Like it or not holiday travel season is here. Living in Florida can be a double-edged sword when it comes to the holidays. On one hand, it means that everybody wants to come south for the warm weather and all the attractions, and of course, they’ll all want to bunk with you. Case and point, we’ll have 20 here at “Chateau’ Relaxo” for Thanksgiving dinner. On the other hand, it means you won’t be laying out a bunch of money traveling, just remind yourself of that while you’re washing extra dishes and doing additional laundry.
I’m no Martha Stewart, but if you’re hosting family or friends, consider picking up some goodies. A small basket on the bedside table filled with chocolates goes a long way. If your guests happen to like beer then stock up. From Cigar City to 3 Daughters, we have plenty of local sources. Even if you guests don’t like beer, use it as an excuse to treat yourself. Purchase some travel toiletries, one of your guests is bound to forget something. Finally, yet importantly, gather up all your extra cell phone and tablet chargers, you’re going to need them.
If you’re going to be flying there remember two things, the airport will be packed and so will your plane. TSA offers their My TSA app that will give you approximate TSA wait times, so do yourself a favor and download it.
Leave some extra time as you head to the airport, and have the following handy, confirmation and phone numbers for your airlines, hotels, and rental car. Remember getting upset and yelling at a gate agent will do nothing to change the weather or make your flight get back on schedule.
Air travel is expensive and planning it can be a bit overwhelming if it’s not something you do on a regular basis. Every road warrior has their own secrets for minimizing expenses while maximizing their credit card reward points. I’m not a financial person, just ask my financial person, but if you’re looking for the lowdown on maximizing reward points there’s no one better at it than Brian Kelly CEO of The Points Guy. Brian has made a business out of informing others on airline miles, hotel loyalty offerings, and credit card reward points. You’ll be amazed at what some credit cards offer when you book through them.
Another option is to weigh driving vs. flying. That’s where TravelMath comes in, TravelMath lets you enter your starting point and your destination and then runs the metrics on the trip. Their site will also allow you to book your flight, hotel, and rental car.
According to TravelMath to drive from Apopka, FL to Atlanta, GA would cost 6.5 hours of my time and roughly $40.00 in gas. If I wanted to fly it’s about an hour to the airport and then I’ll give myself two hours before my plane leaves, so that’s three hours plus an hour flight I’m at four hours before I pick up my rental car. All in all a 2.5 hour time savings if I fly over driving.
The cheapest flight I could find was on Spirit Airlines at $85.00 per person so that’s $170.00 and I found a rental for $50.00 per day before taxes and fees, so that’s going to run me at least $250.00. The hotel is a wash since I’ll be staying in one no matter how I travel. Now it comes down to math, is saving 2.5 hours of my time worth spending an extra $420.00, ah not “No” but “Hell No”.
As with any type of travel the further out you can book it, the cheaper it will be. The key is to keep a positive outlook and enjoy the time with family and friends.
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