With movement around Italy quite restricted, and it seeming to only be getting tighter all around Europe, I figured it was a good time to take care of some things I had been putting off in the US… and wow, was it a task to make the trip. Even though all the hurdles to keep an eye out for subdued it a bit, being back in the States after over a year and a half felt a bit strange. It felt odd talking with people; I think I developed a different version of English while away… I bet some people are thinking “what’s wrong with this guy” LOL
Now, with the personal things done, I’m wondering what to do with myself. At the moment I’m thinking I’ll stick around to see how fast the COVID-19 vaccine ramps up here, plus I’m a little intimidated about world travel after the recent experience. We’ll see, but first things first, get to warmer weather! I don’t have clothes for the subzero temps in South Dakota 🙂 So I’m off to Florida to thaw out a bit.
I want to point out a few things about the hotel breakdown below, just because I think it’s an opportunity to highlight them. There’s 1 point for each reservation listed below.
- I needed a receipt for the first night separately so I had to book it separately paying quite a bit extra, just for that. It’s kind of crazy how there aren’t more options for things like this. The person at the hotel counter doesn’t have the permissions to do anything, though they were very nice and I’m sure would have been glad to help if they could. Anyway, it gave us the chance to see just how much more expensive these places are for shorter stays.
- Next, you can see 8 nights booked through the hotel directly, which was discounted for a weekly rate.
- The next 8 nights were booked through Expedia for the same exact hotel (I even stayed in the same room, never moved a thing). How on earth does booking through a third party get you a better rate than going direct?!?! This kind of stuff drives me nuts, but it’s why I highly recommend using some of the search sites. Kayak, Google, TripAdvisor, etc. that check multiple sites. But it’s also worth looking directly at others like Expedia, Hotels, Booking, etc. because sometimes rates are “hidden” on these sites. Also, don’t forget Rakuten. Cashback is available for a lot of these booking sites. I’ve seen anywhere from 1% to 10%. If you haven’t seen my posts on these things check out my travel tips section here.
- Last is a different hotel I figured I’d move to closer to the airport and bus station (I wasn’t sure what I was doing at this point). It was a little less expensive, but also a little older building. It’s another one where the best deal was through a search site. In this case, it was booking.com.
Both hotels were probably described in the mid to low range for the area but had decent reviews, and I was happy with them.
The last thing I’ll mention here is that I did look for Airbnb’s too. But in general, it seems they are a lot more expensive in the US. In most other countries I find at least a few that are competitively priced against hotel rooms, which is nice. I don’t need, or want, daily cleaning, barely ever make it to the breakfast if it’s included, or a 24hr front desk. I did find one place I thought about, but the only way to get a reasonable price was to book for a month or more. In the end, I just didn’t want to do a month there this time around. It’s too bad that there aren’t more cost-effective Airbnb’s for 2 or 3 weeks. I’ll probably always look for Airbnb’s, but won’t be expecting to find much when in the US. They’re great in a lot of other countries; just look at the pictures, read the reviews, look up the area, and ask the host questions before booking if needed.
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Expenses for this stop…
This was a 24-night stay…
- Accommodation: see the breakdown below – $1,692.80*
- Getting around locally: I rented a car for the first 9 days and then just had a few Lyft rides – $519.06
- Living expenses; food and groceries – $714.66
- Activities – $0.00
- Mobile phones – $62.57
- Medical Insurance – $113.51
- Total $3,102.60 / 24 nights = $129.28 per
*Breakdown of separate hotel reservations:
- 1 night at My Place Hotel Sioux Falls – $95.48
- 8 nights at My Place Hotel Sioux Falls – $614.40
- 8 nights at My Place Hotel Sioux Falls – $552.25
- 7 nights at the Sleep Inn Airport Sioux Falls – $430.67
Transportation to and from varies too much, so I’ve left it out along with most incidental/one-time personal costs. But all other standard day to day expenses are included to give an idea of how much things cost in the area. So groceries will sometimes include basic personal care items (i.e. toothpaste, deodorant, contact solution/drops, etc.). I’m continuously trying to figure out how best to provide the information, so if you have any ideas please let me know; you can comment/DM on social media or send me an email (MeanderingMax@gmail.com). I appreciate your support!