I was scheduled for some air travel over the last 10 days. It was vacation time and I was looking forward to be at my destination (Dana Point, Ca.). However, I am was looking forward to get there. I had to travel by airplane and going through crowded airports and sitting in a crowded airplane is just not that exciting these days. When I travel I always leave as early as possible in the day. That way I avoid some of the busy times in an airport + if there is an issue with the airplane, there is usually plenty of chance that I can be rebooked onto another flight. While being rebooked sucks, it is still better than having to spend an extra night at an airport hotel. As an example, on my flight out (10/11/2013) the crew for the airplane had not yet arrived + a different airplane was provided. The missing crew caused a delay of 30 minutes and the different airplane type caused another 20 minutes of delay because the pilot had to reconfigure the flight calculations for weight, fuel, and other important stuff. A 50 minute delay is not such a big deal, but it sucks when you are travelling with an impatient 8 year old boy who simply wants to board and get going.
When I travel I spend a lot of time researching deals and prices. It’s fun to look for coupon codes or discount codes or corporate travel codes – almost anything that helps to lower the expenses is welcome. As an example, I had made a reservation for a rental car several weeks ago and the prices were higher than expected. I ended up booking the car through Costco Travel as that was the cheapest of the expensive options. 4 days before being scheduled to leave I went back online and searched again for rental cars to see if I could locate a better price. Again I ended up using Costco Travel. Using the same car rental provider as before the price for the same vehicle type was suddenly $72 cheaper. I canceled the original reservation and locked in the new price. Then I actually refreshed my search again and found an even better deal by switching from Budget Rent A Car to Alamo. I also switched from a mid-size vehicle to an SUV. I got a bigger vehicle and saved another $89 on top of the $72 savings from the step before. I will have to try the same thing when my travel to Las Vegas comes closer in November and see if I can get a better deal on the rental car for that trip. But 15 minutes of online search saved me over $160 in rental car fees. When we picked up the car they gave us a brand-new Ford Explorer Limited – a car with all the bells and whistles including 2 sun roofs, heated leather seats front and back, and it even had Sirius Satellite radio. Score!
This time was traveling with my family and so booking flights and hotel and rental car can get really expensive. We actually switched from a hotel and rented a condo for a week. This step gave us the chance to save another chunk of money (~$650 in savings) without giving up too much from a location and “luxury” perspective. The condo we rented had a great ocean view, was nicely equipped with several flat screen TVs,, nice tile floor in every room, granite counter tops in the kitchen, and even had a washer and dryer. In addition it was only a 5-10 minute walk to the beach and we could see Catalina Island and the Pacific from one of the two patios. We were able to cook our own dinners and had to spend less money on eating out. This was very helpful since I am training for a marathon, too. You can simply eat healthier when you have a kitchen and a fridge at hand compared to living in a hotel room for a week where all you have is a mini-fridge and no way to cook. The condo also made it easier to sneak out early in the morning and to get some training runs in before breakfast. And of course having a condo also made it easier to recover from a run because I could store recovery drinks and food ready to be consumed upon my return.
Since I am living at ~5,900 ft. altitude I wrote about my experience when going down to sea-level for running. You can read my findings about performance increase and high altitude training here.