DH and the kids’ late summer trip made me think we’d already done all our holiday planning, but we actually hadn’t done any at all.
By the time I noticed that we hadn’t made any Christmas plans, the cost of plane tickets to visit DH’s family alone was going to be ~$2K, and there would still be plenty of driving on both ends of the trip and non-ideal travel dates. So we decided to drive. My car gets good mileage and it wasn’t so bad last year. I’m looking forward to the next Dispatcher book. And the next Andrea Vernon. I think someone kidnapped the Big Axe at the end of last year’s car trip.
So we contacted DH’s mom and DH and his mom talked with his siblings to figure out what would work best with everyone’s plans and schedules. They decided to see the cousins near where the cousins live rather than near where DH’s parents live. So basically we would drive in to DH’s parents, then we would all drive to an AirBNB in his brother’s town. DH’s sister would come for a day. Last year DH’s brother hosted, but this year DH’s brother’s wife is getting surgery so we will probably get catering.
Then DH and his mom looked at AirBNB schedules. They (mostly DH) decided on 2 nights in DH’s brother’s town ending on Christmas Eve (most places were already booked on Christmas, and the place we stayed last year is $500/night with a 3 night minimum now!) DH’s mom is really worried about crime, so that let out a lot of the downtown Airbnb. We found a place about a 20 min drive from DH’s brother’s place in a surrounding small town for ~$300/night, so $600 total.
So the plan is, drive to DH’s parents’. Spend the night. Drive to DH’s brother’s town, check into an AirBNB. Spend the night. Either host Christmas there or spend a day there and go to DH’s brother’s the next day after checking out. Drive back to DH’s parents’. Spend the night and either the next day or drive home that day. But plans may change– the nice thing about driving instead of flying is the flexibility. (The bad thing is that it takes a full day and then some to drive. But DC1 needs highway practice!)
Gas was ~$100 round trip last time. It will probably be a little more this time but not too much more.
I’m a little worried about catsitting– the person we used last year has moved to another state and the person we used last summer wasn’t available last Christmas. It’s hard finding people around at Christmas, and our cat does not like being away from us for long periods of time (back when we had two cats, she seemed fine, but now she seems a little traumatized even when we do get a cat sitter).
The other expense will be our portion of the catering bill, though I’m not entirely sure what’s going to happen there. (One of the cousins has peanut allergies so they have to be careful.) But I feel like my part in planning here is done.
But, all in all, not so bad price-wise.
Have you made winter break travel plans?
September 26, 2022 at 5:16 am
Whew we continue to opt for driving as well for both health and pricing reasons but each year my body protests a little more.
Is it safe to assume that you wouldn’t want to bring your cat with you on the trip? We defaulted to bringing Sera with us most trips because finding a reliable sitter was so hard but I know how much extra work that is.
September 26, 2022 at 5:39 am
We can’t because of the Airbnb. And we can’t leave her at the in-laws because she pees on things when anxious.
September 27, 2022 at 1:14 pm
Drat. Fingers crossed that you find a great sitter that your cat loves for this holiday and other travels.
September 26, 2022 at 7:45 am
Unfortunately my landlord has said I can’t foster cats, so this year will be the first time in a while that I don’t have to worry about a catsitter, and can travel whenever. A silver lining, I suppose, though I’d rather just have my cat!
Could you talk to your vet about gabapentin for your cat while you’re away? My late cat needed it while I was gone on a long trip this summer, and it helped her a lot. She also peed outside the box when stressed/mad, so the Dr prescribed a combination of gabapentin and lots of feliway diffusers
September 26, 2022 at 7:58 am
Part of the problem is that she gets Prozac daily and she won’t let a cat sitter apply it to her so we don’t even try because the application attempt is so traumatic.
September 26, 2022 at 1:58 pm
Oof, that’s tough. Gabapentin can be mixed with wet food, if she’ll take it that way (it doesn’t taste bad the way that prozac does – my other late cat was on transdermal prozac and absolutely would not take it orally because of the taste)
September 26, 2022 at 2:00 pm
She’s on the transdermal prozac.
September 26, 2022 at 9:04 pm
Our holiday plans will be local, small, and simple. We’ll host, but not a large group and probably no houseguests. After Christmas we’ll go camping and we make those reservations about a year in advance because the best sites get booked early.
September 27, 2022 at 7:44 am
September 27, 2022 at 9:05 am
Yes — we do enjoy pretty peaceful holidays. Reading your posts and some of the comments has made me (re)appreciate that!
We do only have 1 surviving grandparent, who lives with us, so that contributes to the peace/simplicity (when it comes to holiday planning, not necessarily across the board %) ), though in fact the camping tradition dates to another grandparent who is now deceased (we would camp near their home) — but the camping tradition continues.
September 27, 2022 at 2:51 am
Flying has been a mess. You are better off.
September 27, 2022 at 2:52 am
For me, I’ve been fairly lucky and my flights just barely missed getting cancelled but there are also fewer flights to pick from so it’s hard to get from point a to point b in a reasonable amount of time and money.
September 27, 2022 at 7:44 am
That’s no good considering I have several trips coming up.
September 27, 2022 at 1:10 pm
I’ve been hearing the same from friends who have had to travel and I’m NOT looking forward to having to deal with it again.
September 27, 2022 at 1:12 pm
One of my things is ridiculous– its a 2 day conference and they’re only paying for one hotel night so if my flights are late on the way there I just miss a day, possibly both days if I don’t make it out the first day.
September 27, 2022 at 6:17 am
My travel will be painful. I’ll be flying from one side of the country to the other, gathering elderly parents, and flying with them to another far-flung part of our country. Then I get to reverse the route. And we haven’t bought any tickets yet for Reasons. It’s going to be terrible, but it’s necessary- I can’t see them doing a lonely holiday, and they had a very tough time traveling alone last year.
September 27, 2022 at 6:31 am
Oh dear. That does sound potentially unpleasant but it is very good of you.
September 27, 2022 at 10:21 am
As a retired person whose family is mostly Jewish, I don’t have to travel during winter break. But covid really seems to be petering off despite everyone’s best efforts (I’d thought we’d have another peak when school started back up), so I’ve finally been thinking I should visit family. And if I’m driving, I’d like to go before snow is a risk (they’re in Indianapolis). But I kind of prefer the train. But Mom wants me to bring home some speakers she doesn’t want anymore that my boyfriend wants.
So, no, I have not made travel plans, merely decided that I now could.
September 27, 2022 at 10:26 am
I don’t know that it’s actually petering off… every week someone I know gets it, and if I look at my county stats, they’re only reported very sporadically now. Not even 5 days/week anymore (but also not in any consistent way). Johns Hopkins has stopped reporting hospitalizations because states are no longer collecting that information. The NHS in England still collects that data and it sounds like they’ve been having spikes in Covid hospitalizations.
September 27, 2022 at 5:09 pm
Oh, yikes! My favorite site (the Texas Tribune) has also stopped updating, so I’ve switched to the CDC’s summary here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview/index.html I’ve always felt that hospitalizations are the metric of choice because they are not hidden, but if people aren’t even reporting them, then you’re right. Oh, so frustrating!
Maybe this spring, then. I am so tired. Hey, at least I did get the new omicron booster! This new vaccine technology is kind of amazing.
September 27, 2022 at 9:08 pm
I’ve heard the CDC transmission level maps, which are still available if you know where they are — https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view?list_select_state=all_states&list_select_county=all_counties&data-type=Risk — though they can be hard to find, are better tool for estimating your risk of exposure. They continue to look pretty dreadful.
September 28, 2022 at 5:34 am
None of it is accurate if my county isn’t reporting data regularly.
September 28, 2022 at 8:03 am
Yeah … I know …