[UPDATE: See the results of our trips here!]
After all our talking and wondering about how cool it may be to live in a new area sometime soon (particularly Wilmington, NC), we decided to finally make a weekend of it and head out on a fun road trip :) Where I’m probably in the middle of as you’re reading this right now – woo!
You might remember that moving to a new place is one of our top 3 goals by next Summer, but the last few months have really made us feel antsier and antsier and ready to go. Probably because we weren’t *acting* on any of these desires and only thinking about them. But now that we’ve got a handle on baby stuff and the holidays are drawing near (more fun to explore before Christmas than after! :)), it’s time to get out there and see what’s up!
Will Wilmington be the next place for us? Or maybe Durham, which we’re gonna try and hit on the way down too? I don’t know, but we’re gonna find out more in a few hours :) From my understanding Wilmington’s like a small Charleston, SC which I absolutely LOVED during our bachelor party earlier this year – esp that old-town feel next to the water. And our friends say Durham has grown into a much more younger and “hipper” town too over the years, so we’re really looking forward to seeing what they offer. As much as we can on a quick weekend trip, anyways.
Then we also still have Nashville, Phily, and maybe L.A. on the list too, though something tells me moving across country with a baby won’t fly so well with the grandparents ;) But we’re not ruling them out quite yet!
And as far as finances go, it’ll all cost us a pretty penny after all the trips are completed. Albeit pennies that are worth spending ;) Here’s how our trip this weekend will probably add up:
- $150 for
CarSUV Rental. We were initially gonna just take our small Toyota on the road, but after our last fiasco during beach week (where it took like 3 hours to pack!) we decided to upgrade to an SUV instead so we can not only save on the wear and tear of our main family car, but ALSO do some good test-driving while we’re at it too ;) Hopefully with a Jeep Grand Cherokee or similar, which we’ll get to in a minute…
- $200-$250 for gas. A lot more than the $100-$150 it would have cost w/ the Toyota, but if you’re gonna do it right then you gotta get a good feel for how gas would cost us too in the future w/ an SUV, haha… so it’ll be money well spent/learned ;) And still cheaper than flying in the end.
- $100 for random stuff. I like to have a random category like this because without fail we WILL spend more money than we think on all kinds of stuff. Lunches out, snacks, souvenirs, rental down payments? ;) It’s also nice to give yourself some slack on vacations like this too and not try and account for every single penny – one of the benefits of rocking it throughout the rest of the year!
- $0.00 for hotel. The best part! A family friend of ours is opening up her home to us so we can save hundreds of dollars on our adventure! Which also prompted us to just “do it’ as Nike says. Gotta take advantage of the opportunities when they come up! (Also, even cooler is that our friend lives a little ways OUT from Wilmington which means we get to explore another area by default :))
So a grand total of around $500 for the next 3 days on the road… Not the best in the world, but also not the worst – especially since we got those accommodations
on the cheap free. And we hit 3 birds with one stone too! Adventure, future-home exploring, and test-driving. Or maybe even 4 if you count testing our sanity with a baby on board for 400+ miles, haha… that should be interesting ;)
Two other things here as well:
1. When we decide to move, wherever it is, we’re going to rent
A) Because it will give us time to acclimate and see if we really do enjoy the area we decided to try out, and B) there’s no way I’m having TWO house payments, bleh. We’d have to rent out our main house since it’s still too underwater to sell, so we’d basically be trading one rental for another and hopefully saving money in the process.
We believe we can get around $1,800 in rent for our house now, so moving anywhere that’s not DC or NYC or LA should mean we save more ;) Our target rate right now is $1,500/mo, though we’d be willing to spend more if it was a nice walking distance to some cafes and shops. Or if it was just an awesome freakin’ place.
2. I’m gonna try and work a little magic with our car rental :)
Anyone who uses Enterprise will know exactly what I’m talking about. Here’s the trick: When you know what type of car you’re looking for (like, say, in our case a mid-size SUV like a Cherokee), you make a reservation for the one right below it. Which of course will be much cheaper, especially the longer out you rent the car for. If we were to lock in a mid-size SUV for the next 3 days, it would cost us a little over $200. But if we did the next level down – the “intermediate”aka entry-level size SUV – it’s only $150. Saving us 25% right out the gate! And this is where the magic happens. Usually…
One of the reasons I love Enterprise so much besides the fact they pick you up from your house and they have killer customer service (which reminds me a LOT actually of USAA in that regard), is their constant upgrading for free. Two out of three times I’ll get asked if I want to upgrade to the next level as a courtesy – either because I’m really really charming (hah!) or ‘cuz they do it for everyone as a way to better earn your loyalty ;) Which is fine by me either way!
Now normally it doesn’t matter all too much whether I get that upgrade or not, as it usually just becomes a “surprise” perk, but in cases like these when we WANT the bigger car to begin with, it becomes way more important. ‘Cuz while in theory you could still upgrade anyways and just pay the $50 or whatever for it like normal people, it doesn’t necessarily *guarantee* that the car you truly want will be on the lot :( Since, after all, you never made a reservation for it! Not that that actually matters all the time anyways, haha… remember that hilarious Seinfeld episode? ;)
All that said though, we gave it a shot and we may or may not be riding in our bigger cheaper car right now, haha… I’m actually writing this last night in a rush to get everything done before our trip tomorrow (today?), and I’m grabbing the car early in the morning :) But I’ll let y’all know if it worked out as soon as I’m back on the computer! Wish us luck!!
Anyone know of other awesome places we should check out? Or maybe you want to pitch us YOURS? :) Just think – we could become neighbors and talk about money face-to-face over coffees! Or beers! Or both! Hah… If you know of any other car rental tricks too, I’d love to hear those as well… Maybe one that works *all* the time and not just when the odds are in your favor ;)
Happy Weekend all!
[UPDATE: See the results of our trips here!]
[Photo by Shoshanah. Doodles by J$]