Travel Blog


Planning Our Trip

Planning Our TripWe are in the early stages of planning our trip and are using the checklist that we posted in the previous post, called travel planning. We will be driving to California and taking a southerly route to avoid a lot of highways that could be snow covered and to avoid snow storms in the winter period. On the way home we will come back on a northerly route, probably through Utah and Colorado. We have found that it is much easier and safer to take a longer route in the winter months. We really do not need to be concerned about snow and icy roads.

Planning Our Trip –  Route

For now though we are going to head straight south to Memphis and then on down to Biloxi, Mississippi. We will spend a few days at Tunica, Mississippi and then on to Biloxi were we will also spend a few days. We stay at the Gold Strike in Tunica and at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi. Both of these places are casino hotels and we can usually get a free room at either place.

Next we will head west along Interstate 10. It takes you all the way to Los Angeles with no snow to worry about anywhere along the route. Once you pass Houston, it is pretty much desert all of the way to California, although on past trips we have encountered rain storms in the middle of the desert and the odd flake of snow at higher elevations, near Benson Arizona. We will not book any hotels along the way until we get to Benson Arizona, preferring to stop when we get tired or see something we like along the way. We will stop at Benson, Arizona for a night and then head off to a Titan Missile Museum the following day. We will leave a post about this later on our trip.

Once we leave the Missile Silo, we will head to Phoenix were we will stop for one night and then on to Las Vegas for two nights. After that we are spending a month in Palm Springs before heading to Laughlin Nevada. As we travel to each of these locations we will add posts along the way, sometimes daily if there are interesting things to write about.

Making Reservations

For some locations we can make reservations ahead of time, such as Benson and Las Vegas, however from Biloxi to Benson we will leave it open so we can be flexible about how far we drive every day. This is the best way to travel on a vacation were you make decisions about were you are going to go each day. We will often decide around 2 or 3 pm how much further we want to drive and then call ahead to book a hotel.

Many of our friends cannot travel this way. They have to get to their final destination as quickly as possible and they have to know were they are staying each night, other wise they get stressed out about their trip. We also carry a GPS with us so that we always know were to go.  Even if we pull off some where , it will automatically recalculate directions for us and find restaurants, shopping and things to see in the area. There has been the occasional time that we have had to drive much further than we planned due to unacceptable hotels, but it is so seldom that we really do not worry about this at all.

Using Air Miles, Credit Card Points

We also try to use points from various cards and loyalty cards that we have. This saves us a lot of money, however we really need to coordinate our travel with the loyalty cards since they sometimes need advance notice of several days before they will confirm reservations for us. You can also use airline points as well to pay for hotels.  Once we have everything set up to go the only thing that we need to be concerned about is the weather. As long as there is some flexibility in dates, you can pretty well work around this easily, however you must always account for at least one day delay due to weather.

Other than that it is just basic preparation and following though on our list of preparations and we will be ready to go on our trip! For more ideas about trip planning, click here.

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