If you’re following along on our first family summer road trip, you know our first stop was New York City. Our next stop was my hometown of South Norwalk, Connecticut, so Jack could spend time with his cousins. I was going to rent a car from New York City and drive the 42 miles to Connecticut but the prices to pick the car up in the Big Apple and drop it off in Boston (spoiler alert: Beantown was our last stop) was quadruple the price ($195 a day) of picking up the rental in Stamford, Connecticut ($45 a day).
New York City to Connecticut
Normally, to get to Connecticut, I would take Metro-North from Grand Central Terminal (it takes one hour) but with Jack, his stroller and all of the luggage we now travel with, it wasn’t going to happen. So I ordered a Lyft (Uber’s competitor) and our driver, originally from Tibet, was nice but not the best driver. Three quarters of the way through the trip, he said he was running out of gas but when I looked at his gas gauge, I saw that he still had a quarter of a tank left. When I said that, he said that he needed to stop because he really had to go to the bathroom. He started to pull over on the side of the highway. “Whoa, what are you doing?” I asked incredulously. I told him he couldn’t pull over on a highway and definitely not with my wife and young son in the car and asked him to exit and then pull over. He listened, then darted into the woods to do what he had to do. The other problem was that he almost ran a red light by accident. Fortunately, I was paying attention and said, “it’s red,” before he barreled through, and we averted a possible catastrophe. It not for those two incidents, I would have given him five stars and a bigger tip. The ride cost $117.
National Car Rental
AutoSlash had the cheapest car rental deal and they use a discount code via Priceline. In my experience, National Car Rental has the cheapest prices out of its competitors. Since it was more expensive to pick up at the Norwalk location, I went to the Stamford location 15 minutes away. Tip: Always check surrounding areas for cheaper pick-up rates. The agent was totally cool and. runs a fairly tight ship. The first SUV ended up being too small so I exchanged it (the last-minute upgrade cost $15 extra a day) but the new vehicle was almost out of gas and needed vacuuming.
What I liked is that the agent didn’t give me a hard sell for insurance or for the toll tag and said I needn’t hurry to return the car by 5pm like I reserved but that I could have it until the next day at the same time, which was 3pm. I asked what would happen if I returned the a day early and he said I would only get charged for three days instead of four. Great policy.
Courtyard Marriott Norwalk
I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a hotel in Norwalk since I have so many relatives in town but they all had full houses and now that I have a family, I can’t exactly just crash on someone’s couch! So, we booked three nights at the four-story, 133-room Courtyard Marriott Norwalk. Natalie wasn’t too excited about staying at a Courtyard since she’d never stayed in one before and didn’t really know what to expect (and over the years, she’s developed a taste for luxury hotels!). But she ended up loving the hotel and said she’d definitely stay there again, which I was happy to hear!
Although I’m accustomed to luxury hotels too, I have no problem adapting to budget lodging, especially when I’m paying. I was totally relieved when we got into the room and Natalie looked around and said it was much, much nicer than what she was expecting. In fact, she actually loved the space and the décor and the fact that our room had a microwave and pull-out couch, making it very family-friendly. Here are the 10 things we liked about the hotel, along with our recommendations for where to go and eat while in Norwalk.
1. The hotel isn’t in the best location but it is right off the Route 7 connector so it’s easy to get on and off the I-95 and caters to business travelers.
4. The rooms have a kitchenette with a mini fridge, microwave and sink. This is particularly handy if you’re traveling with a child, like we were. It made it easier to do mealtimes with the baby since we had a mini kitchenette.
6. Norwalk and its surrounding area has plenty of great restaurants but if you’ve had a long day of travel or meetings, it’s nice to make something in your room or go downstairs and grab something from the market or order from the state-of-the-art lobby featuring the Bistro restaurant.
7. The Bistro also sells Starbucks coffee, tea and snacks so that’s an added plus.
10. The TVs in the room don’t have DirecTV but they do have 37 channels. Sadly, one of them is not the YES Network (New York Yankees), which DirecTV offers.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.