St. Petersburg Quick Trip by I Love Family Travel

#MyMister’s brother from another mother was visiting St. Petersburg, FL from Boston. He was supposed to make a quick day trip aboard Spirit Airlines to travel to Ft. Lauderdale and visit us with his new wife. What he did not anticipate was the terrible traffic from St. Pete’s Beach to the Tampa airport in the morning, and that the flight would end up taking off 10 minutes sooner than it was supposed to. Aaah, Spirit, could we have expected anything different? With no other affordable flights out until the next day, #MyMister and him almost made peace with the fact that they would not see each other before his boy returned home.

But then, the spontaneity bug hit us and we decided to rent a car and make the 4.5 hour drive up there to see him. Hey, what the heck? You only live once, right? Plus, I figured I’d get a great story to share here on the blog.

So I reserved a car from Thrifty (via Expedia), which we soon learned was bought out by Hertz and was in the process of changing over their computer system. We also learned that our credit card pre-authorization was used for the daily rental insurance we bought online for $9/day (rather than $13.99/day). So when they went to charge the actual rental, it declined. I had to call and get another pre-authorization from the credit card, except it would not even process because apparently Hertz system will not allow you to attempt to use a card again that was declined in the previous 24 hours. Ugh! You see, at Thrifty, if you want use a debit card, you need to have a credit check. We don’t need unnecessary inquiries into our credit because we are looking to buy a house soon, so I was thinking we were stuck. Then I learned that we could use the business debit card without this credit check. Yay!

St. Petersburg Bridge, Fl. I Love Family Travel.

Having opted into the Plate Pass, the rest of the trip was smooth sailing as we were able to go through the SunPass lanes wherever there was a toll. We made one quick stop along the way to use the restroom, you know because 4.5 hours is a long time for a kid to hold it, and we arrived at our hotel. Also booked on Expedia, we paid just $10.47 with taxes, to stay at the Ramada in a double-bed room. At the moment, they were running a sale for $59/ night and I got an extra $6 off for being an Expedia member, taking it down to $53. Then I learned that I had racked up enough Expedia points to get a $50 hotel certificate, bringing the price of the hotel down to $3, plus tax. Not bad right?

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After we checked in and got somewhat settled, we were out the door again and heading to St. Pete’s Beach where our friends were staying. The hotel they were at had a great balcony overlooking the beach and I snapped a pic of the sun setting against the water in the distance.

St.Petersburg Sunset I Love Family Travel

Following some introductions and catching up, we all headed out to a restaurant the happy couple reported visiting three times already that week, Harold Seltzers. Do you think they like it? We ordered a nice variety of American faire, and chatted it up about our work and matters of life. #MyMister decided to be daring and order the 2 lb Prime Rib, which turned out to be a massive slab of meat that looked more like 5 lbs than 2. Sadly, #MyMister was not loving every bite. He reported that it tasted as though it was soaked like a pastrami would be, and that this was “just not right.” Our friends covered the tab, and we dropped a $30 tip. The kids enjoyed their bit of ice cream treat at the end and we snapped a few more pics before heading back to their hotel.

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After some more time spent talking, we headed back to our own hotel. Our friends were hoping we’d stay the next day to visit dolphins and other attractions, but we really needed to get back down to South Florida. We did not want the kids to miss a whole day of school, so we left very early on. The kids were a bit sad that they did not get to go in the pool, but they liked visiting with the friends, and ultimately enjoyed our quick escape to the Florida Northwest.

I Love Family Travel- Family and Friends

Once we dropped of the kids at school, we darted over to the rental lot in the nick of time as it was about to be 24 hours on the rental. We ended up paying about $76 for the car- rental ($29), the extra driver ($13), the insurance ($18) and the Plate Pass ($10.49) + taxes/fees. And the car had great gas mileage, so we only needed to put in $40 of gas the whole time. I think it helped that the gas was only $1.97/ gallon in St. Pete’s.


We arrived home finally and I crashed down on the bed to catch a quick nap. I had done most of the driving because #MyMister was using the laptop and our 4G hotspot from our cell phones, so that he could get work done while in transit. Being mobile entrepreneurs has really allowed us the freedom to be spontaneous and still finish our work, and I look forward to more spontaneous trips like this. And someday we will be ready to “world-school” the kids, so we won’t be tied down to their school schedule either.

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