Travel What destinations do you recommend for a couple who has not traveled before?

eff

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Jan 26, 2006
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My husband and I got married late last year and my mom is insisting on giving us a trip as a gift. We feel guilty about her spending too much, originally she booked a cruise for several thousand dollars which was over the top to me. Neither of us have left our home state(we live in the US) more than a handful of times, and we've never traveled out of state together. I feel overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information and destinations out there, and could use a little hand-holding.

I want to keep it under $2000 for the trip itself(any airfare, hotel, etc.), and unfortunately because of work restrictions the trip needs to be less than five days(including a weekend). A cruise seems like a nice option, but the cruises that last 4 days don't really seem worth it. Am I wrong? I'm also looking at destinations in the U.S., like D.C. or Vegas. We can travel anytime this year up to October, the end of the year is out of the question also because of work restrictions. The main things I'm looking for are sight-seeing/adventures, being able to get around on foot, and great food. Nice shopping spots would be a plus, but not a necessity. With this in mind, what would you all recommend for to newbie travelers on a budget? Is an international trip out of the question for inexperienced travelers at under $2000 and 5 days or less? Thanks in advance! :smile:
 

boxermom

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Aug 26, 2006
27,084
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North Carolina
What part of the US do you live in? If you fly, that takes up a chunk of the budget. If you can drive, you'll save.

Washington, DC has a variety of things to offer with history, sightseeing, and shopping both in the district and in either MD or VA.

On the east coast also consider something like Martha's Vineyard. My son and his wife went there as newlyweds and had a fantastic time; stayed at an inn in Edgartown, rented bikes and explored; walked around town to eat and shop. It's a more low-key type of trip with a less dense population than the big cities.

If you are on the west coast, I love San Francisco for many reasons--friendly people, lots to see, wonderful shopping, fabulous restaurants,and great day trips (Carmel, Yosemite Park).

If we know where you live and what your travel area is, it will be easier to offer good ideas.

In the midwest, Chicago has it all--my favorite city ever. (London is my favorite international city).

I'm not a fan of cruises, but I know many people are. I've had norovirus and occasionally on the cruises it can run rampant through the ship.
 

eff

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Jan 26, 2006
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What part of the US do you live in? If you fly, that takes up a chunk of the budget. If you can drive, you'll save.

Washington, DC has a variety of things to offer with history, sightseeing, and shopping both in the district and in either MD or VA.

On the east coast also consider something like Martha's Vineyard. My son and his wife went there as newlyweds and had a fantastic time; stayed at an inn in Edgartown, rented bikes and explored; walked around town to eat and shop. It's a more low-key type of trip with a less dense population than the big cities.

If you are on the west coast, I love San Francisco for many reasons--friendly people, lots to see, wonderful shopping, fabulous restaurants,and great day trips (Carmel, Yosemite Park).

If we know where you live and what your travel area is, it will be easier to offer good ideas.

In the midwest, Chicago has it all--my favorite city ever. (London is my favorite international city).

I'm not a fan of cruises, but I know many people are. I've had norovirus and occasionally on the cruises it can run rampant through the ship.
We're in Tampa, FL. The airfare isn't a huge concern because I have a crazy amount of flight points that I'll likely persuade my mom to let me use for at least one of our tickets. I hadn't thought of Martha's Vineyard, I'll definitely look into that... I really like the idea of renting bikes and exploring.

Unless someone can enlighten me about the cruise idea I'm kind of turned off to it... the ones we can manage on our limited time frame only stop anywhere for one day(9AM to 6PM approximately), and any fun activities would take at least two hours. I think I'd feel rushed, I'd much rather do something where I can relax and not feel like I'm missing anything.

Edit -- also, what would you recommend in Chicago?
 

Longchamp

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Aug 17, 2006
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I vote no to the 4 day cruise

Here is my list in no particular order.

1. NYC--shop, eat and take in a Broadway play

2. National park--Yellowstone would be my first pick but not much shopping and not the easiest place to get in and out of. I would suggest flying into Salt Lake and driving up. OR fly into Jackson Hole WY--but that is a lot of driving up to North entrance.

Great Smoky Mts NP is the most visited park in US

I love Mesa Verde NP in CO and the million dollar highway

3. Miami Florida/South Beach- shopping, beach and could take in the Everglades

4. Monterey CA--can take in the Monarch butterflies, shop, and eat. Then the pacific coast highway. 2 hours north is San Fran Golden Gate Bridge

5. Las Vegas--but also take a day trip to Grand Canyon

6. Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard

7. Orlando and Walt Disney World

8. Boston--Take in a baseball game at Fenway park.

9. Chicago--take a look at their website and plan your trip around an upcoming event in Chicago. Birthplace of the skyscraper and go visit Lincoln Park and an architectural tour.

10. Nashville TN--if you like country music, you will love TN. Even if you don't TN is under rated IMO. Then can visit Graceland--wear your blue suede shoes.

11. Washington DC--Make sure to see the Pandas at the National zoo.

12. Outer Banks NC--favorite place to enjoy good weather and the ocean.


This is start for you, if you need more let me know.
 

Swanky

Admin
Admin
O.G.
Jan 12, 2006
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Hawaii
PCH/Hwy1 in Cali, AMAZING must see drive
Las Vegas & Grand Canyon/Hoover Dam
NYC
Nashville
 

eff

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Jan 26, 2006
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Thanks Longchamp and Swanky! I've been looking at Chicago and D.C. since I posted this thread, and I think I'm leaning towards those. I did look at Hawaii at one point, but I feel kind of intimidated for my first real time traveling. I feel kind of similar about NYC. Before this I've only ever gone to Colorado to visit the guy I was dating at the time, so I have basically zero travel experience. Being kind of a wimp about it I guess :P
 

boxermom

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Aug 26, 2006
27,084
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North Carolina
Hawaii from the east coast is a lot of time in airplanes--I love Hawaii but that's the part I hate.

The Chicago thread is loaded with everyone's ideas. IMO, if you are there when the architectural boat tours are running, that's a very popular activity; it's on the chicago River and they explain about the interesting buildings and architects who designed them. It's a lot more fun than it sounds!

Chicago's museums are world class. My favorites are The Art Institute (don't miss the Thorne Room miniatures in the lower level), the Field Natural History Museum, and the Shedd Aquarium. Go to the Millennium Park to see the city sculptures--the *Bean* is just perfect for photo-taking.

For some of the best shopping anywhere, walk North Michigan Avenue and Oak Street. Everything from Nordstrom's, Saks, Neiman Marcus, Chanel, Hermes, LV, Coach, you name it and they have it. You can see the Water Tower--the only major building that survived the Chicago Fire in the 1800's.

Too much more to list here, but though I was born in Michigan, I consider Chicago my hometown.

If you buy anything very costly, ask what shipping it to your home in FL would cost because the sales tax there is really high and usually you will save much more than the cost of shipping.
 

buzzytoes

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Jun 7, 2008
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I would vote for any big city, but the one I am most familiar with is San Francisco - you could use the city as a base and travel up to Napa or down to Monterey as well. SF has museums, sporting events if you are into that type of thing, Pier 39, great restaurants, etc.
 

stephc005

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Aug 7, 2008
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To be honest, I'd suggest either the DMV or somewhere like the carolinas or savannah Georgia. I don't think $2000 is enough for Hawaii or NY even though they're such worthy destinations.
 
Jan 10, 2009
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FL
I really like cruises. They're very relaxing and I've never really felt rushed at a port, mostly cause when you only have a few hours you don't expect to see much. With your budget, I think this is the biggest bang for your buck.

I also suggest Savannah. the Hamilton-Turner inn is beautiful and romantic and you can walk around the historic downtown area easily.

Vegas is fun and if you don't gamble your budget is doable.

Boston is possible if you don't stay downtown.
 

eff

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Jan 26, 2006
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Just wanted to post a quick update and say we decided on D.C.... found a nice hotel downtown(two blocks from the metrorail) for <$500 for 3 nights, and booked the flight with the second ticket free through my credit card. I think it was Longchamp's mention of the pandas at the National Zoo that sealed it for us(we both LOVE pandas). We booked the trip for the first weekend of the Cherry Blossom Festival, so we're excited about that! Now we just have to find a way to fit everything we want to see into 3 days. Can't wait! :smile:
 

Longchamp

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Aug 17, 2006
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Just wanted to post a quick update and say we decided on D.C.... found a nice hotel downtown(two blocks from the metrorail) for <$500 for 3 nights, and booked the flight with the second ticket free through my credit card. I think it was Longchamp's mention of the pandas at the National Zoo that sealed it for us(we both LOVE pandas). We booked the trip for the first weekend of the Cherry Blossom Festival, so we're excited about that! Now we just have to find a way to fit everything we want to see into 3 days. Can't wait! :smile:
Yipee!! :happydance:

Take the Metro exit to either Cleveland Park or Woodley Park, not a far walk at all. Parking is bad and VERY expensive at the zoo.

Have fun!! Post some pix when you return.

I can't recall what time it is but they have a talk on the pandas. There is 30 minute one in the afternoon where the zookeeper talks about care of the bears.

Look at their website for all the timed crossings of the animals. I'm so excited for you.
 
Jan 10, 2009
827
136
FL
eff said:
Just wanted to post a quick update and say we decided on D.C.... found a nice hotel downtown(two blocks from the metrorail) for <$500 for 3 nights, and booked the flight with the second ticket free through my credit card. I think it was Longchamp's mention of the pandas at the National Zoo that sealed it for us(we both LOVE pandas). We booked the trip for the first weekend of the Cherry Blossom Festival, so we're excited about that! Now we just have to find a way to fit everything we want to see into 3 days. Can't wait! :smile:
Most of the museums are free there. DC is a fun city.
 

clu13

Shoe and Bag Addict
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Oct 12, 2008
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Charlotte, NC
Just wanted to post a quick update and say we decided on D.C.... found a nice hotel downtown(two blocks from the metrorail) for <$500 for 3 nights, and booked the flight with the second ticket free through my credit card. I think it was Longchamp's mention of the pandas at the National Zoo that sealed it for us(we both LOVE pandas). We booked the trip for the first weekend of the Cherry Blossom Festival, so we're excited about that! Now we just have to find a way to fit everything we want to see into 3 days. Can't wait! :smile:
You will not be sorry! I am not sure if you can get out to Monticello or Mount Vernon. I think there are services that will take you out, hit a vineyard and pack a picnic lunch.

If you have not traveled much, I believe that the capital of the USA is the PERFECT choice. I am saddened when I hear about so many people who have never visited/touched the Vietnam memorial, stood in the light of the Jefferson Memorial or gazed at the Washington Monument.
 

boxermom

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Aug 26, 2006
27,084
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North Carolina
Great choice, OP.

My son's family has a zoo membership and they visit often (the membership allows them to park for free). Plus you can choose from so many museums, monuments, etc. Restaurants of every ethnicity are all over!

Have a wonderful time!