Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button
Reddit button
Delicious button
Digg button
Stumbleupon button

Vacationing on a Shoestring Budget – “Tagging Along”

{ Posted on May 20 2010 by Marcus Alston }

Sunday was my last day in Puerto Rico and my second trip “tagging along” on my wife’s business trip.  We stayed at the Ritz Carlton in San Juan which is pretty fancy for my Consumer Miser taste.  However, I have found that “tagging along” is a great way to coordinate the busy schedules of my wife and me and to get the family to some pretty nice places while not spending a lot of money.

Several months ago, for instance, we went to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and stayed at The Broadmoor, a 5 Star Rated Hotel.  The cheapest “advertised” rate by the hotel per night at the time for a room started at around $700 per night.  When we arrived, our bellman spent an incredible 20 minutes  (seemed like an hour) moving in our luggage, putting away our clothes, explaining the room, the amenities of the resort, and the history of the Broadmoor.  Later I would realize that this place warranted this type of build up.  At the Broadmoor, we could only valet park our car—self-parking was not an option.  The army of doormen and bellmen on duty was also pretty impressive and intimidating.  Most of the clientele drove very expensive looking cars too.  I have been in some pretty fancy places in my day, but this took the cake.  I was pretty uncomfortable at first, but I quickly adapted to this pampering and top shelf service.  Needless to say, they did so much for us during our stay, that I consulted a tipping guide on line for the proper etiquette.  According to one guide, I only had to tip when they brought me my car and not when I dropped it off.

Fortunately, my wife was traveling for a series of meetings so the cost of this experience was significantly discounted.  Additionally, because she was traveling on business, we only had to pay for the additional night or two extra that we stayed there for non-business reasons.  We had a great time, even though my wife was in meetings for good parts of the days we were there.  The Colorado Rockies– the famous snow capped mountains, were amazing sites.  We rented a car which I generally love to do on vacation (assuming we have not driven our own car to the destination) so that I am not confined to the hotel or limited to cab rides or expensive sightseeing tours to explore.  We brought our own GPS from home and drove around like natives.  We went  exploring during the day, sat at the greens of the golf course and ate lunch, saw the famous Colorado Springs Zoo (and fed the Giraffes, among other things), and went to the Children’s Museum in Denver.  At  the resort itself, we enjoyed breakfast in bed, room service,  jumping from bed to bed, jumping on the beds, pillow fights, and watching television and DVDs on the high tech entertainment center that the bellman spent about 5 minutes explaining.  My kids enjoyed the glass shower, the window opening connecting the bedroom to the bath, and the television set in the bathroom suite (and the separate room for the toilet).  For the kids, they now judge how “cool” a hotel is by whether or not it has a television in the bathroom.

As for Puerto Rico, my family did not want to leave the Ritz Carlton or Puerto Rico.  We enjoyed El Yunque which is the famous Rainforest in Puerto Rico , and the various famous fortresses, especially El Morro.  We did not have enough time to make it to Bio Luminescent Bay where you can see the natural wonder of glowing organisms.  Of course, the seemingly private hotel beach and the spectacular lounge pool were treats for the kids.  We ate out most of the time to explore the culture and enjoy more authentic Puerto Rican food.  We also saved money by not eating at the hotel and paying the Ritz Carlton prices.  I also stepped into the hotel casino and won $15 at Roulette and used the $10 voucher the hotel gave us.  I enjoyed the food, history, and trying to speak Spanish the best.  And of course, doing it all without spending a lot was icing on the cake.

Be Sociable, Share!
Copyright © 2010 by All rights reserved.

3 Responses to “Vacationing on a Shoestring Budget – “Tagging Along””

  1. This was a neat article. By the way “Happy Birthday”

  2. To Nancy Alston: Well thank you! A nice birthday surprise! Please keep on reading my articles!

  1. 1 Trackback(s)

  2. Top 10 Lessons I Learned on Vacation |

Post a Comment