Best Credit Cards

Why I Canceled Our Staycation Vacation

I’ve mentioned many times that I try to pick  destination first, then work my miles and points stash around it. That said, we do short family getaways in Florida where the purpose is just that: to get away. Usually, what matters most is that city has some kids’ activities and that it’s located within short driving distance (1-2 hours from home). Oh, and that it doesn’t cost much via points.

We are fortunate to be able to afford several decent trips per year, but it’s nice to break up routine now an again. That’s why  I went ahead and reserved two nights in Park Inn Kissimmee during MLK weekend in January of 2016. I used Club Carlson points and was able to utilize BOGO benefit before it disappeared into oblivion like so many “too good to be true” hobby perks usually do. The cost for the whole weekend was only 15K points, a complete steal. As you have guessed, the location offers lots of activities for kids, hotel has pools etc. And yet, after some back and forth, I went ahead and cancelled the reservation.

Here is why:

1. We don’t plan to go to Disney parks during that getaway, mostly because it’s so stinking expensive. We’ll probably do it in 2017, but next year our budget (and wallets) just can’t handle the assault of Mickey.

Image

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Apologies to Disney lovers, I know it’s a touchy subject.

2.The place gets mixed reviews on TripAdvisor. Even though most of them say the rooms are clean, there are reports of hot water issues, noise, crowded pools and so on. Of course, for 7.5K Club Carlson points per night, how can one complain? And it’s true, if you are just looking for a place to sleep, this establishment will most likely fit the bill.

But I want us to have a fun getaway, not just a semi-decent room with a myriad of potential issues. The truth is, I have a lot of hotel points in various programs, so we don’t have to compromise. We actually CAN stay anywhere we want, so why settle? Sure, me of five years ago would totally go for it, but things change, sometimes for the better.

3. My husband absolutely hates Orlando and its traffic. I’m not a huge fan of the city either, but we go there for the kids’ sake. Still, there are other locations that would be a good fit for kids and adults alike. I really like staying near a  beach. It’s an Eastern European thing, we literally can’t get enough of the ocean.

So, that’s why I went ahead and just cancelled the reservation. Sure, I didn’t have to do it now, I could have just waited till it got closer to deadline. The problem is, I’m super cheap and love me some good deal. I knew I would be tempted to just keep that reservation. And who can argue with paying 15K Club Carlson points for two nights at a  hotel? But if  half of the family isn’t all that happy on a trip, is it really a deal?

To be clear, I’m not saying that I’m too good for this place, not at all. And if you are on a tight budget and happen to have a ton of Club Carlson (and only Club Carlson) points, you should definitely consider it when planning your Disney vacation. Even without BOGO benefit, paying 15,000 points per night is a tremendous bargain.

Once again, I was reminded how nice it is to use points to pay for family trips. For someone as indecisive  OCD as me, there is a huge advantage. I can change my mind as often as I like till I find that perfect combination. Like Cheapblackdad said, every trip is like a child you birth and nurture to maturity. Sure, not every “baby” will become a professional football player who goes on to win a Superbowl. But it’s nice to do your best to make your family trip as enjoyable as possible. Just don’t overdo it and don’t be like me!

So, where are we going instead? I have no clue, but I’m sure it will be a long and exhausting decision process. Stay tuned.

Readers, can you relate to this insanity?

P.S. Reader Doug had been to this property and made this comment:

“We stayed at the Park Inn Kissimmee last June. My family of 6 had 2 rooms for 9 nights all on points. The hotel is not fancy (probably was when it was built) and needs a some TLC. The pool area turns into a party in the evenings which many enjoy. However the salt water pool was nice and so was the fresh water pool. There’s a Quick Service Pizza Hut perfect for the kids! Their ‘convenience store’ was not over priced and has everything you would need… would have saved me a trip to Walgreens had I known ahead of time. Breakfast is over priced though (they gave me two days free) but Dunkin’ Donuts is across US-192! Shower was never cold and I actually enjoyed the unique arrangement of a corner shower/tub instead of the traditional rectangle shower/tub arrangement. Everyone (staff and guests) were friendly. My daughters used the free shuttle after the fireworks show at Epcot one evening without any issues. So for $150 (two Club Carlson Visa cards annual fees) we did okay. Paying full price? Since there would be a resort fee normally (free when booking on points) there are probably better options for sure. And really this was just a place to sleep after a long day at the parks… and we slept just fine.”

If you liked my post, please, subscribe to receive free blog updates through email and recommend me to your family and friends. You can also follow me on Twitter, like me on Facebook  and download my e-book  If you found my content beneficial, look at my Support Me page  for ways you can help keep the site running. 

Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

8 thoughts on “Why I Canceled Our Staycation Vacation

  1. I never jumped on the Club Carlson bandwagon. In my opinion, their properties in the US are mostly underwhelming when compared to the alternatives in other programs. I mean, they’re usually OK and I’ve stayed at some decent “Country Inn & Suites” and Radisson properties but typically I can do better in a given area. Your description of that property in Orlando getting “mixed reviews” seems to be fairly typical. In Europe there are some nice Radisson Blu properties but of course you need to be staying in a city that has one. In general, I tend to avoid chasing hotel points (other than Starwood) unless I have a specific future need because it seems like hotels have category inflation or other program devaluations much more often than airline programs.

    • Erik, I hear what you are saying and mostly agree. It took me several years to finally get around Club Carlson card, mostly because I had specific plans to stay in Radisson Oceanfront in Melbourne, Fl. I look at the program as sort of a “gap filler” It can be good under certain circumstances, but I would never focus only on Club Carlson properties. The coverage is sparse outside of large cities, and most properties don’t have the “wow” factor.
      I think Club Carlson hotels are mostly suitable for overnight airport location stays. Some can be a decent deal and also have good reviews. We actually stayed in a few Country Inn and Suites properties, and really enjoyed it. That said, the location wasn’t ideal, and I mostly used the points due to BOGO benefit. Now that incentive is gone, so it’s much harder to find true gems points-wise. I do plan to treat my sister and her family to a stay in Category 1 Park Inn in Klaipeda, Lithuania. It’s a basic property, but I can splurge on 2 rooms. And at 9,000 points per room, why not? My nephews have never seen Baltic coast (or anything other than a lake), so I’m looking forward to providing that experience for them.

  2. As I am learning throughout the home buying process: Cash is king. After our Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Miami, Disney World vacation in December we will likely be done travelling for about a year to put cash towards whatever we want done around the house.

    Pick your spots. The Game, like life, is all about choices. We save thousands of dollars, but in the end, don’t we end up spending money we would not have spent otherwise?

    On your point about Disney World. The tickets are ridiculously expensive. And it’s hard to offset the cost as there are only so many cash back sign up bonuses to go around. We’ve saved 10s of thousands over the past two years on trips. But we’ve probably spent $2000 on Disney tickets. I wish I had spent that much on their stock!

    Having said that, I’ve learned some amazing things from my parents as of late. My Mom actually passed away a few weeks ago, right before we were going to fly out to Disney. One of the things my Dad told us was how happy our trips, even without them, made my parents. The idea that their kids and grand kids were doing such amazing and memorable things brought them incredible joy. My Dad has mentioned how much he was looking forward to trips with my Mom, and us, once they both retired. As someone told me at my Mother’s funeral: “Do as much as you can, while you can.”

    So yeah, maybe we’ll take 1…maybe 2 trips next year.

    • @Cheapblackdad Wow, your comment honestly brought tears to my eyes. You said that you had a death in your family, I had no idea it was your mom. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s weird, I consider you a friend, in a virtual sort of way, if that makes sense? I feel bad that your dad didn’t get a chance to travel more with your mom. That’s so sad. But it sounds like you have an incredibly close family, and I’m sure your mom was proud of you and her grandkids.
      Who knows, maybe I’ll run into you guys in Disney one of these days. Yes, we will be going to Disney many times, I’m sure of it. 🙂 The tickets are incredibly expensive, even with Florida discount, but my kids absolutely love it. There is nothing like Disney to them. I was hoping to get them hooked on Legoland, and while they enjoy it, they still keep on begging to go back to Magic Kingdom.
      I am trying to focus on cash myself, actually. Have plans for Arrival Plus apps within the next few months, we’ll see how that goes. It’s hard to say with Barclay’s.
      I agree, you should take a trip or two with your family next year, maybe even three. We also chose to invest in memories, though, hopefully, we won’t have to eat cat food during retirement as a result. Oh well, I’ll take my chances!

  3. We stayed at the Park Inn Kissimmee last June. My family of 6 had 2 rooms for 9 nights all on points. The hotel is not fancy (probably was when it was built) and needs a some TLC. The pool area turns into a party in the evenings which many enjoy. However the salt water pool was nice and so was the fresh water pool. There’s a Quick Service Pizza Hut perfect for the kids! Their ‘convenience store’ was not over priced and has everything you would need… would have saved me a trip to Walgreens had I known ahead of time. Breakfast is over priced though (they gave me two days free) but Dunkin’ Donuts is across US-192! Shower was never cold and I actually enjoyed the unique arrangement of a corner shower/tub instead of the traditional rectangle shower/tub arrangement. Everyone (staff and guests) were friendly. My daughters used the free shuttle after the fireworks show at Epcot one evening without any issues. So for $150 (two Club Carlson Visa cards annual fees) we did okay. Paying full price? Since there would be a resort fee normally (free when booking on points) there are probably better options for sure. And really this was just a place to sleep after a long day at the parks… and we slept just fine.

    • Doug, I really appreciate your first-hand account! Thank you, I will update the post. I think if we were mainly going to Disney parks, I would absolutely consider this place. I’m not a fancy schmancy kid of gal, and just need a clean place and a decent bed. Oh, and hot shower, that’s important. I totally agree with you, this is a good deal. I hope my readers will at least look into it. As it stands, $75 annual fee can get almost 3 nights at this hotel. That’s a fantastic deal, for sure.
      I guess I’m hoping to go elsewhere. I just don’t like Orlando as a destination. Of course, it helps that we have a lot of hotel points!

    • @Shoesinks I may look into it, thanks! It’s a bit of a drive from our home (about 3.5 hours), so that’s an issue. We may just end up staying home, it’s not like we don’t have a ton planned for the next year already!

Leave a Reply