Want to budget travel? Get in your car for a good old fashion road trip! While we are parked in Vermont and still have our car, we figured we should go visit Maine! With Shiang-ling’s mom visiting for a week and friends that could “pet sit” we figured we could pop away for a little getaway!
Is it crazy that we literally jumped in the car with a few things to hope to see and just went for it. No pre-booking hotels, coordinating destinations and activities, just finding things as we go.
So how does that all breakdown? Well, here’s my best day-to-day for you.
Road Trip Total Cost: $1,372.
This Road Trip was a total of 5 days and 4 nights, Saturday 14 Sep – Wednesday 18 Sep.
Remembering that this is the cost for seven (7) travelers! That breaks down to an average of $196 for a five (5) day trip per individual! That’s roughly $40/day/person!
- Food $532 – Panera, Longhorn Steakhouse, Papa John’s pizza, Lobsters, Burger joints, cafes and coffeehouses, snacks
- Gas $189 – Any gas station that we saw. Kinda a staple on a road trip.
- Hotels $437 – We are members of Marriott Bonvoy! Highly recommend them!
- Tickets $214 – International CryptoZoology Museum and other oddity places/expenses.
How to #HotelStaycation
There are memberships, a veteran discount we apply, and other GroupOn deals we look for even when it comes to parking in the cities!
Memberships: The Marriott Bonvoy is an excellent points based membership that allows points for stay and towards a variety of airline services. So while you stay you also earn for your future trips!
Discounts: Veteran discounts are very kind in that many places are very patriotic and support not only military, but first responders, nurses, and other service based employment drawn towards helping our fellow Americans. Last, but not least, GroupOn allows discounted rates for passes into aquariums, monuments, museums, and other ‘paid entry’ adventures that you can plan along the way.
Road Trip Itinerary Overview
Manchester, NH: Sept 14-15
Activities: Get to the hotel to pick up PoPo! Since she is flying in late to an airport 2 hrs away, we decided to check in early and let the kids swim, play and chill.
Why: Why not!? Instead of one person driving 4 hours we decided to make Manchester, NH our starting point after a full nights rest!
Portland, ME: Sept 15-16
Why: The Bug Light Park hosts not only one of the many lighthouses within the Portland area, but the Liberty Ship Memorial which is an amazing historical glance into the efforts of the American heart that existed during one of our country’s war. Excellent reads there as the lighthouse was fairly plain and more of a quick picture and move along feel.
The Crooked Mile Cafe was a well-rounded joint that was recommended on Yelp as a wide variety of food. As any parent knows, variety is key when you have four children with widely varied taste. Either way it was tasty and hosted some good coffee.
The International Cryptozoology Museum, there is an entrance fee for the very small, two level showcase that is contained within another restaurant within a strip mall area. There are a lot of interesting tidbits here and there that the kids were totally drawn into and grossed out at the same time. No videography is allowed.
After that we knew we needed to stretch out and decided on the Eastern Promenade Children’s Playground which turned out to be quite a good time. There was a great play structure, swings, baseball field and basketball court, hills for rolling on which led down to the next adventure. East End Boat Launch had a very rocky, but passable area where we searched for oddities that had drifted ashore and let the kids cool down their minds and bodies. After that we moved to the hotel for much needed food and rest. What a day!
The best part about this day was that the only thing that was planned in the beginning of the day was the desire to visit Portland. After that we performed quick Google searches and were able to quickly determine where we wanted to go next. It’s easy to plan when you don’t have any hard timelines you’re trying to meet and really eases up the stress levels.
Acadia National Park/Bar Harbor: Sept 16-17
Activities: Acadia National Park,
- Day One: Hulls Cove Visitor Center Cadillac Mountain, Sieur de Monts Wild gardens of Acadia, Nature Center, The Overlook
- Day Two: Jordan’s Pond,“BeeHive Trail”, the Atlantic Ocean bluffs – “otter Cliffs Elevation Burger and Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound.
Why: Just get lost (figuratively) in the adventure. It is not hard to find activities to “do”. However, remember that children want to see, touch, smell, taste, hear everything…
The key to these trips, especially within our nation’s US National Park Service (NPS) are to remain calm. Move at their pace, google search where you’re at, and talk about the learning points you find. Stimulate conversation with them, ask for their thoughts, respond as fully as you’re able. Let the learning take place through natural conversation as you enjoy the sights.
We decided to eat lobster close by as we were in Maine and I mean come on, it’s what you do when in Maine. Lastly we commuted an hour away to avoid the higher fees of staying on the Acadia National Park island area because that is one of the feedbacks of spontaneity travel.
Bangor, ME: Sept 17- 18
Activities: Anderson’s Legal Cannabis Growhouse, Beautiful drive home via the Kancamagus Highway
Why: Learn about the legalization process, grow methodologies, economic impacts, and business challenges on the city, state, and federal level… and visit a childhood friend!
Finalizing this road trip we decided to take the Kancamagus Highway New Hampshire Route 112 is a 56.39-mile-long east–west state highway in northern New Hampshire. The highway winds across the state, connecting the cities of Bath too Conway through the heart of the scenic and mountainous White Mountain National Forest. (Wikipedia). This drive was an amazing visible display of the beauty of one range of mountains within the New England area and made everyone in the car continually “ooh and ahh” the whole way. Well worth the time, visible memories, and relaxation to essentially end the trip back in Montpelier, Vermont area.
Hotel: We left the Residence Inn Bath Brunswick Area – 139 Richardson Street, Bath ME 04530
Hotel: “Buzz” TheBHiveFamily Bus!
Our outlook on traveling is pretty simple… just spending quality time together. Good conversations, food and and open mind!