Help me get this "driving to Orlando" budget down, please!

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by disneysuncat, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. disneysuncat

    disneysuncat Putting the "cat" in meerkat!

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    Okay, I need some of you budget experts to help me out with my "travel to/from Orlando" expenses.

    First, some basics. I am the only driver in the family. It's me, my mother, and my little girl. It's around 900 miles from here to Disney. I plan to drive down over two days, which (with stopping for breaks) is around 8 hours per day of driving. Coming back, we plan to drive home over three days, taking it a bit easier, maybe enjoying the town we stay over in a little bit.

    I've gotten it broken down like this:
    $400 (food on road. I do plan to have a bit of this left over at the end of trip.)
    $200 (gas)
    $400 (three nights hotels. One going down, two coming back.)

    So, that's $1000 for coming/going. ALSO, we are planning to rent a car, and Enterprise (the ONLY rental place available in my area) has quoted me $802, this is with a AAA discount, and with their damage waiver thing. Without the damage waiver, the quote was $454.

    I figure someone's suggestion will be "just fly!". I am scared of flying (yes, I have done it before) but not totally opposed to it. (my little girl doesn't want to fly, either.) Plus, I like to drive. Also, it's over 2 hours to get to the nearest airport, then I'd have to pay for parking there for my trip, etc. Overall I really don't want the flying option.

    Can any budget geniuses out there help me with this?
     
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  3. wall*e2008

    wall*e2008 DIS Veteran

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    Have you considered the auto train (if you are in the NE) or the train to get to FL?
     
  4. disneysuncat

    disneysuncat Putting the "cat" in meerkat!

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    I'm in central Kentucky (a bit south of central), we're not close to ANYTHING. :(

    This always ends up our whole deal about going to Disney, no matter how great a deal I get AT Disney, it's still the cost of getting there (and back) that just eats up the cash.
     
  5. englishteacha

    englishteacha <font color=magenta>I've just gotten crazier over

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    Do you need to rent a car? With the cost of renting, can you put that money into the vehicle you already own? If you decide to rent, can you just rent one way? If you're staying onsite, you could use the WDW transportation, you could rent the car to get there and back, and not during the time you're in WDW. Have you considered taking the train? It might be cheaper than renting a car...you never know till you check.

    You could pack breakfast and lunch foods instead of eating every meal out while you travel.

    If it were me, I would plan on taking 2 days to drive home instead of 3. Less food, less hotel money spent.

    If I lived within 2 days of driving to WDW, I would drive. We're a full 26 hours (without stops) from WDW here. It's 2 really long days or 3 reasonable ones. That's 6 days of vacation just spent in the car. Blech. I did it as a kid...don't wanna do it again!
     
  6. lorilori

    lorilori DIS Veteran

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    Are you sure that $200 will be enough for gas round-trip? We were close to that driving 1200 miles roundtrip plus the extra miles in/around Disney (at 20miles per gallon w/our van).
     
  7. wall*e2008

    wall*e2008 DIS Veteran

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    Could your Dr. give you something to calm your nerves so you could fly?
     
  8. jboysen

    jboysen Mouseketeer

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    Family of 3 here, just drove in march from southeastern mn, about 1400 miles each way, our expences were this:
    gas=$250.00 (gas was quite a bit cheaper then, we have a mini van)
    food=150.00 (we brought a cooler and stoped at rest stops along the way to make sandwiches for lunch. We also stayed at hotels that had a continetal breakfast in the morning, most do.)
    hotels=$295.00(we had a total of 4 nights in hotels)
    I hope this is of some help.
     
  9. disneysuncat

    disneysuncat Putting the "cat" in meerkat!

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    On the rental car thing, I have thought about just getting my car (2004 model) "travel-ready". Our reservations on that is when we last drove to Disney (in '07) I felt that the car started "driving funny" and was terrified of being stranded in the middle of nowhere, even though I had AAA. I wasted two hours in a garage (I can't even remember what state) having it checked out. They didn't find any issues, but it still drives funny to this day, lol. My mother is really the big pusher on the rental car, she wants the security that IF something happens, Enterprise would just bring us a new car and we could be on our way.

    My local Enterprise company said that they don't do one-way rentals out of state. I sure wish they did!

    As for the food, we may pack a few things. We don't really eat much, especially while on the road. I am okay to go on powerbars for myself. I do plan on having maybe 1/2 of that food money left, but wanted to have it at that level in case some unexpected expense came up along the way. (I mean a genuine expense, not a "I need a picture frame made out of seashells expense. :rotfl:)

    ETA: maybe I should put $100 of the food money back to the gas column.

    I'm still debating the flying thing. The rates I looked at a day or two ago was around $951 for the three of us. Add in having to drive the two hours to the airport, and airport parking, which I am clueless about cost-wise.
     
  10. JB2K

    JB2K DIS Veteran

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    I, too, am in a similar siutuation (and will be traveling, soon)...

    $400 seems a little "much" for three nights of lodging to/from Disney -- you may want to pare that down to a budget chain such as Super 8/Red Roof (unless you are looking for more than just a comfortable place to sleep).

    $200 for gas seems about right -- but given that gas prices are volatile (and current events in Iran can't possibly help this siutation), you may want to ramp-up your fuel budget to (at least) $250.

    It's no secret that CDW's are huge money-makers for the rental car business. Check your auto policy for any riders, etc. that may include coverage on car rentals (many policies have it built-in). Otherwise, $454 sounds pretty much spot-on.

    I understand. I love to fly, too, but in my case, driving usually trumps airfare times 3. Many, here will suggest flying, but you need to take into account the added expense of ground shuttle service to/from your house, or long-term parking fees. It alll adds up...

    Again, I would scale back on the hotels to/from WDW and drop the CDW on the car rental -- that should help.
     
  11. disneysuncat

    disneysuncat Putting the "cat" in meerkat!

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    I have a question about that CDW thing on the rental car. Enterprise told me if I don't have it and heaven forbid...WRECK ...that I'd have to give them my car insurance deductible before they'd give me a new car. Is that right??? $454 sounds a lot sweeter than $802.

    And thanks for the responses, everyone, I need ALL the help I can get!
     
  12. JB2K

    JB2K DIS Veteran

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    That's the best way to budget...

    That said, here are a few suggestions to get a car "travel ready":

    • Oil Change
    • Automatic Transmission Fluid check/change
    • Top-off all fluids
    • Check brakes
    • Check belts/hoses
    • Rotate tires

    Also, for AAA members, I suggest upgrading to "AAA Plus" -- it costs more, but in the long run, should anything go wrong with your car, it's much cheaper to tow to the garage of your choice, rather than "first one available".
     
  13. CyndiLooWho

    CyndiLooWho DIS Veteran

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    Just drove down and back from central KY last week, and you can do it cheaper than that.

    First, why not drive your car or you mom's? That's the biggest single expense that I can see and unless your car is on its last legs, I'd put some money into it and drive it. We took my 5 yo car to the dealer 3 wks before the trip and had the whole thing completely checked and had the spare tire aired. They didn't charge for that b/c we did have $300 worth of necessary work done at the same time (replaced some suspension linkages). That was much cheaper than the rental car you're looking at.

    We took the trip down in 2 stages, stopping just outside ATL for just $50 + tax at a comfort inn, no reservations and AAA pricing. We did the whole drive back on the following Sat, arriving home 1am Sun morning. With some good books on cd and a portable cd player, this was no problem for us. But you could stop in ATL again and spend another $50 + tax - that's $300 off your hotel budget. The comfort inn (45 miles north of ATL on I-75, can't name the town) was very clean and comfortable and right next to Waffle House.

    Next, I think you planned too much for food. We ate 6 meals on the road for 2 adults and 2 hungry boys. We did Qdoba, Wendy's, Hardees, McD's, Waffle House and Cracker Barrel, and spent only $160 for 3 travel days, including the three pricier meals. You have one less person and at least one much smaller appetite.

    So, my suggestion is to get your car in really good shape and drive it instead, to use 2 days each way, and to stay somewhere a lot cheaper than you planned.
     
  14. Green Tea

    Green Tea <font color=green>I don't do hatchets<br><font col

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    You will need less than that for hotels. This is a good opportunity for Priceline. If you know where you want to stop along the road, bid after looking at betterbidding.com. A Holiday Inn Express/Hampton Inn/ sort of place is probably about $30-35 a night. If you want to stay in a larger city at a Hyatt Regency, Intercontinental type of place- on a weekend maybe 50-60, weekday maybe 90.

    You could drive your car to the first airport along the way and Priceline a rental from there. A midsize car for maybe $15 a day. I would think you could park your personal car at the office while you rent.
     
  15. Lisa_M

    Lisa_M DIS Veteran

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    I agree. That is a lot of money to drive. 5 days of travel and $1k. We just came back and our airfare for the 3 of us was $420 plus $129 for the rental car for a week. Plus you're there so much quicker. I get nervous flying too, but if I were the only driver, I wouldn't even consider driving.

    If you're set on driving, I would suggest skipping the damage waiver, as long as your insurance will cover you driving a rental. See if you can get a deal on priceline or hotwire for the car rental.

    What about taking a train or Autotrain to Florida? You could drive to Lorton, VA and get the autotrain there. It's not cheap, but probably cheaper than driving the whole way, getting hotels and quicker too.
     
  16. disneysuncat

    disneysuncat Putting the "cat" in meerkat!

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    We're bypassing Atlanta, and the mountains. I won't drive though or close to Atlanta again unless it's for a one-on-one meet and greet with Johnny Depp himself. :) Driving through the mountains makes my heart jump out of my chest. Yes, I know I have freaky fears. :)

    We are driving through Birmingham, down to Columbus GA as our overnight stop. The way home I was planning to stop in Dothan AL and in Huntsville AL. Our hotels choices (which are subject to change) were like Courtyard by Marriott for $103, for example. My mom is pretty particular about where she sleeps, and I don't *think* I can get her in a Red Roof or anything. This may be open to change, though.

    Overall my car is in good shape, it's about time for new tires, though. I will definitely look into that AAA "plus" should we decide on using our own car.

    Now, I have thought of another way. MOVE closer to Disney. :) We do plan to move to Florida at some point but it's not nearly soon enough.

    ETA: I hadn't really thought about trying to get rooms by bidding, that is a great idea. I don't know if there would be any car rental deals, as we live in SUCH a small town, and Enterprise is all we have.
     
  17. disynut

    disynut DIS Veteran

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    Hi to a fellow Kentuckian :)! We have driven 3 out of the last 4 times to WDW. It takes us 14-15 hours including stops. We usually stop overnight each way just cause it's easier. We can't do the drive all night thing---with little kids it's just too hard. While we'd prefer to fly, driving is just usually cheaper. Not sure where you are in central Kentucky, but the car rental sounds high.....I know we have a local dealer, Pogue Automotive that rents minivans and I've priced them for a week for around $350, but I'm not sure about the road protection that they offer. They are a family, locally owned company.

    I agree about Priceline for your hotel rooms, and you can also Priceline rental cars if I'm not mistaken. We've driven through Atlanta and through the Alabama route. I don't blame you, my DH drives through Monteagle, TN(the mountains), but driving straight through downtown Atlanta at night is not bad at all(like 10 pm on it's pretty empty unless there's something going on that night). We avoid the bypass because all the truckers have to take it, I think. The drive through AL does add a few hours to your time, but it isn't a bad drive as far as mountains and big cities.
     
  18. purpletiger

    purpletiger Mouseketeer

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    You have said in previous posts that Enterprise is all you have. You might want to look into another rental car place on the route you are traveling (in advance and make a reservation) and drive your own car to said rental car place and then take the rental from there. You might get it cheaper than going with the one closet to your home.

    Another option on the hotels is tell your mom you have a set budget for the hotel going/coming and if she wants to stay at the more expensive hotels then she can pay the difference. Just a thought.

    We are going to Disney in 3 weeks and we too are driving from Texas though. When I mentioned to my grandma that we were going she insisted we drive. She said kids nowadays have it so easy to just fly but they never really get to see our country and scenery anymore. My kids will love just looking out the window and seeing something different that our usual surroundings. Going through the different states, etc... I even printed up some travel bingo and license plates games so they have to look out the window and not always watching a DVD or playing their DS's. :confused3

    Anyways good luck and have fun.
     
  19. CowboyCO

    CowboyCO DIS Veteran

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    OK -- Here's your obligatory "I think you should fly" response".

    For three of you, you should be able to find airfare for $250 each ($750 total) nd parking would run you $5-10 a day, so for less than $850 you could fly, spend more time in the parks and extend your stay in Disney and still save $500 over the cost of driving. If you can deal with the fear of flying thing, that's what I'd recommend.
     
  20. CowboyCO

    CowboyCO DIS Veteran

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    I just looked online, and I don't know where in south-central Kentucky you are, but AirTran is currently offering roundtrip airfare in January and February from Knoxville to Orlando for $109 each -- that would be $327 for all three of you. Non-stop flights that are only an hour and 40 minutes.

    I found it doing a flexible date search on Travelocity.
     
  21. PrincessMom4

    PrincessMom4 DVC member-SSR

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    Family of 6 driving a van (and yes we we super lucky last time we were able to head home from WDW to Canada before our transmission blew-there was some "leaking fluids"but we made it home safe and sound).

    Gas - $500USD (making sure u know its in US funds)
    Food - $200 groceries, snacks, etc (we had free dining!!)
    Hotels - $250 -that's 2 rooms there and 2 back
     

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