Friday, September 18, 2015

Wrap up of our 30 kids in 30 MLB Ball Park trips - Statistics and Costs

We have been home 2 months now and we have heard from many people how much they wish they could do a trip like ours.  We realize we are very fortunate that we are retired and don't have to go to work everyday.  We understand that it is next to impossible to take 3 months off of work but also want to show people that if you want to do this, if you have the time, and some travel money in your budget, it is possible.  We admit we are frugal travelers, but we don't think that takes the fun out of travel, in fact, it often makes it more of an adventure.  We ate well, did everything we wanted to do, got into 30 MLB parks to see baseball, traveled through 35 states and 1 province, kept very busy and met many wonderful people.

When people plan travel, it is often lodging and transportation that cost the most. We were gone 100 days.   Because we are members of the Affordable Travel Club, we were able to keep our lodging expenses low.  Total lodging was $2366, and average of $23.66 a night!  We were fortunate to have friends and family who were kind and welcoming to allow us 24 nights of free lodging.  We stayed 51 nights with Affordable Travel Club hosts, camped 8 nights and stayed in 17 hotels.
We drove (or I should say Jack drove and I rode!) 14,019 miles and averaged almost 33 mpg.  The lowest gas price was $2.18 in Albuquerque and highest gas price was $2.96 in Yucca Valley, CA and Boise.  We were shocked to come home to $2.99 gas!  Total gas expense was $1117.

We spent $4337 on food and drink which really is quite reasonable, averaging less than $22 per person, per day.  Granted, we did not go out to many fancy restaurants, but ate healthily for the most part. We certainly enjoyed local food and restaurants.  Grocery store salad bars and deli's saved our waistlines and our pocket book.  Breakfasts were provided when we stayed with Affordable Travel Club members and at most of the hotels we stayed.  We did enjoy a few beers and wine in and out of the baseball stadiums so obviously this is an expense that could be lowered if desired.

Other expenses included parking, tolls, subway and train fares and entertainment and museums. Parking, tolls and public transportation came to nearly $500.  If we were to do it again, we would have purchased an EZ-pass for the east coast which would have saved some of the toll fees and a little time. We found free parking and walked or left our car where we were lodged in San Diego, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Boston, Chicago Cubs, St Louis and Seattle.  Public transportation saved headaches and time in San Francisco, Washington DC, New York Mets, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago White Sox. We did use the Best Parking App to find less expensive parking when possible.  Sometimes you are just trapped with the big lot stadiums that are not in neighborhoods like Texas, Atlanta, Milwaukee, LA Dodgers and Kansas City and have to pay the stadium rates.  You can save at the Dodgers if you are willing to walk up the hill, $5 vs $20.

We did not feel like we skimped on other entertainment.  We had a National Park Pass which admitted us to all the National Parks and historic sites that we visited.  The current cost is $80.00 and lasts a whole year.  At age 62, the price of that drops significantly.  We did a city tour of Savannah and Chicago, went to Cooperstown, the Martin house (Frank Lloyd Wright architect) in Buffalo, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the Diego Rivera/Frieda Kahlo exhibit in Detroit, the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Palo Verde Canyon outside Amarillo, the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, the National WWI Museum and rented bikes all day in Chicago.  The cost of all that was $341.

There were many, many opportunities for free entertainment and we took advantage of a lot of it.  There are countless things in Washington DC to do for free including all the Smithsonian museums, the National Mall and all the Monuments and many others.  We spent 2 full days in NYC and never spent any money except on transportation and delicious delicatessens visiting the World Trade Center Memorial, Battery Park , Times Square, the Brooklyn bridge, Wall Street, Trinity Church and St Paul's Chapel, Central Park, the Highline Trail, Chinatown, the New York Library and St. Patrick's Cathedral. We hiked and explored Joshua Tree National Park, the Redwoods, Crater Lake, Garden of the Gods, Dinosaur National Monument, the Freedom Trail in Boston, Merritt Island and the Canaveral National Seashore.  We enjoyed art at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, the National Gallery of Art in D.C., the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Wynwood walls, all for free.  We listened to lovely music at a concert in the Kleinhaus Music Hall.  We visited the battlefields of Frericksburg and Spotsylvania and remembered a great American at the MLK Historic sight, being reminded that there are so many who have sacrificed their lives for those who followed.   We got wet at Niagara Falls.  We were in awe of and proud of the young men and women who attend the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and admire their fortitude to go through the rigorous training to serve and protect our country.  We walked college campuses and visited many of their stadiums including Duke University, University of North Carolin, University of Alabama, University of Florida, Harvard, MIT, the Ohio State University, Loyola University and the University of Chicago. We visited and worhiped in many beautiful churches and cathedrals.  We walked and relaxed in beautiful city parks.

Our greatest joy of the trip was raising $1400.00 and finding 15 sponsors for children in developing countries with Unbound.  Thank you to all who changed the world by helping these kids!

As for baseball, we saw 21 home teams win and 9 lose.  We were on a 12 game home team winning streak until our last game of the trip, our beloved Seattle Mariners.  They lost, ruining our streak.  But, then again, there seemed to be more Blue Jay fans at Safeco than Mariner fans so was it really a home game for the Mariners?

The total cost of the trip $10,005.  Jack figures if we stayed home and not gone on this trip, we would have saved about $2400, so obviously the trip was well worth it!  Remember you have to eat and put gas in your car anyway.  We did far less shopping than when we are home.  Photographs, stories, new friends and memories are our souvenirs.