Having been in this travel game with memberships, credit cards, and multiple levels of benefits for several years, it was time that I received a little payoff for all of the hard work, not to mention, stressful credit card applications where I seemingly poured out my information and ultimate trust in the websites and vendors I chose. We’ve had multiple trips, almost too many to count. I sometimes do though as a quiet gloat to myself, because who likes to hear someone brag. The planning itself can drive you mad sometimes, especially for a family of four. First class sounds good, but I guess we must be second class folks. But before you feel so incredibly sorry for me and my family, keep this in mind. All of these trips had one thing in common; our kids were with us the entire time.
Now, first, let me explain that this in no way ever bothered us since we do enjoy travel, immensely, with our kids, but just the thought of actually being alone with my wife intrigued me. My kids love each other but there are just as many insults being hurled at each other as there is praise. Oh wait, who am I kidding, just insults. The thought of exploring anywhere besides home without my swivel head wondering where kid #1 is and why kid #2 just hit her on the head seems like a pipe dream. Or, not having to worry that the little card that was just handed to me on the corner in Vegas may also be passed onto my daughters. If it gets me pie-eyed, I can only imagine what it will do to them. Some explanations are better left off the vacation to-do list.
So, when the opportunity for a get away with my better half for the weekend arose, I was determined to make the most of it. My wife and I both had a couple one-way awards on United that had become difficult to unload. Remember…kids? We also just received a Southwest Companion Pass for the next year and a half due to a fantastic Ritz Carlton points offer in the middle of 2015. I would go into detail on that but if you can’t get it, isn’t it still just boasting? Moving on, we both happen to have the Chase IHG card which for $49 annual fee each, allows us a free night certificate at any IHG property. Of many of the cards I have, this perk keeps it in my wallet year after year. The plan was certainly in motion but not complete. We scoured the IHG site looking for that one property that we could #1 get away fast, #2 stay at a place we can’t afford , and #3 live like a rock star for 36 hours and be back home before you could blink your eyes. The most obvious destination would be NYC, not only because we have a deep love for the city, but it serviced all of the needs mentioned above. Southwest offered a perfect flight that departed after we dropped off the kids at school and put us in the Big Apple by 1:00 PM. IHG offered the Intercontinental Times Square, listed at over $450 per night so #2 was complete.
The only thing left was to live like a rock star. This part may be a bit more difficult. Not only do we not resemble anything close to a rockstar, but when someone like us says we’re going to party like a rockstar, well we’re probably thinking more along the lines of a B-rated side stage opening act. Think…Quiet Riot at the local fairgrounds type of rock star. Like them we still have some fight in us, but only enough to look like we may cause a disturbance. But nevertheless, we were going to take over this town, eat uptown with Jay Z and Beyonce, catch a Yankees game in Derek Jeter’s suite and finally hobnob with all of the tycoons on the roof of the most exclusive club in NYC.
So how close did we get? I guess we missed the mark just a bit. We did secure some seats with the Bleacher Creatures at Yankee Stadium, enjoyed an order what-you-want at the Palm without looking at the prices(hard to even say that) and we enjoyed a rooftop view for drinks at 230 Fifth. But in the end, does it matter, really? The point of this post and this trip was to simply take the travel knowledge you already have, orchestrate a trip that makes you feel like jetsetters and enjoy each other’s company. Essentially a date night and half in NYC. And that alone, can make you feel rich. What the person next to you considers a high-class no holds barred getaway weekend could be very different from your view. What we pulled off on this weekend was out of character, spontaneous and unbelievably fun. Some would consider this short trip a waste of points but I would beg to differ. It reminded the two of us that this hobby of travel, collecting points and constant planning is all about one thing. Seeing the world in different ways, together.
Long trips to unbelievable locations are certainly fun and worthy of putting on a so-called “bucket list”, but sometimes you only need a day or so outside your normal activities to remind you why you love to travel and who you love to travel with. Don’t waste time that isn’t guaranteed.
Live within your means and travel beyond them.