Howdy folks?! It’s your money matters man, Vijai back after 2 weeks of break trying to get into the groove of blogging. Today is July 1st, my special month as and Six months just vanished from this year calendar and so far its been a worse year in all extents for lot of folks.
Stock market hitting new lows every day, oil price sky rocketing expecting to see $5 per gallon real soon in Houston, all essential day-to-day items like egg, milk, bread just keep on going up on price. Airline tickets are now untouchable with charges on check-in bags even for the first one making the vacation really unafforadable. It seems life is getting really tough to manage with the same paycheck which used to get a year ago to summarize it all.
But what to do life must go on and we just have to go ahead with our plans. I happened to plan my vacations at the wrong year. You can’t just walk away on planned trips in which you already spent chunk of money on tickets. Its been an expensive year nevertheless a memorable one.
As I mentioned in my last blog post, we went to Los Angeles and Las vegas a week ago and had a great time. It was so hot around 107 F but we still get to do whatever we planned to do. But I one thing I am really amazed. Man, I don’t know how the people live in those cities paying $4.75 per gallon gas already. Anyway, I will talk more about the money aspect of the trip to share my experience.
Let me get on the pending part of my Road Trip Vs Flying series.
All the plans never really matter if you don’t take any actoin. So i got to work. I checked my car’s tire pressure the day before the trip. I also filled up the gas on the day of the trip and reset my trip meter to track mileage for every tank filling. I also have another trip meter which I reset to track the total mileage travelled in whole trip. We were all set to embark on a exciting road trip packed with everything possible to have a great time.
We took few stop overs to fill our stomach and gas. My wife saved some by packing some lunches from home. After 15 hours of drive, we finally reached St.Louis at my long time friend’s house. We had great dinner at his place. He is so grateful to cook some nice indian dinner which is what we just needed.
Next day, we went on a day trip to check out at St. Louis. We first went to Gateway Arch and took the tram trip to go to the top for $10/ person. That wasn’t bad price for a very fantastic view. I was so amazed how they build a tram to on a arch. Thats really some engineering. Then we went Busch Brewry which had a free tour. It was already late afternoon and evening we visited the Hindu temple with my friend. We had a great authentic Thai food at Thai Kitchen – Maryland Heights, St. Louis. It was real good food. I highly recommend checking it out if you happen to be at that place.
We stayed that night at his place and started the next day. I was happy it all worked with my friends schedule. It’s nice to see him after a long time and also his new house and I even end up saved lodging and food for a day. We started the next day morning and reach Chicago Suburb on Thrusday afternoon. I saw my cousin and his wife first time. I also met my aunt and uncle who came from India. We just took it easy after and spent rest of the day and next day evening we went to another famous Hindu Temple in Chicago. It is my tradition and sort of wish to atleast go to as many temple in US wherever I go.
On Saturday, we went to Chicago downtown with my sister who came from CT with her family. I am also seeing her first time after she came to US. We took the metro train from a nearby station and purchased $5 day pass which is worked out cheaper and also have access to metro bus in Downtown. We got there after an hour train journey and started embaring on some featured items listed by my cousin. Millennium park topped on my list.
We checked out Magic Bean, new stadium nearby and some interesting artifacts. We had an expensive but no so good italian lunch at The Village in Downtown. It was the first ever Italian restaurant which I would rate only 1 out of 5 and not satisfied after spending $12 per head. We then head out other way to see Fountain and Lake Michigan. To top it all off, we went to John Hancock tower which was recommend compare to Sears Tower to get a good view. It was $15/person for general admission. It was a Spectacular view of Chicago both city and lake on the other side. That ended the day.
Sunday was busy day with formal Baby Shower for my cousin’s wife. We all great fun on the occasion. As planned I left Sunday evening after the Babyshower at around 4:30pm, drove for 6 hours and night stop at the Super 8 motel on the way which I already booked for $65 a night in hotels.com. We started back again on the road around 6:45am on Monday. As usual stopped for gas and noted the mileages and filled our stomach eating a nice chinese buffet lunch for just $6.99 on the way. We safely reached Houston around 9pm.
III. Perfect (Fun) Vacation
We really enjoyed our roadtrip. Especially my wife had a fun vacation. We spent good time together on the road, talking and sharing about our family, careers, and many things. We also got see my friend, my family together after a long time.
Final Expense List
Lodging – $175 (saved a day staying in my friends place)
Food – $ 125
Other expenses – $50
Total – $725
If I choose to go by Air, ticket itself would have been $400 * 2 + Car Rental 5 days – weekly rental $150 + Food $125 + other expenses $50 = apx $1125
I saved some good amount of money and at same time had good time driving with my family. I also get to visit my friend and see St.Louis which is a bonus. Overall, Road trip never fail to entertain you if you plan it out well.
To conclude, its always good to go on a roadtrip if you have
(1) Good amount of time to kill,
(2) less time to book the flight ticket and
(3) well maintained car with an average 25-30 miles per gallon.
It will work out much cheaper and sure to have a fun vacation. I definetly recommend my blog readers to reconsider your plans for fun roadtrip after reading this post.