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Planning a surprise 30th birthday vacation...help!!

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Feb 22nd, 2011, 08:02 AM
  #1
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Planning a surprise 30th birthday vacation...help!!

It is my soon-to-be husand's 30th birthday on Christmas eve this year (we are getting married this summer) and i want to do something really special for him. I have actually been planning this trip in my head for a few years now to tell you the truth!!
When i first met him seven and a half years ago, he told me that his dream place to visit would be New York (we live in the UK). I would love to take him there for his birthday and subsequently stay for about a week over the Christmas period, maybe the 23rd to the 1st of Jan or something. However, we are a very close family, and taking him to New York would mean us not spending Christmas with our families. So that got me thinking maybe i should get them to meet us there (hence doubling the surprise!!) and we could all have a great Christmas vacation together in New York. His mum actually used to live in New York, so his parents would jump at the chance to come too. However, my parents aren't big into long distance travel and my two sisters would have to come too so i dont know if it would be too expensive for them or if they would even want to.
To me it sounds wonderful, the whole family spending Christmas in New York and celebrating his birthday at the same time, however, another side of me thinks my plans are just too extravagant and they will be laughed at by my family. What do you think??

Another idea i had, if the New York trip didn't work out, was perhaps planning a pre-Christmas (and pre-birthday) trip to Las Vegas instead just for the two of us. Or maybe even leaving just after Christmas (and birthday) and spending new year there.

I'm really confused as to what i should do, any thoughts would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Laurajay is offline  
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Feb 22nd, 2011, 08:17 AM
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I would go mid-December.
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Feb 22nd, 2011, 08:23 AM
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I would not go over the holidays nor include the whole family. You would be committing them to a very big expense and for plans that they may not want to do (particularly if there are children). Most people want to be home for the holidays.
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Feb 22nd, 2011, 10:11 AM
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You have some good advice here. If you are thinking of Vegas, you will find fantastic deals a couple of weeks before Christmas and very high prices in the week between Christmas and New Years.
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Feb 22nd, 2011, 10:44 AM
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Perhaps I might suggest your Christmas Present to him is a trip to NY? You stay in the UK for your holiday and if you book your trip for May 2012, the weather will be far nicer and you can enjoy some of the best aspects of New York.

You might find that a warm Saturday afternoon in Central Park is worth the wait, rather than rushing to NY in December in what could be cold, miserable weather.

Things like Shakespeare in the Park, drinks at the Metropolitan Museum rooftop sculpture Garden, a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, a Staten Island Ferry Ride, and side-walk meals at some West Village restaurant all become options available to you.

For his birthday, why not plan a party for his friends and family and spring the NY trip on him them.
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Feb 22nd, 2011, 10:53 AM
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Christmas sounds wonderful in NY. The city is decorated and there is so much going on. It can also be the coldest, windiest place to be. Remember local schools are out at that time of year so the museums are crowded and with New Years around the corner it is a tourist scene.

I agree with Ryan - make it in May when the city is in bloom, and it can just be the two of you or pass invites to join the trip with no obligations. Tourism is light and you will probably find better deals.

All that....I took my husband to Vegas for his 40th. We had a blast. Tons of nightlife, amazing food and warmth!!! Crazy people watching too. Watch the season though. They do get cold in the desert there....
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Feb 22nd, 2011, 11:00 AM
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I should have mentioned, the notion of Romantic Trip and Relatives trip are not compatible.

About a decade ago my wife and I (also recently married) went to Paris and we invited along my parents, her Mom and her Aunt. Big mistake. My wife and I went to a very nice, long lunch at a great and romantic Paris restaurant. On the way back we picked up a bottle of champagne to continue our romantic afternoon into the early evening.

Let's just say a bucket of ice cold water is less of a romantic interuption than my Mom and MIL calling our room asking if we knew where they should go for dinner and should they pack umbrellas for the next day.
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 06:20 AM
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Spend Xmas and his actual b'day at home with family and fly to NYC on Boxing Day (which is not celebrated here) just the 2 of you. Trying to organize an entire family trip will be too complicated and somebody's bound to be left out or unhappy.
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 06:46 AM
  #9
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Thanks for all the great replies. For all those saying it might be too complicated, i thought i better just add that it would only be 8 of us (the two of us, his parents, my parents, and my two sisters). Also, i wasn't too concerned about them coming, because to me it was never supposed to be a 'romantic' vacation as such, just a fun time with family over Christmas to celebrate his birthday.
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 06:51 AM
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8 people in NYC is a lot and complicated. Have you had a look at airfares and hotel prices? Do you think everyone can afford to come?
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 08:14 AM
  #11
 
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I have been going to NYC for 30 years and we went a few weeks before Christmas most times. It is the most hectic city I every visited during Christmas. Everyone is visiting to shop for Christmas and see the decorations. It would be impossible to get dining reservations for your group at that time. If you insist please change dates. Give your husband a Christmas Card for his B/D with a detailed itinerary of the NYC trip that's planned in March or later in 2012. You will all be much happer.\

Now if you can leave out the others and just the two of you go that would be perfect. Regardless have a great trip and good luck.
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 08:46 AM
  #12
 
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What about planning the trip for later, and if the family wants to come, surprise him with that aspect?
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 09:34 AM
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Eight people is not crowded compared to the throngs of people in NYC during Christmas Week. Not only will your parents be there but so will everyone else's. Please also note that the restaurants in the tourists areas are packed and eight people makes it that much worse.

If you do come to NYC, I would stay in a hotel away from mid-town and Times Square and eat in residential areas.
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 09:51 AM
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Not sure about the residency status of everyone on this thread, but McLaurie, Aduchamp, and I all live in the New York area. Adu and I are native New Yorkers.

Not trying to say that makes our opinion more or less valid, but I think there is something to the fact that the three of us view the end of December as not the best time to enjoy and experience New York.

Not like coming here will be awful. It just won't be New York at its best, especially with 8 people.
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 10:53 AM
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NYC between Christmas and New Years is a zoo, and I mean that in a bad way. I like the pre Christmas trip or the May trip ideas. May is so wonderful in NYC
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 11:51 AM
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I think it's fine to come as a couple for Xmas and/or New Year's. I think it's a really bad idea to come as a family of 8 at that time. You'll be miserable with crowds, difficulty getting a decent meal for all of you and the expense is crazy.
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Feb 23rd, 2011, 05:57 PM
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The holidays in NYC are fantastic - and must be experienced to be believed. BUT, it is the most expensive time of year, it will be cold and possibly snowy (we had 22" this year - which even slowed us down for a day) and it will be mobbed. As well as all the tourists you have a lot of locals with time off and 1.1 million NYC school kids roaming the city looking to be entertained. Stores, museums, sights and theaters will be packed to the gills.

To bring your whole family would be a VERY significant expense esp if you don;t know all of them are i n love with the idea.

If it were me I would do just the two of you - if you decide you want to go fir such substantial expense. (Many free - as in outdoor - things will either not be available - or not at their best. Central park brown and crunchy with bare trees isn;t that gorgeous - so you would need to plan for a mostly indoor trip.)
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Feb 24th, 2011, 05:39 AM
  #18
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Gosh, you've really made me rethink the whole thing. In a good way though, you've all been really helpful. I figure you're probably right about going just the two of us. However, now i feel like i am back at square one!!! I need somewhere to go either the week before Christmas or the week in between Christmas and new year that is spectacular enough for a 30th birthday surprise (reminder: his birthday is on Christmas Eve). Any ideas?? Your thoughts and advice are much appreciated
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Feb 24th, 2011, 05:54 AM
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Vegas woould work for the week before Christmas.
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Feb 24th, 2011, 06:36 AM
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You started out asking for our advice:
"...To me it sounds wonderful, the whole family spending Christmas in New York and celebrating his birthday at the same time, however, another side of me thinks my plans are just too extravagant and they will be laughed at by my family. What do you think??..."

We've told you it will be very expensive and crowded and it may be difficult to navigate with such a large group at that time. We haven't told you not to do it, just the realities of what's involved. The rest is up to you. Either discuss it privately with the family and see what they say or plan a trip for the 2 of you or, if you want to go as a family, get ideas/opinions from the family since they'll be the ones going/paying, not us. If you don't know how to research prices, we can help with that. I'll tell you now, I use kayak.com for airfare and doing initial hotel price searches. kayak.co.uk is the UK version.

But I'll also add, I don't get why you can't still come as a couple either just before or just after Xmas? And why can't the 2 of you come just for a few days? Why does it have to be a week? And if you truly want other ideas, you need to provide some parameters for the where, how much etc. If you're considering other places in Europe, you need to post on the Europe board as this is only for the US. I personally would head to the south of France but that may not interest you, your fiance or the family.

I helped someone online a few years ago plan a family trip for Xmas time. She started planning a year in advance. While the trip went well, the older members of the family found it too cold for walking around and had a hard time keeping up with the younger members.
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