Vacation Deals

>> July 11, 2008

** I started this post last week... and didn't post it before we left, so its a little delayed **

We are leaving for a mini SD vacation on Sunday. I used 3 different resources for my hotel rooms and they all are "deals".

The first one was our 3 night in San Diego, I had American airlines miles that I converted to Hilton Honors Points (which double them) and I had enough for 3 nights at the Homewood Suite Liberty Station in San Diego. This is a brand new hotel and the reviews are awesome. We have a King Room Suite and the going rate for our 3 nights is $806.03 with tax. The only cost was $25 to convert the miles. I had been "hoarding" the miles, but with the way the airline industry keeps cutting back on frequent flier programs, I decided I need to use mine up before they were WORTHLESS.

Now I originally booked one room in Yuma on the drive over (to break up the trip into shorter car rides for Quinn) using priceline. I managed to get a 63.16 (with tax) rate at the Howard Johnsons, which only saved us $5 off their rate, not the best priceline savings, but I was afraid rates would go up.

Then I started paying attention to another hotel program called "Best rate guarantee" through Wydhman Rewards. They guarantee to have the best rate for your stay or the 1st night is free, the best thing about this is, if you are only staying one night then your STAY is free. :) I had read about the program before, but for some reason never really paid it much attention, it seemed like a lot of work, but I have had a change of heart. It does take work, but a free hotel room is AWESOME. I just wish I had made my discovery before my priceline purchases. There is a huge discussion about this program on and you can also search for a "Best Rate Guarantee Blog" and find some great information there.

Anyway, I booked a hotel room in Yuma for our trip back for free and also ended up booking the same hotel for free for our 1st night in Yuma. I decided to do this, because it "seems" like a nicer hotel and I am able to pick my hotel room type. The problem with priceline is that the hotel can give you any room they want, and I discovered the HoJO Yuma actually offers rooms with 1 double bed. That would just not work well for us. I am still out the $63.16 that I booked in Yuma, but you live and learn.

I had also booked a room in Phoenix for the last night of our trip using Priceline (My brother is graduating so we have to swing back that way before heading home to Tucson). We ended up with the Hyatt place for 52.xx after taxes. The cheapest rate I can find is 84.05 (with tax) and all rooms have either 2 Queens or 1 King.

Other ways we saved for this trip.
We are driving, so this really is only the cost of gas.
I have $125 in Shell gift cards from Safeway RX transfers, we get good gas mileage in our little Mazda 3, but I am not sure how much more we will spend in gas.

All of our hotels provide some kind of breakfast, I think the SD hotel will be best. In addition the San Diego hotel offers a "light dinner" during the week, so our dinners are covered.
We do plan on eating seafood for lunch everyday in SD, since we like it and we don't have to pay for any other meals. However we are trying to keep it reasonable.

I purchased a $25 gift certificate for the Boathouse in San Diego, it cost $4 after a coupon code. The use of this gift certificate requires a $35 purchase with 17% gratuity automatically added on. If we can keep our meal close to $35 (I already checked the menu and its doable), then our bill would be about $41 + tax - $25 gift certificate= $16 + tax. If I add in my original $4 cost, then we are looking at a decent seafood lunch for about $20 + tax.

We also did a little research and found out that the Ocean beach pier has a little cafe that locals love and its very reasonably priced for seafood.

We will have 4 lunches in San Diego, so we have ideas for the other 2 and will just go with the flow.

We are packing a lunch to eat on the way to Yuma and I am bringing snacks and drinks for the hotel rooms. I also packed a brita water pitcher for water in our hotel room. I didn't have a Brita water pitcher, but I found one at a 2nd hand store (with manual and original filter all packaged up) for only 2.99 and I purchased a new filter at walgreens, that was free after rebate last month. I plan on using this same pitcher for our trip to disneyland later this year. Therefore I only bought one case of water to bring and leave in the car for us when we are out and about.

I am bringing a CVS and Albertsons gift card for any groceries/goodies we need while we are there.


Yuma Hotel #1 63.16, #2 $0

San Diego Hotel 3 nights = $25

Yuma Hotel $0

Tempe Hotel #1 52.xx, #2

Gas: $125 from Safeway Rx transfers

Food: Bringing snacks and drinks (from normal grocery shopping), CVS and Albertsons Gift Cards for other things we need while traveling, Free breakfast at all hotels and dinner in SD, Brita Water Pitcher for water in the hotel rooms, gift certificate for ~half price~ seafood lunch.


Precious July 21, 2008 at 2:08 PM  

Great job KC! I assume you are back now. Did you enjoy yourselves?
I hear San Diego is beautiful! My son and DIL went there and stayed at that Mission Hotel on the bay.

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