Now that the Holidays are down to a dull roar, I’m taking some time to firm up our agenda for Camp Mom 2015.
To recap, Camp Mom is where I extend an existing family trip with just the kids and travel with them with the goal that the trip costs no more than day camp back in DC. For this trip we have 2 weeks and a budget of $1600 ($400 a week times 2 weeks times 2 kids). The “costs” are defined as within-continent travel, lodging, and admission fees/tours. (Food doesn’t count as we eat at home.) I’ll run 2 side by side budgets: one cash outlay only (assuming points are “free”) and one counting points at what I consider fair value (usually a penny a point).
This year our family trip is to Japan so we’ll depart for Camp Mom from Tokyo, returning to the USA from Hong Kong 2 weeks later. I tend not to think of 2 week trips all at one time, rather I fill them in from the boundaries until they meet in the middle.
I also keep my ideas about where to go pretty open, but use my travel checklist as a guide. After using the checklist and chatting with the Deal Kids, here’s what I’ve booked so far:
Tuesday: Leave Hong Kong for USA
Sat morning-Tuesday: Hong Kong, Including a day at Hong Kong Disney
Tuesday evening-Saturday morning: Da Nang, Vietnam for some beach time: a MUST for the Deal Kids.
Why Da Nang?
Again using my checklist, Da Nang hit a bunch of my line items:
- Type of destination? Beach. Non-negotiable.
- Sweet spots in award charts? Da Nang is within the 4500 Avios region with a non-stop flight from Hong Kong that has availability on my dates.
- 1st World or 3rd? Because of kids’ first time to Asia, prefer 1st world hotel if developing nation. Plenty of hotels in Da Nang qualify, but it doesn’t appear to be too built up.
- Promotions? Avios 40% transfer bonus from American Express means only 10K for 3 one way tickets +$89 tax. Hyatt Resort is a reasonable Category 3 and BRG cash rates look under $100 a night (more on BRG to come). Other options easily available, including vacation rentals.
So on our budget so far we’ve alloted:
3 nights regency suite at Hyatt Regency Tokyo (points+cash and suite upgrade)=$225 + 18,000 points ($405). This includes breakfast and club snacks, which the kids and I have been known to call a meal.
3 tickets to Hong Kong Disney: $155. For all 3.
Transport to Hong Kong from Da Nang: 10,000 Points and $90. ($190)
4 nights in Da Nang: Budgeting $400, will probably be less.
Total for one week: $870 + 28,000 points, or $1150 counting points at a penny.
I’m a bit high, but considering $150 hardly buys one ticket to Disney in the USA, I’m ok with it. Also remember that’s for all three of us! Hong Kong is pretty high cost no matter how you do it. I could go cheaper in Da Nang if needed.
This leaves a week between Tokyo and Da Nang, and that’s where I need your help: Suggestions? Tips on Da Nang? Please share your ideas in the comments.
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