How to win at Thanksgiving travel

I have always been a firm believer that advanced planning and research make your life easier. Still, sometimes mother nature gets in the way and makes your life difficult.

This year, my fiancee and I had planned to travel from New York to Providence to spend Thanksgiving with her family, and instead of renting a car in Brooklyn and driving through NYC traffic for hours, we decided to get a train to New Haven and then get a car from there using Zipcar. I did multitudes of research on this and discovered that not only would it increase our speed immensely due to avoiding the expressways in “heat” but it would also be cheaper to get a car in New Haven than from New York.

The plan worked perfectly with the exception that instead of leaving on Wednesday afternoon like we had planned, we left early on Thursday morning. Due to extreme weather conditions we postponed things. In the end, I’m not sure if it mattered so much but we were not rushing in the morning and we got seats on the train (even if we were separated).

Thanksgiving can be a major headache of travel if you do not plan yet also have some flexibility. I am happy we were only traveling by land – flight were cancelled at various airports around New York City and I can only imagine what they looked like in terms of angry passengers. Make sure your plans are not fully set in stone and that you have a good attitude when breaking them in these situations.

Can I get a car2go please?

Unfortunately, yesterday I came out of work to discover that my main method of commuting – my bike – had a bent wheel. When I took it to a bike shop they told me that it was so bent it would have to be replaced, meaning my commuting options for the week just became more expensive. Either I could take the subway (a 25-30 minutes ride), take a cab or car service (a $10-$15 proposition during traffic), or just walk (taking 45-50 minutes).

Instead, I opted to try a new option to Brooklyn commuters – car2go.

was_ist_car2go

I signed up a few weeks ago when they offered a promotion for free 30 minutes of driving and today that was quite useful.

Like Zipcar, I can use an app or website to reserve a car and I have a credit-card sized device that is placed on top of a reader on the cars front windshield and that unlocks it. Unlike Zipcar, I can only reserve it 30 minutes in advance. I am only charged at the $0.41 per minute rate I am using the car. The kicker of the entire enterprise: as long as I leave the car within its “home area” (with some restrictions) I only pay for the time I am actively using the car. In the case of this morning – it was 14 minutes.

It was easy to drive the SmartCar (the only option available) because I could find parking almost anywhere. I think this will become more and more useful for things like transporting supplies to and from work and going out without worrying about a cab.  I highly recommend it.