What's it like to have your flight home canceled at the last minute? For this Evansville family of five, it was quite the adventure.

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Woebkenberg
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Look Out NYC, The Woebkenbergs Have Arrived

My friend Jamie, her husband Jon, and their three children recently went on a whirlwind tour of New York City. I definitely want to go there to see The Statue of Liberty, and now my son is obsessed with Spider-Man, so he actually wants to go someday, too.

They certainly took in a lot of the city in only four days. I mean, when you start your summer vacation on The Today Show, that's a pretty good start.

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Woebkenberg
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The Woebkenbergs are huge Disney fans, so I was kind of surprised to see they were vacationing in New York, but they did find some Disney Magic.

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Woebkenberg
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No Way Home = Long Way Home

That could be the title of a new Spider-Man movie (In The Multiverse, of course) it also describes the Woebkenberg's long journey home. We've all seen the news stories about the travel nightmares people are having with various airlines. Hundreds of flights are canceled every day, and this does not make it easy to get home. You almost need to budget for the extra costs just in case you get stuck, because as Jamie tells me, it can really add up.

  • Rental car $232
  • Hotel $165
  • Gas $130+
  • $16 for an added day at the parking garage
  • $100 food, etc.
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Woebkenberg
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The Family's Long Journey Home, After Weather Cancels All Flights

"By mid-afternoon, our evening flight was delayed two hours. But once we arrived at the airport it was moved back up to its original time and then again delayed two hours…. We grabbed dinner and just as we were finishing our expensive airport meal we got the cancellation notice. . We headed to the ticket counter to join hundreds of others in line to rebook their flights. As we were standing there the flights around our ticket gate were all getting canceled as well. After waiting to get to the ticket agent for 1.5 hrs all flights were booked solid for the next two days. While we were in line we were looking up other airports and options… but little did we know that 5 airports within the vicinity had all canceled flights and everyone was trying to get home. Making it virtually impossible for a family of 5 to travel home the next day. So we opted to rent a car. Fun times as we had to drive through Manhattan (so stressful) in a Nissan Rogue with three teenagers squished together in the back seat for the entire journey home. We decided to drive as far as we could the first night for cheaper hotels and out of traffic. Unfortunately, our car was parked at the Nashville airport. So making our trip about 2hrs and 45 mins longer in order to pick up our car. The worst part was the airlines blamed it all on the weather so therefore they don’t have to reimburse you for added costs. I’ve filed a complaint with the airline (Southwest) but haven’t heard back."

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Silver Lining

As much as the drive home sucked, and the fact that Southwest's Customer Service has not answered Jamie's complaint, she still manages to stay positive.

"I will say life is always an adventure and we try to always look on the bright side. The bright side is we got to check off three new states today. Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia. And the most important thing is we are all home and safe!! Life is short. Take the adventure!!"

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On the list, there's a robust mix of offerings from great schools and nightlife to high walkability and public parks. Some areas have enjoyed rapid growth thanks to new businesses moving to the area, while others offer glimpses into area history with well-preserved architecture and museums. Keep reading to see if your hometown made the list.