Where To Next?

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While we are still in the thick of baby-land where sleep is way too limited and I can’t be away from my wee one for more than a couple of hours due to being the main food source, we are now using our telescopes to see out the other end of the tunnel. Well, at least we think we know where the other end of the tunnel is, and we are planning accordingly until proven otherwise.

Since our littlest is 9 months old now, and we often book trips roughly a year in advance, we are now making plans for when she is a full fledged toddler and I hope to not be the tethered food source and sleepless nights are a thing of the past. Fingers crossed! This will be a game changer for our life at home, but also open the barn door and allow us to take some different types of trips away from home.

In other words, I’m in a phase of planning and booking lots of trips, and as I think about where we hope to go, I’m also super curious about where you want to go.

Here are some trips I very much hope to take in the next year or two:

Mom and C United

I miss trips with just my little buddy!

  • Hawaii, Hawaii, Hawaii – this one is now all booked using Hyatt points, Diamond Suite Upgrades, and American Airlines miles and it should be an excellent family adventure. Here’s a hint for which flight option we secured on the way home…


  • Head to the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica without kids – this property is such a great value on Hyatt points as a Category 4, and I’ve been dying to go for years. Now that Southwest operates a Houston – Liberia route, prices across the board to fly there are more reasonable from our area. I hope this can be a trip for just Josh and me roughly a year from now – which will mean close to 3 years will have elapsed between “couples only” trips. Thank goodness we did it up big when we had the chance!
Two "kids" smiling ear to ear in the Maldives in 2014

Two “kids” smiling ear to ear in the Maldives in 2014

  • Return to the Hyatt Ziva Cancun or another Hyatt all-inclusive with the girls. While I want to try out another location, I had such a great time in Cancun it will be hard pressed to pass it up. Right now this type of trip is just perfect for us and I cannot wait to go back.
Take me back to Cancun!

Take me back to Cancun!

  • Go to a Christmas market in Europe with Grandma and/or Little C, preferably in a fancy seat. I would love to do a long weekend trip to Europe, stay in a fancy hotel (on points), have some room service breakfast, fly there in a fancy seat (on miles) and experience the Christmas markets in Germany, Austria, etc. that I have drooled over for years.
  • Experience Iceland, maybe even on a low cost carrier. I’m intrigued by WOW air and their prices that can drop to around $100 one-way to Iceland or Europe, so while I am craving a “fancy seat” trip to Europe, I also very much want to try out one of these cheap seats.
  • Take a last minute trip. I want to again experience the thrill of jumping on an opportunity for a last minute trip because of a great deal, a great opportunity, etc.
  • Travel somewhere with my parents – and not just so there are more hands to help with the kids. My sister has been the lucky one who has in recent years been able to travel with my parents, but I also hope to coordinate to go somewhere with them and actually be able to travel with them instead of just use their help to wrangle my kiddos.
My mom and sister in Colorado

My mom and sister in Colorado

  • Travel more with friends and family, especially the ones that have children. We had just started to travel more with our friends and family members who have kids around Little C’s age when we decided to expand our family and that type of travel coordination took a back seat. However, there is no question that we are now in that phase of family travel where our kids are happier if there are others around to play with. Plus, I love the idea of sharing a bottle of wine and talking with other adults while the kids sleep play past their bedtime.


  • Take my first real trip with Little S. We have already taken a half-dozen trips with Baby S, but in a couple years she will be ready to be a real participant in travel. I took my first big solo trip with C to Disneyland when she was almost 2 1/2 years old, went to Hawaii solo with her at 3 1/2, and to Europe solo with her at 4 1/2, so I know it is just a matter of time before Little S can be as engaged in trips as her big sister, and I can’t wait to find out her favorite activities! Hopefully they include airplanes, room service indulgence, exploring, swimming, and adventure.
My first big solo trip with Little C

My first big solo trip with Little C

I made the conscious choice to not keep up my frenetic travel pace when Baby S joined the family, and while I don’t regret it for one minute, it will also be exciting when we turn the page to the next chapter for our family and again find our new normal.

Okay, enough about me. I would love to hear what is on your current travel planning board!


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  1. We have a few small trips planned for the spring and summer. Boston, Reno/Lake Tahoe and Orlando. (Universal of course)

    But our big trip this year is in June. We are spending 2 weeks in Australia (getting there in “fancy seats” with DL miles on Virgin). We are coming home via Asia on Cathay Pacific “fancy seats” and spending a couple days in Bangkok and 4 days in Siem Reap to visit Angkor Wat. We also have a 1 night layover in Hong Kong so I can say I’ve been there.

    We are staying at Marriotts in Brisbane and Sydney Harbor. And the Sheraton in Port Douglas, which will be our base for Great Barrier Reef diving (and snorkeling for our 8 year old)…all on points.
    Also using Marriott and SPG points in Asia and staying at the IC Hong Kong with my IHG free night cert.

    I haven’t even thought much beyond that trip and in fact, I’m still working on it! But I do want to do London and Scotland next summer. My son is very much into Harry Potter right now and I have been working on my genealogy for the past couple years and I would like to visit some of the towns in England and Scotland where my ancestors are from.

  2. Planning a big trip to Orlando and Universal with friends for the fall. Hoping to use the Companion Pass I just earned (much thanks to you Mommy Points) to go on several long weekend trips. Might redeem SPG points for tickets to a suite at a Cubs game at Wrigley. And I will soon start planning another trip to Hawaii and Europe. Costa Rica is in my plans too. So exciting to plan trips

  3. I’m waiting on the ihg points breaks to see where I can plan a road trip. Want a 5 to 7 day stay so I can run away from home. Don’t care where just driving distance from Detroit. So less than 700 miles.

    • @Wendy Good luck!! You will definitely be able to use them under those circumstances. I always love to see the list, but it’s very unpredictable so I don’t have any ihg points. If some work out, then I’ll be in the market. I have really enjoyed a few though. 🙂

  4. Our summer plan this year is a little different from the past, since our oldest daughter is now a junior in high school. My husband and I will take her on two separate trips to visit a few colleges – me with her to Boston/NYC in June, and daddy with her to Birmingham/Nashville/Seattle in August where I will take the two younger ones to settle to meet up for long weekend getaway. I am also taking a trip by myself to visit my family in China and do a side trip with my brother to Macau and Singapore. It might be my last time to fly Cathay first class. Then at the end of the year we will be spending Thanksgiving week in Oahu and Christmas week in Cabo, hopefully taking a little break room from the hectic college application process. We will be taking a few weekend trips to Napa thanks to the reservations I made at Westin Napa prior to the 2015 category adjustment (awesome place for 12K point a night in the summer!).

    Next year we are also booked solid already! In Feb I will take my 11yr old to Osaka area for about 10 days, using AA miles to fly Japan Airline, and staying at the St Regis Osaka at the pre-devaluation rate of 12K point per night. in June we will spend 5 nights at Westin Maui (also booked at 48K SPG points prior to the March 1 devaluation) and one week in Kauai, as a celebration for all three girls’ graduation from the schools they are currently in. In December we will spend a week in Orlando and then visit grandparents for Christmas! I am sure I will be adding weekend getaways in between, I have 3 more Hyatt DSU to burn prior to March 1, 2017, not sure if I can use it all.

    Almost all our week-long stays are results of our timeshare trades. I love the space of two or three bedroom unit. But it does require planning 18 months out to get the best unit for the week that would work for us. Luckily between school and work schedule, we have a very limited window that we can travel. We met a Houston family last year in Bahamas and I have been helping them to plan their trips using timeshare trades as well as SPG points, now they have a week booked in Cabo for June, Disneyworld for Thanksgiving, and Cancun next summer! They are also working on their SW companion pass!

  5. Where are you guys headed in Hawaii? And where are you staying, if you don’t mind me asking? I’m trying to plan a trip for our little family next Spring as well!

  6. When you book travel that far out, can you cancel or change it without losing your points? I have been considering booking a trip for the fall, but am concerned about our schedule changing and I dont want to lose the points and miles by booking now, but also dont want the availability to disappear either!

    • In some cases there is a fee to redeposit if your plans change. Normally with hotels you can cancel or change until pretty close-in. With airlines there is often a fee to redeposit or make certain changes if you don’t have elite status, but this is waived if the airline has a schedule change that is more than a few minutes which is a strategy I use with some regularity on the occasions my plans change.

  7. I love reading about travel plans! And it always warms my heart when I read about people who love visiting Hawaii. I was born and raised there, and it’s always so nice to hear from others who appreciate its beauty and culture. We’ve just returned from a 2-week stay in London and northern Wales, and are headed to Park City next month for a weekend trip using the Hilton certificates and airline mileage. My husband is taking our 4-year old to visit his family in Colorado in June, and then we have a visit to my family in Hawaii in August. Not sure about the rest of the year, but within the next 12 months we’re hoping to make a trip to Vancouver, a road trip along the Oregon coast, possibly a trip to Japan, and various weekend “staycations” around the Bay Area. We’d also love to take advantage of those WOW fares to Iceland one day!

  8. Ah, too many to say for 2016, so we posted it all on our blog. We’re currently gearing up for 2017! Booked two trips already and can’t wait!!! Just waiting for AA to open seats up for the flight that we need next year.

    Here’s our 2016 travels so far — it’s still a bit raw since I’m not done fixing the tables and making it pretty yet but it should do.

    So excited to read more about your future travels 😀


  9. Hmm, we have some similar trip planning going on!

    *We are going to Madrid in J over Memorial Day weekend thanks to the BA sale from last fall.
    *We’re going to do a Christmas markets trip this fall the week after Thanksgiving. Flying into Paris, taking the train to Strasbourg (they call themselves the Capital of Christmas!) and then on to Nuremberg, Germany, which is supposed to be the best Christmas market in Europe. Finishing with 3 days in Munich before flying home. I can already taste the turbo punsch and gluhwein!

    In 2017, my SO will finally get another 5 vacation days, which will epically change our ability to travel together. We’re going to do 2 weeks in New Zealand in April and are thinking about a week in Iceland in July (Iceland has been on my wish list forever). We will probably do something over Thanksgiving week as well – maybe Greece? We’re both history nerds and it should be warmish there that time of year. Or maybe we’ll finally visit South America. I love the possibility of it all.

  10. Love this post and the dreaming that goes along with it!

    We just returned from the Andaz Papagayo a week and a half ago. Took our almost three month old. Loved the property! So relaxing. The suite was amazing. And the free diamond breakfast was delicious. You’ll enjoy it immensely!

    Next month we have a full week in Kauai. A long weekend trip to Calgary/Banff National park in August (7,500 delta points one way to/from MSP). Long weekend in Acadia National Park, Maine first weekend in Octover. Long weekend in Big Sur end of October, taking my parents along with (DSU at the Hyatt Carmel Hylands). And then a 9 day whirlwind trip the husband and I in November (the ten month old will stay with the grandparents)… Flying Cathay business ORD-HKG. Weekend in HKG to visit family. Then onto Phuket Thailand for a couple days (phi phi islands), dubai for 20 hours! And flying ethiad apartments back.

    Not planning anything further out since we’d like to expand our family in the very near future but excited to check out the Andaz Mayakoba Riveria when it opens!! 🙂

  11. Did you know the traditional 20th wedding anniversary gift is China? I think they mean dishes, but we’re gonna spend Spring Break 2017 in China as a family!!

    We’ll spend most of this summer on the east coast visiting NYC, Philly and Boston. 2 of those I haven’t visited in decades. Thanksgiving in Park City, at the Hyatt there. Hope there’s snow.

    We did the WOW thing to Iceland last summer and it was almost our favorite trip ever. Do it! Also, Telluride is heaven on earth. We’ve been 2 of the last 3 years. You won’t regret it. And lastly, we spent Christmas in Vienna as a family doing Christmas markets. My youngest was 6 at the time and it was great! Loved it!
    Good luck and happy travels.

  12. We have some similar plans. Family of four with boys 13 & 8. We usually do 2 vacations per year. One smaller, shorter trip that we can drive to and one bigger one where we fly. I’ve planned 3 years out and booked 2016 already. We can usually do all hotel and air on points and just pay for food and entertainment. Charleston, Savannah and Orlando (Universal) this summer. San Antonio this fall. 2017 Winter ski trip to New Mexico and summer in Hawaii! 2018 we are doing our first overseas trip to Ireland and the U.K. Love this hobby!

  13. Love hearing everyones plans and how they evolve as the family evolves! Thanks so much to everyone who shared – what a fabulous hobby we all share indeed!

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