Where to go?

A few years ago, we took an awesome vacation to Vietnam. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary there, and it was supposed to be the beginning of a tradition of taking an annual awesome vacation to somewhere exciting.

This was our last real vacation. A few months after we returned from Vietnam, we bought our house, and weeks later, I got pregnant. The budgetary restrictions that accompany one's first year of homeownership, the physical limitations of pregnancy, and the demands of new-parenthood naturally combined to keep us rather homebound since then. Yes, I did squeeze in a few great trips, but we haven't had real "vacations."

This year, we decided to get serious about it. I think I realized things were bad when my first anniversary of being back at work after maternity leave passed, and I had used, maybe, 1/4 of my vacation days for the year. As my company doesn't roll them over, that time was just gone--precious weeks of lost "me" moments, donated free of charge to my employer! (It is, I suspect, something all too many Americans (certainly my coworkers) do on a regular basis.)

Nick and I sat down and decided we had to force ourselves to set aside money each month for a travel fund, which we have been dutifully (and sometimes painfully) doing. So, now that we theoretically have the funds, the question remains: Where to go?

Here are some of our choices:

  • Hawaii ASAP... based on research, it seems that Maui is the best island for us, but that's about as far as we've gotten in that planning. Anyone know of an awesome condo or hotel we would like?

  • Tokyo in October... This would be a trip I could partially combine with work, because there's a big annual gaming show there. I have always wanted to go to Tokyo, and a lot of my friends and colleagues would be there, so it could be an action-packed week of work followed by vacationing and relaxing.

  • Croatia in September... This is a place we've been wanting to go for a while, and that would give us decent weather while still having enough time to plan and research. Supposedly plane fares are expensive, though.

  • Honduras... Our friends are planning a trip there and have invited us.

  • Cote D'Azur, France... To visit Nick's family. I've spent all of one evening in the South of France so renting a house there for a few weeks seems heavenly (but logistics have proven daunting).

  • The Tyrhennian Sea... I just like the sounds of this, mostly because it's where one of my favorite movies, Evil Under the Sun, is set.

  • Some South Pacific isle... Nick has wanted to go somewhere like Fiji forever, but I just haven't got a clue where to start in the planning.

  • Brazil... I've got family there and have seen just enough of the country to know I really want and need to go back!

  • Keeping in mind that we have a toddler, where would you recommend we go? (And to my wonderfully lurking audience, now would be a really great time to chime in!)

    P.S. Thanks to Nick for the blog post idea!


    Greg said...

    Well, I would recommend Maui, since I'm from there. If you feel like driving all over the island, you could check out the sunrise from Haleakala, or brave the road to Hana and swim in the Seven Sacred Pools. Of course you could just hang out on the beach. Although the traffic in Kihei and Lahaina where all the hotels are, can get pretty bad, it's nowhere near as bad as Oahu. Maui or the Big Island would be the way to go. My sister works for Thrifty Car Rental, maybe I could get a deal for you guys.

    Jennifer said...

    thanks for the details, Saber!

    Anna said...

    If it were me, I'd do the more immediate go to Hawaii option. But I'm a fan of sun and beaches... and I'm also often more into immediate gratification when talking about vacations. The other options sound fabulous, too!

    I stayed in Maui for two weeks a few years ago with someone who used to live there. We did stay in Lahaina, which was fine. But we also drove all over the island. There are state cabins on the Hana side of the island that you can rent for cheap (very, very cheap), and they were very close to the water. Then you can explore the Hana side (including the Seven Sacred Pools) for a day or so and not have to spend so much time in a car in one day.

    I've also been to Oahu (with tutu! for a marathon!) but I'd say go to either Maui or Kauai. I haven't been to Kauai but it's on my list of places to go... I've heard some nice things about it, and it seems to fit in with my sit on the beach and relax mode of vacationing.

    Umm... how's that for de-lurking? :)

    Jennifer said...

    fantastic feedback, Anna! Thank you so much. After reading about the weak dollar, I'm agreeing with you that the Hawaii option is looking better and better.

    Carrie S said...

    My mom is a lurker and said you should go to Hawaii. The southern end of Kauai was great for little kids and it's beautiful. I don't know anything about Maui though. I've also always wanted to go somewhere exotic like Figi, but Hawaii is easy and probably cheaper, and also has enough of its own culture to feel exotic.