Vacation Suggestions?

My company is forcing us to take vacation (or unpaid leave), as part of a budget thing given the sorry state of the economy, for the last two weeks of December (Dec 22 - Jan 2). I could and still might just hang out around here, Tampa Bay area, it’s not a bad place to be. But the kids are off school then, and the missus might be available, so I thought maybe we’d take a real honest to Og vacation during the week between Christmas and New Years, give or take a day or three.

I’d like to keep the costs somewhat reasonable and have a budget in mind of about $2,000 or so. I have a decent amount of frequent flier points, if necessary, but not enough for anything super exotic. We’re in Tampa, so could theoretically fly from Tampa International, St Pete / Clearwater, Sarasota or Orlando without too much trouble. Driving is also an option, but if it’s a drive then we’re probably not getting out of Florida.

One option I’d thought of was going down to the Keys. I’ve lived in Florida off and on since 1978 and never been there. OTOH, we’re Floridians and not used to “cold” water so it might be a bit cool down there for water sports that time of the year. If we did go that way there is a shuttle from Ft Myers to Key West that might be the best way to get there. I have kids that are 13 and 10, so not sure that Key West is appropriate for them.

Another option is California, where we have some relatives and friends, so we wouldn’t necessarily need to get lodging for the whole trip.

Beyond that, maybe a more affordable or family friendly part of the Caribbean or even Central America, although I think flight costs might rule out the latter and possibly the former. (Three of us have current passports; if I found a really cool trip I could try and quickly get a new passport for my son)

So, any great ideas or travel tips?

Since you mentioned California, you can come visit San Diego! :smiley:

Anyway, I just wanted to commisserate - I’m being forced to take some vacation time during that same timeframe (and some additional time before the end of our fiscal year in March). It’s kind of a bummer having to rethink when you were going to take time off.
(Oh, but you can’t crash on my couch…)

What part(s) of California do your family and friends live in?

San Diego (I think), San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles (several parts), Oakland, Yuba City.

I recommend New Orleans especially if you haven’t been there. It is a world-class city and very memorable for both food and entertainment. It is cheap for what it is and you could drive if you can survive 12+ hours in a car. $2000 there would get you an experience of a lifetime. Beautiful suites in the French Quarter go for less than $125 a night these days and sometimes less. Most people want to know what there is to do when they embark to a new city. That doesn’t apply to New Orleans. It isn’t a regular American city at all. What you do is obvious once you get there no matter what your taste is. Some people have a hard time understanding that but it is 100% true.

If it were just me and the missus, I’d be all over this like a cheap suit. Given it will be with the kids, during the “winter”, possibly with drunken SEC Alabama or Florida students gearing up for the Sugar Bowl, would you still recommend it? Make a compelling argument, good sir.

If you are serious about using FFPs, contact the airline now. Many airlines have blackout dates and seem to coincide with many holiday periods.

Drive over to the other side of Orlando to Sanford (I think). Catch the car train that travels overnight to a place in Virginia that is just outside of Washington, D.C. Your car goes on the train too! You get your car in Virginia and can drive on in to Washington or wherever you are staying.

It may be a little chilly outside, but it won’t be as crowded inside the museums. There will be a jillion things for the kids to see and do. And it shouldn’t cost all that much. The subway system in Washington is so easy to use you can just zip around everywhere.

Sorry about the “vacation,” but have a great time anyway!

Send kids to CA

You and ShibbOlette go;jsessionid=0000DtnqRhr9xT8AN3j0d9RIl62:13hldcgo7?packageCode=ID06W007&date=200811&selectedCurrencyCode=USD&promoType=&hasSenior=&hasMilitary=&state=

You could come down to Fort Myers. It’s like Tampa, but without fun activities or night life!

I’ve been there. Ft Myers beach is not so bad. But it’s too cold this time of year for too much beach activity, for me at least. Maybe camping the Everglades would work. Alligators are slower and less aggressive this time of year, right?

The drunken debauchery is almost exclusively contained to Bourbon street. Other places in the French Quarter aren’t nearly as obscene, and aren’t any different than your typical bar, except for the high quality live music. N.O. is definitely a unique city, and one well worth visiting. We have a zoo, aquarium, plantation country, the Hornets, and a bunch of other stuff worth doing.

Not until football season ends.

If you like camping that might be a good idea. I’ve camped at Flamingo and Bahia Honda both in the winter. The bugs are much less this time of year and the reptiles are slower. Bahia Honda is nice b/c it’s close enough to Key West and Marathon to do all-day trips if you want. The weather normally that time of year in those locations is warm enough to camp comfortably and sleep comfortably, however w/the way this year’s weather is going in FL, it could be snowing by then. :slight_smile: Should you decide to camp in any of the state parks this time of year, make your reservations early as in now. Otherwise I’d head to Cali. Yuba City and the Bay Area will be colder than Tampa that time of year, so if it’s warmth you are looking for, visit the SoCal relatives.

Not really seeking warmth, just don’t want to go somewhere that the focus is on swimming and snorkeling but the water/weather is too cold for us. If the water temperature is reasonable (high 70s) or if there is plenty to do that doesn’t involve swimming, then that might be fine.

How about the Southwest? Santa Fe is lovely in the wintertime, especially with the smell of pinon and other wood wafting from the chimneys. The Grand Canyon. Taos Pueblo. Lots of local culture and great food.

Then Las Vegas to finance your trip. :wink:

Funny, I was trying to find some cheap flights on Southwest into Vegas or Albuquerque. Wasn’t having too much luck, but if I can win big at blackjack or poker I might be able to swing it.

This is better than what I was going to suggest so I’m just quoting it so you see it twice. Every kid needs to go to Washington, D.C.

Antigua & Barbuda of course Booked out for Christmas already, but they’ve recently completed this video and it’s a little vacation all by itself.

Let me know if you’re coming.

If you’re into skiing our local ski resort should have some good snow by late December. If not, even during the midst of winter the weather is usually decent enough that a person can go sightseeing.