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Planning My Next Vacation in 2 Easy Steps

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Mississippi River, New Orleans Skyline, Crescent Moon with Earth

It’s about that time. The leaves are turning, the temperature is dropping, and I’m dreaming about next year’s vacations.

I’ve decided the kids and I will be exploring Wyoming for our mother-son trip but considering that won’t be until August of next year I have some time to ponder. Instead, I’m setting my sites on the annual anniversary trip for The Husband and I.

Last year we cruised,

Cruise Ship


The year before, Road trip to Vermont! 

Welcome to Vermont

Welcome to Vermont


Survey says: We need to road trip it again!

After a little discussion, we set our sights on New Orleans. We’ve been talking about going there for years and have never taken the leap. It’s about a 16-hour drivem which isn’t too bad. I’d prefer to fly, but, well, you know.

Anyway, I decided my dreaming phase better turn into a planning phase and fast. I don’t want this hanging over my head through the holiday and then BAM it’s our anniversary. I mean I have a few months (14 years in April!), but you know how time seems to fly nowadays.

So I sat down and stared at Google for a bit. Planning just seemed so overwhelming until I found this article on Mashable: How to Plan Your Next Vacation in One Breezy Sitting. It gave 5 Steps:

1. Decide Where to Go. 


Well, that was easy.

2. Find Affordable Flights

OK, not needed. We’re driving.


3. Budget Hotels

Now we’re talking. I’ve been scoping out a few on Jetsetter (That’s the site I used to find The Essex, which we loved!) and I’m down to 2 I really like. I just need to pull the trigger.

4. Coordinate With Travel Buddies

Ha! The Husband has been informed. lol

I kid, we talked about this a few times already and decide on our trips together — although I’m the one who takes the reins and makes most of the decisions.

5. Itinerary

Nope. No itinerary. I don’t want my trip to be a pressure-filled MUST-see-this to-do list. I always identify a few things I’d like to do and then wing it when I get there.

With our destination selected, all we really have left is picking a hotel.

Looks like I have planning my vacations down to 2 easy steps!

Any and all New Orleans recommendations welcome! We’ve never been! 

Mississippi River, New Orleans Skyline, Crescent Moon with EarthNew Orleans Skyline Image from http://www.astropix.com 

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There are 6 comments so far. Join in on the conversation.


    October 16, 2014

    Lordy mercy! You will LOVE this! I live about 2 hours away and don't get to go nearly as much as I'd like. We are going on the 28th because my son is leaving for basic training on that day, then the husband and I are staying for day-date in the city. The Ruby Slipper... I think on canal st, is really good. Ill verify what street it's on when we are there next week. Cafe Du'monde, of course. There is one NOT in the French Quarter. It is a log quieter and very relaxing. I am not a fan of the quarter. It stinks. And you have to be careful because the street people will trick you (start shining your shoes while you are waiting for whatever and then try to charge you) Also, Kay Lynn just did a great post with some good eats noted from her recent trip http://www.weightchronicles.com/tales-scale-boss-world/ Reply


    October 16, 2014

    I'll leave you one other tip...VRBO (vacation rental by owner) has some sweet deals on places to stay that aren't necessarily hotels. It's a great option. Reply


    October 16, 2014

    French Quarter Festival for 2015 is April 9th-12th. It's one of the best, if not the best, local festivals. Not extremely touristy. Basically a giant block party with awesome FREE music. Food and drink choices are unending with the restaurants, plus vendors are set up everywhere. You should definitely go if that weekend works with your schedule. And you should book your hotel now... they fill up fast. A few suggestions: 1. When my husband and I go, we always book at one of the hotels that's walkable to the French Quarter. Parking is expensive (~$40/night at the hotels), but we walk everywhere or take the trolley or if in a pinch to get further out, take a cab. We hate dealing with finding a parking spot or worrying about car theft. And being so close to the quarter is really nice in the evenings. 2. Go on a ghost tour. They can be about 2 hours long, but are totally worth it if you're into history. You see some beautiful architecture too. 3. Don't worry too much about what you eat :) NOLA food is incredible. And it is a big part of the culture. (I've seen you post a good many meals with pork... in which case I definitely recommend Cochon!). Email me if you want any more specifics. Happy to help. Reply

    Karen Z

    October 17, 2014

    OOH Can't wait to read all the postings and all your info when you get back. We are planning on going in 2015 and have never been there either. Going for the music and more music. Reply


    November 9, 2014

    My favorite thing when I was there was the piano lounge at Pat O'Brien's. Touristy, sure, but it was fun. http://www.patobriens.com/patobriens/neworleans/default.asp Reply


    December 29, 2014

    What are the dates you will be in New Orleans? French Quarter Fest is April 9-12 and you can see tons of free music and eat delicious food all spread throughout the quarter. If you are there on a Saturday night, check out Jeremy Davenport on the 3rd Floor of the Ritz Carlton on Canal Street for some wonderful drinks and dancing. The Windsor Court Hotel also has a cool bar upstairs called the Polo Lounge which is a very leather and cigar and piano kind of place. Frenchman Street for some great music clubs. My favorites are DBA and Maison but you really can't go wrong. Frenchman is on the eastern side of the quarter, take a taxi there and back to the hotel. Go to Molly's at the Market and have a frozen spiked coffee one morning. Drink it while you stroll the quarter. Best hurricanes are at LaFitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar but Pat O'Brien's is great for the experience, they have a really fun patio and dueling pianos inside. I'd suggest Nola for a wonderful dinner one night OR you could go outside the quarter to Commander's Palace for brunch if you are there on a Sunday. If you want a burger, Port of Call is a cool hole-in-the-wall total New Orleans spot, try to go on off hours, though. If you want to go to a great music spot, try Tipitina's on Tchoupitoulas Street (you'll need to take a taxi). If Trombone Shorty is playing anywhere, definitely go see him and I also love Ingrid Lucia but you'll have to check her schedule closer to your trip. Hermes bar at Antoine's is warm and quaint for after dinner, order a milk punch. If you want to go to a plantation, I have been to Laura Plantation which is close and Houma House, both were awesome. I'd stay away from Oak Alley, you'll get a much more authentic experience at the others. Also a swamp tour would be really fun although it may be early for 'gators. And I love Cafe du Monde but if you want a different but equally delicious experience with a shorter line, try Cafe Beignet. Again if you want to venture out a little bit you can go to City Park's Morning Call which is a beautiful spot for a run followed by a morning beignet. I realize this is a lot of info but if you have any questions, feel free to message me! I wish I were going to be there to meet you but I just moved away from NOLA earlier this year :( Enjoy your trip! Reply