We spent spring break this year checking out three potential colleges for my daughter. We hit a couple last year and I am sure we will hit a couple next year. Just trying to give her an idea of what might work for her. This year my Dad volunteered to come along and help split up the driving as the furthest school was ten hours from home. I wanted daughter to know just how far 10 hours away from home feels before she makes her decision. And I had just a month earlier earned almost 50,000 IHG points so we had lots of options for Holiday Inn type hotels for free.
I had three days off from work and we had schools scheduled for Monday through Wednesday for visits. This gave us Saturday to drive and Sunday to do something interesting. My Dad had the great idea to visit Gettysburg and we made our route to swing down that way before heading back up toward Philly.
Here is a quick recap of the Penn trip and I will post more in depth later on the good stuff!
Saturday rental was car pickup in the morning. I had a good price for the car which was a challenge over spring break by using a coupon I found on Mousesavers. By the time you add a second driver the deal is less enticing but still less than what I would have paid with Costco’s free second driver bookings. Also booking with the Southwest Airlines code will earn me 1,800 airline miles with a promotion they offered.
Saturday night in Chambersburg was 10,000 Marriott points at the Fairfield Inn and dinner was with a $25 TGI Fridays gift card. Breakfast was supposed to be at the hotel but ended up being fruit and a muffin.
Sunday spent the morning in Gettysburg where the national park is free. Went from there to Valley Forge which is also free. Spent the night in the Holiday Inn Express King of Prussia for 15,000 IHG points. Dinner was Red Lobster with a $25 gift card to offset the pain of the bill. A good hotel breakfast was free Monday morning for us.
Monday was a college visit and driving to Lancaster to set up for our next visit. We spent the night in a Holiday Inn Express in the Rockvale Outlets for 25,000 points. Dinner was at a smorgasbord board restaurant in Bird In Hand. Dad had found a coupon in the Lancaster visitors magazine. We hit a few antique shops and an Amish bakery. Another decent free Holiday Inn breakfast Tuesday morning before we headed out for our visit.
Tuesday we drove to Grove City and spent the night in a B & B the night before our last visit. Having to only pay for one nights lodging I wanted to spurge a little and give us some space after a few nights of family togetherness in one hotel room. Dinner was at a local Italian place we walked to in town. Great breakfast was included with our B&B stay so we skipped lunch on Wednesday on our drive back home.
My Mom is amazing at packing snacks and even lunch for Saturday so we never had to stop or purchase lunches on our trip. That is a big cost savings since we really only purchased dinner each night with breakfast for free at the hotels. Even driving back later Wednesday we chose not to stop for dinner and just ate some snacks she had packed.
It was a very fruitful spring break trip! Daughter really liked two of the three schools. She also realizes how far away a ten hour drive is. We hopefully did not drive my Dad too crazy! Having hotel points lets us travel cheaper and we even sampled shoofly pie for free in Lancaster at Dutch Haven!