Last week, I wrote about picking a destination, setting a budget and managing vacation time. This week, it’s all about building the itinerary! Enjoy!
Our ultimate destination was Glacier National Park. The closest airport is Kalispell, Montana, but the airfare was out of our budget. I was bummed. BUT, my hubby proposed a brilliant and doable alternative - flying into Seattle from Philadelphia and making the 8 hour drive. Airfare $400/pp. Done.
First Night Hotel:
I booked a hotel for the night we arrive: We got into Seattle about 730 pm, which is 1030 east coast time. Neither of us wanted to drive in the dark , when we’re tired, on unfamiliar roads. I booked a hotel near the airport so we can have a decent night’s sleep and get an early start the next day.
Side Note 1: Instead of using points for the hotel, we paid for it since the loyalty program was running a huge deal that would really rack up our points.
Side Note 2: The hotel was a total nightmare and was neither restful, nor clean. We were placed in a room that had not been cleaned...at all. It took what seemed like a really long time to straighten it out. By that time, we were really hungry, really tired and really aggravated. Surprising for a chain we use… A LOT. Chalk it up to experience and move on.
We rented an SUV (against my protests) from a company where we’re loyalty club members and get a small discount (I’ll take it).
How I Chose Where We Stayed:
I have a really long work commute every day so I’m not keen on spending my vacation in a car, too. With that in mind, I tried to limit our time in the car to four hours a day, as much as possible. I tried to plan a break each day about two hours into the drive. Then, it was just a matter of finding fun stuff to do and nice places to stay.
Day 1: Philadelphia – Seattle:
Day 2: Seattle -Spokane - Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is about an hour east of Spokane AND it’s got a new Hampton Inn! We stopped for the night!
Side Note: Coeur d’Alene was awesome! I wish we had more time there. Read my post about it!
Day 3: Coeur d’Alene, Idaho - Whitefish, Montana
Coeur d’Alene (CDA) is about 4 hours from Glacier National Park, but we didn’t plan to leave CDA until the next day in afternoon. In the morning we kayaked, then ate lunch before we got on the road. Again, we didn’t want to drive on dark, unfamiliar roads. Enter Whitefish. There’s a Hampton Inn not too far from town. We were in! Check out my Whitefish post!
Day 4 -6: Whitefish, Montana - Glacier National Park
Whitefish, Montana - Glacier National Park: Whitefish is 25 +/- miles from the West Glacier entrance to Glacier National Park. Explore Whitefish in the morning. It’s adorable! Grab a snack and head to Glacier early in the afternoon.
Day 7: Glacier National Park – Wallace, Idaho - Ellensburg, Washington
Glacier National Park to Wallace, Idaho: Lunch stop, Wallace, Idaho: It’s about four hours from Glacier to Wallace. I read about Wallace, Idaho and that’s right off the highway. We stopped there for lunch. Read about our visit!
Wallace, Idaho to Ellensburg, Washington. It’s two hours from Wallace to our final destination of Ellensburg, which was literally on the highway so it seemed like a good place to stop for the night. Also, it’s about an hour and a half from Leavenworth, Washington where I collaborated with the Chamber of Commerce. Leavenworth is a bit in the mountains, so we didn’t want to drive into the mountains after a long day of driving. So, staying at the Hampton Inn in Ellensburg made sense. We had a relaxing dinner then get a decent night’s sleep before heading to Leavenworth.
Day 8: Ellensburg - Seattle
Leavenworth to Seattle: It’s about three hours from Leavenworth to Seattle. We have the afternoon in Seattle. (check it out!) Our flight is EARLY the next day.
Day 9: Seattle - Home
We take an early morning flight from Seattle back to Philadelphia.
There you have it. It’s pretty much how we built our itinerary to Glacier National Park!
How do you vacation plan? I’d love to hear about it on Facebook or in Traveleidoscope’s comment section!
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