Hoping across the Texas/Mexico border (oh and buying a new car) – costs breakdown

Llama had a great little weekend at the TX/MX border. Llama’s companions needed to make a pharmacy run to restock for six months. Llama always enjoys visiting Mexico, squeezing in a little South Padre time, hiking in some birding nature preserves, and seeing some friends if we have the time. Normally, he is only there 24 hours or less but made it a weekend getaway this time.

Llama flew down there on Southwest Airlines points with the companion pass, so our flight cost $11 in taxes. We charged these taxes on Karol’s new SW personal card for the signup bonus points!

Parking for our car in home airport $30 but will be written off with Capital One miles, so $0.

We rented a car through Turo (think Airbnb for cars) for $250. Saved us $100 over the cheapest rental car company. Rental cars are astronomical right now. Llama was a bit nervous using Turo as it was the first time renting a car like this. We were all pleasantly surprised. Though the car was a few years old, it fit our needs. Llama also decided that it was a bonus that is was a local car with a few dings and scratches. It didn’t scream RENTAL CAR and attract any unwanted attention.

2015 Toyota Corolla suited Llama just fine. Turo listing can be found here: https://turo.com/us/en/trips/activity

Llama chose to have us stay at an Airbnb which was paid for by 8900 Capital One Venture points, so basically $0. Great stay but weird, funny story involving a cat getting in the room and all the way up in the bed frame. All was worked out though and we had a great stay. Check out the listing here https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/51824758?guests=1&adults=1&s=67&unique_share_id=809265a5-e0b3-4473-af79-3a3986148098

Llama and companions spent $105 on food and drinks. This would have been more, but the friends we met for dinner insisted on picking up the dinner tab and paid for it before we got the chance. Except a small cash tip at one place, all the good was put on Karol’s SW card again for those bonus points. Getting closer to companion pass.

Gas for the trip was $100. Llama paid an average of $3.89 a gallon. This included refilling the rental car and the driving trip back. Why driving back? Well, we decided to buy a car while we were there and drive it home! What an spontaneous adventure. The Burt Ogden Subaru for making this process so seamless.

The story on the car is that Llama and companions have been eyeing a Subaru Crosstrek for quite some time. In the upcoming years, they have driving trips plan which has some off-road driving included. Not the jeep-high-serious kind, but more than a regular car can handle. Well, with the pandemic caused shortage of cars, etc., Subaru’s are in short supply. Our home town dealership is already out of cars this 3 month of the year. While we were at the border, the dealership down there actually had 9 Crosstrek’s. We decided to jump on it. By the end of the weekend, they had sold all but one. Glad we did and are very happy with our decision. More roadtrips here we come!

So, without the medicine cost (different budget, not travel) OR the new car, the 3-day weekend trip cost Llama $466, 10K Southwest miles, 9K Capital One points. Half of this cost was rental car. Prices are insane.

Of course, these costs went on Karol’s credit card to earn more points for Llama’s future trips and, bonus! they let Karol put the down payment of the car on my credit card to earn miles! This down payment put Karol over the top to get part of the sign up bonus. Now just a little bit more and we will have companion pass for the remainder of 2023 and 2024! And no, Llama is not accruing interest as it will be paid off. Don’t worry.

p.s. – I won’t get in a discussion here on why we go to Mexico to buy some medicines. I would be happy to have a private conversation with you. Suffice it to say, we have 3 medications that would bankrupt us to purchase here in the US and we can buy a year’s worth across the border for the equivalent of 2 months US cost. And yes, we have pretty decent insurance coverage. Plus, I get to see our pharmacist, Arturo, a couple of times a year. We have been going to him for about 7 years now and he really knows his stuff. Progreso, Mexico is very safe and we love going there.

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