Years later, honeymoon debacle pays off for Indiana couple

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Stephanie and Dan Freemyer, and their two young sons Tait and Lucan, have been awarded a trip valued at up to $10,000.
Stephanie and Dan Freemyer, and their two young sons Tait and Lucan, have been awarded a trip valued at up to $10,000.

ASTA has named the Freemyer family of Sweetster, Indiana, as the winners of its Vacation Do Over contest. After submitting a video chronicling their worst vacation ever, the family will now get a trip planned by an ASTA advisor.

"Our goal in this campaign was two-fold," said ASTA CEO Zane Kerby. "First, we needed to understand the pain points that consumers experience when they book on their own. And second, we want to show the value that travel advisors provide by redoing one ruined trip in particular for a lucky winner. We're excited to show the meaningful difference a travel advisor can make."

Dan and Stephanie Freemyer and their two young sons, Tait and Lucan, have been awarded a trip valued at up to $10,000 as a result of their successful entry into the contest.To enter, ASTA asked consumers to share a video of themselves talking about their vacation gone wrong.

The Freemyers told the story of their honeymoon 12 years ago planned by Dan. The road trip adventure started right after their wedding in Indianapolis. They had eight days to get to North Carolina, where Stephanie would go straight to her orientation for her new teaching job.

On day one, Dan busted his chin open and would spend the night in the hospital, but not before backing their car into the side of the bed-and-breakfast where they were staying. Misadventures plagued the entire trip, which eventually ended with Dan dropping off Stephanie just in time for her orientation (after brushing her teeth and changing at a Walmart). Shortly after he dropped her off, their car burst into flames on the side of the road. Dan hitchhiked back to the school that night to pick her up.

To say that many disasters occurred from day one to day eight would be an understatement.

"People kept telling us, 'It only gets better,' but each day kept getting worse until it literally ended in flames," Stephanie said in a statement. "Now we have two young boys who can join us on this vacation do-over, and we're excited to make memories that will last forever."

Erika Richter, ASTA's director of communications, said the Society received hundreds of submissions.

"It was a difficult decision to make because there are so many bad vacation stories out there," she said. "We wish we could redo them all, but ultimately our internal selection committee decided that the Freemyer family is the winner, and we couldn't be more thrilled to see the rest of their journey unfold."

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