We decided to visit South Dakota instead.
I usually would not decide to stay in the US and pass up the opportunity to visit another country but this time it made a lot of sense.
Here is my reasoning:
Flights to Europe are very pricey right now and I was not looking to pay for a flight. Using miles would've been expensive (in terms of miles needed) due to availability. I've wanted to visit South Dakota for quite some time and I found what I think is an excellent deal. There is a lot to see in the United States so I think this was a perfect opportunity to see a part of the country that I have never been to.
Trip Details and Planning:
For 25,000 miles each (one Continental Airlines credit card sign up bonus of 50K) plus $10 tax per ticket we are flying to Rapid City, South Dakota on United Airlines. To purchase a flight, the cheapest price I found was in the $450 range. This was the first time that Kim and I used miles for a domestic flight reward.
For our hotel stays, we are staying two nights at Country Inn & Suites Rapid City. The room was a bit more than I'd usually spend but with the Stay 1 Get 1 promo we'll each earn bonus points good for at least one free night (hopefully more than that). I also used some points that I purchased with Choice Hotels during the Daily Getaways promotion to save some money on another night's hotel stay. For the remaining few nights, we'll be staying at a few local, quirky and cheap places.
I rarely rent cars but one is essential to get around in South Dakota. I couldn't find any great deals and going for the cheapest compact car wasn't going to cut it this time. The newest member of our travel team, comes with a lot of luggage. We need to bring quite a bit of gear for Lucas so I wanted a car with some space.
I chatted a bit with my friend Stefan- he writes the Rapid Travel Chai blog and has written a bunch of posts related to car rentals. I told him what kind of car I was looking for, the location and dates and he suggested that I consider booking through the Capital One rewards site. I ended up getting a mid-size SUV for about $5-10 more (total) than a compact! SCORE!
I decided to try something new for this trip. I did my usual research of things that I want to see and visit during our trip. I then decided to try to use Twitter to plan my itinerary.
I contacted the South Dakota Tourism board (TravelSD.com) by sending a tweet to them through Twitter. I asked for help with planning a one week itinerary and received a response from them pretty fast. After briefly sending messages through Twitter, the representative suggested that we correspond through e-mail.. I explained what I wanted to see and do during my stay and got some great suggestions on how to spend the week.
The itinerary seems to be very good and should help us avoid driving out of the way or backtracking. The South Dakota Tourism Board was very helpful and I plan to use Twitter to help in future trip planning!
**Image above: Nat Geo Adventure**