Confession: I’m not a big fan of kids’ birthday parties. I don’t like planning them, and I don’t like the stress of the actual party day. However, my kids love birthday parties, so most years I suffer through them.
Two years ago, I offered my daughter a trip with the family to Great Wolf Lodge instead of a birthday party. She happily agreed! Her birthday was so easy that year.
That same year, I tried to convince my son to have a small birthday trip instead of a party. His birthday always falls on Thanksgiving week when we’re in South Texas visiting family. We offered him a few nights in San Antonio with the family along with a trip to SeaWorld. Much to my dismay, he chose a birthday party instead. It was a sleepover with 10 boys. I barely survived the night.
Two Birthdays, One Trip
This year, I hatched a plan to take my two younger kids on a combined birthday trip instead of having two birthday parties. Their birthdays are a month apart, so the timing works. I picked a trip I knew they would be thrilled to take—a Disney Cruise!
Long-time blog readers know that my family is crazy about Disney Cruise Line. However, now that my oldest child is in high school, we can’t pull him out of school for the lower-priced cruises. And Disney Cruise Line prices during school breaks are crazy expensive!
This birthday cruise is a 3-night weekend cruise that only requires missing two days of school. It will be just me and my two birthday kids. My high-schooler is ok with that plan is looking forward to a few days home alone with dad, despite all the backlash on social media over partial family vacations.
As an added bonus, this cruise is a Very Merrytime cruise! My family has done a Halloween cruise and a Star Wars cruise, but I’ve been dying to see the ship and Castaway Cay all decked out for Christmas.
I told the kids about this trip a month ago, and they are over-the-moon excited!
Using Miles and Points to Save Money on Birthday Trip
First of all, full disclosure: This trip is not going to be free. But, we are not paying anywhere near full price.
I booked the cruise while on board our last cruise to save 10% off the cruise fare and get a $100 stateroom credit. Combined with our travel agent’s on-board credit, our tips are covered.
I applied over $200 in Disney rewards from my Disney Visa to reduce my out-of-pocket cost (see Why I Keep My Disney Visa). The cruise is also the shortest length while school is in session for only three people, so it’s much less than our last several cruises.
For flights to and from Orlando, I used British Airways Avios to book flights on AA metal for 7500 miles each way. I booked these tickets before BA’s award chart changed earlier this year.
For hotel the night before the cruise, my current plan is to use Hyatt points (transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards) to stay at either Hyatt MCO or the nearby Hyatt Place.
This birthday cruise will be very different from the typical kid’s birthday party. We can’t do something like this every year. But, as long as my kids are willing, I’m open to using miles and points to defray the costs of a special birthday trip.
Does your family use miles and points to travel for a birthday in lieu of a party and/or gifts?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.