[ The West, Day 01 ] : Take-Off
Our flight departed from Columbus at 7am on a Wednesday. This was the cheapest flight option for us… (whenever I’m look at flights I search for departures from Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus and Indianapolis. We are centrally located between all of these and sometimes there are hundreds of dollars of difference between these departure cities…) The only downside… leaving our house at 3am which made for a very short night of sleep.
If you’ve ever gone on vacation you will probably know exactly what I mean by this: It takes more work to go on vacation than it does to stay home. The days leading up to our trip were crazy. My lists were at an infamous stage and I literally was working day and night on stuff for home, kids, trip, vbs, work, church, etc. But… when the alarm went off at 230am and we headed out the door at 3am… I was ready… prepped and walking out the door with a pretty clean to-do list.
So our flight took us through Minneapolis and then landed us in Salt Lake City around noon. (Sidenote… that airport was nice. Clean, easy to navigate and pretty friendly…)
Once we landed in Salt Lake City we grabbed our rental car and headed to the nearest Walmart where we stocked up on bottled water, granola/protein bars, bread, peanut butter, jelly, chips, pretzels, fruit and carrots. This is pretty much what we ate for lunch and snacks for our time on the road. We grabbed laundry soap pods as well which have lasted me our entire trip.
We also purchased a Booster seat for Addison. The car rental company charged around $12/day to rent a booster but we were able to purchase one from Walmart for $14.88 which saved us tons over the course of our trip.
After that we hit… the… road. We were amazed at the beauty in Utah… we never anticipated that. (It reminded me quite a bit of Anchorage… the mountains seemed like they were touching the backsides of parts of the town…
Our ultimate destination that night was Idaho Falls, Idaho but we made a fantastic pitstop along the way… Lava Hot Springs.
Lava Hot Springs was a super cute, small town that was apparently world famous. It was home to two swimming facilities. One was a very large, family aquatic center with slides and pools. The other one, where we spent our time, was the Hot Springs. (It just so happened that Wednesdays were discounted family days so we got to relax in the Hot Springs for a pretty discounted price… for more info check them out here : http://www.lavahotsprings.com/hotpools.html
The Hot Springs area was made up of five hot spring pools. The pools ranged from 102 to 110 degrees. They were filled with beautiful, clean mineral water that didn’t smell and felt amazing… okay, if I’m being honest the 110 degree pool… it just felt like your flesh would be falling off your feet at any given moment but… they really were amazing.
After that we headed to our hotel in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Our total drive time here was probably around 3.5 hours…
We found a really great BBQ place in Idaho Falls that we would recommend and return to… (and if you know us… you know that we like our BBQ and can be picky about it…)
PitMaster BBQ : http://www.pitmaster-bbq.com
[ T R I P T R I C K S ]
- At Walmart we purchased a Booster seat for Addison. The rental car company would have changed around $12/day to rent a booster… Walmart sells them for $14.88. We ended up saving tons of money by purchasing one even though we didn’t bring it home with us.
- All of our hotels were book through Priceline (except for two…) I ended up doing some research on areas that surrounded each park, did multiple searches on Priceline to see which areas were more cost-effective to stay in and then finalized them by bidding on them. My bottom line bid criteria was 2.5 stars… for us, this was as low as we were willing to go, especially since we were bidding and couldn’t research a specific hotel prior to purchasing our stay. Almost all of our hotels had hot breakfast with them… a couple only had continental… This alone saved us tons of money on food.