It’s almost the end of the year and for Sharon and I, that usually means we’ve planned out our travels for the following year. I already would have asked for the vacation time and would be well into the logistics of the trip (flights, hotels, etc). This year, well, this year will be different. A number of factors have made advance plans like that impossible to schedule. I locked in a couple of weeks off from work but we have no idea if we’re actually going to go anywhere for those dates. We’re not going to stop traveling; we’re just not going to go on a 2 week road trip in 2018.
It made me think about what options were available that we could go last minute and maybe not even have to worry about airfare or rental cars. It came to me rather quickly – look local! Think about all the places that you’ve told yourself, “That’d be a neat place to visit, we should go there.” Well this is the year we’ve decided to do just that.
We’re fortunate to live in one of the biggest tourism states in the U.S. and there’s plenty for us to do right in our own backyard. We purchased annual passes to Disney World for this year so we’re gonna take advantage of having this tourist destination right in our backyard.
We also have passes to Universal Orlando, so I’m sure we’ll be taking a few more trips to visit Harry Potter than we have in the past few years.
There’s more to Central Florida than the big theme parks, though. There’s tons of things right around us that are a short car ride away.
We’ve been talking about going to have pancakes at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill in DeLeon Springs State Park for as long as I can remember. It’s about a 90 minute drive for us so we’ve always put it off but I think it will happen this year.
We’ve already made plans to visit Tampa and eat at one of our favorite restaurants, Bern’s Steak House. I also managed to grab a room at the Epicurean Hotel across the street. We have a free day in the area and we’re looking for things to do before we have to head home. We lived in Tampa for 2 years but never really did any sightseeing beyond Busch Gardens. Any ideas?
Sharon likes to go fishing (I just don’t get the appeal) so this would seem to be a perfect time for her to head to the Atlantic coast and see if she can catch anything more than she has on her past trips (Note from Sharon: (un)fortunately, that bar is set very, very low).
Another place that looks like a great location for a long weekend and that’s only a short drive away is St. Augustine. It’s also on the list of places we’ve talked about visiting for a long time but never seemed to get there. It seems to be a pet friendly town so we could even consider bringing our poodle along for the trip.
Just a little farther away, we have already planned our trip to Key West. We made sure to visit as soon after Hurricane Irma as we could to support the area that we love so much. I’m also going to take advantage to use our two free nights at any Hilton certificate I received from the Citi Hilton Reserve sign-up bonus (no longer available) to stay at the Casa Marina resort. We’re also going to use a voucher for a trip on Danger Charters that we purchased after the hurricane as part of a fundraiser they were doing for their crew who were affected by the storm.
There’s so much to see right around the area that we could go on trips for a whole year and not have to leave the state. However we’re not going to do that because we already have our annual passes for Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, TX that we need to put to good. We’ll also make sure to visit our favorite restaurants in the area.
We also decided this is the year we will finally visit New Orleans.
How’s that for a year where we planned on taking it easy with the traveling? That’s not counting the trips to New York that we have planned. Could you pass up the opportunities to sing at Carnegie Hall or to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?
…or the trip I’m taking to Seattle for Frequent Traveler University. I still need to figure out what I’m doing for the one day I have open to sightsee while there.
If you’re stumped about places to travel, or just aren’t able to take a big trip, think about all the places around you. There’s value in a staycation. Whether you stay at home or make it a event by staying at a hotel, you can get the same enjoyment from traveling 25 miles from your house as when you travel 25,000.
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