Many may be aware of the impending Republican National Convention taking place in Cleveland, OH from the news or whatnot. It’s been a topic of a lot of controversy – especially here in the heart of it all. Are construction projects going to get finished? What are these florescent art installations? Did they blow the budget? What about protests? What about jobs? What about violence and security? Will Michael Symon really not let Donald Trump into his restaurants? What if he orders take-out from a Michael Symon restaurant?
There are hundreds of questions surrounding these 4 days. Many concerns as well. And many positive things happening too: new public art, newly renovated Public Square, more landscaping, new jobs, new jobs for the city’s homeless population, etc. Many questions, I asked myself: What will public transportation be like? Terrible (it was backed up with a 5 hour wait the day of the Cavs Championship Parade #legendary). Will I be safe getting to work? Probably not (I want to trust my fellow Americans, but it’s my well-being we’re talking about). What should I do about work that week? Well the office is open and perceived to be operating as normal with emphasis on those who can work from home to do so.
That last question was difficult to answer since it is business as usual. I only have a week of vacation time this year and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to use it on. I am relied on heavily at work by my peers (not tooting my own horn, I’m just one of two people trained on how to do this job) and I need the money.
On the flip side, I was and still am concerned for safety. Cleveland and its security forces are working hard to make sure our city, our home is safe. I work right in the thick of the convention area, right in the midst of the protest zones.
I mean we did just have two championship parties: one for the Lake Erie Monsters which drew thousands of people and one for the Cavaliers which drew 1.3 million people. Both were peaceful and happy events. Police worked hard to control the happy crowds but nothing scary happened. Both were Cleveland. Our people are a strong and resilient people and I know one of our major concerns with the impending RNC is what will the outsiders do to our city? With everything that’s been going on lately, we’re concerned.
So what am I to do? Well… go on vacation! I worked a bit of (authorized) overtime and am only using 3 of my 7 vacation days! Hard work really pays off. Once I got that sorted out, I was able to begin my planning phase. Where was I going to go? How was I going to get there? How am I going to afford to go anywhere? I secretly wanted to get out of the whole state of Ohio just so I could eliminate the chance of having to go downtown at all.
Then, like she could read my mind from 4 states away, texted me saying “Bitch you better be coming to visit me (in Tampa) during the RNC”. So it appears I’m going to Tampa! Which works out perfectly… A free place to stay that’s close-ish to two airports that offer value flights from Cleveland/Akron-Canton airports.
That’s when the dance of airlines began. My go-to value flight was Spirit but it appears that they don’t offer flights to Tampa from Cleveland anymore! I’ve heard rumor that they are making seasonal changes… but why take flights from us in the summer to hot-spots like Florida? Their reasoning is beyond me.
We ended up picking Allegiant after a few weeks of watching airfare and jostling between Cleveland International and Akron-Canton Airports. It was intense. The only downside was that Allegiant only flies out of CAK on Mondays and Fridays – so we had to extend our vacation… We’re so [not] bummed!
I also ended up opening a Venture card through Capital One and purchased everything with that so I could start racking in my airline miles (and yes mom, I paid it off). We chose to use the Venture card so we could start accumulating miles for our trip to San Diego, CA next summer. It seems like a long ways away to start worrying; but those flight tickets are EXPENSIVE – so why not metaphorically kill two birds with one stone?! We also already have our condo booked for that vacation.
We are getting a rental car for this trip… but we are NOT going through Fox Rent-A-Car (see my previous post on my lovely experience with them HERE). Not after last time. I definitely picked a better known company, Alamo, for my rental car needs. Surprisingly, Alamo was the cheapest – especially since we booked the car in a package through Allegiant when we got our flights. Also, Alamo gave me all fee’s upfront. I was able to check in online and select add-ons and see the fee I owe upon pick up before getting to the rental counter. Why. Hasn’t. This. Been. Done. Sooner?!
The greatest thing about this vacation is how absolutely relaxed everything is. We’ve got a few things planned but the four of us (my BFF, her boyfriend, me, my husband) are all up for whatever (at risk of quoting Bud Light). I still have to bring my work laptop but we’re not expected to be super busy. It’s a seat-of-your-pants kinda week and my anxious-ass is digging it. #letsparty