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Spring Break Trip to Washington D.C.

spring break at Cherry Blossom Festival

It’s been less than a month since our last vacation, but I’m already chomping at the bit to head out of town again. I may have missed my calling. If it were the 80’s all over again, I’d be opening up a travel agency. Luckily, you don’t need a travel agent to take a fantastic and frugal vacation. I just booked a spring break trip to Washington D.C. for less than $500. The Value of Different Points and Miles Programs There are rarely saver level redemptions from the small regional airports that are convenient to us, and we don’t have time or desire to drive to Albuquerque this spring break. Tickets were pricing out at around $800 each from Durango, way more than we wanted to spend. I have been known to hoard points and miles, usually for a blow out trip like our European vacation last summer. Right now, we are sitting on a huge stash of American miles, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend 100,000 of them for two tickets from Durango to DC. Those miles can take us back to Hawaii or Europe. We needed another alternative and decided to use Citi Thank You Points. Those ...

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Are All Inclusive Resorts Worth the Extra Cost?

all inclusive vacation

My family spent Thanksgiving at an all inclusive resort in Los Cabos, Mexico. Although we were out of the country, the resort certainly caters to American and Canadian tourists. We technically could have been anywhere in the U.S.; anywhere the weather was 85 degrees with an ocean anyway! Most of our vacations tend to be go go go, so this was a nice, relaxing break. Other than a few trips to the grocery store, we didn’t leave the resort at all. Was the extra cost of going all inclusive worth it? Accommodations At the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, basic rooms are just under 600 square feet! Ours had king size bed with another king size sofa bed, dining table and chairs, two closets, a huge bathroom with jacuzzi tub, rainfall shower, and double sinks. We also had a large balcony and were upgraded to an ocean view. Although we didn’t spend a ton of time in the room, having that much space was very nice. Most of our room time was spent sleeping or out on the balcony. The area where we stayed in San Jose del Cabo was devastated by Hurrican Odile last year, so everything was brand new. ...

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A Holiday Hidden Stash of Reward Points

holiday travel with points

With all the gloom and craziness going on in the world right now, I believe it helps to focus on the positive. For a Friday treat, I though I would share a story about my Mom’s hidden stash of reward points. As you may recall, my Dad retired recently and is still figuring out his place in a world without 12 hour work days. My Mom has been retired for some time and enjoys small town life. I guess you could say they never exactly caught the travel bug. You Can Take a Vacation When I’m Dead In fact, aside from a couple of road trip vacations when we were kids and two or three trips to visit us, my parents have never traveled. Their last trip to Colorado was over five years ago. Health problems have cropped up since then. Their chances of making it West of the Mississippi again seemed pretty unlikely. Instead, we try to visit them. Jim and I have spent the holidays with my family in Kentucky for 15 out of the past 16 years. The one year we missed was right after getting married in 2002. We chose to take a honeymoon to Jamaica ...

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Visiting Amsterdam With Children

canal ride in amsterdam

Amsterdam was the last stop on our summer European vacation. I’ve always been told that this is the city where one can legally consume or participate in all sorts of debauchery, but I also know that most cities wear far more than one hat. Heck, if you think all Coloradans sit around smoking weed all day, you aren’t really paying attention. I would advise parents not to worry about visiting Amsterdam with children. Despite some awful weather, we had a great time. If you missed other stops on our tour, feel free to catch up. Dublin Edinburgh and St. Andrews London Paris Double Tree Amsterdam Above and Beyond We arrived at Centraal Station by train from Paris. I thought it was strange how security was non-existent as we boarded the train. Sadly, an alleged terrorist attempted an attack on this very same train shortly after we arrived back home. I hope they have since put some stronger measures in place. Our train ride was thankfully uneventful. We chose the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Amsterdam Centraal Station for our first two days because it was bookable at 60,000 Hilton Honors points per night, and it is right beside the train station. ...

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Booking an All Inclusive Resort in Mexico

all inclusive Thanksgiving trip

After discovering the amazing value of points and miles, my family has already experienced an incredible travel year with trips to both coasts in the U.S. and five European countries. With a husband who works in education and a 3rd grader, we can’t take advantage of off peak travel, but that’s just another reason to rely on points and miles! Thankfully, we’ve been able to book one last hurrah to an all inclusive resort in Mexico over Thanksgiving break. Be Flexible Traveling during the week of Thanksgiving can be challenging, so I wanted to book as early as possible. One tip I’ve learned is that most points reservations can be cancelled without penalty. That led me to make a speculative booking for the new Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in the Bahamas at the end of last year. Even though the property wasn’t finished, it looked amazing and should have opened well before Thanksgiving. We transferred points earned from a signup bonus and regular spending on the Chase Ink card to book four nights. Since our daughter has a companion pass with Southwest, we hoped to fly one of their new international routes to get to the Bahamas. Unfortunately, Baha Mar ...

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