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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Vacation Planning – 2007

I do not know about you, but to me -- planning a vacation is a lot of work. Ashley and I are currently struggling about where we want to go for our “main” vacation in 2007. In some ways, I know that it is a good problem to have – and that we are fortunate that we have the opportunity to consider taking the types of vacations that we have taken in the past and will hopefully take this year as well. However, each year – deciding the destination takes some serious time. And since my responsibilities in our family usually include selecting the destination, and making the airline and hotel reservations – the ball is clearly in my court at this point in time.

We were lucky last year, in that our trip mapped out really easily. Since it was the 100-year anniversary of Pepperdine University’s Moore Haus in Heidelberg, Germany – as well as my 10-year anniversary of my college stay there – it was an easy choice. We then just tacked on a few days in the beginning to check out Munich, & Berlin and added a few days on the end to spend some time in New York City on our way back.

This year is not quite as easy. Fortunately, what we do know for sure is that we are planning to spend at least a week in Italy. We have close family that lives in Florence, Italy (Ashley’s Uncle & cousins) and we would really like to see them should the schedules permit. However, from there – we are considering both France & Spain and there does not seem to be an overwhelming favorite yet.

Here is what we are considering:
France – main stay in Paris, during the end of the Tour de France, which I think would be an absolute blast. Take advantage of our Hilton Honors points and stay in the Hilton Arc de Triomphe, which is a pretty nice hotel. We would definitely make side trips up to Normandy and out to Versailles. Most likely we would also stop on the way down to Italy in Nice & Monaco.
Spain – main stay in Madrid and Barcelona, again great Hiltons in both locations, coupled with possible small visits to Marbella, Valencia, Salamanca, Toledo, and possibly also Nice & Monaco on the way over Italy. Unfortunately, it looks like Real Madrid’s soccer season will be over when we plan to go – at the end of July.
Italy – Florence, Rome & Venice minimally. There are a lot of great things to do in each city in Italy.

Something that has us leaning towards Spain is the fact that Ashley has not yet been to Spain. We have both been to Paris and the surrounding area, but not up to Normandy. Since plane tickets are still really high ($1500 round trip, each), we have some time to decide, so we ordered a few of books from our favorite publisher – Frommer’s, in order to help with the decision.

Here are the books:

We’ll update you in the coming weeks about what is decided and why!