With the month long Camp Mom coming up this summer, the only way a trip could be squeezed in was on the extreme cheap. Fortunately, cheap flights aligned with the kids’ upcoming school break, and soon we’re headed for sunshine!
I’ll share the details on booking my trip to give you some ideas on how you can book a last minute getaway. Before I do, a note about pricing: a pet peeve of mine is being told travel is “free”. It most certainly is NOT. With that in mind, I’ll share both cash pricing and the value of any points redeemed. I’ll only count something as “free” if it doesn’t have a cash equivalent.
When you’re booking last minute, high demand and cheap fares, flexibility is key. With that in mind, I didn’t worry about getting to and back from the same airport. This is made much easier in Florida since most car rentals are surcharge free when returning to a different airport. In my case, I’m flying into Orlando and home from Fort Lauderdale. Doing this I was able to find a cheap American Airlines flight down (using gift certificates from American Express platinum) and flights back from Fort Lauderdale for $39. Total: $39 (The American Airlines certs were truly free as I received them due to a retention bonus last year.)
Car: As I mentioned above, I was easily able to full sized car out of MCO and into FLL for just $149 including taxes. Even better, AutoSlash quickly found a better price of $133. Total: $133.
Hotel: Using my rule of minimizing transitions, I wanted to keep the hotel stays down to 2 if possible.
I was able to successfully book 4 nights in an oceanfront suite at the Radisson in Melbourne. Cost: 44,000 points for first 2 nights (2nd night free with Club Carlson credit card), free for 2nd 2 nights via a Club Carlson social media sweepstakes. I wouldn’t normally count sweeps wins, but Club Carlson gives out both points and nights like candy on twitter. Cost: $0 cash/$220 points value at .5 cents a point.
The last 2 nights are at the Sheraton Suites at Cypress Creek in Ft. Lauderdale. Not oceanfront, but a decent pool and at 4,000 points/night a real bargain. Cost: 8,000 points ($80 points value).
Cash: $117 air + $133 car + $0 hotel= $250 or $83/person
Cash including points eq.: $117 air + $133 car + $300 hotel= $550 or $183/person
How did I do? Did you book a last minute getaway? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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