Using Uber to get around near DC

I had never had the opportunity to use Uber before. I had read the rave reviews, the questionable business practices in some cities and the taxi driver protests.  And to be honest I avoid taking a cab if I can. So I was hopeful for our first Uber experience.

At the Udvar center I requested our first Uber car.  It took about 8 minutes for the car to come rolling up the drive and having the license plate was helpful.  I am not good with car types to that information is kind of lost on me, red Toyota would be more helpful.

Our driver was very friendly and had us to the Radisson Reagan hotel in Arlington in a very reasonable amount of time.  Our cost would have been $53 plus tip but I also had a $25 credit in my account.  That is a very reasonable trip for the distance we covered.  I had heard it could be a $70 + cab ride from Dulles to Arlington.

We went on to use Uber two more times, from the zoo to Georgetown and Georgetown to our hotel again in Arlington.  Each time we had a friendly driver and I found the cost to be very reasonable.  I would recommend Uber to anyone looking for a way to avoid a cab.

If you would like to start out with $30 Uber credit please sign up under my link.   Sign up using my promo code and get $30 off your first ride: http://www.uber.com/invite/jenniferb1265

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Air and Space Udvar Hazy Center Virginia

We arrived 9:30 am at Dulles Airport for our first visit to DC.  We knew that we wanted to visit the Udvar Hazy Center before we headed to the Arlington area.  We found the connector bus #983 with no issue, within five minutes of waiting we were on the bus.  We had ordered our metra cards online a month earlier so we could step right onto the bus.

A ten minute bus ride, the Udvar Center is the next stop after the airport and very convenient to use the bus. IF you drive to Udvar the parking cost is $15. We poked around for a few minutes while we waited for the 10am opening. The museum offered large lockers that held all three backpacks and our coats for $.25 deposit.

We chose to first visit the mockup of the control tower.  The view is amazing, it was fun to watch planes land and take off in front of us.  And Daughter liked to watch the radar and hear the radio transmissions of the flights.

The elevator operator asked us if we were interested in a highlights tour?  She advised us one was beginning at10:30 at the information desk.  We joined a tour with 6 others and enjoyed the hour and a half highlights walk.

Our guide started with the earliest planes, moved on to warfare and ended with the space race.  It was the best way to see the planes and hear the stories.  I don’t think we would have enjoyed the Udvar as much if we had just walked around on our own.

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I was happy to see a concord and hear more about the spectacular plane.

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And the reason we came…

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The shuttle Discovery!  I was very pleased with the space hanger area.  Everything was very well done and it offered a very impressive viewing of the Discovery.

After the tour we really needed to eat, it was a little after noon for us.  The only food option at the Udvar is McDonalds.  I really wish they had something besides McDonalds but we shared fries and a drink to save some money on the higher prices.

All three of us really enjoyed our time at the Udvar Center. It was clear the volunteers loved their jobs!  We ran out of time on our trip to compare this museum to the Air and Space on the National Mall. Hopefully in a future trip we can visit and compare.

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10:00 am to 5:30 pm
14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway Chantilly, Virginia 20151
Phone: 703-572-4118

More information can be found here: http://airandspace.si.edu/visit/udvar-hazy-center/

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Detroit Airport Qwik Park

As part of our Fairfield Inn package we had parking at the next door Qwik Park.  We have utilized Qwik park at this airport and others in the past.  I hate schlepping my luggage through the airport and trying to remember where I parked.

Qwik Park makes airport parking much easier. Upon arrival you are given a dated ticket and asked what airline you are flying on.  They direct you to a lettered parking area, this time we were in “I”.  The Qwik Park mini bus follows your car while you park.  They give you a parking slip with the location of your car and a phone number if you need to contact them.

The driver helps you load your items and drops you curbside outside your airline.  Even though you are parking off site I often feel I am at my airline faster than parking at the airport.  When you arrive after your flight head down to the outside transportation shuttles.  I have never waited more than five minutes for a Qwik Park shuttle. I have never had to call for a pickup.  This trip a shuttle was already waiting in the pickup area.

The Qwik Park shares a drive with the Fairfield Inn.  They offer a AAA discount and coupons on their website.  More information can be found here: http://qwikpark.com/

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Sometimes the Hotel Package is a Good Deal

We just completed our trip to DC.  What a great time it was, we learned and laughed a lot! It was great to spend time with my sister and watching Daughter experience her first college visit.

Part of this trip was driving over to Detroit airport and spending the night prior to our 8am flight.  It either had to allow us to park at the hotel for a few days or be cheap enough to not make me cringe when I had to pay for parking elsewhere.

We ended up going with the Fairfield Inn and Suites package that included parking.  For $119 we were able to utilize up to 8 days parking at the next door Qwik Park.  Parking alone at Qwik Park would have been over $37. IF you did 8 days parking you would have had $72 in parking at Qwik Park included in the $119 rate.

Check in was a bit busy with one desk clerk but she quickly breezed through the line.  We were given a parking voucher and the option to drop our car that evening and book a shuttle for the morning.

We had a two bed queen room with a very large bathroom. The carpet and paint seemed to have been recently completed in our room.  And a plus with our late arrival the pool is open 24 hours.

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The bathroom was large and Daughter appreciated this huge shower! She seems to be our families shower critic.

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We enjoyed the usual eggs, waffles, toast, cereal and sausage for breakfast.  There was ample breakfast seating in the morning and we had a great stay.

The hotel shares a drive with the Qwik park.  It is also located almost next door to a pizza place and a Subway sandwich shop that we used for dinner.

More information can be found here: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/dtwfr-fairfield-inn-and-suites-detroit-metro-airport-romulus/

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DC Trip Final Plans

We are in the final planning stretch for our DC trip.  Trying to keep it was low cost as possible!

Fairfield Inn DTW $119 + tax including 8 nights parking

Frontier Flights $85 each

Radisson Reagan Hotel 38,000 points total for 2 nights

Country Inn and Suites Dulles (booked on the app for an extra 3,000 points) $75 AAA rate.

Groupon for lunch at white apron $15.

Restaurant.com certificate for $15 off $30 at a pizza shop.

Capital City Bike tour with a AAA discount.

Uber and Lyft $25 new user credits with each company.

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The Hard Decision

I had a hard decision the other day regarding our upcoming DC trip.  I am still not sure IF this was the best choice but what to do?

For kicks I checked Hotwire for my dates that I need an airport hotel in Detroit.  We are meeting my sister the night before our flight and driving to DTW airport.  The Westin (only hotel with 4 stars and all the requirements) was on Hotwire for $103 a night.  My brain is screaming Westin $103 instead of their hotel rate of $279.  Really nice hotel for $103!!!!!  Book it!!!!

I had booked the Fairfield Inn with parking for 8 nights at $119 a few weeks earlier.  Honestly I wanted to dump my Fairfield reservation.  I could still park at the Qwik park for $37 for our trip and the total difference with parking was around $25.  I really, really wanted to book it!!!!! I avoid Priceline when I need two beds just in case the hotel is unable to grant that request.

But the practical side of me took over.  We will not arrive at the hotel until around 9pm.  We need to leave out of a different terminal than the hotel is in around 6:30 am.  Not a huge deal but something we need to leave time for.  I would have to pay for breakfast either at the airport or at the Westin so that was an added cost.  Really in the room for less than 9 hours…

It did not make sense to book the Westin even thought I really, really wanted to.  And i will earn Marriott rewards on the Fairfield even though I am splitting the cost with my sister.   Sometime I am going to stay at the Westin before a trip and hope I get a room that faces the planes.

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Photo from Tripadvisor

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Do NOT pay for magazines!

Here is a picture of the magazines I received in the mail last week.

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I do not purchase magazines by mail.  (Bored in the airport because I read everything I took is another sad story.)  These magazines subscriptions I received by either Mercury Magazines, Freebiz magazines or recycle bank.

A little time online and a fake email address will save you money and get you free reading material.

https://www.recyclebank.com/

http://tradepub.freebizmag.com/special-deals/

http://cdn.mercurymagazines.com/121-12118592/index.html

Categories: Discounts, How I Save on Travel | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Wyndham Rewards Late Fall 2014 Promo 2015 Bonus Points

Wyndham Rewards is out with a late fall promotion.  Good on stays from October 15, 2014 – January 30, 2015.  Earn the bonus 2015 points up to five times during the promo period. Five stays would earn you over 10,000 bonus points.  You must stay at least twice to earn the bonus 2015 points.

More information and to register visit this page: https://www.wyndhamrewards.com/trec/consumer/promoReg.action?promoRuleCode=FALL14&vanityUrl=2015&eid=wrt:hero2:promo:celebrate2015-1&variant=

To qualify for the “Celebrate with 2015 bonus points” promotion (the “Promotion”) and earn 2,015 Wyndham Rewards points, a Member must (i) register at WyndhamRewards.com/2015 or 1-866-996-7937, (ii) book two Qualified Stays, each at a Participating Hotel and at a Qualifying Rate, with arrival dates between October 15, 2014 and January 30, 2015 (the “Promotion Period”), and (iii) complete the two Qualified Stays by February 6, 2015. A Member may earn additional Wyndham Rewards points, in increments of 2,015 Wyndham Rewards points, by (i) booking additional Qualified Stays, at Participating Hotels at a Qualifying Rate, with arrival dates within the Promotion Period and (ii) completing the additional Qualified Stays by February 6, 2015. Members will receive 2,015 Wyndham Rewards points, starting with their second Qualified Stay as described above, for up to five (5) separate Qualified Stays (i.e., the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth Qualified Stays) with a maximum of 3 rooms per stay. Member stays with check-out dates after February 6, 2015 will not be counted towards the Promotion.

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Walmart Beauty Box

I seem to be a on box kick lately.  I love Fair Trade Friday boxes, and I like most of my Birchbox items. For $5 I had to try the Walmart Beauty Box.

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This was my $5 fall box.  A full size lipstick, a perfume sample, a clinical strength deodorant, Olay sample and a few other small items.

For $5 including shipping I was happy enough with all the items.

Here is more information on the Walmart Beauty Box: https://beautybox.walmart.com/

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North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh

I had a free hour in my conference day so I walked over to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.  The museum is located a block from the capital and across the courtyard from the North Carolina Museum of History.

The museum accepts donations for admission if you desire and when I hurried over there it was a little after 5pm on a Thursday.  The gift shops were closed but the exhibits were still open.

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The museum while smaller did have some very nice exhibits.  There are the mountains to the seas, coastal North Carolina and an underground exhibit.

The place is not large but would be great for a rainy day to take up an hour and poke around.

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Hours:

Monday–Wednesday, Friday & Saturday: 9 am–5 pm
Thursdays and First Fridays: 9am-9pm
Sunday: Noon–5 pm

More information can be found here: http://naturalsciences.org/

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