Saturday, May 1, 2010

Resourceful Traveling - Getting to & from the airport

We're headed to Hawaii today! My sweet dad treats his wife, 6 six kids, our spouses & children on a vacation together every year or two. It's a huge group and such a pleasure to spend a whole week together. We probably wouldn't all get together as often since there are so many of us and so many schedules, but it's hard to turn down a free vacation to Hawaii!

DH and I try keep traveling costs low as a rule. In this case our airfare, timeshare, car rental, and most of the food will be covered. Yahoo! All the big stuff is covered. We don't get to drive one of the minivans my dad rented, but beggars can't be choosers and we'll be happy passengers.

In an effort to save money and for convenience we always try to get a ride to the airport. We also frequently take people to the airport because we hate to watch our friends pay for airport parking or worse, pay for shuttle trips. I really can't stand that radio commercial that says, "Friends don't ask friends for rides to the airport." My emphatic response to that is, "Yes they do! That's what friends are for!" We have tried a couple of different things instead of asking for a ride.

Once we stayed the night at an airport hotel when we had a 6AM flight the next morning. It was about $85 and we got to park our car at the hotel for a week. Overall it was a pain finding the hotel, getting the kids settled and then waking them up super early to get the hotel shuttle to the airport. It was worse when we arrived back in Seattle and had to find the shuttle pick up spot, call the hotel, and wait in the cold parking garage with babies for 40 minutes. Our laptop was also stolen somewhere between the shuttle and the curb that trip so we just have negative feelings all around.

Another time we tried paying for parking at a lot near the airport. It was only about $10/day, but again it was difficult to unload the kids, bags, stroller, carseats and drag them to the shuttle stop, load everything on the shuttle, ride to the airport (kids out of carseats), then drag everything into the airport. Oh, we tipped the driver in both cases, too.

We have just found it's easier to ask a willing friend to come to our house, hop in our Suburban, and drive us to the airport. The carseats are already strapped in, we only have to unload once, right at the curb, and we thank God for our friend who just made our life so easy. The friend then drives back to our house, leaves the Suburban, and drives off in their own car.

We also try to coordinate a similar pick-up where a friend picks up the Suburban at our house, then picks us up & takes us home, etc.

This trip we have the blessing of a friend who is taking us both to and from the airport. We are driving our Suburban to their home which is much closer to the airport than ours. Then they can just drive us to and from their house which is great because it cuts their travel time significantly. Our Suburban will just be parked outside of their house all week.

Things are pretty lean just now, but in the past we have said thank you with a note and a small Starbucks gift card. I'll have to check with DH and see if we can do that again. In any case we save a significant sum, are blessed by friend, and hopefully get to bless them in return with a gift or their own trip to the airport or just the opportunity to serve.


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