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Vacation Ideas?
Old 11-04-2004, 10:14 AM   #1
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Vacation Ideas?

OK, I'd like to tap the reservoir of travel that exists among all you retired folks. I'm trying to come up with somewhere to go for a week's worth of vacation in early April. Don't want anything too cold. We will be travelling with a 10 month oldd child, so probably nowhere too exotic. I'm thinking that the continental US probably makes the most sense because of el kiddo. Prefer not to spend a mint.

We have been considering Santa Fe, but really need to do the research. Any other ideas for that time of year?
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Re: Vacation Ideas?
Old 11-04-2004, 11:01 AM   #2
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Re: Vacation Ideas?

Quote:
Any other ideas for that time of year?
Kids and their parents love beaches. As long as your trip doesn't coincide with Spring Break , why not try Cancun or Cozumel? Very Yankee safe, and nicer than Florida. OTOH, California is too cold that time of year for many people.

Just remember the sun screen

Mikey
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Re: Vacation Ideas?
Old 11-04-2004, 11:46 AM   #3
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Re: Vacation Ideas?

Why not look at the cities that are served by these reasonable weekly paid hotels.

http://www.intownsuites.com/locationsindex.asp

There is some warm southern destinations and the price for accommodation is right.

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Re: Vacation Ideas?
Old 11-04-2004, 12:35 PM   #4
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Re: Vacation Ideas?

I would vote to have Dory change the "Retirement Afloat" category to "Travel and Entertainment" so we could all post subjects under that heading. I'd love to hear about money-saving travel tips from others here and things to do or see in different places in the US and around the world that would interest us ER types.

One vice I have is traveling and I probably have more in my travel & entertainment budget than I should. And my post-ER travel and entertainment budget is almost twice what it is today.

As far as traveling with a 10 month old peanut, I would recommend finding a place within a day's drive from your home that your kid would not like as much when s/he gets older. This way you can go to your favorite places now and later when your child is older, you can go to the places s/he will enjoy with you.

For example, we went to Niagara Falls with our 1 year old and spent some time visiting many of the Niagara vineyards sampling the wine. Later, when our child was older, we would take a lot of 3 or 4 day weekends in Cape Cod or the Maine coast. A couple years later, we went to Disney World. We also did cruises and overseas trips, so he is already a world traveler and keeps asking us when our next vacation will be.
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Re: Vacation Ideas?
Old 11-04-2004, 02:02 PM   #5
 
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Re: Vacation Ideas?

I agree that a section for travel tips would be great! For my suggestion, check out Las Vegas - we go twice a year, have a blast, and the cost has ranged from about -$2000 to +$3000 with an average about net $1000 for a week, air-hotel-car-meals. To limit the cost you just have to learn to gamble a fair amount (maybe $5K per day) without losing much. That means blackjack, craps, full-pay video poker and table poker if you steer clear of the local sharks...
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Re: Vacation Ideas?
Old 11-04-2004, 02:09 PM   #6
 
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Re: Vacation Ideas?

Quote:
I agree that a section for travel tips would be great! For my suggestion, check out Las Vegas - we go twice a year, have a blast, and the cost has ranged from about -$2000 to +$3000 with an average about net $1000 for a week, air-hotel-car-meals. To limit the cost you just have to learn to gamble a fair amount (maybe $5K per day) without losing much. That means blackjack, craps, *full-pay video poker and table poker if you steer clear of the local sharks...
CC,

I have to disagree with you here. I think Las Vegas is the worst place I have ever been in my Life.

It's fine if you like to gamble, but most of us in ER here try to stack the odds in our favor as far as investing. The Casinos have the odds stacked in their favor.

Now if you are gambling $5K per day, that looks like a fast way to the poor house to me ???

Are you sure you're on the right forum?


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Re: Vacation Ideas?
Old 11-04-2004, 04:46 PM   #7
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Re: Vacation Ideas?

Santa Fe is nice for shopping for a day or two, with great restaurants. Taos is pretty interesting too, a good walking town. Both of these are well known and probably expensive, but worth seeing.

Las Vegas, NM is an old town with a square, not touristed to death yet, an authentic old western town. Nice to visit for a day.

Another town and area in NM that is very nice is Silver City and the mountains to the north. Silver City is in the Southwest of New Mexico.

I don't know if you are up for a lot of driving, but the road from Moab, UT to Flagstaff, AZ is an overwhelming experience, past Arches National Park, the Painted Desert, and the Grand Canyon. Flagstaff would be a nice place to spend some time exploring.

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Re: Vacation Ideas?
Old 11-04-2004, 05:32 PM   #8
 
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Re: Vacation Ideas?

Cut-throat, I know many will disagree - most of the people I know who have visited LV don't have any desire to return. But for some it offers a fun vacation that can be dirt cheap or even free. (Orleans, which is no Bellagio but a pretty decent hotel, has rooms for $20 in Dec.)

We mostly play 25-cent "full-pay" video poker - you don't expect to win or lose much at it (and can't get a W2G). Many times you can put in $100 and play through $2-3K without losing it. I don't want to bore anyone with the details of playing so-called "advantage" VP - there's plenty of info on sites like wizardofodds.
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Re: Vacation Ideas?
Old 11-05-2004, 12:00 AM   #9
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Re: Vacation Ideas?

Brewer,

I don't know your local weather, but our first post-natal vacation was our local downtown. We barely made it.

If this is your first baby trip, the amount of support gear will make Everest expeditions & D-Day invasions look like a walk in the park. And if you're planning baby air travel, your lifelong friends will pay extra for seats at the opposite end of the plane from you. The worst nightmare is your fourth wakeup (at about 2:30 AM) when you desperately need (insert vital baby supply here) and you realize that you left it at home on the changing table. Long car trips are also impractical when breastfeeding is involved. (Draw your own picture here.)

So travel the shortest distance for suitable weather, preferably leaving when you're rested and just before the kid falls asleep. Leave plenty of schedule flexibility to abort for vital supplies or even abandon the whole idea due to excessive sleep deprivation. No matter how comfortable that front-loading Snuggli seems, bring the stroller.

If you do decide to travel by air, bring at least two diapers per hour of air travel. Then double it. Then sneak in a couple extra diapers where your spouse won't notice, but will be very glad you did.

When you arrive, go for the easy stuff. Try the zoo, the local kiddie park, the hotel pool, or even the beach (no water immersion necessary).

cc,

I have to agree & disagree with you. Vegas has plenty to see & do without gambling, and the eye candy never ends. However Vegas casinos are unsuitable for kids due to their second-hand smoke, let alone the noise levels. But I bet babies would be a great distraction to most blackjack dealers!

Cut-Throat,

I can't disagree that Vegas evokes strong opinions, but I've been to worse places and I don't make fun of any of your chosen fishing spots!

On the gambling aspect, my best feedback is that you haven't read enough to develop an informed opinion. Even at $5/hand, with 60 hands/hour it's no strain to chew through $1000/day in blackjack progression bets. Three-quarters of that money may be the same $25 of chips. Progressive betting coupled with card-counting puts your edge at about 0.5-1% (depending on other table factors), which after four hours of average play would net you a whopping $10-$15. Winning at Vegas is just like winning at stock-picking-- it's hard work even when you optimize the odds.

I agree that casinos put most of the odds in their favor. Blackjack is a major exception and video poker is an even bigger exception. The reason the casinos put up with these two potentially money-losing games is because they attract far more uninformed losers than dedicated winners. It's not as good as it used to be (mid-1990s) and it'll never be the golden age of the 70s-- but the odds can still go to the proficient, patient, and sober gambler. If you don't believe me then take a look at all the legitimate, credible books & strategy cards that the casinos sell in THEIR OWN STORES.

But you'd need a $25 minimum bet to attract the attention of the comp crews (and to reach that $5K/day). For all but the most dedicated, the downside risk just isn't worth the reward unless you're fascinated by the challenge and willing to ride with the swing of the probabilities. I've never played video poker but my understanding from reading the books is that $5K/day is easy to reach, although you don't get back much more than you put in unless you choose a machine with a good payoff and perhaps some additional comps or prizes.

I don't agree with your opinion of this board's posters. In fact, ERs are one of the few segments of society who have the time, discipline, and commitment to devote to profitable gambling. I see it as just one more facet of a diversified investment portfolio and part of everyone's entertainment budget. I can happily while away an hour or two a day practicing card-counting and progressive betting on my computer, and I wish I'd had more Vegas gambling time to see if I'm as brilliant as my software claims I am. But the surf there is lousy, I hate the second-hand smoke, and there are other things that I'd rather do more.

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Re: Vacation Ideas?
Old 11-05-2004, 04:37 AM   #10
 
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Re: Vacation Ideas?

Nords, thanks for backing me up! I was worried that people here would think I was loony.

Some retirees make credible claims of minimum-wage-level "earnings" at VP. I couldn't do that because I get bored and distracted too easily and start making mistakes.

LV is home to many retirees, early and otherwise. I'm surprised there aren't a few members here from LV. My sense is that FIRE and smart, controlled gambling are highly compatible and would appeal to very similar analytical instincts, discipline, etc.

As for smoke, the newer casinos have higher ceilings and good ventilation. Even so, we stay on east coast time and do our playing early before the smoking crowd arrives. That also makes it easier to get on the shrinking pool of full-pay machines.

No argument that LV is definitely NOT for kids though...
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Re: Vacation Ideas?
Old 11-05-2004, 06:05 AM   #11
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Re: Vacation Ideas?

For the record, I have zero interest in LV. Living in NJ ("God's Country"), I have easy access to the "wonders" of Atlantic City any time I like. I've actually set foot in a casino once. You degenerate gamblers may have the place to yourselves.

Nords, we actually took Squeaky with us on a trip to the in-laws (Colorado) when she was three months old. Wasn't that big a deal, since she is a pretty happy camper, and she mostly slept on the plane or sat there smiling. Since I got an upgrade, my wife got to sit in first class with her. Wonder what the first class passengers thought of all that breast-feeding?

The southwest is sounding more and more enticing. I hadn't even thought about the grand canyon or the painted desert. Looks like I will need to do some research.
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Raising a fussy baby
Old 11-05-2004, 11:07 AM   #12
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Raising a fussy baby

I'm jealous, Brewer. Friends of ours backpacked their two in diapers all over Europe. We barely made it from Waipahu to Waikiki, let alone to a neighbor island.

Our kid was the classic fussy baby and the acute/chronic sleep deprivation was worse than anything I ever did on sea duty. We didn't reliably sleep through the night until the middle of the sixth year. So I hesitate to advise "Jes' pack up & go!" to new parents who are still learning to cope. And yes, we were still "learning" after a couple years of it!

Again, I'm perpetually amazed that our offspring survive our attempts to raise them.

But don't worry, TH, I'm sure your testosterone-poisoned boy will be easier to raise than our girl. Just keep telling yourself that. You are sleeping 10-12 hours a night now to build up a reserve, right?
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Re: Vacation Ideas?
Old 11-05-2004, 03:15 PM   #13
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Re: Vacation Ideas?

Quote:
The southwest is sounding more and more enticing. I hadn't even thought about the grand canyon or the painted desert.
The southwest is wonderful for vacationing but I would just be careful where you go in April. If you stay to the low deserts it should be quite warm but Flag, Santa Fe, Taos can still be nippy at that time of year. The plus is there would be less tourists.

We've traveled alot with our boys since they were infants and can't think of too many disastrous things. The younger was not a good sleeper in strange places and we spent a few sleepless nights because of that(we were camping once and he was about 6 mos. He and I spent the night sleeping in the back seat fo the Taurus) but other than that they have been great travelers. THey want to do a Grand Canyon raft trip as soon as they hit the age requirement.

We have found that going to one place and renting a cabin/condo as our base makes for a good trip. You don't have to eat out as often, and there is room to get away from each other when needed.

One of our top trips was traveling Rt 89 through Utah and No AZ. Lots of small towns and beautiful scenery. And we found the BEST ice cream parlor/soda fountain in Logan UT called the Bluebird Cafe. Had the original soda ftn on one wall and original candy case on the opposite, both in great shape. Great ice cream! The boys would have lived there! When we travel I like to do a search of ice cream places worth checking out along our route.

Happy Trails,
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Re: Vacation Ideas?
Old 11-09-2004, 12:18 PM   #14
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Re: Vacation Ideas?

I've traveled extensively for work and pleasure (like my name says) and have a few favorite destinations.

I'm in northern California and generally the weather from mid-April through May is pretty nice along the coast. Monterey, Carmel, up to San Francisco, Fort Bragg, and Mendocino are all good choices, although it will can be a bit chilly with the chance of a late season rain shower or two.
There's a development of homes right on the ocean called "Sea Ranch" that rents out nice, spacious houses (that come with dishes, linens, fireplace, hot tubs) for as little as two or three days. You have coastal views, walking trails, the dramatic Pacific coastline, local restaurants and historic sites. Used to be one of my favorite spots until we built a place in the San Juan Islands and spent all of our free time there.

San Diego is another great vacation destination. I lived there for ten years and every time I go back to visit my mom I'm amazed at how perfect the climate usually is. Stay at one of the nice hotels on Mission Bay or one of the funky places in Pacific Beach or if you can swing it, the fancy Hotel Del Coronado on Coronado Island. One of the loveliest spots in the U.S. In San Diego you'll have access to all sorts of cool sites: the zoo, beaches, Old Town with wonderful shopping and great Mexican restaurants, Tijuana (good for a day trip, but don't drive into Mexico), Legoland (although your child is too young to appreciate it), Sea World, the newly-opened Midway aircraft carrier on the downtown waterfront.

Moab down to Flagstaff was mentioned in an earlier post. One of the most beautiful drives in America with plenty to see and do, but again, could be cold and even snowing in April.

Finally, consider the Florida Panhandle and Gulf Coast. The stretch from Panama City to Pensacola has what locals call the "world's most beautiful beaches". Unless the hurricanes wiped them out, they may still be something to see. Rent a place on the water (like in the upscale town of Seaside) and take day trips from there or just hang out. It's a place I'd like to go back to and if you can plan your trip to avoid the spring break crowd, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Bon voyage.

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Old 11-09-2004, 06:45 PM   #15
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Re: Vacation Ideas?

ShokWaveRider,

Are InTownSuites pretty good? Have you personally used them? They look decent from the website and the price is right.
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Old 11-09-2004, 08:43 PM   #16
 
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Re: Vacation Ideas?

I have been all over the USA and truly, no particular place springs to mind, although many good ones have been mentioned here. Must disagree strongly with
Cut-Throat about Las Vegas. I love it, although not
necessarily my first choice. I worked with several
people who thought it was the greatest place on the
planet.

As far as traveling with small children, I would prefer
to have root canal work without anesthetic

John Galt
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Old 11-09-2004, 08:58 PM   #17
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Re: Vacation Ideas?

My wife and I liked Vegas too. We didn't like the casinos, and you're forced to walk through them to get anywhere. They were kind of dark, smoky, and depressing, and the entrances were full of obnoxious hawkers who really get in your face. But we enjoyed all the glitz, the lights, the shows, the people watching, the great view from our room (we stayed at the Treasure Island with a terrific view of the strip), the great food, the sights, etc. Definitely not a place for kids though, yet there were a ton of them there - mostly playing in the pools. Although we had a great time, we wouldn't go back - it's a one-time deal.
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Re: Vacation Ideas?
Old 11-10-2004, 05:05 AM   #18
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Re: Vacation Ideas?

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Are InTownSuites pretty good? Have you personally used them? They look decent from the website and the price is right.
I must confess, I have not actually stayed there. But they were recommended to me by my mail forwarding service in Jacksonville.

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Re: Vacation Ideas?
Old 11-11-2004, 12:10 PM   #19
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Re: Vacation Ideas?

Since we have more or less settled on Santa Fe, I was strting to cast around for a place to stay. The places on www.vrbo.com look pretty nice and some of the prices are very attractive. A 2BR furnished house for $700 a week would be ideal, especially since we will probably have in-laws trekking down from Denver.
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Re: Vacation Ideas?
Old 11-11-2004, 02:12 PM   #20
 
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Re: Vacation Ideas?

Santa Fe is excellent. Not too big, not too small.
Maybe a little too artsy-fartsy for me, but still.
Actually, I really like New Mexico in general. I'll
tell you though................inside the USA, if I could have
Michigan without the cold weather, now that would be
bliss. Truly.

John Galt
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