Orlando on a dime

Sometimes, you have to play the sympathy card on eBay (see highlighted section).

Sometimes, you have to play the sympathy card on eBay (see highlighted section).

I got jealous and I make a knee-jerk decision – it turns out not to be a bad decision, but it was still a bit of a knee-jerk decision. I saw a friend who was going on a trip to celebrate their anniversary and then a filthy good deal came across my email from Southwest Airlines for airfare to Orlando and I asked myself, “Why am I not taking my lovely wife on a first anniversary trip?” They were omens, right?

Thus began my quest to figure out how we were going to afford a quick 3-4-day trip. A quick calculation of expenses (lodging, sightseeing, airfare, dog boarding, cat-sitting, transportation throughout Orlando, parking by the airport – food was purposely left out, as we normally would eat out if we were in Indy anyway) totaled roughly $1,000.

We had already blown through our entire year’s travel budget on our trip to Toronto and Montreal, so the challenge was simple: Find stuff around the house to help supplement my personal savings allocated for the trip ($450) and sell it to the highest bidder.

The average American has more than $3,100 in unused “stuff” laying around their home, according to Neilsen, including an average of 52 items made up primarily by clothing and electronics. I was no different, putting up a vintage handheld video game device I hadn’t touched in years, an old digital camera and a neglected tablet on eBay. I sold off an old MSU 14K gold class ring I seldom wear and put up a rare hockey card on eBay. A couple of the auctions are still ongoing, but I’m happy to say we should be at roughly $1,000 by the end of the week.

Of course, this trip wouldn’t have been possible without finding some great deals. Southwest, as previously mentioned, had airfare as low as $198 round-trip from Indy to Orlando – a steal by my standards. We opted to spend a little more to get there earlier in the day (the cheap rate would have gotten us to the hotel around 9 or 9:30 pm). I booked a 4-star room through Hotwire for $61 a night and I found out we can take public transit from the airport to the hotel (saving roughly $56 by not taking a shuttle) and a private trolley service to get us to and from anywhere along International Drive. We scored a Groupon for half price dog boarding and we’re hopeful a Groupon will post soon for airport parking.

While there, we plan on lounging by the HUGE pool the first night and most the second day, going to Universal Studios Orlando Islands of Adventure the second full day, and then going to a stupidly large outlet mall the third full day, before flying home in the evening.

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