We’ve been planning this trip for several years now. My parents have a timeshare and several years ago my mom painted blank puzzles with beach scenes. She wrapped them up and gave them out as Christmas gifts, telling us that we all had to open them at once. I believe Dalton was the first one to open it, put it together and yell “Hawaii”. It didn’t have to be Hawaii, but my parents said that they wanted to do a family vacation with my family and my brother’s family. We just all had to agree on where. The idea was that they would “bank” their weeks and then get 3 units at the same time at the same resort. Well, that wasn’t so easy. A couple of years went by with no luck so they finally said “each of you can go on your own”.
We thought about going in 2008, but then Madison got nominated for a People to People trip to Italy. We knew we couldn’t afford both. In 2009, my brother and his family went. We thought about going again in 2010,but then Dalton got nominated for a People to People trip to Australia. So, 2011 was our year. My parents put in the request for a week on Oahu anytime from mid-June through the end of July.
We found out early in 2011 that the dates of our trip would be June 24 – July 1. In looking at the calendar, we realized that the end of the trip was the 4th of July holiday. We knew we would be off work that Monday, so we decided to stay and extra day. It was time to book the flights.
Again, knowing that this would eventually happen, I had gotten an airline credit card years ago to begin saving frequent flyer miles in hopes of upgrading to first class. Once we had our dates, I got online to find the best flights for us and then called to book them and see about the upgrades. We were told there were no available upgrades on the flight out and only 3 on the flight home. We went ahead and booked those and got on the wait list for the rest of the flight.
And then the rest of the planning began. I did all kinds of research on what to do on the island. I knew we would want a few days of beach only, but I also knew that one of the reasons we picked Oahu was so that we could see Pearl Harbor. I began to put together a calendar of the week with the activities we wanted to do so that I could make sure there was time for everything without being too hectic. I also began searching for a rental car and for a hotel for the extra night. We began thinking about who could house and dog sit for us. AND, I kept calling the airline and checking seat availability to see if our upgrades would clear. The countdown was on.
About 10 days out, I got an email notification that our upgrades to first class on the flight out had cleared for all 4 of us. It would be first class all the way. I have flown in first class a few times, but the kids never have. I decided I would not say a word to anyone until departure day and let it be a surprise.