Pivoting to a New Thanksgiving Trip

I tend to get a bit over-zealous when I book trips. Every trip I book sounds like a great idea at the time. But when the date gets closer, sometimes things don’t look so great.

My family had a big trip planned for this upcoming Thanksgiving week. We rented a beach-front house on North Captiva Island, which we visited last year and LOVED (see my review). In all likelihood, this will be the last Thanksgiving holiday that we can travel together due to my son going off to college next year. Most colleges don’t give the full week off, and he wants to visit his friends and dog at home during his shorter breaks.

But still, my husband and I made the difficult decision to cancel the trip.

Money Matters

While most of our trips are at a greatly reduced price because of using miles and points, some trips are not. This was one of those trips.

The house rental was a splurge, for sure. But, I figured we would use miles for flights. Unfortunately we don’t have a lot of flexibility with our dates for this trip due to the rental house Saturday to Saturday requirement and our school schedule.

For the past few months, I’ve been monitoring flights for our dates. They’ve gone up and up, and now they’re ridiculous.

On top of the home rental and flight prices, we had some unexpected emergency bills fall on our laps in the past few months. A broken arm, stitches, dog injury, broken sprinkler system, etc. Stuff happens, but it all adds up.

With all those factors combined, we started feeling uncomfortable moving forward with this splurgy trip. Thankfully, we were still within a window where I could get our entire deposit back from the home rental. To undo the rest of the trip, I just needed to cancel an airport hotel reservation on points and some one-way AA flight award tickets. Everything was refundable.

Pivoting to a New Trip

Now I know that we don’t have to go anywhere during Thanksgiving week to have a good time. We can simply enjoy each other’s company during our week off and do stuff close to home. However, I really wanted to take advantage of our time off to get away from all the distractions we have when we’re at home and hang out as a family.

After discussing some options, my husband and I decided a road trip to Broken Bow, Oklahoma would be a good fit. We visited Broken Bow in May 2020 during the pandemic for the first time. It’s just a few hours from our house. Although we spent almost the entire time at our cabin, we had a great time together. The kids played chess, we hung out in the hot tub, we walked through the woods…

Broken Bow, May 2020

The mountain feel of the location is very appealing, especially during the late fall. I also love that we won’t have to deal with crowded airports over Thanksgiving weekend.

By switching to a cabin rental in Oklahoma and staying for just 3 nights, we’re spending only 20% of the money we would have spent on the North Captiva beach trip. That’s a huge difference.

Admittedly, we are a little late to the game to find a cabin rental for Thanksgiving. The cabin we stayed in previously was not available, and our choices were a bit limited. But, we found a rental that we are excited about. My oldest son overheard us talking about the change and looking for cabin rentals. He perked up at the mention of Broken Bow, and he said he’s excited about going back there.

My two other kids don’t yet know about our change in plans. But, they will be fine. Plus, it’s not like they don’t have other chances to go to a beach. This was them a few months ago:

And next year, they will make it to the beach on at least 2 more trips.

Final Thoughts

While I love traveling, I don’t let my desire to travel override my financial goals. The cost of our original Thanksgiving trip was getting out of hand, and I’m glad we came to our senses and said “Nope!”. I’m still looking forward to our shorter and less expensive getaway at Thanksgiving.

Have you ever scrapped a trip for budgetary reasons?

How does my family travel so much? We use miles and points from credit card bonuses. See my Travel Hacking 101 post as well as current credit card offers here.

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