The Love Hate Relationship with Last Minute Vacations
By Elaine N. Schoch
As much as I love to travel and just pick up and go, I hate, no I detest last minute trips. Actually, I love them. In fact, I adore and dream about them… But but now with little kids, a husband, and pets packing up and getting on your way is much, much more difficult. It is a love hate relationship in my life that I didn’t really realize until recently when The Husband decided to leave his job and take some time off before going back to the real world. (Yeah for both!) With one trip to see his family in Horseshoe Bay, TX already booked I didn’t think we would have time to do much else. Wrong.
I was assigned the task of finding a beach to go to in May. Now, don’t get me wrong I was beyond thrilled to go to the beach but with two days notice and the Princesses out of preschool my stress levels increased. Sounds easy but no. In addition to finding a location, hotel, someone to watch the pets, it was Memorial Day weekend. In other words, prices were jacked-up everywhere and vacancies were extremely limited. And with both Princesses out of school I had increments of 10-20 minutes (uninterrupted) to plan. On top of the Princesses, we had a house guest… Let the planning/chaos begin!
Since we’d already done the upper east coast (Cape May, NJ, etc.) in early June I knew that was out; too cold. Florida and the Gulf could be great but friends in the area advised against it given the weather; rain. Both Princesses are lacking U.S. passports so Mexico and anywhere else that matters was out. That left California. (Passports to be done this summer so we won’t have this issue again!)
The Husband has had a recent itch to hit the San Diego area so we settled in on Carlsbad for five days. Knowing the weather may not cooperate for beach time I quickly scanned a few travel guides for activities for kids (Disneyland, Sea World, Lego Land, I’ll expand in another post). Next came the hotel. Did I mention it was Memorial Day weekend. Prices were jacked up and vacancy was extremely limited at the places I wanted to stay. I had to be flexible BUT there are a few essentials The Husband and I need or require when traveling with the Princesses.
1. King sized bed (that’s required with or without the girls).
2. Balcony or separate rooms so we aren’t forced to go to bed at 7:30pm. I found several hotels with two queen beds and a balcony but really, two little girls who “dance” in their dreams in the same bed? That sounded worse than the movie The Back Swan.
3. A fridge, on-site restaurant OR room service. All are excellent but one is a must when traveling with kids.
4. For this trip we required a heated pool and a bar at the pool. After all it’s vacation.
All in all I learned that my love, hate relationship with last minute trips simply requires 10 deep breaths, a Snow White movie for the Princesses and two hours of uninterrupted online research. Oh, and a friend/pet sitter who doesn’t move to California. Damn you, Ben! (Thank you Val.)