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Old 29 Apr 21, 06:59 AM  
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VIP Dibber
Join Date: Nov 10
Location: Falmouth

We are (or were) a family of 4, with boys of 14 and 11 at the time of vacation.
We very much favour USA vacations of the DIY type and I am a prolific researcher of flights, destinations, bucket lists and the like. I spend many hours aimlessly researching and planning vacations, some of which come to fruition and some that do not.

It was a cold, wet May morning and I was both at work and at a loose end, dreaming of more interesting things... namely Vacations. I was looking at possible destinations for Easter of 2017, idly toying with Pensacola. I knew where it was, that there was a fantastic Naval Aviation Museum and that it was very much on the Coast. With a good beach.
Quick research and I found that it had a Margaritaville Hotel, right on that beach, something that might entice my long suffering wife, Mandie. Something for everybody!

My thoughts turned to flights. I had date parameters. I had an objective. I needed something for my boys.. well that bit was easy, so Orlando must figure. I now needed a departure point.. preferably somewhere both cheap and interesting.. Daytona! It has a speedway, we have never been there and it has a beach. perfect.

Google flights beckoned. A quick play and I had what seemed a great price, namely a flight into Pensacola via a 3 hour layover in Atlanta for immigration and customs and then a flight out of Daytona Beach with just a 1 hour, Atlanta layover ... A 16 days split and £415 per person, £1660 including luggage with Delta. (1.32 Dollars to the pound).
It was clearly time to phone Mandie.. and quickly, at that!

A quick call and Mandie confirmed that she had never heard of Pensacola, that she liked Margaritaville, that she was always keen on Orlando and that she had heard of the Daytona 500. I was excited. She was excited, but more importantly we had not discussed how we would get from Pensacola to Daytona Beach.

I put down the phone and booked it there and then. From idle browsing and no plan at all, to buying flights had taken half an hour! Of course this revelation had to go on Facebook. It was only right and proper.

That afternoon, when I got home, we began to fill in the dots between our flights. We came up with the following..

3 nights in Margaritaville to see the Naval Aviation museum.
A drive to Destin and a stay of 2 nights
A drive to 1 night in Tampa to preposition for Busch Gardens
A drive to Davenport, then 9 nights in a villa, to include Discovery Cove and Seaworld.
A drive to Daytona Beach, a look around, then fly home.
That was it!.. nothing more, nothing less… and I hadn’t even mentioned either the USS Alabama at Mobile or the Eglin AFB Armaments museum to Mandie…. Yet.

It was rather fortuitous that we had formed a comprehensive? plan as my phone then rang.
It was some very good friends, Ann and Gary. We have known them many years. Ann, a Police Officer and former colleague and Gary, a very recently retired Naval Officer (aircrew). Ann even introduced me to my wife! Yes, good friends.
Ann does not do fuss and bother. The call was short. She liked the sound of my Facebook plan, wanted the flight details, was coming with us and would be booking her flights ASAP. It was clearly time to invite them.
Ann, Gary and son George were all sorted and the flights booked the very next morning. Ann does not hang about!

A meeting was arranged in order that we could flesh out the plan!.. To be continued...

Edited at 07:01 PM.
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