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Old 14 Sep 19, 07:35 PM  
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WileyCoyote
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From the Bayou to the Beach. The 4 state Alien Free Adventure October 2019

Welcome to the latest trip report

Its been quite a time since the last trip



Regular Readers will know that after returning from Dubai, I had my alien baby extracted aka the ovarian tumour and have been on the slow and blinking painful road to recovery for the best part of this year.

But we donít dwell on that anymore - its in the past and that is where it will stay.

I did write a blog about my journey and recovery which I published a little while ago - if you know anyone in need of a pick me up on their hysterectomy journey do pm me and I can send you the link.

I called it ď its not all piles and pilatesĒ- kinda sets the tone

And so we are moving forward and I am thankful I am fit enough to be taking this trip. This is us.



We are off for 3 and a bit weeks - hubby insists this makes it a 4 week trip, I am adamant it is 3. Precision is everything

We have old favourites and some places we hope may become new favourites and lots of downtime as I am quite tired with no break since starting back to work in the Spring and just general life stuff.

No trip would be complete without some drama and as usual August did not disappoint with its over generous sharing of obstacles to overcome.

Honestly itís a month that just needs to do one.

DS1 has recently started work after leaving university. Its been such a journey for him and we are immensely proud of his achievement and determination.

He has the honour of being dog and house minder while we are away. He is looking forward to lots of pizza and peace

DS2 has returned to uni . Having fully embraced student life and returning home completely skint he has been working in a local pub over the summer. The house is much quieter without him

Ah, there is so much more but its not womanís weekly is it, you only want the gory trip details

Because I am so efficient I did a summary of the hotels and costs

I am too good to you

Its not a budget trip but its not a break the bank one either. Middle of the road- a bit like our playlist

So here is the rundown

Flights are with Norwegian - mainly because we booked so early we were able to bag Andy one of the seats that has great leg room without having to pay premium.

Just watch that go all Pete Tong now I have mentioned it

LGW-MCO and return TPA-LGW £914 for lowfare plus(meals and 1 hold luggage) - and with priority boarding and extra bags on the return journey


Gatwick PI South £92.50 1 night with breakfast and no parking

Orlando Point Orlando Suites £143 2 nights with breakfast and parking

New Orleans Bourbon Orleans £540 3 nights no breakfast or parking

Shreveport Remington Suite £163 1 night with breakfast, parking extra

Baton Rouge Hilton Capital Centre £167 1 night with breakfast, parking extra

Jekyll Island Hampton Inn £130 1 night with breakfast and parking

Hilton Head Island Sonesta Resort £152 plus $25 fee resort 1 night no breakfast and parking extra

Charleston Francis Marion £188 1 night no breakfast, parking extra but wine and cheese in the evening

Savannah Planters Inn £149 I night with breakfast but parking extra

Palm Coast AirBNB £702 for 7 nights

Bradenton AirBNB £895 for 5 nights

Yeah some eye watering ones in there - HHI, Charleston and Savannah are incredibly expensive places and there was no tempting himself to try out the ďcharming tiny house on goat microfarmĒ in Charleston so options limited.

Airbnb really only works if you stay enough nights to warrant the service fees too.

The place in Bradenton is OMG amazing and flipping massive but it was in the perfect location and after many fruitless searches we had a to hell with the cost moment.

Seriously - its an awesome place.

Car hire has been sorted by Andy so I am not sure of the costs - we have one the day we arrive and the next day in Orlando, then one for pootling round Louisiana (but not New Orleans), and then one that we have from Orlando right through to leaving Tampa.

I am fairly sure its around the £500 mark for all of it but will update when I can find the booking

The plan originally was just Florida - but its my birthday and I ran a poll on Instagram that 100% agreed I should go to New Orleans and have cocktails there on my birthday - so you see it wasnít my fault at all

Then Disney went and announced the whole Galaxyís Edge thing and we had a surreal conversation like this

Him - so are we going to that new bit then
Me- but you donít like Disney
Him- No but you do
Me- and you donít like Star Wars
Him-No but I will put up with it for you
Me - and you donít really like people either - and there will be the rest of the known universe all pushing and shoving
Him- hmmmmm
Me- and the park opens at 6am so we need to get up at 4am
Him - you are not really selling it to me are you
Me- I could go on my own
Him - FOMO alert - no I would really want to go
Me- No you will hate it
Him- yeah probably

So that was that - we did revisit this many times and at one point I almost pressed the book button for one night at ASM to get fastpasses and then we worked out that one night plus tickets would cost more than my entire trip to DLP in November and even the amazing Disney maths couldnít make that work !

I have said that we will go once RoTR is open.

So thatís in the bag for next year .

Not sure I mentioned that to him though - when I mean I have said , Its actually I have said in my head so that makes it a fact. Obviously.

See what I did there

A Trip to DLP in November AND pegging a park visit next year. Nice one !

Anyway , back to the trip

So. It is to be a no park affair and thatís cool - since my surgery I still struggle a little and only recently managed to twist my hip so I am happy to leave it a little while longer before being more adventurous

That took us back to the plan - Still mainly Florida and then adding in New Orleans .

But if we are in Louisiana, I feel the need to see my uncle .

In 2017 we made the trip to see him and managed to face time my Dad and My Gran - neither of whom he had seen for many years.

Sadly, in the space of 6 months from August last year both my Gran and my Dad passed away. The latter being particularly devastating and even typing this it hurts so much to know he has gone.

My uncle (my Dadís elder brother) has also himself not been well so it feels really important that we see him this time around. It puts a 2 day trip in but time is nothing really and we will get to see some new places on the way .

Mixing all that up then and here is what comes out the other end

Pre Travel Day - in theory this should be stress free as there is no need to clean or really do anything as DS is staying at home.

Well lets see how that goes . At some point we are off to the PI at Gatwick and no doubt will arrange a re mortgage to eat and drink there before the flight.

Travel Day -Flight is mid morning so I have booked the No1 Lounge to enjoy after our PI breakfast. All fingers crossed Norwegian donít go bust or that they swop the plane as we have decent seats

I bought Andy this birthday card but in reality I was thinking of me as he will be the sleeping passenger.



WE arrive in Orlando mid afternoon - or possibly sometime that night depending on queues and are at the Point Suites which were great the last time we stayed

Day 1 - well this is just shop shop and shop and have steak dinner. Its my dream Orlando day.

Day 2 - early doors flight to New Orleans so I can get straight on the cocktails. Afternoon of Jazz, sunshine and just living it up in NOLA . Life will be good

Day 3 - I think this features a cemetery trip because who doesnít like spending their holidays looking at dead peoples tombstones and a walk around the Garden District.

Andy does not yet know this- I have just said we are taking a trip out to Mothers from Man V Food and neglected to include the other bits . Day 3 ends with an evening on Frenchmen Street

Day 4 - Its my birthday



Lunch is booked at Court of Two Sisters and no doubt Prinks at Hermes will be a feature.

Afternoon highly likely to end in an old persons birthday nap.

Because why not ?



Day 5 - Pick up the car and drive to Shreveport - about a 5 hour drive so we plan to stop at Nachitoches (you say it Nack-a-tish, which is obvious isnít it)
Its famous for Fattys Meat Pies and being the set of Steel Magnolias

From there we may or may not follow some of the Bonnie and Clyde routes (if you watched the Highwaymen on Amazon Prime you will know Gibsland in Louisiana was the scene of their demise and this whole area was part of their patch)

Shreveport is pretty run down and has a big casino thing going on near the Air Force base so we may spend some time there (the casino, not the air force base, that would be a v v bad sat nav error)

Day 6 - See my uncle and then drive back towards New Orleans but stop over at Baton Rouge - this was one of my Dadís favourite places and the hotel has some association with JFK as well. So we are spending the evening here.

Day 7 - early doors drive to NO Airport and flight back to Orlando - which is quite short but we cross a thousand time zones and lose half a day . Not really but we deffo lose some time.

Pick up car and drive to Jekyll Island stopping at Jacksonsville for dinner.

The hotel on Jekyll has one of those wooden walkways to the driftwood beach.

I am going to go all Nicole Kidman and be like in the movies barefoot on the beach.

Expect A&E drama to follow

Day 8 - I have us down for the impossibly exciting treat of seeing the famous Lovers Oak Tree ( its just a tree innit) and then driving on to Hilton Head Island via Tybee .

I say via but its across bridges and not really en route but I would like to go there. It is possible driver enforced detour may occur .

From Tybee on to HHI and the Sonesta Resort for some chilling out

Day 9 - After the excitement of yesterdayís tree, today has in store a lighthouse.

Honestly Andy just doesnít know how lucky he is that I do all this planning and at 6í4Ē I cant wait to see him navigate that spiral staircase.

I predict he will blimmin love it. Not.

Assuming we have not divorced at the summit it is then on to Charleston.

I am hoping to get there in enough time to do an early evening carriage tour and fit in a few wine bars.

Could be a challenge.

I also have some thing called the Top Ten Instagram spots for Charleston so of course will have to do that = it involves cocktails and rooftop bars.

Pray for me

Day 10 - mooching about around Charleston for a bit, do like a good mooch me and then on to Savannah.

More mooching ensues. Especially as I havenít actually planned this bit.

Day 11 - Well, could be anything as I donít know what we did on day 10 yet but sometime in the afternoon we head off to Palm Coast .

I vaguely recall thinking we might stop at Walmart and the St Augustine Outlets on the way. Cunning Plan yes?

Day 12 - Just chilling in the lovely condo that overlooks the intra-coastal waterway. Have expectations of seeing the dolphins while having my coffee on the balcony.

Day 13 - Vague plans to hire a boat. That should go swimmingly (see what I did there) - then either spend the evening around the marina or the local cheese and wine bar. Choices, choices

Day 14 - Day trip to St Augustine. No plan. Have seen they do those Scoot car things so quite fancy that.

Need to up my planning game for this day

Day 15 - A trip to the local state park.

Or not.

Will depend whether I have mutiny on my hands at more tree hugging tours.

Day 16 - this is a doing nothing day.

And it will be great

I predict a trip to the Flagler Beach Wine Bar.

Day 17- the start of Daytona October Bike Fest so we will no doubt spend some time looking at lots of Sons of Anarchy biker types and Andy will point enthusiastically at lots of engines to which I will nod sagely.

This will be his tree revenge.

Day 18 - yeah a bit tricky - I think we may be back in Orlando but not sure

Day 19 - Today we head off to the Gulf Coast via Ellenton and more supermarket sweep stuff.

Arrive at our fabbo Villa and decided whether we really should try out the all included kayaks.

Day 20 A day around Bradenton - farmers markets, flea markets, brewing companies.

Pretty perfect I say

Day 21 Anna Maria Island - we may not want to leave

Day 22 - Exploring North Port and Port Charlotte - we have been advised to visit Gatorz Biker Bar for the wings.

We may not get to day 23

Day 23 - pretty much like day 22.

Day 24 - Coming home day - flight is not until 9pm from Tampa so a whole day to chill out at the Villa and maybe a last outlet trip if the cases have any space.

If I was more organised I would have had photos to add to each day.


I will try very hard to put some better ones in before we go.

If you read all the way through that rambling nonsense - you need to get out more!

I am sure it will be an amazing trip.

The cases are out.
I am packing light.
I have NOT, repeat NOT, purchased any new dresses.

I do have the most ridiculous oversized hat that I have no idea how its going to make the trip as I will look a complete pillock wearing it around Gatwick in the no doubt subzero weather on departure day

I havenít done APIs yet and we have visas so I donít need to sweat it on the Esta front.

We have two cases going out but they will have cases in them for the return.

Of course there will be lots of cubes . I did buy new ones of those.

We are off two weeks tomorrow

Better get on with the rest of the planning then hadnít I



The Food trip restaurant list is HERE

Edited at 09:46 PM.
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Old 14 Sep 19, 07:45 PM  
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Cutiepie
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Sounds like a great trip Amanda. I hope you & Andy have a fab time and I will look forward to the report on your return
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Old 15 Sep 19, 08:25 AM  
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WileyCoyote
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Originally Posted by Cutiepie View Post
Sounds like a great trip Amanda. I hope you & Andy have a fab time and I will look forward to the report on your return
Thank you Kelly. Hope all is good with you xx
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Old 15 Sep 19, 08:34 AM  
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I hope you have a fantastic birthday with lots of tasty cocktails. It does seem like you've got a great trip coming up with lots of downtime, but lots of yummy food and drink too. The packing cubes are really going to come into their own with all the different hotels you're going to be staying at.
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Old 15 Sep 19, 08:34 AM  
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WileyCoyote
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A beach holiday? Are we mad?

Prompted by a post on another thread I realise I was remiss in not explaining quite how we have ended up with two weeks on the Florida Coasts when, quite simply, we canít abide sand




Yes two things Andy doesnít like. Star Wars and Sand in your unmentionables.

Anyhoo. We wanted to see the coasts but are not staying on the actual beaches. Close enough to no doubt attract several tonnes of it in the car and cases but far enough not to be eating it with our burgers every time the wind changes direction. Ugh who remembers grit in your sarnies on day trips to the beach

This will be a first for us to have this much time in proximity to the grainy stuff. Should be fun

That is all. Keep calm and carry on planning.

Edited at 08:36 AM.
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Old 15 Sep 19, 08:35 AM  
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That sounds like a great trip that you have (not) planned Amanda! Thereís a lot to it, so I can understand why you havenít quite finished the plan.

Weíve got a short trip to Washington ahead of us soon, and Iíve hardly done any planning for it all yet. Martinís away in China this week for work, so you can guess what my task is while heís away. Iím not convinced Iíll have done much though.

Am loving Andyís birthday card. And your plan for cocktails and shopping of course. See, youíve planned more than you think!

There is a shocker in this pre-trippie though - no new dresses?
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Old 15 Sep 19, 10:17 AM  
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Sounds so good, I totally agree with you on the sand, we all hate it, love the idea of the beach and looking at it, but no to the sand lol We are starting our trip next year going up the Gulf coast but can't see us stepping foot on the beaches. Your whole trip sounds amazing, can't wait to read your full report, you must be really looking forward to it after such a tough year. Plenty of cocktails on your birthday I'm sure, it's the law
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Old 15 Sep 19, 12:06 PM  
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Can you tell me who you are flying to New Orleans with ? We have just booked flights to Orlando with no plan what to do when we get there,but your side trip has given me an idea!
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Old 15 Sep 19, 01:44 PM  
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Looking forward to reading your Flagler Beach day. We love Washington Oaks Park and Beach Belly Bobs, can't think of anybody else who has been there! Have a great time.
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Old 15 Sep 19, 01:48 PM  
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Originally Posted by Love*my*hols View Post
Can you tell me who you are flying to New Orleans with ? We have just booked flights to Orlando with no plan what to do when we get there,but your side trip has given me an idea!
Hello
Yes itís with Southwest. I find their fares best as itís all included. Spirit always look cheap but if you add on bags, they never beat Southwest for what we want. The schedule from Orlando to New Orleans is quite limited. Flight times are a bit
We have paid £350 for our return flights with bags included.
Happy planning
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