France/Spain 2016 Itinerary and Planning

Another year, another trip…Italy with a 15 month old didn’t completely turn us off from traveling – though we did need a full year to get back on that horse.


We’ll be stopping at 6 different places and are spending a full 3 weeks in Europe.  A summary of the itinerary is below.  The full story of how we arrived at it follows…

  • San Sebastian, Spain – 4 nights
  • Saint Emilion (in the Bordeaux region), France – 3 nights
  • Dordogne countryside (outside of Daglan/Domme), France – 4 nights
  • Collioure, France – 2 nights
  • Barcelona, Spain – 4 nights
  • Madrid, Spain – 4 nights


We’ll take a high speed train between Barcelona and Madrid, saving 6 hours of driving.

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Italy 2015 Itinerary

We’re here in Italy after a rough journey over (new plane, new seats on the plane, unhappy baby, etc.), but we made it and are glad to be here.  We’re going to try to keep up with blog – hopefully we do.  Chasing around a 15 month old occupies a lot of our time.

Alyce will follow up with more on our flights.  I just wanted to get a post in with out itinerary.  We fly into Rome and out of Venice, and this is where we’ll be stopping along the way:

Rome – 3 nights

Florence – 3 nights

Montalcino – 2 Nights

Castiglione Falletto (Barolo area in Piedmont) – 3 nights

Venice – 2 nights

That makes it 13 nights total, plus one night spent on the flight on the way over.  Here is the itinerary on Google Maps – though we are taking the train from Rome to Florence.

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RTW/Europe Winter 2014

Our first international trip since returning home from our previous trip almost a year ago.  In fact, I started planning this tip almost immediately upon returning home, which was later than I’d ideally start.  As such, I was a little more limited in award space than usual.

I first looked at maybe going back to Australia, but that was just not doable.  I also considered South America or South Africa, but there were not too many options for that either.  Plus, the idea of planning/figuring out a new destination at the time was just not appealing after all the planning that went in to our RTW 2013 trip.

So looking for something more relaxing, we settled on a return to the Maldives – for 8 nights this time.  That was easy, required little planning and had great flights available (Cathay Pacific First Class, Etihad First Class).  We’d even get to spend a couple days in Kuala Lumpur on the way there and 4 nights in Paris on the way home.  And the trip was set…or so we thought.

Between now and then, we got a pleasant surprise and learned that Alyce was pregnant.  She would be unable to Scuba dive in the Maldives, plus we would be a flight away from any sort of decent medical services in the unlikely event that there was a probem.

We considered just abandoning the trip altogether, but we came up with an alternative plan that would let us spend some more time in Europe and still be able to put to use some of the flights already booked.  Basically, we’re going to Europe the long way – heading West.

We fly to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific and spend one night there then connect to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and spend a night there.  From Malaysia, we connect through Singapore to London and stay for 4 nights.  We’ll catch a quick flight from London to Paris and finish up with 5 nights there.  We’ll return on the normal route from Europe – crossing the Atlantic.

But don’t feel too sorry for us with all that flying…It will all be in First Class on some really nice airlines.  We’ll also mix in some nice hotels.  For anyone who is interested in that, here is our final flight/hotel itinerary:


MSY-ORD (New Orleans – Chicago) on American Airlines First Class

ORD-HKG (Chicago – Hong Kong) in Cathay Pacific First Class

HKG-KUL (Hong Kong – Kuala Lumpur) in Malaysia Air First Class (A380)


KUL-SIN (Kuala Lumpur – Singapore) in Singapore Airlines regional First

SIN-LHR (Singapore – London) in Singapore Airlines Suites Class (A380)


LHR-CDG (London – Paris) in British Airways Economy


CDG-???-MSY – I’m still waiting out for a Lufthansa First Class flight to open up on this, but I have a United business class flight booked as a backup.

RTW WInter 2014


Hong Kong – Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui

Kuala Lumpur – Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

London – Hyatt Regency Churchill

Paris – Park Hyatt Vendome


Travel – 1

Hong Kong – 1

Kuala Lumpur – 1

London – 4

Paris – 5

So it will be a much shorter trip than the last one, but it’s still plenty to do and see.  This will be our first time to Europe, so we are very excited about that.

We’re going to try to stay on top of blog posts this trip, but I don’t know that we’ll do as good of a job as the last one.

“The Big Trip”


Trip Itinerary (click to enlarge)


The main reason for starting this blog was to chronicle our “Big Trip.”  Much, much planning has gone into the preparing an itinerary for the big trip – I will probably post a couple times on the planning of the trip.  We have gone through numerous iterations of the itinerary, but we have now settled on a final version…Or at least a final planned version.  All of the flights and lodgings are booked.  So here it is, in order:

Hong Kong
Hong Kong – 5 Nights

Kyoto – 3 nights
Tokyo – 4 nights

Chiang Mai – 4 nights
Ko Lanta – 5 nights

Singapore – 3 nights

Port Douglas – 4 nights
Sydney – 4 nights

New Zealand
Auckland – 2 nights
Rotorua – 2 nights
Hawke’s Bay – 2 nights
Wellington – 1 night
Golden Bay – 2 nights
Blenheim – 2 nights
Kaikoura – 1 night
Akaroa – 1 night
Mt. Cook – 1 night
Queenstown – 4 nights

Melbourne – 3 nights
Apollo Bay – 1 night
Mount Gambier – 1 night
Coonawarra – 1 night
Kangaroo Island – 3 nights
McLaren Vale – 1 night

Bali (Ubud) – 4 nights

Hadahaa (Park Hyatt Maldives) – 6 nights

Dubai – 3 nights

And then we fly to New Orleans (via New York).