So it all started two weeks ago. I had originally planned a trip to Puerto Rico as a short getaway before school started. As the countdown to the trip began, it became clear that Puerto Rico was caught in the epidemic of the Zika virus, something I hadn’t counted on during the planning stages. So on the very eve of our trip, the family decided to cancel the vacation and stay put. Luckily all flights except one and hotels were able to be refunded.

But for ones bitten by the travel bug, new roads beckoned and soon I was on the Internet searching for a quick getaway. I had originally thought of visiting the Shenandoah National Park but Mr. JJ wanted to try the Great Smokies. I had previously bought a package at the Holiday Inn Smoky Mountain Resort for a 4 night getaway in the Gatlinburg, TN area but didnt have time to schedule a trip. I called them on a whim, and lo and behold!, they were able to accomodate us!!

With our accomodations in place, I then headed to the American Airlines website to look for flights. A single roundtrip cost $820 pp, and my heart sank. Nervously, I moved to the awards site to see if any last minute awards were available. There were direct flights from DFW, our homebase to Knoxville, TN and back. I couldn’t believe it! I eventually booked all segments except three on Saver awards and the last three on Anytime awards that cost more. But what’s the point in collecting miles if they cant get me to where I need to go when I need to go?  I had to pay the close-in fees since this was last minute (and I don’t have elite status with AA) but $150 is a manageable sacrifice as opposed to $3200.

Mr. JJ quickly booked us a car rental and we were all set to fly to Knoxville, TN instead of San Juan, PR. The rest of the evening flew as we got off work, packed and tried to retire early for a morning flight out. It struck me as I fell asleep that  I had no idea of what we were going to do over the next four days. This trip was completely unplanned!!

Ready or not, Smokies, here we come!!