We’re halfway through our big road trip up the East Coast, beginning with Georgia and ending in Maine. We’ve gotten to see some pretty awesome stuff along the way so far, and I’m updating my Instagram as we go if you’re interested in seeing some of the places we’re visiting. With each stop, we’ve said we would love to have just another day or two to explore the area, which is a mark of a good trip in my opinion.
We got to visit Beaufort, South Carolina for the first time since we moved away, and it will always hold a special place on our hearts since that’s where we began our marriage. I’m hoping we won’t let another eight years go by before we’re back again, because I’ve missed the low country.
Friday’s Frugal Five
1. We had a direct flight from Seattle to Georgia, so we only flew for five hours for the full day and didn’t need to bring a ton of food with us, but we did pack some peanut butter jelly sandwiches, goldfish, Luna bars, and a few other snacks in order to avoid buying breakfast and lunch in the airport and on the plane.
SeaTac actually has some pretty decent options, but they aren’t cheap, and while Alaska Airlines has some of the better airline food, you still have to pay for it. By bringing enough to cover us for both meals, we saved a decent amount of money rather than buying it there. While we do still spend more on groceries than the average personal finance blogger, we’re much more mindful now and I’d rather keep that spending to awesome local restaurants along the way.
2. Our first night of the trip was spent in a hotel in Atlanta, booked with credit card rewards points courtesy of my mother in law. I haven’t yet redeemed any of our credit card rewards for hotel points as we most often choose to stay in Airbnbs, but this experience made me reconsider this option. Especially on this long trip where we are driving to a new area every day or two, it was nice to have a hotel check out where all we had to do was grab our stuff and leave.
The hotel also had a free continental breakfast with waffles, oatmeal, eggs, and a whole bunch of other food options, plus some pretty decent coffee. Again, a perk that doesn’t come with a home rental, and it meant we could get on the road that much faster to head on to the Georgia Aquarium. Military Dollar just wrote about her newest credit card sign up for Marriott Rewards, and I’m considering that card for our next travel hacking option. We don’t ever fly Southwest, so I’ve decided to skip those Chase cards, but the Marriott one seems like a good option.
3. We paid in advance for our trip to the Georgia Aquarium which saved us 20% of the ticket price. We had to go before 10am, which was what we wanted to do anyway because we had a four hour drive to South Carolina that afternoon. The aquarium was totally awesome, and our son is still talking about the whale sharks and manta rays he got to see in the big tank.
4. Next, we stayed with friends in South Carolina for a couple of nights, so our first three nights of the trip were completely free, and we got to spend more time with them than if we had rented a place separately. They cooked us a barbecue meal at the house the first night, and we cooked ourselves a simple breakfast of pancakes and sausages the next morning.
Our friends were gracious and wonderful and it was so great to get to stay with them and spend some time in the town that we used to live in. We got to show our family around our old haunts and even got to go by the apartment we first lived in together.
5. Our roommate is back at home watching our animals. Part of the deal we have with him for renting from us for such a cheap rate is that he watches our pets when we go out of town. It means that they don’t have to be disrupted from their routine and can stay in their normal home even when we are gone, which for our anxious dogs is a big deal. And we don’t have to pay anywhere from $10-$60/day per dog to have them boarded somewhere, which would be an obscene amount of money for a two week trip.
On the running front, I’ve been on four runs so far on this trip, which is quite a bit better than I would do at home during a normal week, though my longest run has been 45 minutes instead of an hour. And I’ve gotten to run in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, which marks off three states I’d never run in before.
Do you keep track of states you’ve visited in any kind of special way? Do you dream of hitting all 50 some day? I sure do.