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Vacation Suggestions Please!

Ok, so we have decided to do one last vacation before baby arrives. It will either be the last week of May or first week of September. So I want to decide soon. 

We have never been to an all-inclusive resort and are leaning toward one. We are a little limited on locations due to Zika concerns and I have always wanted to go to Hawaii, so it is being considered (would love to hear from @brij2006)  We are not looking to go super MM on this trip, but also not spend a ton of money. 

For context: 
  • We have about $1,700 in Chase Sapphire Reserve rewards we can use towards travel (airline, hotel, activities)
  • We have another $660 in Citi Thank You rewards points that can also be used toward travel (airline, hotel, activities)
  • We plan to budget another $1,000-$1,500 max
  • We would like to go somewhere for 4-5 days
  • Looking for relaxed, warm location that offers a variety of things to do if we have energy to do it
  • We would be flying out of Denver, so not super close to either Coast, but not far either.
  • Suggestions for specific resorts or cities are welcomed!
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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Re: Vacation Suggestions Please!

  • cbee817cbee817
    Ancient Membership 250 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    member
    We did the Norwegian cruise in Hawaii- it was 7 days but super relaxing and it was nice not to think about anything. The waters were a little rocky in Hilo, but it was December and that's their stormy season. Other than that it was awesome- the balcony room was wonderful, all the food was provided, and we just did small excursions (Maui aquarium, beaches, macadamia/coffee farm in Kona, volcano walk in Hilo, etc). I loved it- can't wait to go back. It'll be a fun trip whatever you decide!  
    jtmh2012short+sassy
  • als1982als1982
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    member
    I don't think an all inclusive would be worth it if you can't drink or eat much of the food.  The same goes for Hawaii.  That flight is like going to Europe, 4-5 days isn't worth the jet lag.  Have you thought about the Gulf Shores, Charleston or even some of the prettier beaches in Florida?  With your budget, time and other constraints, those would be my thoughts.  Good luck!
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  • hoffsehoffse
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
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    There aren't a ton of beachy-resort places in the US/Caribbean outside of the zika zone.

    Bermuda does not have zika.  Parts of Mexico do not have zika because the elevation is too high (ie: Mexico city).  The beach resorts in Mexico are obviously in the zika zone.

    That being said, if it was me, and I had your budget for that time of year I would probably pick Crete and stay in Chania for half the time and a resort in Elounda for the other half.  I'm not a huge beach person though - I like it for a few days and then get bored.  Crete is large enough that I would be able to fill a week exploring there, and it's remote enough that I don't see us going there after kids until they are much older.

    I know I always say this, but for really nice beaches you aren't going to do much better than renting a house off of Highway 30A (sear Seaside) in northern Florida.  There are a lot of rentals that pretty much have their own beach, and you are only sharing with neighbors in nearby houses.  H and I used to go to a house down there a few times a year (owned by a friend), and I never saw more than 12 people on that beach at any one time.  We did an AI in Jamaica for our honeymoon, and all the free food and stuff was great, but the beach wasn't as nearly nice as the one we go to all the time in Florida.  It was dirtier and obviously there were way more people.  H and I actually had this exact discussion at a wedding this weekend... we were talking with a couple who lived in Singapore for a couple years, and they did the Bali/Tahiti/Thailand beach vacation while they lived over there....  and they said the 30A area was still nicest beach they've been to.  It definitely doesn't sound as sexy as going to Bali, but it's really beautiful and the infrastructure is great.  Excellent restaurants, etc.  It would be a very easy vacation.  That part of Florida is zika-free.  
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  • vlagrl35vlagrl35
    500 Comments 100 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
    member
    edited April 24
    All I'm going to say is hawaii!  If you do go make sure you stay on Kaua'i.

    Ah your making me jealous :)  I need a vaca like you would not believe.  We are from midwest and flew into Denver and then to Honolulu.  It was a quick flight to Denver and then 7 hours to hawaii.  It's so worth it though.  Ah - I just saw that you only have 4-5 days and if you are going to HI you would want to spend at least 8 days.  Next time I want 2 weeks.

    I would echo @als1982 - maybe somewhere in the south of the US like Florida.
  • cbee817 said:
    We did the Norwegian cruise in Hawaii- it was 7 days but super relaxing and it was nice not to think about anything. The waters were a little rocky in Hilo, but it was December and that's their stormy season. Other than that it was awesome- the balcony room was wonderful, all the food was provided, and we just did small excursions (Maui aquarium, beaches, macadamia/coffee farm in Kona, volcano walk in Hilo, etc). I loved it- can't wait to go back. It'll be a fun trip whatever you decide!  
    We did this too and loved it.  Allowed us to see multiple islands with ease!
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    cbee817
  • labrolabro
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Comments 250 Love Its Name Dropper
    member
    Seconding renting a beach house off of 30A in the Panhandle - Rosemary Beach, Seaside, etc. are all WONDERFUL! There's also Cape San Blas a little further down the coast which is also beautiful and a little more deserted...downsides being not a ton of nice restaurant choices so you'd be doing a lot of your own cooking.

    A good friend of mine is due in August and she and her DH are doing a babymoon roadtrip down the Pacific Coast HIghway between somewhere in Oregon and ending in San Francisco. There are some gorgeous towns to stop in for a night or two and plenty of cute B&Bs and coast-side rentals to stay in.
    als1982short+sassy
  • How far along are you?  My OB mentioned that Zika was less of a concern after a certain point (first trimester?) because by that point the brain had already developed.  Also,  bug spray with DEET is fine to use because preventing disease is more important than a low risk of using DEET.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that resorts near a coast get so much of an ocean breeze that there usually aren't any (or at least not a lot) of mosquitos to even worry about.
    Formerly AprilH81
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  • I think I'd go Hawaii or Bermuda. Neither of those is big on AIs (I think-haven't been to either) but I agree that an AI while pregnant probably isn't worth it. My MW last year had me avoid FL, though clearly since plenty of people live in FL and do just fine that was a very cautious recommendation. We chose to follow it since our in-laws, who we would have wanted to see, aren't too far from Miami, but if you decide you're comfortable that panhandle region sounds awesome! I'm also someone who gets bitten even when I use strong DEET sprays, so that weighed into our decision to be very cautious. 
  • hoffsehoffse
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    member
    edited April 25
    labro said:



    Agreed.  Seaside is the most $$$, but it's also the most developed-it has some wonderful shopping and restaurants. We enjoy staying just outside of Seaside and driving (or biking!) in for the evening. FYI, Seaside is where they filmed The Truman Show. It really looks like that, though a bit more developed now.

    Rosemary beach is beautiful.  We've also been liking Alys Beach recently.  Basically anything between Panama City Beach and Destin is going to be very nice, with Seaside being the super premier real estate.  If you go there, stop by Goatfeathers for their crab artichoke dip.  You can just buy pints of it to go.  Bake with some parmesan sprinkled on top and buy extra because it's scrumptious. This is the first thing we do every time we visit lol
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  • Of course I'll recommend Hawaii. :-) But with that short of a timeframe, it may not be your best option.

    Denver has quite a few direct flights to Maui.  I recommend that island over Oahu if you're going to be doing a short trip. Rent a car and do whatever you two please.  If you have enough points, I'd actually stay in any of the hotels in Kannapali that are by the Hyatt.  That area is more resort like and has plenty to offer as well as decent beach.  Unless you'd like more seclusion, then Royal Lahaina is a good option.  There's a significant price difference between these two as well.
    $1k-1,500 is a good amount for spending cash for that amount of time, but your points may not be enough to get you both flight and hotel.

    We went to Maui when I was 24/25 weeks pregnant.  That was about the perfect time.  Granted I was insanely sick until around 20 weeks.  I wouldn't want to take that flight any time after 30 weeks.  Being 24/25 weeks I also enough energy to do some pretty strenuous hikes.  But I'm far from sedentary to begin with.  If that helps give you an idea on when to go.

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  • Have you checked out Sanibel or Captiva Islands on the Western FL coast? It's pricier to stay on the islands, however, you could stay on the mainland close to the bridge and just drive over each day to the islands for activities. Find a hotel with free breakfast, and picnic on the beach. There are many places to rent beach chairs, umbrellas and even bikes.
  • Have you checked out Sanibel or Captiva Islands on the Western FL coast? It's pricier to stay on the islands, however, you could stay on the mainland close to the bridge and just drive over each day to the islands for activities. Find a hotel with free breakfast, and picnic on the beach. There are many places to rent beach chairs, umbrellas and even bikes.
    We honeymooned in Sanibel and it was lovely! Keep in mind the toll for the bridge when comparing hotel prices though - it was something stupid like $10 that would add up if you're going over each day. 
  • we vacationed in Sanibel 3 years ago with DD.  A friend of ours got married there.  It was fun and pretty but the dang sand fleas!!  that was my only compliant.  We went in July.
  • vlagrl35 said:
    we vacationed in Sanibel 3 years ago with DD.  A friend of ours got married there.  It was fun and pretty but the dang sand fleas!!  that was my only compliant.  We went in July.
    I've heard of that problem before, but maybe there's a site to learn about when they all die off and are no longer an issue? That would be valuable to know. That stinks that happened to your vacation. It is amazing how something so tiny can ruin a trip. Ugh. 
  • vlagrl35 said:
    we vacationed in Sanibel 3 years ago with DD.  A friend of ours got married there.  It was fun and pretty but the dang sand fleas!!  that was my only compliant.  We went in July.
    I've heard of that problem before, but maybe there's a site to learn about when they all die off and are no longer an issue? That would be valuable to know. That stinks that happened to your vacation. It is amazing how something so tiny can ruin a trip. Ugh. 
    our trip was in October and we didn't have that issue. We were also the weirdo northerners who thought 70 degrees was hot though hahaha
    smetter04jtmh2012Xstatic3333
  • our trip was in October and we didn't have that issue. We were also the weirdo northerners who thought 70 degrees was hot though hahaha
    I'm with you on that one......
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  • jtmh2012 said:
    our trip was in October and we didn't have that issue. We were also the weirdo northerners who thought 70 degrees was hot though hahaha
    I'm with you on that one...…
    yeah we couldn't go to the beach in the evenings without spraying all skin with Off - it was fine during the day though.  FL in July is too hot for me - I think May is perfect.
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