I have never gone on a real vacation. Not one that I would count anyways. We used to go camping when I was a kid but that was 1 county over so not exactly a vacation. My parents took me and my brother to Chattanooga but I was in that “I’m a teenager and I hate everything” phase so I don’t remember any of it. I’ve gone to stay with friends in other states for a few days but we never did any vacation activities. The one time I tried to go to Washington D.C., we almost got arrested (that is a very complicated story for another day) so I’m not counting that either. Last year, I took Mom and the girls to Niagara Falls in Canada but we didn’t do much outside of riding the Falls boat. The girls just wanted to hang out in gift shops or swim at the pool or fight or puke the whole damn time. Also not counting that one because it just plain sucked.
I am very excited about going on a real vacation this year! I have 10 vacation days at work. I’ve used 1 already to take Kid 1 to the hospital for her surgery last month. I’m using 2 or 3 in October for the Nationals Great Dane dog show in Arizona. So that leaves 6-7 days of other vacation time. I have finally decided where I’m going and what I’m doing for 5 of those days…
After some internet sleuthing and talking with my boss and co-workers, I’ve decided I’m taking a 9-day vacation that includes time to hang out in Orlando, Florida, a trip to Universal Studios and Universal’s Island of Adventure to hit up both Harry Potter World parks, a 4-night cruise to the Bahamas, and then a day at Disney World. Holy crap.
I am still in planning mode right now. I haven’t bought anything yet. I’m trying to decide on when to take the cruise because that will determine everything else. The cruise that I’m looking at leaves on Monday and comes back on Friday no matter which week I choose. Which is how I’m turning a 4-night cruise into a 9-day vacation. I am going to fly in on Saturday, get a hotel and chill for the night in Orlando. Sunday, I’m spending all day at the Universal Parks in Harry Potter World. I don’t even care about the rest of the parks. It is all HP. Monday morning, I’ll check out of my hotel and get to the ship. I’ll cruise for 4 days, with stops at Cococay and Nassau. The ship comes back on Friday and I’ll go to my new hotel where I will chill in Orlando again for the night. Saturday morning, I’ll head to Disney for the day/evening. Sunday morning, I’ll finally pack everything up (for the 3rd time) and head home. 4 out of those 9 days are actually on the weekend so I only have to use 5 of my vacation days!
I’m going in May. I can’t go the first week of May because one of my co-workers is already going on vacation then. I don’t want to go the last week of May because many schools have let out for the summer by then and Disney goes into peak season ticketing. So I’m looking at the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th week of May for my trip. I want to book my cruise 8 weeks before to get some great cost savings so I have to make my decision on which week no later than March 8th if I decide to go on that 2nd week of May.
I have started following applicable flights on Google flights so I can use that data to help me decide when to go. I’m also researching hotels since I’ll also be spending 4 nights in hotels in Orlando. I’m going for cheap flights and hotels to balance the expense of the (relatively cheap) cruise and the (expensive) theme park tickets. I need to figure out a budget for souvenirs, food, and transportation too.
I need to decide which week I’m going, buy the cruise ticket, pick my round-trip flights for the Saturday before the ship leaves and the Sunday after the ship returns, get both of my hotels reserved, start figuring out what to pack, and get an idea of what stuff I plan to do in Orlando, on the ship, and in the Bahamas. I need to read up on restricted items and luggage restrictions for my airline and cruise line. I already have a passport. I just need to find it. Ooh I have to make a doctor’s appointment too (maybe for that first week of May) to get seasickness patches and get a general health checkup. The only actual decisions that I’ve made so far is that I’m going on the described 9-day vacation, that I’m going alone (hallelujah!), and that I am going almost 100% unplugged for most of the trip. I’m not taking my computer. I’m taking my cell phone but it will be in airplane mode while I’m on the ship. That’ll be interesting.
There is so much to do now that I’ve finally decided I’m going. And I only have 3 months at most to get it all figured out. Er… I actually only have about 2-4 weeks to decide which week in May that I’m going. Oh boy.