Sunday, July 20, 2014

Living like Royalty..... Richmond to Florida for a Week....under $1000 out of pocket!

As a child I always waved at the caboose...... I can't remember why , but I think? there used to be people that stood on the back of the caboose that waved back....or maybe?  I made that up in my childhood mind?   I loved the "Little Engine that Could"  storybook and have always like photographing Trains  and especially Train Tracks.  I have ridden a few amusement park trains but it wasn't until the past two years that I actually rode a REAL TRAIN.   My first trip was a short one from Richmond to Washington DC but this time was a long trip ,  from Richmond to Kissimmee, Florida.

I had applied for a Credit Card through Amtrak....  I earned some points (you can too) and kept earning,  before I knew it I had enough to redeem for this trip , not only a simple "coach" trip but a "sleeper car" for me and my BF with meals included...... ROUND TRIP FOR FREE!   The only thing that was not included was the GOLF BAG  (no fees for our luggage).......and that was only $10.   

The ride was MUCH more comfortable than a plane , more space (no internet though) and we went at night so we slept and ate and then wa-la we were there.  

I have a Time Share.....if you do not ...... you can find them for FREE or close to FREE if you talk to other owners who no longer use their unit .   I was able to obtain mine from a friend by paying for the legal fee to transfer ownership.  Mine is located in Kitty Hawk for the first week of march but through INTERVAL (another fee for that) you can exchange your unit after depositing yours and paying $165 for another "open unit" in another state/location or country.    My annual fee is about $500 for my unit. My interval GOLD fee was $500 for 5years and my exchange rate is $165.    Total cost for the Florida Unit for this year was $765 for  7 nights  (Friday - Friday)

I chose MYSTIC DUNES for my destination this year.   We got a DELUXE VILLA  which is reg. $200 a night but if you are a AAA member you can rent the same room for $179 a night.   For this trip our total cost for the room per day was $109 which would have only rated us an efficiency "room" not "suite" or "villa" if we had just rented it on a AAA discount for the same week,  IF we could find one to rent.  They are first offered to members.  The cost also included the internet which is $10 a night to non-deluxe members and the golf rate(s) are cheaper etc. 



BEST IN ROOM WHIRL POOL EVER....doesn't compare to hot tub but GREAT Whirl Pool

I rented a CAR with an offer through AMTRAK...... got a discount and the car for TWO DRIVERS and A FULL TANK OF GAS ,  Unlimited miles was $270 TOTAL for a very nice little car from HERTZ for the entire trip.   we could go wherever we liked!

Seaworld tickets (discounted $65 each) and Aquatica was another $60 for the day (non-discounted)  both of which we will have to go back another time ....we got comp tickets good for a year  due to rain outs :(  .   We did experience 1/2 a day at Aquatica ....FUN FUN FUN for free due to our refund/rain policy.

we used $10 free at Starbucks, bought our H&B products free at CVS and used a $50 off at Bahama Breeze the very first day.... more savings

Golf was booked at $40 for the Day (unlimited golf, golf balls, cart and free lunch) for the Monday Special.....

We played one round of putt putt for $9...with a FREE GAME coupon and a $2 off we won on another course night 

NOW the beauty in all of this is we did NOT shop specials the remainder of the trip.  WHY?   Because I won..... $1500 ...... yes $1500 back in FEBRUARY that paid for this trip....

$765   time share
$270   rental car
$  40   golf
$  31   putt putt
$  43   Bahama Breeze
$250   Amusement parks
$  50  parking
$  20  golf bag 

TOTAL   :   $1469  .....  dinners, krispy kreme and hard rock cafe gambling.....  we spent about $100 a day on food, drinks and incidentals on the credit card  or  UNDER $1000 ....that is  over the $1500 I won....all put on the credit card (amtrak card) ..

the points will be on the total before I pay the card off with my winnings....

The next trip down will not cost as much as the amusement park tickets are in my purse (free) ...and I plan on staying a few days with friends / family along the way...... normally I am more frugal on the meals with groupons and entertainment book savings but we were "living it up" this trip.... WOOHOOO!   you would have thought we were ROYALTY or something ! :) 

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