Mar172015

Budget Travel Trifecta: Spirit flights, IHG hotels and Florida one way rental car deals

This post is a road trip itinerary I pieced together combining IHG PointBreaks hotels with the ‘drive out of Florida’ cheap rental car deals of $15 to $20 per day after tax and fees. My idea is routing a road trip to take advantage of IHG PointBreaks hotels available for 5,000 points per night through May 31, 2015. Low car rental period for drive out of Florida one way discount cars match the April-May dates for IHG low hotel reward period with PointBreaks.

Budget Travel Trifecta

Spirit Airlines has $34.50 fares today only for April and May flights with routes from across the USA to Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa. Airports in the western states offering Spirit $34.50 flight segments are San Diego, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Phoenix, Portland and Seattle. Round trip flights from the western U.S. are $138 with the Spirit Airlines sale. Drive out of Florida rental car deals are $15 to $20 per day all-in after tax and fees in April and May when you take the car one way to another state. $278 for cross country round trip flight and one week in a full-size rental car is a budget traveler dream.

Loyalty Traveler – Spirit Airlines $34.50 sale today makes Florida accessible (March 17, 2015).

Loyalty Traveler – Drive out of Florida rental car deals April and May 2015 (March 13, 2015)

The Spirit airfare deal ending at midnight March 17 is covered in my previous post.

Gas is cheaper than it has been in years and all you need is a way to sleep cheap to have the budget travel trifecta.

IHG PointBreaks on a road trip with $30 hotel nights

 

Bluffton SC

The famous Robert Frost quote from The Road Not Taken is usually the last lines of the poem:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

The beginning of the poem describes the traveler’s choice. Road trips are all about road choices.

The Road Not Taken

BY ROBERT FROST

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

This post looks at the potential to book a low cost rental car in Florida for a one way road trip with car drop off in Philadelphia combined with the opportunity for low cost $30 per night hotel stays at IHG PointBreaks hotels like Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express.

Buy 15,000 IHG points for $90. Daily Getaways Tuesday March 24.

Buying 5,000 points will cost $30 in the upcoming Daily Getaways sale for IHG points next Tuesday, March 24 at 1pm ET when you can buy 15,000 points for $90. 

Road Trip: Orlando to Philadelphia in 8 Days

A road trip from Orlando, Florida to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with eight nights of lodging can be an expensive journey.

There are still many IHG PointBreaks hotels around the USA nearly three weeks after the list posted and hotels have been bookable for 5,000 points per night.

The road trip described here is nearly 2,000 miles over eight days through the southeast and mid-Atlantic states from Orlando, Florida to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  

My objective was to see if I could route a road trip to hit an IHG PointBreaks hotel every night of an eight night road trip. This is purely an exercise in hotel booking potential.

Personally, I can’t handle several consecutive nights at Holiday Inn Express with the same breakfast foods. I like to check out different hotel chains. But, I found I could route most nights of a 2,000 mile road trip with an easy drive to an IHG PointBreaks hotel every night between Florida and Pennsylvania. That option provides $30 hotel nights every night.

Road Trip Night 1: Monday, April 27, 2015 

Holiday Inn Express Waycross, Georgia

IHG PointBreaks Reward Night = 5,000 points

Advance purchase rate = $92; Best Flexible Rate = $102.

IHG HIX Waycross

HIX Waycross has an amazing 4.8 of 5.0 rating on IHG after 98 reviews and ranks 4 of 5 circles on TripAdvisor.com as #2 of 11 Waycross hotels.

I knew nothing of Waycross, GA until writing this article. The town of 15,000 was settled in 1820 and has a historic downtown district. Waycross is the closest town to the Okefenoke Swamp. About 400,000 turists visit the swamp each year. Sounds inviting to me.

Road Distance: Orlando to Waycross, Georgia is about 250 miles.

Google Maps Orlando Waycross GA [click on image to see full-size map]

 

Road Trip Night 2: Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Macon West

IHG PointBreaks Reward Night = 5,000 points

Advance purchase rate = $118; Best Flexible Rate = $129.

IHG PB HIX MaconWest

HIX Macon West has an amazing 4.2 of 5.0 rating on IHG after 211 reviews and ranks 4 of 5 circles on TripAdvisor.com as #20 of 66 Macon hotels. The hotel received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.

Macon is Georgia’s fourth largest city and apparently an area of industrial blight. I also looked at Holiday Inn Express Commerce, Georgia, about a 250-mile drive from Waycross.

Macon caught my eye due to the Allman Brothers. There is The Big House Allman Brothers Museum at the Macon house where the band lived in the early 70s. The museum is only open Thursday through Sunday and April 28 is a Monday.

There are several other museums in Macon and ancient Ocmulgee National Monument with native America mounds built more than 1,000 years ago.

Distance: Waycross, Georgia to Macon, Georgia 175 miles.

Google maps Waycross to Macon GA 175 m

There are three IHG PointBreaks hotel available in South Carolina.

SOUTH CAROLINA

CANDLEWOOD SUITES COLUMBIA-FT. JACKSON

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES GREENWOOD

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES LEXINGTON-HWY 378 (Columbia area)

 

Road Trip Night 3: Wednesday, April 29:

Candlewood Suites Columbia-Ft. Jackson

IHG PointBreaks Reward Night = 5,000 points

Advance purchase rate = $92; Best Flexible Rate = $104.

IHG PB Candlewood Columbia SC

HIX Lexington, SC is another PointBreaks hotel west of Columbia and closer to Macon, GA, but in my road trip simulation, I think by the third night on the road I will want to cook my own food, which is possible in a Candlewood Suites kitchen.

Candlewood Suite Columbia-Ft. Jackson has an excellent 4.4 of 5.0 rating on IHG after 92 reviews and ranks 4 of 5 circles on TripAdvisor.com as #53 of 93 Columbia SC hotels. The hotel received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.

Columbia is the capital and largest city of South Carolina. Loads of Civil War history in the area and Congaree National Park is

Google Maps Macon to Columbia SC 200m

Road Distance: Macon, GA to Columbia, SC = 204 miles.

North Carolina currently has three PointBreaks hotels.

NORTH CAROLINA
HOLIDAY INN LUMBERTON NORTH – I-95
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES CONOVER
(HICKORY AREA)

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES LAURINBURG

 

Road Trip Night 4: Thursday, April 30

Holiday Inn Lumberton North I95, North Carolina

IHG PointBreaks Reward Night = 5,000 points

Advance purchase rate = $95; Best Flexible = $110.

IHG PB Lumberton NC

Holiday Inn Lumberton North I95, North Carolina has an outstanding 4.2 of 5.0 rating on IHG after 176 reviews and ranks 3.5 of 5 circles on TripAdvisor.com as #7 of 23 hotels in Lumberton, North Carolina. The hotel received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.

My first choice for the road trip was Holiday Inn Express Conover, North Carolina to the north. This is the first PointBreaks hotel I checked with no availability for the date April 30.

Holiday Inn Express Conover, North Carolina has an outstanding 4.8 of 5.0 rating on IHG after 161 reviews and ranks 4.5 of 5 circles on TripAdvisor.com as #2 of 4 Conover, NC hotels. The hotel received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.

The other IHG PointBreaks hotels are Laurinburg or Lumberton, North Carolina to the east.

Holiday Inn Express Laurinburg, North Carolina looked better to me for my kind of back roads road trip experience than Lumberton, further east beside Interstate 95.

When I checked Laurinburg on Wikipedia, nothing interesting jumped out at me, whereas, the Lumberton area has extensive forests and parks with waterways.

Road Distance: Columbia, South Carolina to Lumberton, North Carolina = 134 miles.

The drive to Lumberton is a short 134 miles from Columbia, SC allowing time to sightsee around Columbia with only a few hours in the car to reach North Carolina.

Google Maps Columbia SC-Lumberton NC 134 m

 

Road Trip Night 5: Friday, May 1

Holiday Inn Express Rocky Mount/Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia

IHG PointBreaks Reward Night = 5,000 points

Advance purchase rate = $110; Best Flexible = $126

VIRGINIA
CANDLEWOOD SUITES RICHMOND NORTH-GLEN ALLEN
HOLIDAY INN NORTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES ROCKY MOUNT/SMITH
MTN LAKE

STAYBRIDGE SUITES QUANTICO-STAFFORD

The other three IHG hotels on the list for Virginia had no reward availability for Friday, May 1.

Holiday Inn Express Rocky Mount/Smith Mountain Lake has a respectable 4.3 of 5.0 rating on IHG after 156 reviews and ranks 3.5 of 5 circles on TripAdvisor.com as #1 of 3 hotels in Rocky Mount, Virginia.

Heading closer to the Appalachians rather than the Tidewater region sounds better to me anyway with still two nights before needing to be near Philadelphia for the flight to Oakland.

Booker T. Washington National Monument is 16 miles from Rocky Mount, Virginia.

Google Maps Lumberton NC Rocky Mount VA 220m

Road Distance: Lumberton, North Carolina to Rocky Mount, Virginia 220 miles. 

 

Road Trip Night 6, Saturday, May 2

Holiday Inn Express Norton, Virginia

IHG PointBreaks Reward Night = 5,000 points

Advance Purchase rate = $79; Best Flexible = $95.

IHG PB HIX Norton VA

Holiday Inn Express Norton, Virginia has a respectable 4.1 of 5.0 rating on IHG after 109 reviews and ranks 3.5 of 5 circles on TripAdvisor.com as #2 of 4 hotels in Norton, Virginia.

Norton, Virginia is in the westernmost wedge of the state between Tennessee and Kentucky.

Google maps rocky mount VA to Norton VA 208m

Road Distance: Rocky Mount, Virginia to Norton, Virginia = 208 miles.

 

Road Trip Night 7, Sunday May 3 (Backtrack to HIX Rocky Mount)

Holiday Inn Express Rocky Mount/Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia

IHG PointBreaks Reward Night = 5,000 points

Advance purchase rate = $92; Best Flexible = $105

IHG PB Rocky Mount May3

The reason this itinerary backtracks is no availability at the Richmond and D.C. area hotels with PointBreaks. In reality, I’d look for another good hotel deal along the road around Charlottesville after a weekend driving country back roads in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

I see the portion of the road trip as two full days of driving around the mountains. I did this back in 1992 with our Isuzu Trooper and enjoyed the rural hill roads in the forests of western Virginia.

 

Road Trip Night 8, Monday, May 4

Holiday Inn Express & Suites North East, Maryland

IHG PointBreaks Reward Night = 5,000 points

Advance Purchase Rate $135; Best Flexible $149

IHG PB North East MD

This segment is a long haul of 350 miles across Virginia from Rocky Mount.

Google Maps Rocky Mount VA North East MD 350m

The itinerary I picked for Spirit Airlines has a 6:05am departure for the PHL-ORD flight that allows same day flight ORD-OAK. I could travel to Dallas or Houston for a later in the day itinerary that would require staying overnight in one of those cities. 

From North East, Maryland to Philadelphia International Airport is 46 miles along Interstate 95. There probably is not much traffic at 3:00am driving to return a rental car and make a 6:00am flight.

Google Maps North East MD to PHL

Two alternatives: Fly to Dallas and Houston for a better schedule and spend the night there. Drive 400 miles to PHL, get rid of the car and stay at an airport hotel Monday night.

Road Trip IHG PointBreaks Hotels Objective Accomplished

The point of this article was to show the potential for a quickly planned trip from Oakland, California to Orlando, Florida using the $34.50 fares available March 17 for April and May dates. Fly to Florida, pick up a rental car and drive to Philadelphia over eight days staying at IHG PointBreaks hotels is possible. The road trip destination could just as easily been Cleveland, Washington, D.C., New York or Boston.

Spirit Airlines Flights: OAK-IAH-MCO/PHL-ORD-OAK $138.00

Rental Car for 7 or 8 days driving one way from Orlando, Florida to Philadelphia Airport at $20 per day all-in = $140 to $160.

IHG PointBreaks Hotels $240 to buy 40,000 points during Daily Getaways March 24 for eight nights at 5,000 points per night. 

This road trip measures in at about 1,800 miles, plus all the extra miles of wandering. That is quite a few miles and about 60 gallons of gas for another $150 to $200. Averaging 250 miles driving per day is manageable without too much effort.

$700 for an eight day road trip across the Southeast USA is my idea of a Budget Traveler Trifecta.

There are so many possibilities for routing a road trip using the currently available IHG PointBreaks for cheap hotel nights. But they are going. One of the hotels dropped off the list in the past day.

This is just one road trip itinerary I quickly put together. You can design your own without too much effort.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. As a Philadelphia resident, I highly recommend a night in/near Philly. If you want to keep it ‘budget’ and can have the car for one more day, go to the Kennett Square/Brandywine Valley area. The Fairfield Inn for 15,000 points is a great midscale hotel, 4.5 owl eyes on TA.

  2. This is a great offer with so much budget friendly accommodation and flight fairs one can afford this offer and enjoy the deal. I have been using Jovago website for such offers and bookings but getting deals from anywhere won’t matters. This budget travel deal is simply awesome.

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