The America Road Trip 1017 is over the Old Silver Bomb is back in the drive way and it’s time to take a short look at the big picture.
In Part One of Road Trip Review we talked about the simple joy of trip across America. When Charlene and I started putting geezerswithpassports.com together our goal was to inspire seniors to travel and make that travel financially possible for everyone. Our 43-day road trip across America was a hoot but it was also a test of the Geezer Tools for cheap travel that we advocate on this blog. In order to demonstrate the advantages of Geezer Travel I have gone back thru our 43 day trip and broken it down so that as our reader you can see how different aspects of our travel system can be a benefit.
During this trip we only flew once and that was from Denver to New Orleans and back, we used credit card air miles and the flight was free.
In the first Road Trip Review I talked a lot about all the great music and entertainment we enjoyed. All but one concert in Branson Missouri was free music and entertainment. Everywhere in the world free entertainment, ranging from street entertainers to public festivals are free. Like they say the best things in life are free but as you’re traveling you have to use the tools such as local newspapers and the Internet to find out what’s up in the community. Charlene is in charge of destination RECON and often taps into the city websites to see what’s going on.
In New Orleans we used the Public Trolley that allowed us access as seniors for 40 cents a ride. Wherever we go in the world we rely on public transportation. As a rule it’s safe, clean, affordable and a great way to meet the locals. The Internet is the best source for public transportation options.
In Part One of this article we also talked a lot about food. During the trip we bought and fixed a lot of meals for our hosts and sat down to a lot of great meals. We used a lot of Geezer tools to keep our food budget reasonable. First we choose Hotels that offered a free breakfast, these breakfasts get old and more then once we opted for a Cracker Barrel omelet but we did use the free breakfasts quite a bit. Second we stayed for two weeks in Steamboat Colorado at timeshares that had kitchens. Having a full kitchen allowed us to do a lot of home cooking for our kids and us. Steamboat is a tourist town and if we had eaten out with all our kids the cost would have been off the charts. Third, we used discounts from web sites like restaurants.com, opentable.com, and groupon.com to reduce the bottom line on our meals. Fourth, we used the right credit cards when we bought groceries and eat out which earned us between 6 and 9 cents back on every dollar we spent in travel assets. Surprisingly, at the end of our 43 day road trip our food and alcohol costs were within our normal budget when we stay home and we generated over 8000 travel points with our credit cards on food that has a value of about $160.
During the trip we stayed at Choice Hotels 11 days, in a timeshare 14 days and with friends and family the rest of the time. Because Choice Hotels was running a stay 2 days and get one day free offer we chose not to use any of our free rooms but instead used the Choice offer to build free rooms for future trips overseas where Choice Hotel points can be very valuable. Our total cost for the 11 rooms was right at $660 this includes all fees and taxes. Every room we got was clean and comfortable and twice we were upgraded into Jacuzzi suites. We always had a refrigerator, free WiFi and a free breakfast. Using our choice credit card we generated 9900 Choice Privilege Points and with the stay two nights get one free offer we generated another 67,632 Choice Privilege Points or a total of 77532 Choice Privilege Points. As we explain in our article on the Choice Hotel Credit Card the Choice Points, when used correctly, you can benefit as much as 2 cents in travel assets for each Choice Privilege Point.
When you drive over 6000 miles you need to work on getting your gas costs at a minimum. As we drove Charlene relied on WAZE.com to find where the cheapest gas was on our route. Her efforts kept our gas prices at around $2.10 a gallon on a trip where gas prices fluctuated from 2.53 a gallon to $1.89 a gallon. Our total gas costs for the trip was $616 that we paid with our American Express Preferred Card. This card gave us about 6 cents worth of travel assets for every dollar we spent.
In every way our American Road Trip was a success. We were able to stay on budget. We generated over a thousand dollars in future travel asset. We saw tons of friends and family. We got to explore the food, music, attractions and scenery of America and finally we got to reaffirm what an amazing and breath-taking masterpiece America is.
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