This family trip (I don’t call it a vacation unless it’s going to be relaxing) to Colorado has been on our bucket list for 6 years now. Three babes later and we are finally able to RENT A CAR! We have family scattered all throughout the state, so renting a car to go see some of them and doing exploring along the way has been something we’ve been anxious to do.

When $78 round trip tickets (through Frontier Airlines) came through my email and were available for purchase over our daughter’s Spring Break, I snagged them right away.

Our different destinations in order over 7 days:

Chicago > Denver > Eastern Colorado (Cheyenne Wells) > Colorado Springs > Cripple Creek > Manitou Springs > Denver > Chicago

Highlight at each destination:

Chicago: Giordano’s Pizza (we had it before we flew out AND when we flew back in!).

Denver: Swimming at the Aloft Hotel… Ample entertainment for our kids!

Eastern Colorado: Farm chores & helping grandma make breakfast, lunch, and dinner (EVERYTHING is from scratch!).

[a barn we explored on my grandparent’s ranch]

Colorado Springs: Exploring Garden of the Gods and a backyard BBQ with family!

Cripple Creek: Heritage Center… It’s 3 stories of FREE entertainment. All of our kids were entertained there for a good hour or two!

[Baby Hugo playing “nice” at the Heritage Center]

Manitou Springs: Their downtown is filled with so many cute shops and restaurants. There’s also a great playground there for kids to burn off energy on! Josh & John’s Ice Cream was seriously SO delicious….. The line we waited in was well worth it. They even had “100% fruit tubes” so baby Hugo could enjoy a treat too!

. . . . . .

Our 7 day getaway budget breakdown:

Roundtrip Airfare for 4 (Chicago O’Hare –> Denver) ………………………………………………………. $312

One checked bag (a large suitcase that Spencer & I shared)……………………………………………. $50

Parking @ O’Hare (luckily my cousin lives in CHI and housed our car)……………………………….. FREE

Tolls/Other Parking (Navy Pier + short term hotel parking at Westin)………………………………….. $70

Hotels through Priceline.com (1 night in CHI + 1 night in DEN both with free shuttle to airport).. $200

5 Day Car Rental Through Hertz.com (full-size 7 passenger suv)………………………………………… $550

Gas………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..$75

Food/Drink (we were thankfully cooked for by family majority of the trip)…………………………………$250

Spending Cash (ice cream shops + souvenirs)…………………………………………………………………….$100

Grand Total……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..$1,607

Adding $300 to your food/drink total would be a smart move if you are using this budget as a guide to your next trip. Also, factoring in long term airport parking might be necessary for you as well as a larger hotel budget.

We got a discount for our car rental because of the home/auto insurance we use. This could very well be the case for you. I would call and check the next time you rent! Also, we got 4-star hotels through priceline.com by going with the “express deal.” You don’t know what hotel you will be staying at, but you are able to select the number of stars it has AND a pinpointed area of the city (for example, we selected “hotels near airport”). We were very pleased with both hotels we stayed at (Westin & Aloft).

FAVORITE MEMORIES FROM ALL AGE LEVELS:

  • Peyton’s (6 years old) favorite part of the trip was seeing family and Garden of the Gods.
  • Kahler’s (3 years old) favorite part of the trip was swimming at the hotels… Go figure!
  • I will answer for Hugo (11 months old). He loved my aunt’s fenced in backyard and the 75 degree weather! He explored that backyard for 2 hours straight without making one fuss. That says a lot for our little mama’s boy!!
  • My favorite part of the trip was getting away from our everyday hustle and bustle.
  • Spencer’s (my husband) favorite part of the trip was the gorgeous 75 degree Colorado temperature. No humidity there sure makes a difference! When he can wear Hugo on his back in 75 degrees and not sweat says a lot (he is probably rolling his eyes right now reading this comment)!!

. . . . . .

Something I realized on this trip was that the destination of a trip makes no difference. Setting aside the time to be together and getting away from the daily grind is what’s important. Your destination does not need to be elaborate nor does it need to be hours away and rob your bank account. The generation we live in is so fast paced. If you don’t take the time to do the things that make you happy, then who will?

Nobody.

Happiness is a choice. If you lack it, create it. Don’t dwell on “what if’s”, don’t compare yourself to others, but most of all don’t blind yourself to the good in your life… Good as in the people, your surroundings, and resources available to you.

Much Love From The Founder,

Emma Hicks

 

 

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