Happy Memorial Day & Vacation Planning

Happy Memorial Day (weekend)!  In memory to all those who have served and passed!  And, as always, thanks to our current vets and those in active duty!  I hope you all enjoy your long weekend!  I’m taking a 4-5 hour drive up north to visit my best friend for the weekend.  We’re celebrating our 28th birthday two weeks early (yes, we have the same birthday)!  I was told there would be ice cream cake!

Do you have any plans for the weekend?

VACATION PLANNING

I miss my family back in the Midwest.  It feels like it’s been years since I’ve seen them.  I try to visit them once a year, usually in the summer, to spend more time with my nieces and my mom usually throws one of my younger cousins a fun family birthday party.

Last year I went for two weeks.  I flew in to Milwaukee and rented a car, drove to Upper Michigan with my nieces and then back down to Milwaukee.  The car rental alone was about $1425, almost half of that amount went towards paying for insurance.  I didn’t know at the time that my new credit card had rental insurance coverage.  I had some help with paying for the plane tickets and gas, but still, that’s a lot of money, and I’m still paying some of it off (interest just kicked in).

Because of the price of last years’ trip, I’ve been teetering back and forth between actually going out there this summer.  I really  want to go but I can’t really afford it and am wary about growing my credit card debt. I currently only have $173 to put towards the trip.  I’ve got two more months to save but considering my income is very minimal with no job, there probably won’t be much there.

I will likely spend many hours the next few weeks trying to find the absolute cheapest way to get from Virginia to Wisconsin then to Upper Michigan and back.

Do you have any tips to save money on travel expenses?

I’ve heard that Wednesday is the cheapest day to fly, so I’m looking at leaving Wednesday July 17th and returning either Wednesday July 31st or August 7th.  However, I’m not completely opposed to traveling by bus or train, as long as I can save a significant amount of money (unless it would take more than two days to get out there).

I’ve also heard that Tuesdays are the best days to purchase tickets.  I once made the mistake of purchasing Greyhound tickets one day only to discover that they were almost half the cost the next day, and I couldn’t get a refund so I’m kind of boycotting Greyhound.

I would love to hear from my readers who have any tips to help plan the cheapest possible trip!  Thank you in advance and I hope you have a great weekend!

 

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8 thoughts on “Happy Memorial Day & Vacation Planning

  1. Car insurance can also cover you in a rental. I have progressive and it has always given me full coverage on any rentals. I use kayak.com to price out car rentals. Then I book through the rental company’s website as they don’t charge you up front. I then monitor the prices and if prices go down I cancel the first reservations and make new ones. I booked a car out of Milwaukee for $95 only to cancel and rebook for $50 a week before my trip. This was for a 3.5 day rental too.

    • Nice! I called Progressive last year to see if a rental car was covered but I just had the state minimums and it wasn’t covered. I’ll have to call again now that I have comprehensive insurance to see. I never thought about monitoring rental car prices, I’ll have to check out kayak.com. Thanks for the tips!

  2. If you are flexible with dates then yes you can usually get cheaper flights by seeing if you can leave or arrive a day or two earlier. I use Southwest’s low fare calendar. I also put big purchases on that card (and pay if off right away) so that gives me more points. There are also ways to get bonus points with taking surveys, getting friends to sign up, etc. I ended up buying 3 domestic plane tickets this year with just my points.

    • I really need to find a credit card that offers air mile rewards! I do have a credit card that gets cash back, maybe I’ll start using that to purchase travel expenses and hopefully the rewards will pay off!

  3. Yes Wednesday travel is usually less. . 21-day advance is usually a large factor, too. I usually start with kayak.com just to get an idea of options/flights/times then go to the airline site directly to do further research.

    I’ve taken the ‘hound twice and i wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I haven’t taken Amtrak in forever but am about to do it over 4th of July. It definately takes a while but the cost was equal or slightly less than what I’d pay driving. My trip over the 4th goes overnight so that helps a bit in the “longness” of the train travel time.

    Another option is for you to fly into Milwaukee and look for a local bus up to the UP. My niece lives in Duluth but goes to school in Milwaukee and I think she’s taken a bus home a few times. Not sure how far your destination is from Michingan Tech but I wonder if they wouldn’t have some ride share board posted on craigslist or campus newspaper.

    • Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll definitely look into a local bus to the UP. If you can provide anymore info about the bus your niece takes to Duluth, that’d be great! I’m sure my relatives would be able to pick me up in Duluth, about a 2 hour drive for them.

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