Marriott Destination Tools for Vacation Planning

I’m a planner. When I’m going on a vacation I love to spend hours studying and planning out every little detail. I love the “virtual vacation” before the trip starts. 

My husband is the opposite; he’s happy to plan a trip, but he’d like to get the information as quickly as possible and just enjoy the trip itself. 

Years ago (before kids) I wanted to do something special for John so I decided to surprise him with a trip. He’s always been fascinated by space and NASA so I really wanted to take him to see a launch at Cape Canaveral. I spent hours researching whether we could make it work; I needed the timing to work out and I needed to find a reasonable hotel in the area. I also spent quite a bit of time searching for things to do in the area and places to eat.

As the trip got closer, I had to do some special scheming. Our trip started on a weekday and John had to work. I summoned my courage – knowing that I would sound like a crazy woman – and called his office when I knew he wasn’t there. His boss giggled when I told her my plan and that John would be missing a few days of work but that he wouldn’t know it.

My next problem – I needed to get John to Chicago. Early in the morning. Very, very early in the morning. I spoke to a friend of ours; he was planning a trip out of town so I asked him to lie about the dates and call John to ask for a ride home from the airport 60 miles away from our house at an ungodly hour. He called, they talked, and I overheard John say, “No man, I’m sorry. I have to work that day and it’s over an hour away from here.” A perfectly reasonable answer, but not according to the plan. When he got off the phone and told me about the call I tried to be subtle about it. “Wow, he must be really desperate if he’s asking you to do all that.” Ten minutes later John called back and agreed to do it and I breathed a sigh of relief.

As the trip approached I gathered all the information – printouts about our hotel, restaurants, local areas of interest – and packed.

The morning of the trip John still had no idea what was coming. I insisted on going with him to the airport. He was tired and not very happy about the 60 mile drive so he agreed. Just miles before we reached the airport I told John we had to stop and pick up my brother who lived a mile from the airport. My brother had agreed to drive our car back to his house from the airport, but I couldn’t tell John that. I made up a crazy and completely unbelievable story about how my brother needed to pick up his car from the mechanic and I had agreed to do it since we’d be in town; I also said we HAD to pick him up before the airport so we could help him get to his car in time to be at work in time. I intentionally waited until the last minute to tell the story hoping that John would be too tired and confused to question the story too much. It worked! He was annoyed, but didn’t even have time to put together that it made no sense at all.

When we arrived at my brother’s house I quickly hopped out of the car and insisted that I drive. By this time, John was angry. We argued and I wouldn’t budge. I was driving. He finally got out and stomped around to the passenger’s side when I argued that I knew how to navigate the airport pickup better because I had grown up nearby.

Minutes later we arrived at the airport and I pulled into the “departures” lane; I was sure this would tip John off, but he was so exhausted and confused he just yelled that we needed to be in “arrivals”. I pulled the car over to the side at our airline and my brother hopped out to pull our bags out of the trunk.

John was flabbergasted. He had no idea about the trip until we walked into the airport with our luggage.

I spent the next couple hours in the airport and on the airplane filling John in on all my plans – our destination, our hotel, the activities I had planned, and how I kept it all a secret with the help of his boss, our friends, and my brother.

In the end, we didn’t see a launch at Cape Canaveral because weather problems caused the launch of the MER-A “Spirit” to be delayed, but the trip was amazing anyway. We did get to tour Cape Canaveral, visit Universal Studios, and explore Orlando.

#MarriottVacay - John at NASA - Toddling Around Chicagoland

Whether you’re a planner (like me), or not as much (like John), Marriott has tools to help you plan the perfect vacation. Marriott International is a leading hospitality company with over 3,800 properties in over 74 countries and territories around the world. Their destination planning tools are great for browsing and plotting, but they’re also really helpful if you just want to get the information you need and get on with your trip.

The Marriott Washington, DC Trip Creator is an interactive planning site to help you find restaurants, theatres, museums, and lodging in Washington, DC.

Marriott_DC trip planner - #MarriottVacay - Toddling Around Chicagoland

See destinations on a map and choose places according to price, activity level, people you’re traveling with (adults or family), and choose whether you want places for locals or tourists. You can save destinations and even share them with friends.

I love that the Marriott Trip Creator tools are so easy that even kids could be involved in helping to plan the trip.

Marriott_DC map - #MarriottVacay - Toddling Around Chicagoland

Do you enjoy spending lots of time planning all the details of your trips or prefer to plan quickly? Do you think the #MarriottVacay Destination tools, like the Washington, DC Trip Creator can help you?

I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, however all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

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