Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Planning

I received a few comments about how we plan or pick a trip like this, so I will do my best to elaborate on our process. I think I am going to break this into two posts... lodging, and then activities.

As far as Port Aransas, this was a place we went the year we were in the process of adopting. We were waiting, and knew this was going to be the last time for just the two of us to take a trip. Daddio did some research online (Port Aransas) and found this place. Neither of us had been before, nor did we know anyone who had been there... so we were taking a chance. Maybe Daddio can remember his thought process when he planned it that first year. Anyway, we found a hotel that looked nice in pictures, and booked it. When we arrived, we were pleased!!! Everything about the island was great, and while we were out in the waves boogie boarding we said that this is a place we should definitely come back to with the kids.

The following year we felt like the kids were ready to take a summer vacation. Because we knew WE liked Port A, we decided to do a little more research on lodging. We wanted something that had a kitchen, washer/dryer, and 2-3 bedrooms so that the kids would have their own beds and a door to shut so that naptime would be effective. Daddio found a condo that said it was near the beach and seemed to have the features we wanted. So we booked it. At this time the boys were 2, 3, and 4... and they really didn't like it as much as we hoped. It turned out that they spent all their time on the beach and when we tried to get them in the water they would scream and cry. While it was frustrating (to say the least) we did our best... when you got down on their perspective you realized just how overwhelming the water looked! But we knew that in the future things would get better.

The condo from the previous year was okay, but it wasn't walking distance to the beach (if it says a block... that is too far to carry your gear :-). And we felt like we wanted a little more privacy. In 2005 during the drive to another section of beach we saw several neighborhoods of rental homes and boardwalks over the dunes to the beach, and decided we would try to get one of those. Again we went online to see what we could find. We found Coastline Adventures, and browsed thru their homes to find one that we thought would work for us. We found this green house. Property was well maintained, the neighborhood was really nice, and there is a pool.

This was kind of a spur of the moment trip. We considered trying a new location this year (Dauphin Island, Al), plus we were kind of waiting to see what was going to happen with Daddio's job location, but ultimately decided the week before the trip that we needed to take a trip and Port A is where we wanted to go! We got online and checked VRBO, and Coastline Adventures to see what was available. It turned out that when Daddio called Coastline, that they were running a deal for the following week that if you booked 3 nights, you got the 4th night free. BOOKED IT! This is the little cottage that met our needs! Since we knew the neighborhood (same as the previous year), and the pictures online looked good, we felt good about renting it. It turned out to be the nicest place so far. (last years was nice, but this place really went above and beyond with the amenities)

Sidenote: It is best to call the rental company managing the property before booking online. Sometimes the calendar of availablity is wrong, and not all the deals are listed!

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