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When I say that I let my Type-A travel planning tendencies go down the drain, I’m not kidding. When it came to making arrangements for our 10 day cross country road trip, I even ignored many of my own tips that I normally follow to plan a memorable vacation. Setting out, I worried that my lack of planning had really messed things up. I quickly discovered that for this particular road trip, my anything goes mentality was the perfect state of mind.
My kids were nervous when we loaded up my husband’s truck and headed for the airport to pick up our rental vehicle. I had booked a minivan but they were convinced that by the time we loaded up our luggage for the week there wouldn’t be enough room for them. We hadn’t been on the road an hour and I had already learned a valuable lesson.
When you wait until the very last minute to pack for a trip- you over pack.
I quietly commented to my husband that if he was offered an upgrade, he should take it and I silently prayed that Budget would have a Suburban waiting for us.
Renting a vehicle at the airport is a little tricky. Not hard, just a bit more time consuming if you’re an outside customer and not one arriving on a flight. If you consider renting from an airport, there are two things you should keep in mind. Not all rental companies rent to outside customers (those not arriving by plane) and though the rates may seem lower, keep in mind that airports often tack on additional fees that you wouldn’t pay at a non-airport location.
Renting the vehicle was one area where I did plan and I knew I’d found the best deal possible when I was able to secure a minivan for an 11 day rental for under $520. I dropped my husband off at the terminal and the kids and I went to a nearby parking lot to wait for him to show up with our vehicle.
Minutes later, my husband slid out of the driver’s seat of a shiny new Chevy Suburban that had pulled up behind us. We loaded up, parked our truck in one of the long-term parking lots and hit the road to California.
We hadn’t made it two hours when we stopped at Walmart to pick up some muffins for breakfast and snacks for the road. And since the Suburban came with DVD players, my kids wanted movies too. I will say, Redbox was definitely our friend on this trip. I love that you can rent a movie and return it at any Redbox location.
We drove for the next few hours and arrived in St. Louis in the late afternoon. We could see the Arch as we approached downtown but began to get excited about our first stop as we crossed the Mississippi River.
We couldn’t wait to get a closer look. We found a parking space along the street near the steps to the Arch.
It wasn’t that busy for a weekend, maybe it was because it was a bit later in the day and we missed the crowds.
I snapped a quick photo of the kids standing in front of the Arch before we all headed up the steps for a closer look.
This is what happens when you take a contractor to look at a national monument. He spends several minutes looking at the construction and the materials used before he can truly appreciate it.
Though there is a museum at the base of the St. Louis Arch and you can ride to the top of the arch, we opted to take a quick bathroom break and get back on the road.
I thought we’d spend the night in St. Louis, but my family had other plans so we continued on, visiting the Route 66 State Park and several roadside attractions before finally stopping for the night in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Day One Expenses:
Gas/Toll Charges/Parking Fees: $96.04
Lodging: $69.73 (coupon rate)
Entertainment: $3.84 (DVD rentals)
Misc.: $620.00 (11 Day Vehicle rental from Budget- we received some of this money back when we returned the vehicle a day early)
Total miles traveled: 819 miles
Want to see how the rest of the trip went? Read Day Two: To Texas and Beyond