In August of this year we are taking our first family trip since May of 2018, which is a long time for the Krafts to go without a vacation! In true Kraft family style we are planning a national park and roadtrip-based vacation.
Over the last few months I have been gathering pins on Pinterest of places to go and things to do in the general region we will be visiting. These places include:
- Acadia National Park (here, here, and here)
- Bar Harbor (here and here)
- Maine (here)
- Montreal (here, here, and here)
- Ottawa (here and here)
- Toronto (here, here, and here)
- Ontario (here, here)
- Niagara Falls (here, here, and here)
I then compiled my list of places that looked interesting in a word document. Example of my list below.
From there I listed all the dates of travel, opened up my Roadtrippers app, and starting plugging in the locations and attractions on particular dates, taking into account the travel time to each location.
For example, we will be spending 4 days in Acadia/Bar Harbor and then driving to Montreal. Montreal is a 6.5 hour drive and it’s a beautiful part of the country, so I assume we will want to stop along the way. We also stop every 2 hours when we roadtrip with the baby (we learned this trick on our trip to pick up Aurora), so this very well may be a long travel day. Instead of driving into the big city potentially late at night, I am planning for us to spend the night in Sherbrooke, right outside Montreal, and then drive in early in the morning. Not only is the hotel cheaper (and super nice!) but we will be able to enjoy our evening instead of frantically trying to find parking in the city right around Parker’s bedtime.
Once we had our days tentatively planned out, it was time to book our flights and hotels. We are about 2 months out from our trip, so in our world we are a little behind on booking flights. We ended up deciding to fly into Boston and out of Buffalo, which also had the potential to add in a lot of cost for one-way tickets. Luckily, we found a cheap $100 direct flight to Boston. As we have mentioned before, we love flying with Southwest as they always make our flying experience *almost* painless. We were unable to find a direct flight back out of Buffalo, but did find a flight that touches down briefly in Chicago and then gets back in the air and straight on to Dallas for $188.
As for hotels, some were chosen from recommendations on Pinterest and blog articles, some were convenience, and some were from previous experiences with hotel chains. We are Hilton Honors members and always like Hilton Garden Inns, so that’s where we’re staying in Montreal. Especially when traveling to a foreign country it’s nice to have a little continuity. In Bar Harbor, however, we will be staying at the Bar Harbor Inn and Spa, highly recommended for families in several travel blogs. Most of the other hotels in this area were already sold out this week, and this hotel ended up being quite pricy. If you are traveling to this region I would recommend booking your hotel EARLY.
We typically book all of our hotels through Orbitz, who has decent prices, generally good cancellation policies, and gives us “Orbucks” to use toward future purchases.
We also went ahead and booked our rental car with Enterprise using my work discount code. As we have mentioned before, if you are booking a rental car we would highly recommend using a large rental agency as the smaller ones often have shady business practices (read more about this here). Unfortunately there was a significant upcharge since we are dropping the car off in a different city.
After booking all of our hotels, the only thing left to do is our packing lists and finalizing our itinerary for each day! We usually leave a little flexibility in case we discover exciting things along the way, or if we want to spend a little more time in a particular location.
I will share more about our packing lists later, and of course we will have a #travelbackthursday post once we return from our trip!