So… I’m Going to Florida

Westin Tampa Harbour Island - Where I'll Be Staying
Westin Tampa Harbour Island – Where I’ll Be Staying

I’ve settled on Tampa, Florida as my winter vacation spot.

As I had mentioned, I had hoped to get back to Europe, but the flights at this time of year are double what they are at just about any other time of year, so I had to make some concessions. In the past I’ve had success booking last-minute flights. Not this year.

For the price of Montreal-Paris round trip airfare I can fund a plane ticket to Tampa and a week’s accommodation at a nice resort-style hotel, in the Florida sun right on the beach.

I’ve never really seen myself as a “Florida guy, having always prefered to load up my backpack and go on an adventure in Europe. I’ve also enjoyed road-trips to the US Northeast, including NYC and Washington, DC.

But as I researched and reflected on Florida, and Tampa in particular, I became more intrigued. It’s got a few things going for it that lead me to take the plunge.

Convenience
I’ll be able to fly out of Ottawa for this trip. Usually when I go to Europe, I have to fly out of Montreal. This time I can leave my car parked at home, hop on the OCTranspo and head to the Ottawa airport for an afternoon flight in short order. It’s nice to eliminate that hidden travel cost of a train ticket to Dorval or Park N Fly.

The actual travel isn’t too bad either. I’ll be in the same time-zone, so no jet-lag and the travel time is pretty brief. I’ll connect in Detroit both ways. In total, it’ll take me about six hours each way, but they’re both afternoon flights so that suits me just fine.

R&R Factor
As I mentioned before Christmas, I’m planning to hit the ground running in 2013 with multiple projects on the go. I’ll blog about them in detail as they develop, but I can already see my calendar will be very busy as 2013 gets underway. Making sure I’m well-rested and refreshed is key for me.

In Tampa, I’ll be staying at the Westin Tampa Harbour Island. I’ll be able to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt, hang out by the pool and maybe even hit the beach, although it’ll probably be too cold for a swim. Long-term forecast calls for highs in the low 20s (centigrade). Whatever the case, it’ll be a welcome change from the ongoing battle we’ve had with snow here.

It’s Not A Resort
Nothing against resorts and people who enjoy them, I can definitely see the appeal, but I worry I would get bored staying put in one artificial area for a week. I like that in Florida I’ll get the warm weather, pools and beaches of a resort but I’ll be in a real city, with its own distinct vibe. I’m looking forward to exploring downtown Tampa and all it has to offer, including the food and nightlife. It’ll be a totally new experience for me, having never been any farther south in the US than Washington DC.

Overall I’m excited about the trip. I’ll be sure to post an update and some photos of what I see and how I like my first Florida experience. If you’ve got any advice, feel free to leave a comment or tweet me, I’m open to suggestions and recommendations.

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