Tell Me Where To Go…Please!

Since I’ve just returned from my annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas, I’ve got vacation on the brain.  So this week’s post will be to seek your advice on resolving a dilemma I’m facing in 2009: too much vacation time and no decision on how to use it up.

By the end of December, after two weeks in New Mexico and the Vegas trip,  I’ll still have about 240 hours of vacation time.  Next year, I’ll earn another 146 hours.  The problem? I need to use at least 120 hours of vacation next year…or lose the excess!

So I’m looking for a “new” destination where I can spend two weeks in September or October.  (The other week will be used for the annual Vegas trip.)  I’ve narrowed the choices down to three destinations.  These three choices presume I won’t make it to the Netherlands and Belgium – the original plan – due to the economy.  But if the Euro is weak against the dollar next Fall…

Option 1 is the last U.S. destination on my list: fly to Boston, hang out a few days, then drive through upstate New York to Niagara Falls and on to Montreal.  This would be a three week trip to do it “right.” (I’ve had a valid passport since I was in grade school, and my wife’s had one since 1988, so crossing the border is not an issue.)

Option 2 is to combine the annual Vegas trip with a trip to the Mexican Pacific coast resort of Puerto Vallarta (PV).  There are direct flights from Vegas to PV.  I’ve already done a lot of research on this trip because I wanted to do it this year but it would have been high season and I balked at the rates.  Low season, I can get an excellent weekly rate at a 1 BR condo a block from the beach in “old Vallarta.” After seeing the Americanization of Cancun, I’d prefer the ambiance of old Vallarta to the newer tourist zone enclaves.

Option 3 is a week in Puerto Rico, possibly combined with a week long cruise from there.  I think by next year the cruise lines will eliminate, or significantly reduce, the fuel surcharge but the economy will not have recovered enough for them to halt deep discount pricing.  I ’m not a big cruise fan because I’m an explorer and one day in a port is not enough time for that.  So Puerto Rico may be a “fall back” if both of the first two options won’t work.  But if I’m offered a cruise deal I can’t refuse….

Now this is where you come in.  If you’ve been to at least two of these three destinations, which one would you return to first?  Use the poll at the bottom of the page to cast your vote!  If you want to extoll the virtues of your recommendation, leave a comment.

P.S.  I’ve updated the Vegas Journal page to expand on Wednesday, when I had limited Internet access, and to include Thursday and Friday.

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8 responses to “Tell Me Where To Go…Please!

  1. Well, technically I can’t vote because I’ve only been to one of the places (well, two, since Boston and Montreal are different places, lol). Boston is wonderful and so is Montreal. But, first, that is one hellaciously long drive. So unless you really like driving…But the real kicker is that you say you’re going in September or October. Sept. would be pushing it, but in Oct. it will be frigid and may even snow. Go there in the summer! So I cast my vote for either PV or PR. Although I’ve been to neither, if I had to pick I’d probably pick PR. I had friends who went and sent me lovely photos of a rain forest tour they took.
    Thanks for the Vegas and shopping update…at least you went late enough not to be in the insane crowds.

  2. I, too, cannot technically vote. However, I spent 2 weeks seeing the entire island of Puerto Rico with someone who spoke Spanish and had lived there for 5 years. I loved the old parts in San Juan, the bluffs in the NW, the old fire station in (I’ve forgotten:( and the rain forest.

    I met a college friend in Charlotte, we flew to Boston, rented a car and drove the coast of Maine up to Bar Harbour and then across New Hampshire, Vermont and back to Boston. Another very nice trip. I still have a hard time believing the Capitol of Vermont, Montpelier, has only 8000 people!

    Either of these trips would be well worth your time. Good hunting.

  3. Fakename…good point on the potential weather. We’re rarely anywhere the temperatures will get cold so that aspect went right by me. I guess we’ll have to go in early September, because summer is out of the question. Too many other tourists and that’s a busy time for me at work.

  4. I voted for PV! Go to the beach man!

  5. Milly…. Thanks for the insights. Maybe I was too stringent in asking for folks to vote only if they’d been to at least of those destinations. I was just wanting to see which destination folks prefer to return to.

  6. Nick,

    Given what Fakename pointed out about the weather, PV may the winner. Plus, I’ve ;earned there may be a reunion of my high school buddies in San Francisco around September / October. If so, that’d put PV at the top since I don’t want to fly across the county for Puerto Rico or Boston.

  7. My friends Sue and Larry live in southern Ontario and it snowed there in October, and Montreal is further north. I actually went to Boston and Montreal on two different occasions. I did take a drive from Syracuse, NY, through New England, into New Brunswick and all the way through it to PEI, then halfway down Nova Scotia where my brilliant plan was to take a ferry back across to NB. The night before we were to leave, I found you had to reserve the ferry like a week in advance 🙂 So it was back up Nova Scotia, back down NB and home again…eventually.

  8. OK, I checked on average Monteral temps in September and:

    average low = 49
    average high = 69
    average = 60

    I don’t like that average average…

    May have to put Boston / Montreal trip off until I retire and can go in August! Puerto Vallarta is looking real good…lol!

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