Thursday 3 January 2013

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Our Best Travel Plays of 2012

I'm a pretty serious sports fan. Lori would probably use the word "addict", but I think I've still got a few steps to go before that choice of terms would be correct. Just because everybody knows not to bother me on Sunday while I'm watching football, that doesn't qualify me as an addict. It's not like I dragged my family clear across the country just to see my favorite football team's stadium or something crazy like that.

Miami Dolphins Football Stadium
Oh wait...I didn't make them go in though. That would be "addict" level.

As a sports fan, one of my favorite activities at the end of each calendar is to look back at all the amazing plays of the year. It doesn't really matter what they're counting down..."Top 50 touchdowns", "Top 20 uniform changes", "Top two bicycle kick goals from over 30 yards out"...I'm perfectly happy to just sit on my couch and watch the magic over and over again. 

It does get me thinking though. I mean, I kind of consider More Kids Than Suitcases to be a sort of "team". We're definitely not professional level, but with the right play even the Toledo Mud Hens can find themselves on a year end countdown, so what did MKTS do this year that was countdown worthy? Here's what I consider to be our Top 5 Travel Plays of 2012:

$63 Flights to Washington, D.C.

I'm usually happy with anything sub $100 for cross country flights, so $63 to the east coast was a fantastic deal for us. I would have liked it better if I could have found a return flight for the same deal, but we did manage to find super-saver award flights back, so overall it worked out great. I'm overlooking the hiccups of our first time flying United, but as a deal it was definitely the best one we found this year, and if they offered it at the same price tomorrow I'd be booking flights again. I might not connect through Denver this time though. Direct flights really make for better highlights.

Lincoln Memorial steps Washington D.C.

Staying in New Jersey instead of New York

I like being right in the middle of things, but in New York everything was so big and compact that you couldn't really get a great view of anything more than the building across the street from you (although if you were lucky, that building held the Times Square Ball). By moving out to New Jersey and staying at the Hyatt on the Hudson we saved some money, got a lot of extra space, and had an amazing view of the New York City skyline. Sure we heard the word "Fuhgettaboutit" more times than we could count, but that was a small price to pay for such a great deal.

New York skyline view Hyatt New Jersey

Visiting the No Name Pub

If you're surprised that a lunch stop would make our Top of 2012 list then welcome to the club, but this is one of those things that you just don't see every day. My kids can never remember the name of this pub, but if you ask them about the place with money on the walls, they'll tell you all about it. If you want to know about the Key Lime pie or the Conch Fritters though, talk to me. I'll vouch for both of them.

No Name Pub Money on walls Florida Keys Key Largo Key West

The Radisson Suite Hotel in Melbourne, Florida

We didn't book this hotel because we'd heard great things about it. In fact, the reviews we'd read were decidedly mixed, but we were in Florida and we needed a hotel to complete our requirement for the Radisson Big Night Promotion. This turned out to be one of those lucky strokes though as we absolutely loved the Radisson Suite Hotel. Deserted beach front played more into it than the actual room, but considering some of the high priced competition it was up against, coming out as our favorite hotel of 2012 was quite the accomplishment. Earning 50,000 free points for each night we stayed just made it even better, and almost guarantees that we'll be back again someday.

Radisson Melbourne Florida ocean view

New Years Eve in Seattle

When we had to scrap our plans for Disneyland, it would have been just as easy to throw in our New Years Eve plans for Seattle as well. Instead, we decided to add a couple of days and really get a chance to enjoy our time in the Emerald City. I'm so glad we did as we had a great time in Seattle, and despite my fears of being squished up against 20,000 people enjoying their first New Years Eve of legally smoking marijuana, there were a ton of families out enjoying the event. I've never been a big fan of the major New Years gatherings, but I think I may have had my mind changed. That alone makes this event worthy of a top 5 spot on our list.

Seattle Space Needle Fireworks New Years Eve

So obviously 2012 was a hugely successful travel year for us right? Yeah...not quite. Come back tomorrow and I'll tell you about our 5 Worst Travel Plays of 2012. The blooper reel is always more entertaining than the highlight plays anyways. 

Written by Steve Pratt