The Washington DC Spring Break Extravaganza - Day 1

March 27, 2013

There's always something special about the start of the year. Sure, there are Resolutions and all of that crap. But the start of the year means a blank slate for travel. You get to look at a map of the world, look at an empty calendar and count the number of vacation/personal days. It's a giant puzzle.

The big trip happens here. Let's budget 10 days. But it's around a weekend, so that takes 6 vacation days. You always want to keep a number of days in your back pocket. Cause you could get a call from a friend that says she's moving to New York and now you have a place to crash in NYC. You know you have to go to San Francisco cause you missed going last year. And there's that pesky Iceland trip that has been quietly in the works for the last two years. And maybe a relative is getting married on the coast.

So many possibilities.

Three years ago, Elias and I took a Spring Break trip to Disney World. The next year, we took a road trip to Tennessee, because we had started a "tradition." Last year, we had a few plans, but work got real hard real quick and out trip had to be postponed (he didn't mind...we ended up in Southern California after school was over). This year, work was going to be hard, but the crazy was going to happen earlier in the year. So we talked about where to go.

Washington DC.

DC was the early favorite for several reasons. I buy the market for a few clients, so I had an "in" there. Elias was going to study Political Science during this semester, so it was a good place to visit. And The West Wing just started streaming on Netflix. So, I may or may not have wanted to retrace the steps of Josh Lyman and CJ Cregg.

The plan is simple. Fly to DC on Wednesday night, hang in the area for the next few days and come back on Easter. It's actually the best possible time to get away. The crazy of work is almost done. It has been a *hard* few weeks. Elias has a week where he doesn't have to deal with homework. We get to see where all of the government happens (while the whole Gay Marriage situation is going on at the Supreme Court!!) And we'll be able to sneak in a trip to an amusement park. So all in all, it's going to be grand.

I met up with the folks and Elias after 5pm. They were coming from home. I was coming from work. The best part about the meet up like this is that I don't have to lug my suitcase through Chicago and the various forms of public transportation. Which is helpful. They bring my luggage to me. Almost like a luggage delivery service. Both my luggage and my travel cohort are delivered when I want them to arrive.

This is the first time I've traveled since the Christmas Day mileage run. So I now have Gold Status on One World. Now I get to see what kinds of crazy perks are a part of Status.

First checked bags. Ok. So I just saved us $30 ($60, round trip). This is the kind of trip where I'd use a carry-on, but with Elias, it's easier to check the bags.

Secondly, we got to choose our rock star seats. Close up front. No additional fee. Nice. We wanted to be upgraded into Business Class, but for a 1.5 hour flight, it wasn't worth it.

And thirdly, we got to board earlier. Which in a flight that is only "half-full" is pretty much no big deal. But when they say, "Now boarding for Platinum, Priority Platinum and everyone who is just a little bit special," I can confidently say, "Yes. That is me."

I did have a not so Gold Status moment when as we were taking off, I couldn't remember if I had set up the car rental from Dulles or Reagan. Once the bell chimed and we could use our approved portable electronic devices, I double checked. We were good. I knew where we were going.

The hotel, we snagged from Hotwire. Hotwire is a site I don't use that often anymore, but there were so many hotel choices and so many options of cities to stay around DC, that I started to get all swirly. For every 10 good reviews on TripAdvisor, you see that one bad review and think the whole hotel is like a hostel in Lebanon. So I wanted that decision to basically be taken away from me. Give me a three-plus star hotel in any area for around $100 per night. With free Wi-Fi, breakfast and parking. Done.

That's how we ended up in the Holiday Inn. And honestly, we've never had issues with the good old HI. It's close to the Metro and it gets the job done. We're not going to spend a ton of time in the room anyway. My trips...never. We're lucky to see the room for an eight hour slumber. The rest of the time is spent out and about.

Our plans are pretty fluid at this point. We have some rep meals, so we know we have to be places at a specific time. Other than that, we're going to wing it. Elias has places he really wants to see. I have my places too. The Cherry Blossom Festival is going on right now, so hopefully we can sneak in some greenery and flowers while we're there. Cause we all know it'll be weeks before we have that kind of beauty in Chicago.

Ok, DC...this is the first journey of the year. Better make it a good one.


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