The Last Trip of the Year

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Anyone know why falling acorns hitting the house sound like an army of burglars trying to break in during the middle of the night, but as soon as the sun comes up they sound simply like falling acorns?  These are the type of things you might ponder in the middle of the night while your husband is away on the last trip of the year.  The last trip, exhale. 

We usually try to see the bright side of his required travel including first and foremost that is represents his gainful employment, but also the hotel points and elite status that come from him spending so many nights a year away from home are also appreciated.  We do a pretty decent job at turning those points he earns one night away from home at a time into amazing trips for our family, so him being gone isn’t all bad, but by the end of the year the impact of the non-stop-hamster-wheel-of-travel has taken its toll on all of us.

While he has typically has more nights away from home each year than I do, he certainly isn’t the only traveler in the family.  I’m sitting at 74,738 elite qualifying miles with United, and today I will take my 51st and final paid United flight of the year to cross the 75,000 mile threshold.  That will just barely round out earning Platinum status for 2015.  I’m dreading loading up my luggage and heading to the airport one more time, but I’m darn right giddy that this is it for the year.

The constant packing and unpacking of bags, the juggling of schedules based on which parent is in town that night, missing programs and activities, Facetime instead of goodnight hugs, take-out instead of home cooking, and making things work on the fly instead of following a set routine eventually creep away from the realms of new and exciting, and hit the wall of exhausting and borderline depressing.

Don’t get me wrong, I love travel and would be lost without it, but by the time late November and December roll around I grow to despise anything that takes us away from our decorated tree, Christmas movies on TV, and even the Elf on the Shelf that has to move every night.  There are always just 24 days in December before Christmas and “wasting” any of them on the road and away from drinking (and eating) in the holidays is something that I have tried to avoid as much as possible since becoming a parent.

However, “avoiding as much as possible” isn’t the same as being able to entirely eliminate December travel, so on the verge of rounding out the very last night away of the year for both my husband and myself, I am going to not dwell on missing a night of looking at Christmas lights and watching Rudolph, but instead reflect on all that travel has done for our family this year.

Just in 2014, travel has taken us from the blue beaches of Bahamas, to the powder covered mountains of Norway and Whistler, to the Eiffel Tower, to a dogsled ride in Alaska, to the fireworks Washington DC on the 4th, to the green island of Kauai, and even literally around the world for my husband’s 40th birthday.


…from the beaches of Kauai


…to the Maldives

So while I’m more excited about finishing the last short trip of the year than starting it, when I step back and look at the travel this year as a whole, it has been nothing short of amazing.  I can’t wait to really get home, unpack all the bags, and settle in next to the stockings with a hot cup of cocoa to truly reflect on the year. the mountains of Norway

…to the mountains of Norway

To everyone who is rounding out 2014 travel, congratulations.  To those who are already finished, double congratulations.  And to those who have an amazing late 2014 vacation still on the horizon, I hope it is the best one yet.

With that, here we go on the last trip of the year.



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  1. My 2014 travel highlights: mountains of Whistler, eagle spotting near Squamish, Italy, July 4 fireworks in San Francisco, Denali National Park in Alaska, fall colors in Chicago/Philly/New York/DC, and a cruise to Honduras/Belize/Cozumel. My last 2014 trip is Paris in 2 weeks.

  2. Tanzania Kilimanjaro climb and Safari in February, trip to Colombia in March, lakeside house weekend stay in Georgia in April, Tahiti and Bora Bora for a week in July, Colorado weekend trip also in July, Costa Rica trip in August with the family, and to top it off NYC Park Hyatt and Andaz 5th Ave in less than 2 weeks.

  3. I started off this year on the beautiful sands of Isle Verde in Puerto Rico, then it was off to the amazing island of Maui where we stayed at the Andaz Maui on a diamond challenge, then to Oahu and the somber Pearl Harbor. We then followed that up with an amazing family trip to Disney World and finishing on the Miami beach. September led us to Great Britain and the awe-inspiring castles of Wales and England, where we all fell in love with the city of London. October had a chill in Denver, so we decided to take another weekend trip to San Antonio where we enjoyed the beautiful Riverwalk and the missions. Final trip of the year…on southwest companion passes that we both have, Jamaica, where we will stay at the all-inclusive Sunspree Resort for New Years! By the way, every trip was on points and miles! Thanks Summer for all work, your blog is one of the best because we love our FAMILY time!

  4. It’s been a whirlwind year for us–we’re complete “leisure” travelers but often travel separately with our adult kids, friends and other family members. At one point, we left the car for one another at the airport for 4 consecutive trips, texting photos of the parking locator slips. Lots of international travel and we love it, but we moved into a new house earlier this year and have never quite settled in. So, we’ve said, “Enough…..until we leave for 3 1/2 weeks on Kauai and Maui on January 5!” 🙂 It’s an addiction!

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