Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Pulling off and planning a surprise trip

I had been thinking about surprising Scott with a trip for his birthday for a while.  I actually wanted to do it on his 40th birthday but we had a baby then and it wasn't great timing.  So I made my mind up to do it this year.  I started planning it a few months in advance.  

People have kept asking me how I pulled it off so I'm going to give you the details.  

The first thing I did was ask his boss for two days off.  I have never met his boss so I had to get sneaky and find her number on Scott's phone so I could text her.  Thankfully she was really great about it! Then I asked Scott's parents if they could come keep the kids (and keep a secret!) 

I have been saving money for a while.  Now this part is going to be different for everyone.  I want to say in bold letters that I'm not advocating being sneaky with your money in marriage.  Scott and I have joint accounts and budgets and talk about any big purchases together.  So I saved money by selling kid clothes or doing some advertising on my blog.  I also work part time for a ministry so I put a little of that money into my trip money.  I have a credit card I've had since before we got married that I never use but I keep just for emergencies.  I put the trip on that so I could pay it off later with my saved money and Scott wouldn't know.  I know that sounds sneaky but it was for a good cause.  In fact, funny story - the credit card flagged my card as fraudulent because it was actually used and buying a trip to NY.  ha ha ha! 

Another idea would be to save money how ever you can in an envelope (we do this for family trips) and then hand the money to him and say "Surprise - this money is buying us a trip!"  Maybe you surprise him a month in advance if you do it that way.   Be creative - there are lots of ways you could do this! 

(I got asked a lot so my boots are HERE and my coat is HERE)
(I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to wear and it didn't really matter because it was cold and all anyone ever saw was my coat and boots. ha! I loved them both.  I have terrible feet and we walked 10 miles or more every day and my feet hurt less in these boots than they did in tennis shoes at Disney World) 

I got asked many times how I knew how to plan our trip.  I had only been once and it was 14 years ago.  I'm a natural planner.  I love planning trips.  I usually plan all of our vacations.  So it's really fun for me. 

We only had 3 full days and I wanted to hit the highlights and things I thought Scott would enjoy.  I knew he wouldn't want to shop or go to Broadway shows or art museums.  

So I started by doing a lot of research on what the top things to see in NYC were.  I made a list of our must sees and then tried to make a schedule based on that.  

I knew the thing he would enjoy most would be the 9/11 museum so I booked that for our first day.  I wanted to start the trip on a good note.   I had several friends who did a food tour and I knew we wanted to do that and it's only offered certain times so I planned that as our main event for Saturday.  And Sunday I wanted to go to Hillsong and planned the rest of the day around that.  I booked tickets for everything ahead of the time which saved us a lot of time.  

The next important thing was where to eat? So I took recommendations from friends and also did research.  I used open table to make reservations at almost every place we ate which I'm so glad.  We never had to wait at all ever.  

I found our hotel on Orbitz.  I normally use Expedia but they are very similar.  I wanted the nicest hotel I could find for the least amount of money and in the best possible location.  I picked the Westin near Grand Central Station on 42nd street.  It was really nice and worked out great.  I read reviews on all the hotels I narrowed in down on.  

So basically - research, research, research.  

Everyone has wanted to know what Scott thought? Well, he won't be planning any trips to New York in the near future.  It was just too loud and too crowded for him.  But to be fair - Bentonville, AR is too loud and too crowded for him.  But he loved some of the things we did and he's glad he got the experience.  I'm glad I forced him to go so he went at least once in his life.  We always go to the beach and there were only so many places we could go in just 3 days so I'm glad that's what I picked. More than anything - I'm just glad we got some time alone.  It was so great for us! 

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