Saturday, July 9, 2011

My first mistakes!

This post is all about making mistakes. This includes whatever stupid button I pressed last night that deleted my latest post, which was, ironically, about making mistakes. I was practically in tears after I pressed the “Publish Post” and everything just disappeared. My far more technologically literate husband walked me through about a hundred steps only to conclude I must have pressed something else by mistake. Thanks dear…..

The one good piece of advice my husband gave me was to write these posts in Word first, save them, and then cut and paste to the blog. Thanks dear.

So before I get to one of the biggest mistakes I made, which occurred at the beginning of my planning process, I have to give you an idea of what I was thinking when I thought about this trip. You see, I had visions of the four of us in one of those RV pop-up thingies, traveling around from place to place. Do you know how much one of those RV pop-up thingies cost? Well, I can’t remember but it was a lot. Mostly because you can’t just rent that part; you have to rent the vehicle it attaches to. And that vehicle isn’t some nice sedan, SUV or even a fun pick em up truck. You have to rent some beast with a trailer hitch attached. Most rental places won’t let you put a trailer hitch on one of their sweet little vehicles. Go figure. I guess the point is I didn’t figure. So our RV trip quickly morphed into a camping trip with the family tent and a rented SUV.

This brings us to my first stupid mistake. (ok, second). I wanted to choose the route we’d be traveling. Being a woman of the 21st century I immediately went to Google maps and pulled down a view of Bryce Canyon. I started with Bryce because it’s my favorite and I knew any canyon trip would have to include Bryce. I panned out and quickly saw the many places I wanted to visit. I also noticed that the best place to fly into would be Las Vegas. It’s close to the canyons and it would be a great place to pick up our vehicle and load up with all our supplies before heading out into the more rural areas. FYI, there’s a Wal-Mart in Vegas.

I decided that a great route would take us from West to East from Las Vegas across Utah. Then we could drive through the Rocky Mountains and end up in Denver. I figured we could fly from Dulles through Denver to Las Vegas round trip. On the way home we just wouldn’t show up for the Las Vegas to Denver leg. Brilliant, right? We even used the miles my husband collected through the travel he does for work so we only had to pay for two of the four tickets. AND, my fabulous husband was able to get the one-way flights to Vegas and then back from Denver so we didn’t even have to be no-shows for a leg of the trip. Life was looking good……UNTIL….. I went to rent the SUV. Many of you are already shaking your heads, I’m sure, because you know what I’m going to say next. Drop off fees. Never was there a more insidious phrase in the land of car rentals. OMG. I originally wanted to get a full size SUV or minivan. Do you know how much those vehicles cost when you don’t return them to the same place you got them from? A lot. So much that even when I downgraded to just a regular size SUV, I was going to have to pay over $2500! I thought our vacation was over right then and there. However, I persevered and found Fox’s Car Rental. They’re a smaller car rental company – not a Hertz or Enterprise – but two of their main locations are the Las Vegas and Denver airports. Guess what? No drop off fees! My costs have now dropped to a little over $800. Now, that’s still a lot more than I was expecting to pay. But even the big name companies would be around that much without the drop off fees. I had no idea renting vehicles was so expensive. Obviously I don’t do it that often.

While we haven’t gotten the SUV yet, the experience has already been a positive one. When I called to verify our reservation, the guy I spoke to got us an even better deal, saving us an additional $40. I was smiling once again.

So I have learned my lesson. Next time I plan one of these “See the USA” trips, my travel route will be a circle and not a straight line.

Next post – More issues with the straight line. Finding out the hard way there’s a Lake Powell, UT and a Lake Powell, AZ!