Welcome back to Jersey.
His & Hers vintage Ferraris at The Pierre, A Taj Hotel.
Nurturing an abiding love for Latin America, I've traded big city lights for sunshine and grapes in Mendoza, Argentina. A perennial traveler and writer, I'm inspired by locals, culture and creativity. This is my patchwork.
by Nora Walsh
One thing I love about staying in hostels is the discounts. Star Taxi gives hostelers a $25 flat free for a ride to the airport, as opposed to a $40-$60 fee for a metered taxi.
They also gave us the name for Discount Car Rentals, which charges $33 a day for cars on all major islands. I wish I had that number before we booked a non-refundable $78 per day Hotwire rental car in Kauai.
We waited in a long line at Alamo to pick up our compact car. The agent was relentlessly trying to upsell us. He tried to convince us we needed a four wheel drive Jeep Wrangler to get around in Kauai (which isn’t even true).
Neither one of us were interested in the vehicle but he still kept pushing. I told him if he was trying to upsell me for another $100, a convertible would give us something to talk about.
After doing some research he informed us we could get the same “very special deal” ($11 extra per day) for a convertible as well.
Thus, we found ourselves driving a sexy black Mustang out of the lot and onto the highways of Kauai.
The last car I rented was in South Africa, where I drove on the left-hand side of the road for the first time. Miraculously we made it to and from wine country alive.
The time before that was in Cuba. I had driven a stick shift about five times in my life whole life, and each time I was accompanied by a proficient manual driver guiding me through the motions.
I asked the car rental agent for a quick “refresher course” on the streets of Havana, which is a circus of pedestrians, rickshaws, stray dogs, kids playing, and the bustle of daily life unfolding on city streets. I was was so determined to take a road trip, not even my expired license could stop me from driving that car out of Havana and across the country.
And this brings me to my next rental car experience in Hawaii, where I have learned some helpful tips:
#1. Insurance: Do not pay extra for the car rental company’s insurance. If you have a major credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Amex) you will be covered for theft and damages. Take five minutes to call the number on the back of your credit card to make sure this applies to you. Be aware that you have to decline all other insurance options to be eligible for your credit card’s car insurance.
#2. Length: Bulk prices apply. If you are renting a car for at least a week the price usually drops significantly. In Kauai the car rental prices dropped by $57 per day when we extended our rental from 5 days to 7 days.
#3. Timing: On Hotwire.com, I discoverd that shifting the pick up and drop off times (even by just one hour) could change the daily price of a car by as much as $20 per day. If you have the flexibility, play with your times until you find the sweet spot.
#4. Holidays: Do not expect to pay reasonable prices over holiday periods ($135-$180 vs. $20-$50). We found budget alternatives (Kihei Rent A Car & Aloha Car Rental) but all the vehicles were booked, so make sure you reserve your car with as much advance notice as possible. The early bird gets the worm!
It’s the summer of 2011, biking along Manasquan Beach at the Jersey Shore.
On a perfect summer’s day Patchwork Compass comes screeching to a halt as it spots a time traveler in the most unlikely of places.
It’s the DeLorean DMC-12. The time machine that transports Marty McFly to November 5, 1955 in Back to the Future!
If I could get this DeLorean up to 88 miles per hour, the precise speed needed for time travel, where would I have it take me?
Backwards or forwards in time? Would I stay there; would I want to come back? Who would I want to meet? What event would I alter if I could? What future is there for humans a millennia from now?
The perfect questions to muse over with your feet lingering in the cool ocean water during a blissful weekend of summer.