some quality time with my two closest cousins. Todd is three months younger than me and his older brother, Dan, is a couple years older. We are the three oldest grandchildren on my mom’s side and enjoy hanging out at holidays talking sports. Dan and his wife, Toshia, had their first daughter, Evee, a week before Beth gave birth to James so the four of us are on the first time parents journey at the same time. I was really looking forward to Toddius’s bachelor party in Sin City but after a month of dream planning in my head (the travelhol in full effect), I was notified that the plans had changed. General fears of those invited were that the trip costs were going to get out of control. Replacement plans for the party have not yet been finalized but whatever is decided, I just want Todd to have a good time. Both him and his brother were essential to making my bachelor party fun back in August, 2013, and I want to return the favor.
April – Wisconsin Dells Weekend Getaway
Beth signed us up for a timeshare presentation that comes with a three night stay for only $99. We’ll be bored to death in a long presentation (at a minimum) and possibly locked away in a crummy motel room (but hopefully it’s nice). It will be a waste of their time, of course, because I am like a rock. I will sit in their presentation for as long as necessary, eating their stale cookies, and will never sign up. Never. I’m a bit worried they’ll try to charge us more money for the three night stay but Beth has assured me we’ll bail if they do. I’d hate to be the timeshare company if they attempt to stand in her way when she’s determined to leave. The Dells (yellow star), by the way, is a four hour drive from our base in New Hope, MN.
May – Crosslake Wedding
My cousin Todd, whom you’ve heard all about by now, is marrying his fiancée Brooke. They’ve been together for a couple of years and are a good pair. They share many common interests, one of which is Minnesota Wild Hockey. For their wedding in May, they’ve booked a ballroom and their guests have filled the entire hotel for the night. Crosslake (purple star) is a scenic area approximately a two and half hour drive North from our house. It won’t be a long trip and the activities will be fully planned for us (it’s a wedding, duh), but I’m counting it as another trip in 2017. Congrats in advance to the happy couple!
June – Alexandria Cabin with my Family
My parents want to rent a cabin for a week in the Alexandria area of Minnesota, two hours Northwest from the Twin Cities. Like Crosslake, Alexandria (blue star) is a scenic area filled with cabins and outdoor activities. I don’t know if my entire extended family on my mom’s side is invited or if it’s just my immediate family, but Beth, James, and I will be joining the group for a night or two at the beginning of their week. We won’t be able to stay for the entire week based on all the other adventures we have planned. Campfires and bacon-infused waffles will surely be on the itinerary.
Timing TBD – Huge Seattle Road Trip
I won’t dwell on this one too long because it’s far more likely to be in 2018 or beyond. One of my future road trip itineraries includes Seattle, Washington. There are many awesome activities and sights to see in the Seattle area. I have been there once as a kid with my family but it’s been at least ten years. I remember visiting the top of the Space Needle and nearby Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainer. Nearby Portland and Vancouver are also a draw in that direction. Yellowstone isn’t exactly in the area but it’s certainly on the way from Minnesota.
If We Win The Lottery – Europe or Australia/New Zealand or Both
Best not to focus too much on the “Win the Lottery” plan but what if we did? A train trip across Western Europe would be awesome, especially in 2017 while it is still possible to travel across Europe (security will increase as lone wolf terrorist attacks continue to plague the region and encourage nationalist movements). Australia and New Zealand would be a bucket list type of trip. Beth’s favorite animal is the platypus and I’m told if we go there she wants to pet one. She was very adamant. Based on the airfare reaching the Southern Hemisphere from Minneapolis, I figure it would make financial sense to visit both if we’re going to visit one. There is a lot to see and do in those two countries down under but a fair amount is beach and sun related. I better lose some weight and put on a base-tan first. Oh, and win the lottery. That’s definitely the order in which to do those things.
I will, of course, keep you all updated as my trip planning continues. If you have a cool trip planned I would love to hear about it in the comments below.