Friday, November 14, 2008

Where to Vacation when you Never Vacation

We're pretty lame about traveling. We've been married for ten years and Nadine and I have vacationed to Mazatlan once. Our honeymoon was a drive up the coast from Orange County to Carmel and back. Since we had our daughter, we've flown up to Seattle and Vancouver once- that was pretty cool. Cole is now 3 and our kids have been on perhaps a combined 6 airplane flights. Our normal "vacation" is a week in California visiting Sea World, Disneyland or the beach. Pretty cool destinations if you live in Iowa or Katmandu, but considering that I grew up 20 minutes from Disneyland and lived in San Diego for 5 years, it's pretty boring.

When I was a kid, it was quite the opposite. My dad was a career Army officer so we as a family visited a lot of the places he had been in his youth. You know, stuff that all kids get to see- like France and Germany and Austria and Guatemala. My mom's Korean so I've done the 16+ hour flight across the Pacific. We went to Tahitii, Hawaii, Washington DC, St. Louis, New York City, Atlanta, Yosemite, The Grand Canyon. Didn't you go on extravagant vacations as a youth? And didn't your parents pull you out of school in February to go on such trips?

So unfortunately, my own family is the complete opposite of the one of my youth.

Well, we are officially planning a vacation for early 2009. A family vacation, and we're on a budget. So when I do my internet research, of course the hot destinations are Hawaii, Florida, or Cruises. But why is it that there are no guides for vacation destinations by month or by budget? Or am I simply looking in the wrong places? I get my mind set on a destination and then some yokel tells me that the best month to go there is August, or some other month besides the month we're planning on going. The bottom line is that there is ALWAYS somewhere cool to go for each month of the year and for each budget and for each climate desired. So why can't I find it?

Here's what I'd like to see: a website where you put these criteria
  • your home location
  • your family size
  • your budget
  • the month you want to travel
  • the number of days you want to vacation
Then, when you hit "submit", the results will show a few domestic and a few foreign destinations that are appropriate for that month. The results will show the various general costs associated with getting there (flight, train, boat), the reasons why those locations were selected. And if it turns out that you can't take 4 people to Kenya for 14 days on a $3000 budget, then it should show what you can get for that amount of money.

The most important criteria should be the desirability of that location for that month- period. Or heck, if my own opinion is not what everyone else wants, then perhaps you rank your search criteria based on level of importance.

Wouldn't that be cool? Where can I find this?

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