We mentioned in a prior post that we had an opportunity to take a short vacation and visit some friends at a bargain rate. How did we get a cheap vacation? Well one of the best things that we’ve found is to be very flexible with your vacation plans and that includes short notice vacations like this one.
Where did we go?
Mr. Joe’s current project at work takes him to Greenville, SC a fair bit and as luck would have it some college friends of ours recently moved there for work as well. On previous work related trips he has visited with them in the evening but Mrs. Jane did not have that opportunity.
So when we got an invitation from them to attend their housewarming party we decided to research and see if it was a reasonable option to attend on a budget. These are good friends of ours and while a housewarming party is not something we would spend a large amount of money on, a few hundred dollars for a long weekend with good friends is something that we would be okay with.
How do we find cheap flights?
- No checked baggage
- Can only carry on bags like a duffel bag free. Regular carry ons cost extra
- No seat selection
- No priority boarding
- Must pay for snacks on the flight
- Limit selection of flight times and days
What this meant was that we would not be sitting together, we would be travelling light, and we would have to leave early Sunday morning rather than in the afternoon.
When you compare those downsides against a major carrier’s ticket price of approximately $350 round trip each, it was an easy decision saving $500.
What about rental cars?
We use Kayak and Priceline for rental cars and a lot of times we utilize Priceline’s “name your own price”. The trick with Priceline is to bid significantly under the regular rental. In this case we weren’t able to get a discount on Priceline probably because the airport we flew into is so small. A normal major hub airport we can typically get a great deal on the car.
Since we weren’t able to use Priceline to our advantage, we did some searching online for rental car coupon codes. We were able to find one that gave us an additional 15% of the regular rate of the car. This means for a 4 day rental we only paid $92 including all fees. Not our best deal by any means.
For one, on future trips to this area our friends made us swear to stay at their place and not pay anything for a rental car. However this time we utilized Priceline’s “Express Deals” and were able to snag a 4 star hotel for $73 per night. We had the option of getting a much lower star rating hotel for around $40 per night but at that price level we wanted to make sure we were comfortable.
Other ways we have found to save money for overnight stays is to look for Bed and Breakfasts or use websites like VRBO and AirBnB. Generally we tend to use these type of rentals for longer stays than 3 nights and find that we can almost always get a better deal than a hotel.
So what about the trip?
We had a blast. The first night we ate some amazing Thai food!
Mr. Joe had a green curry that was very spicy but had some outstanding flavor. Mrs. Jane stuck with pad Thai that was equally as good. Both of us left the restaurant feeling very satisfied.
Friday was spent mostly relaxing checking out downtown Greenville and seeing the local sites and shoppes. Nothing extravagant and it didn’t cost us a dollar. Then we went to lunch at a restaurant called The Strip Club 104. Don’t worry the link is safe for work. The Strip Club 104 is a steakhouse that on Friday’s uses some of their filet and sirloin to create amazing burger choices (around 20 options). It was likely the best burgers we’ve ever had and we will definitely be visiting them again.
Saturday was the house warming party where we got to hang out by the fire pit, drink and socialize with old and new friends and just have a good time.
And finally Sunday morning we got SNOW!
We saw the forecast the night before but really did not expect this!
Being the Floridians that we are, we couldn’t help but laugh and giggle as we loaded our bags into the car for the trip to the airport.
WARNING TO HUSBANDS EVERYWHERE: If you throw a snowball at your pregnant wife, make sure you do NOT hit her unexpectedly in the face!
Yes, Mr. Joe threw a snowball and it hit Mrs. Jane right in the cheek when she was not expecting it. Thank goodness that Mrs. Jane has an amazing sense of humor and her reaction was to immediately start throwing snow balls back rather than murder him and bury him in a deep grave never to be seen again.
By far, that morning was some of the most fun we’ve had in awhile. Having a snow ball fight in the hotel parking lot while Mr. Joe was wearing shorts in preparation for the flight back to Florida!