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Unread 8 Mar 18, 12:12 AM  
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****So lets update****

Flights are booked what next. Well much discussion. More discussion. Decisions decisions. In fact I changed my mind again only a few weeks ago but I think this is the final version.

So as said we fly into Boston however the general consensus was there was no appetite to return to the city. Eldest son was joining us this trip but equally he wasnt interested in heading to Beantown.
Therefore we arrive at Boston airport and head straight to the car rental and drive to New York.

3 nights New York
1 night Washington
1 night Chincoteague
3 nights Shenandoah
2 nights Pigeon Forge
1 night Savannah
4 nights Orlando
4 nights Anna Maria Island
3 nights Miami

Thats the plan - what do you think? Lots of driving but thats not an issue for us. We have a couple of really long drives but itll just be an early morning start and a long day which weve done before.
Would have liked longer in New York but I think, know we will be back here in the future
To say we have 3 weeks its still ended up being a tight itinerary but I guess when you have longer you fit more in.

All the hotels are now booked, some Im really happy with, some less so but Ive tried to get free cancellation on as many as I can.

Car rental has been a nightmare, the one way charges would make a grown man cry but in the end I had to bite the bullet and pay. To cut the costs as much as possible I have split the car hire. We pick up our Thrifty rental in Boston and drop off on our first full day in Orlando and pick up a Hertz rental the same day for the rest of the holiday. Even this totalled 1,111. See why the tears!
I checked a week after wed booked and it had gone up 300 - crazy prices. We did want a 7 seater, with 5 of us and luggage and a long road trip it seemed only reasonable.

I booked with Thrifty last year and the problem is with this company you pay through the nose for tolls. However I couldnt find another company that came close on price so even with toll costs Ive had to book with them again. Im going to look at routes to see if its possible to travel on either toll free roads or if theres an option to pay rather than using the toll pass.

Hotel update to follow...
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2017 Two Countries and Eleven States Trip Report

2006 1st trip to Florida 2008 The return 2009 Its Florida again 2010 Florida again! 2011 Yes! Florida 2013 Florida please! 2015 Back to Florida 2016 California! 2017 New York (and beyond) 2018 East Coast Road Trip 2019 Florida one last time ... again!
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Unread 12 Mar 18, 05:32 PM  
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Unread 22 Apr 18, 04:29 PM  
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So lets update again no.2 for those who are counting!

I was musing on what I and other Dibbers no doubt hear often which is variations on the what America again? when I tell them our holiday plans.
I respond accordingly as in well you like Greece or Canaries or whatever but I wonder is it they are wondering how we afford it (lots of savings and canny hotel and flight booking) or they have no interest in going and wonder why we keep returning or is it they have no idea of the different kinds of holidays you can have in just one country.
We have been 9 times out of the past 11 family holidays with additional long weekends in Europe and in UK. 7/9 have been to Florida with the other 2 to California and NYC, Washington etc.
I am clearly a fan as are our 3 boys, DH less so but gets dragged along and has a good time there.

The trouble is the other holidays we have had in France and Greece have just not lived up to our US trips. Yes theyve been cheaper but if we can afford to go to America but probably not get a new car then I know which Id rather be doing.

Our 2 youngest have only really known American style road trips, even in Florida we travel round and only usually have 4or 5 Days in Orlando (sorry Dibbers ) because theres so much to see.

Yes we love theme parks (who doesnt! ) but we love the beach too and have fallen in love with AMI. For me I cant think of many more perfect memories than walking along that beach at sunset after an evening at the Rod n Reel.


I know lots of people just want the Disney bubble and I get that, or they just want to stay in Orlando and god knows theres more than enough to do there for 3 weeks!

But America is more than Florida for us as Florida is more than Orlando but thats not to say we wont be back in the RPR for our Universal fix and Int Drive for the mini golf, Bahama Breeze and just general buzz in August.

And this is what keeps bringing us back but also pushes us to visit new places and explore more of this amazing country. I dont think we will or I will ever be done. This year will be about having a little more NY time, but also exploring the Shenandoah NP, Virginia and Smokey Mountains as well.

This maybe our last trip for a while if DH has his way and we get on with the house extension weve been talking about for the past few years. But Im still sneakily hoping for a reprieve and an Easter 2019 trip if the prices are right before DS goes to high school in the September. We will see.
If this is the last for a while then we are going out in style!
Plans are in place now and all hotels are booked, tickets sorted and Im hunting down Groupon bargains like a woman posssessed!

Ill update properly next time with hotels all 10 of them
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2017 Two Countries and Eleven States Trip Report

2006 1st trip to Florida 2008 The return 2009 Its Florida again 2010 Florida again! 2011 Yes! Florida 2013 Florida please! 2015 Back to Florida 2016 California! 2017 New York (and beyond) 2018 East Coast Road Trip 2019 Florida one last time ... again!
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Unread 21 Jun 18, 09:13 PM  
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less than 5 weeks to go!

Clearly I had more time to update my pretripee last year, new job and the time of year has impacted on trip planning this time around.

Anyway let me take you through my itinerary.

Day 1 Travel Day

We plan on setting off to Manchester about 1.30 am to get there for 3 to give us 3hrs booking in time for a 5.55 am flight.
Weve booked Meet & Greet for 59 for the 24 days which I was happy with.
We did discuss staying overnight in Manchester the night before but not many rooms for 5 and what there was was dear. Otherwise it was 2 rooms and because we would still have to get up at silly o clock decided to stay put and just get up and drive.
Right then flights!
We are flying with KLM to Amsterdam where we plan on having breakfast in the 3 hrs we have there.
Then onto a Delta codeshare flight at 11.15 to Boston. Not been with Delta before but been able to book seats free of charge so already a winner for me! Due to get to Boston just after 1 hoping thats the case as we then are driving to NYC!

We have booked a full size SUV which I think were going to need for this epic trip.

As we should be suitably fed and watered we expect to drive straight through although possibly via a Walmart for road trip supplies!
Then onto New York hopefully arrive around 7pm. We are staying here in LIC

Rooms for 5 again tend to be less available and we dont mind budget as long as its safe and clean. We will barely be there apart from to sleep and there is car parking too which is helpful a lot of Manhattan hotels dont. This looks ok but I guess we will see.
The idea is to head into Times Square area for a quick look and for food but will have to see if were all done by then.

So thats day 1 - day 2 to follow shortly
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2017 Two Countries and Eleven States Trip Report

2006 1st trip to Florida 2008 The return 2009 Its Florida again 2010 Florida again! 2011 Yes! Florida 2013 Florida please! 2015 Back to Florida 2016 California! 2017 New York (and beyond) 2018 East Coast Road Trip 2019 Florida one last time ... again!
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Unread 21 Jun 18, 11:49 PM  
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Cont.. less than 5 weeks to go!


Day 2 and 3
We only have 2 full days in New York on this trip but we had 4 nights last October so did see quite a lot then.
However our eldest son wasnt able to join us in October so this trip has been about trying to do the things he most wanted to. He isnt bothered about going up the SOL which is good as we did that last time and does eat into the time. He wants to do most of the usual sights though so we are planning on 9/11, ESB, Brooklyn Bridge, Staten Island ferry to see SOL, Grand Central etc with bike booked to cycle Central Park on the 2nd day. We loved this last time so that was a must the other things weve done but happy to revisit.

Other than that our youngest is desperate to see the Ghostbusters Firehouse 😂 and Id like to visit Greenwich Village and Madison Sq Gardens. The rest is up for grabs.

Day 4
Drive to Washington for a night. Im planning on an early departure from NYC to hopefully get there with time to see the White House and some of the Memorials. I think the circulator bus might be an option to help get around the sights. This does feel like a rerun of last year as we are even staying at the same hotel! Holiday Inn in Arlington.

Last year we had free parking but not now sadly but its a nice location and a good sized room with metro nearby.

Day 5
Drive to Chincoteague island in Virginia for 1 night. Staying at Americas Best Value Inn. This is my indulgence, we should have had 2 nights in Washington but Misty of Chincoteague was one of my favourite books growing up and to be so near (relatively) and not go seemed crazy so we have 1 night on the island. Basically for those not in the know Assateague is a National Park where wild horses roam.

Every year they round up a number of the horses to sell to keep the herd numbers under control and swim the ponies across the channel between Assateague and Chincoteague. This takes place just before we arrive but Im not too bothered we miss it as the island is packed then.

Day 6,7,8
We then travel to the Shenandoah National Park for 3 nights staying at the Skyland resort. We stayed in Yosemite in a cabin but this is a little less primitive, bathroom and a tv so the youngsters will be happy!

We plan on chilling and hiking and celebrating DHs birthday here.

Day 9,10
We have our biggest travel day down to Pigeon Forge in Tennessee.
Staying at the Norma Dan Motel for 2 nights.

Its going to be an all dayer so we will need plenty of supplies and an early start. We hopefully get there late afternoon for a swim and relax. Possibly moonshine tasting at the Sugarlands Distillery if were up to it.

Other than that we are planning a hike and possibly some mini golf. Ive spotted some outlets so may have to indulge in a spot of retail therapy 😉.

And thats it for the first part of the trip Ill complete the rest soon.
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2017 Two Countries and Eleven States Trip Report

2006 1st trip to Florida 2008 The return 2009 Its Florida again 2010 Florida again! 2011 Yes! Florida 2013 Florida please! 2015 Back to Florida 2016 California! 2017 New York (and beyond) 2018 East Coast Road Trip 2019 Florida one last time ... again!
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Unread 23 Jun 18, 11:04 PM  
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** latest update!

Well whilst on a bit of a roll thought I might as well complete the itinerary.

Day 11 Pigeon Forge to Savannah
Another looooong Drive today - the last of them though DH will be pleased to hear. I am again hoping for an early start and be on our way to get to Savannah in reasonable time to have a swim and wander out for food. Any recommendations?

We are staying at the Hampton Inn in the Historic District. It looks nice and gets good reviews as well as being near restaurants and in the centre. Not sure what time we will have to see anything in Savannah and I propbably need to do some research to see if theres any must sees. Surely there are for such an historic southern city?

I read somewhere that the further south you go the further north you are in Florida. A reflection on how Florida doesnt have the same personality as Georgia and the other southern states. Im hoping the further north we are the further south we will get to get that southern vibe.

Day 12 Savannah to Orlando
Finally we get there back to Florida for the last part of our trip which really constitutes the 2nd half of it. This day is still under discussion whether to head straight to Orlando after breakfast, explore a bit more in Savannah before heading off or stop en route, St Augustine has been suggested. Weve been once before and really liked it but not sure its worth just going for a couple of hours. I think after all our long drives it might be good to get home and chill even if we cant check in immediately we can go for a swim at the hotel or even head to Volcano Bay for a few hours of its a bit quieter late afternoon.
We are staying at Homewood Suites, IDrive.

Weve stayed all over in different years but this was our choice last time and we all liked its situation, the rooms, the pool and free evening reception was nice too!

Day 13 Seaworld
Fairly self explanatory. The youngest 2 were desperate to go back and despite reservations we caved. We have got a deal for 2 parks (BG will be the other) with all day dining which we havent done before. Will let you know how that goes.

Day 14 Volcano Bay
Like it says. Never been before so excited about trying this out. Not really done water parks, only been to Aquatica once as didnt feel it was worth it when the youngest 2 were small.

Day 15 Universal
We check out of IDrive and head to the very lovely RPR in club level this time for the first time which were all quite giddy about. Thank you to Scottishnellie for the recent updates! Were all big Universal fans so it will be a general round up of our favourites I guess. Hoping to check in early and straight in for the day, back to the hotel for a swim in the afternoon, club level refresh and then back out.

Day 16 Universal and onto AMI
Early park entry and onto any other rides we missed or want to do again. Back to the hotel for a swim and chill before heading off to my favourite place AMI. Ill say no more other than paradise.

Day 17 - 19 AMI
We will have a trip to BG one day yet to be confirmed the rest of the time will be lots of this

And this

And this ❤️


Day 20 AMI to Miami
We leave paradise and head off for our final final bit of our epic trip. May call in at the Everglades on our way through. We are for the first time in many trips to Miami staying on SoBe at the Washington Park Hotel


Day 21 -23 Miami and home.
I imagine this will involve more beach time, possibly Miami Zoo and if we havent managed a visit to the Cheesecake Factory that wil have to happen before the long trek home. We return on the 15th August landing back in the uk on the 16th.
Many of those of you with 18 year olds you will recognise the significance of this date A LEVEL RESULTS DAY. Eldest son will no doubt be in a state of some sort hopefully joyful but I guess we will see!
So thats the trip I plan on doing a report like last year but I make no promises
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2017 Two Countries and Eleven States Trip Report

2006 1st trip to Florida 2008 The return 2009 Its Florida again 2010 Florida again! 2011 Yes! Florida 2013 Florida please! 2015 Back to Florida 2016 California! 2017 New York (and beyond) 2018 East Coast Road Trip 2019 Florida one last time ... again!
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Unread 23 Jul 18, 03:12 PM  
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Unread 23 Jul 18, 03:22 PM  
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