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Greetings from Miles For Family! We hope you aren’t working too hard this week and that you have some time off to enjoy family, friends and maybe a little peace and quiet.
It’s hard to believe this year is almost over. It’s been another great year of utilizing miles and points from credit card rewards to travel! Leana and I had fun thinking back on our best, worst and funniest travel moments from this year. We hope you will share your favorite moments with us, too.
Nancy’s best/worst/funniest travel moments of 2017
Without a doubt, my best travel moment of 2017 comes from my family’s summer cruise to Alaska on Disney Cruise Line. Specifically, my favorite day was the day we sailed through Endicott Arm. The weather was perfect, the scenery was spectacular and everyone was happy. I wish I could save everything about that day in a bottle!
I didn’t really talk about this on my California trip report from this summer, but my worst travel moment happened when I was traveling solo with my kids in San Francisco and on the California Zephyr train to Denver.
One of my kids has food allergies and sensitive skin. One evening, as we were entering the Hyatt lounge for a snack, I told my kids they could have anything to drink as long as it was caffeine-free. I didn’t want my kids all hyped up before bed time!
So while I was getting a snack, one of my kids started drinking a Diet Pepsi. He thought that the “diet” part meant it had no caffeine. He already drank half of it before I caught the error.
Well, the caffeine was the least of my issues. Turns out, he had an allergic reaction to the sucralose artificial sweetener. He had never had this ingredient before, as we don’t keep soda or even diet drinks in stock at home.
This was the result:
These hives lasted for about 2 weeks. Yes, that long! He had them for the last 2 days in San Francisco, the entire train trip, our days in Denver and even for about a week after getting back home. I had to keep restocking Benadryl and anti-itch cream. It definitely put a damper on that vacation for my son!
My funniest travel moment is only funny in retrospect. It was definitely not funny at the time!
While we were in Vancouver, Canada, we took the Sea to Sky bus tour. One of the stops was the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, B.C. Since I am afraid of heights and the gondolas were really small, I was a little nervous going up the mountain. But, I made it and enjoyed the spectacular views.
We had time to walk around up top, and my kids were immediately drawn to this suspension bridge. They started across it with glee. I was behind them and read the sign that said parents must accompany children across the bridge. There are gaps in the wood and gaps at the side, so a leg could literally fall through.
Ok, fine, I can do this. But as I got about a fourth of the way across, I realized that I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE ON THIS RICKETY BRIDGE! I had to tell my kids to turn around and come back to me.
This older couple had to give me a pep talk to give me courage to cross that bridge. I waited until the bridge was mostly clear of people, and then I hustled across the bridge without looking down and without turning back. I made it! Thank goodness I didn’t have to cross the bridge again to get back to the gondola, as the path curved around.
My kids were laughing at me. I wasn’t laughing, at least not yet. Now I can laugh about how big of a chicken I am.
Leana’s best/worst/funniest moments of 2017
This is a tough one because there were so many neat experiences in 2017. But I would have to go with spending a night in a real castle (a UNESCO heritage site) in my home country of Belarus. Yes, out of all the exotic stuff we’ve done last year, this one stands out. And ironically enough, there was no miles and points angle involved, though I did use bonus from my Barclaycard Arrival Plus card.
There was just something really special about having the entire castle to ourselves during the night. We didn’t have access to the museum portion, but were able to hang out in the courtyard with not a soul in sight. I’ll have a separate write-up on our stay in a few weeks, but wanted to give a sneak peek in this post. Definitely a unique and special experience I will treasure forever.
This one has to do with Belarus as well. While doing sightseeing, my family has stopped to get a quick lunch in a humble pop-up diner, sort of like a fancy tent.
There was only one lady running it. She was basically the owner, cook and waitress. There were twelve of us, so needless to say, she had a lot to juggle. Despite the challenges, the lady was extremely friendly and efficient. For some reason, my mom had it in for her. She was convinced that the lady gave her an off-brand coffee. She then proceeded to criticize her crepes, which were actually quite good. And on and on. I now realize that my mom was in a bad mood because we were leaving the next day.
Nevertheless, this behavior was not acceptable. I apologized to the lady and gave her a fat tip. She was very happy and we got into a conversation. She told me that she lost her husband few years ago and is working several jobs (plus running this business) in order to put her two daughters through college.
I told my mom about it later on and she felt really bad. She goes: “I like to make scandal a little bit.” I know, mom, I’m the same way.
I’m not sure this one is humorous, more like embarrassing. My Hyatt Diamond status (that I got via match) was about to expire, so I decided to use suite upgrade one last time in January of 2017. To my complete shock, we were upgraded to a huge presidential suite that accommodates up to seven people. The going rate was about $1,200 per night, if I remember correctly.
We ended up bringing my in-laws, and all six of us got free food from the lounge during our stay, plus free boat transfer to a private island. It’s my all-time favorite points redemption, and it will be tough to ever top it.
I’m an early riser, so one morning I went to the lounge by myself to have breakfast around 7 AM. Afterwards I went back to the room only to find that my key wasn’t working. I kept swiping it to no avail. Finally, I decided to knock. These sleepy kids (not mine) opened the door and there were exhausted parents in the background. Somehow I mixed up the floor number and tried to enter the wrong suite. Those poor people were sleeping, probably after an exhausting flight.
Readers, share your best/worst/funniest travel moments of 2017!
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.