THE BLOG

Planning A Stress-Free Vacation

12/26/2012 07:21 am ET | Updated Feb 25, 2013

Working on a presidential campaign has plenty of advantages. Your colleagues are some of the brightest, most creative people in the country. It's a fast-paced job and although no two days are the same, each one is spent working towards a goal you are truly passionate about. On the other hand, it's not a job that is conducive to a healthy lifestyle or a healthy relationship. With a hard end date and many critical deadlines along the way, days off are few and far between. As the sleepless nights took their toll, the promise of a post-election vacation was as much of an incentive to fight on as getting our candidate elected was.

Not only would this vacation be an opportunity for some much needed R & R, but it was a chance to make up for lost time with my girlfriend, who often would go weeks at a time without seeing me. We needed to shut our brains off for a week, to be able to spend time together and let others do the work for us. The decision was easy; we were going on a cruise.

Despite my enthusiasm, we kept running into brick walls. With airfares so high, getting to our port of departure became as stressful of a job as the campaign was. I had to take a step back. First, I established a timeline. My research indicated that my best chance of getting a cheap flight was exactly 21 days prior to departure. Prices dropped on that day, but we discovered that we'd save even more money if we flew to Miami the day before our cruise left. Although we were excited for an extra day in the sun, the extra night meant we'd have to pay for a hotel in one of the most expensive cities in the country. On a Friday night. In late December. Again, we took to the internet, only to find hotels that were well out of our price range. Skeptical, I tried my luck at Priceline.com's "Name Your Own Price" feature and was beyond thrilled to be booked at the Hyatt Regency Miami for less than half the rate it was listed for elsewhere.

Next, I turned my attention towards getting to the airport. Our sizeable luggage meant that public transportation was out of the question. Flagging down a cab for our 6 a.m. departure would have been stressful, and as I mentioned early, "stressful" was not an option. My girlfriend came across The Parking Spot's website. It's an around the clock airport parking service, frequently running shuttles, with convenient amenities made it a much better alternative to standard options. One more item was checked off the list.

In the end, I'm confident that we got the best possible value without compromising on any of our initial requirements. Unfortunately though, just like the campaign, our vacation has a hard end date. Thankfully, it's still a few weeks away.