Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Last (desperate!) call for honeymoon suggestions

The dream honeymoon just isn't happening. Not now. Not unless by some miracle, flights from Chicago to Hawaii in January drop to 500$ or less this week.

As I've blogged before, Hawaii has always been my dream honeymoon locale since I was 11 and my aunt Amy went. I'm not a big tropics person. I had a phase when I was 10 where I'd go swimming every day and lay out in the sun during those annoying adult swim breaks and read my book and I got really tan by default, but since then I've been pale. I like being pale. I have my moments. During my brief stint in L.A., I indulged in reading by the pool. But honestly Hawaii is not just about fun & sun, there is something about the place that just fascinates me. The culture, the volcanoes, the natural beauty of the place. I can't really explain it. I'm just drawn to it.

My husband was not particularly; he just wanted to go some place warm. That was his only requirement. Winter in Chicago sucks (yes, it does, husband and this is why we should move to the Pacific Northwest as soon as it is financially feasible though obviously that is far from the case since we can't even afford vacation.), so his philosophy was lets go lay out in the sun and drink and be lazy and in love. And I need that. I so need that. And I will especially need that in January when Chicago winter will have me in the most miserable of all moods.

After we saw that Hawaii was out of our range, he started looking at all-inclusive resorts in warm places-- Jamaica, the Bahamas, Mexico. He found some cool ones and I was almost sold, but then I started to waiver. I never had any interest in visiting these places. Well, I mean, maybe if I had lots of money to spend on travel I would--Jamaica in particular, but there are so many more places that are higher on the list. Hawaii, obviously. And Europe, particularly Scotland and Ireland. And hell, even an Alaskan cruise (which I pondered suggesting, but the idea of going somewhere *colder* than Chicago in winter is just...no.). Did I really want to blow two grand of our savings to go to an all inclusive resort in a place that's not high on the list when our savings are so meager and our sources of income are so shaky? How long would it take to save up the two grand again in order to go to Hawaii (though clearly Hawaii is going to require more like 2500$ or three grand) or to Europe for that matter?

I got all panicky and upset about it as I am prone to do. I worried and stressed and pointed out that we had to decide soon soon soon because we don't have passports and they're expensive enough to get without having to expedite them. And as usual hubby remained calm and unfazed. This is why he is so good for me.

He said, "Well what do you want to do on this trip? I mean is this about sight-seeing or relaxing?Because I just wanted to relax."

Uhhhh.... This was where I got stuck because I always travel to sight-see and experience (not to mention I totally suck at relaxing. I need pills for that.). I don't just lay around on beaches or poolside. There are so many places I want to see in the world and such limiting funding to see them. But obviously this trip should be about relaxing. It should be about just hanging out with him and laying next to a pool or on a beach or whatever. I am definitely all for just relaxing with him.... But I absolutely cannot justify spending the money that I want to save for actual sightseeing travels that I want to take with him (because I do want to go to Hawaii and do a combination of sightseeing and relaxing and I do want to be able to get to Europe, I dunno, sometime in the next five years? Not to mention, he hasn't been to New Orleans and we must do that.) If our income vastly increases or at least becomes reliable in the next few years, I'll be happy to go laze around at an all-inclusive resort at some point, but honestly, I just don't think it's worth it right now. (Plus as a vegan, will I even be able to eat???)

So we need a new plan because we definitely need to get away from Chicago in January. Preferably to somewhere warmish (though most places are warmer than Chicago in January). I don't know if there is anywhere in the US (because getting passports is not affordable anymore as they'd have to be expedited) where we can comfortably lay poolside in January, but maybe?

Right now the plan is Miami. Not a place I've particularly wanted to check out because the only place I've liked in Florida so far is Naples and I was not fond of Tampa or Orlando, but I have a friend who has very generously offered use of their condo so it's a free place to stay, plus they have told us good stories about Miami, so I imagine we'll have a good time there. And it should be decently warm, right?

But before we go about booking our flights, I thought I'd put a last call for suggestions out there in case someone has stayed somewhere totally relaxing and yet cheap that would be good to go in January. Preferably someplace that Southwest flies because we have 120$ credit with them.

I don't know, feel free to tell me that you think I'm crazy and I should spend money on one of those all-inclusive tropical dealies, but I think I'm going to be pretty hard to convince on that front. However, if there is a good deal at a nice hotel with a spa or a good pool or something and at least a little bit of sightseeing around (and veggie food options), I could probably be talked into spending a little money, just not a couple grand. Scott and I need to save for other adventures. But please, suggest away!


Diana Rodriguez Wallach said...

Hi Stephanie,
If you do Miami, you could rent a car and drive through the Keys. You've the Everglades and Key Largo. This way you'd get to relax and sight see. Or you could split your time and do half the trip in Miami and half in Key West. Key West is awesome, it's like New Orleans but with beaches. And Hemingway has a house there.

Have Fun!

Matt Olech said...

Have you looked into Cost Rica? We went there for our honeymoon and the tickets cost less than flying to California. You can see volcanoes, waterfalls, pristine beaches, lots of wildlife, great food and it was surprisingly inexpensive. I highly recommend!

Anonymous said...

I second the idea of Miami with a meandering drive down the Keys. We've gone to Hawaii twice, and like you, I am not necessarily a tropics/beach person. I married someone who loves to scuba, though, so I have come to enjoy these places. There is something hippiesh and quirky that the keys and Hawaii share. We were just in Kauai and it reminded me so much of Key West, even though the latter is much more crowded. We flew to Miami and drove to the keys on a long weekend a few years ago and it was really fun. I think Florida is interesting along those less-travelled byways.

Skip the all-inclusive Mexico, etc. We also did that recently and it was fun, but I felt like the money could have been better spent.

When we got married, we planned to go to Australia for our honeymoon. After paying for our wedding, that wasn't in the budget, so we waited 5 years before doing so and it was wonderful. While we waited for that, we did a lot of other, cheaper travelling, but when it comes to a "dream" destination, you have to be able to do it comfortably.

Anonymous said...

This isn't very beachy but have you thought about the Southwest? It was never high on my list but after traveling there for my brother's college graduation I'm keen to go back. My parents, Paul, and I splurged and stayed at this place for a couple nights and I think about going back regularly: http://www.laposada.org

There's a lot of great history and it seemed so romantic. Also, it is a nice drive to see the Grand Canyon and other cool state parks and some neat Route 66 places.

M. Molly said...

US Airways has round trip (possibly even direct!!) flights to Barbados for $414 in mid-January. A good friend of mine is from there and her mom might be able to help hook you up with relatively inexpensive lodgings (we stayed in a beach house for a week for under $200/person). Barbados is absolutely gorgeous & the food is amazing & the dancing is to die for. PLUS it's like a Corona commercial every day. SO beautiful.

greeneyedlady said...

Croatia! its beautiful and not as expensive as a trip to Italy!

April said...

The Azores are supposedly almost as beautiful as Hawaii, and cheaper. They may not fit your budget now, but maybe sometime in the future.

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Just wanted to say thank you to everyone for your lovely suggestions. Diana, yours was the one we ended up going to though Key West is such a long drive from Miami and would be more expensive to fly out of, we are doing Miami and Key Largo.

Matt, we did consider Costa Rica, but it was still out of our budget and we don't have passports so thats an extra few hundred dollars. Same thing with Barbados, Molly. Our budget was just really really tiny.

Alison, we are saving your hotel rec for the Route 66 trip we hope to do someday.

Azores and Croatia will also have to wait for the big someday when there is more money!

But thanks everyone!