Do you ever think about where in the world you would travel if you had an unlimited amount of money and time?  I’ll tell you were I would go.

First of all, I’ve always wanted to go to the Maldives and I know the clock is ticking since it is basically sinking into the ocean.  And second, I would probably go to see the Great Pyramid of Giza because I think it’s crazy.  Other regions of the world I want to visit include nearly all of Europe that I haven’t seen, the Norwegian Fjords, basically all of Iceland, and several regions in South America.  Of course, parts of Asia would make the list as well.  I would love to go to Thailand, for example, and I have always wanted to see the Terracotta Warriors in China. <Fun Fact: I am slightly obsessed with the Terracotta warriors>

Unfortunately, my travel plans are rarely based on crazy dreams and are mostly based on reality instead.  For example, all of our trips revolve around credit card rewards which basically limits us to places our points and miles can actually take us.  And beyond those details, I typically choose locations that won’t cost us much out of pocket once we get there.  Boooooorrrriiinnnnggggggg.

Where Would You Go for Five Days?

But I’m not just limited by our relatively small travel budget; we’re severely limited by time as well.  After all, even though I’m self-employed, I still have to work.  I mean, self-employment is awesome, but the fact that I am a one-man show means that no one is here to pick up the slack when I’m gone.

And since my husband still has a regular 9-5 job, he has to ask off work and plan around other people too.  That means that we are limited by time and money – a double whammy when you love to travel.  But even though it can be difficult, we somehow manage to make it work.

With that being said, I recently learned that we’ll have 5 kid-free days in July to do whatever want.  Of course, my brain started going crazy with ideas.  The problem is, we can’t go too far away because travel time would eat up too much of a short trip like that.  In addition, I don’t want to spend much money at all because I already have our travel expenses mostly mapped out for 2015.  Here are a few options I’m currently considering:

Las Vegas and San Diego

Since I play myVEGAS Rewards on Facebook religiously, I have around 200,000 points to burn.  That’s easily enough for three free hotel nights in Las Vegas during the week, plus several meals and maybe even a show.  <I really have no desire to gamble.  There is plenty of free stuff to do while we’re there> Once we left Vegas, I would then use my surplus of Starwood Preferred Guest points (we currently have around 85,000) to book two nights at the Four Points in San Diego for 3,000 points per night.  We would fly for free with our Southwest Rapid Rewards points, but we would need to rent a car for at least part of the trip.  Total Estimated Cost: $300

The view from the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto...

The view from the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto…

Niagara Falls and Canada

I’ve been to the west coast of Canada, but never to big cities like Toronto or Montreal.  And since I would also love to see Niagara Falls, I think we could work up a trip that includes both Canada and the U.S.  I would also love to spend a few days at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto using SPG points.  It is a whopping 10,000 points per night but I hear the area is beautiful. After that, we would probably visit Ottawa, Montreal, and maybe Quebec city. We would need to rent a car for at least part of our trip, but I do have enough American Airlines miles to pay for our airfare in its entirety. Total Estimated Cost: $500

Mexico

The fact that we have the Southwest Companion Pass means that we could both fly to Mexico for very few points and around $150 out-of-pocket.  And if we did, we would probably stay at the the Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas & Spa, Cancun for 10,000 SPG points per night.  When you book four nights free with SPG points in certain categories, you also get the fifth night free which means we could easily stay 5 nights for 40,000 points.  We would, however, need to spend money on food and entertainment since this resort is not an all-inclusive.  Total Estimated Cost: $500

Hawaii

I have always wanted to go to Hawaii, but I tend to shy away from the idea since it is known as a pricey place to vacation.  I have enough hotel points and airline miles to make the trip mostly free, but how much would meals cost?  How much would it cost to rent a car?  Honestly, those kinds of details tend to freak me out.  Starwood does have some pretty swank choices in Hawaii, including the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay at 10,000 points per night.  And since we could stay the 5th night free, 5 nights would only run 40,000 SPG points.  I need to think more about this one.  Total Estimated Cost: A LOT.

A Five Day Trip: Where Would You Go?

Where would you go if you have five days to see anything, or do anything, that you wanted?  To be honest, there are so many places I want to go that it can sometimes be hard to choose.  Unfortunately, I have time constraints and a serious travel budget shortage to work with as well, which means that I can’t plan my dream trip quite yet.

The worst case scenario is that we’ll just sit home and watch hours of Game of Thrones and eat take-out.  Come to think of it, that doesn’t sound half-bad at all.

Where would you go if you had five days off and a very limited budget?  Do you have any frugal trips planned for the near future?