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Saturday, August 31

Mystery Shopping Road Trip: Week Four Kick Off

On Sunday I am flying back to New Orleans to resume my route.  It was nice going home for a few days.  I completed a timeshare shop Saturday - Monday.  The fee and reimbursement for mileage just about pays for the rental car I am using while in Clearwater.  I managed to pick up a few shops while in Florida, mostly what I refer to as “lifestyle shops.”  By that I mean shops I do not for the fee but instead mostly for fun.  We had lunch at a tapas bar one day, went to the movies another day, and had a free dinner one night.  In addition to the lifestyle shops, I did three grocery store audits and shopped a bonused college bookstore.  The bookstore paid $50 and took 20 minutes.  Sweet!

This next week I will travel east from New Orleans along the Gulf Coast, then to the Atlantic coast of Georgia and South Carolina.  Next weekend I am in Myrtle Beach.  I added several gas station audits for Sunday since I can’t shop the dealer service centers on Sunday.  Not realizing at the time that Monday was a holiday, I will only be shopping 4 full days and one half day (Saturday) this week.  On Sunday night I am staying at the IP in Biloxi.  It’s a Boyd casino.  I am loyal to Boyd and concentrate my spending there when convenient.

It looks like this second leg of my route is going to cost more, at least for hotels.  I have booked all my hotels through September 19th, which is when I go home again.  I was disappointed at the prices I found most nights.  As an example, one night there were four hotels in the town where I needed to stay.  The cheapest, a Super 8, was $81 plus tax, so close to $90.  For a Super 8!  The Hampton Inn was $30 more, tax included.  Hilton is doing a double point bonus on weekdays and trip bonus on weekends through September, plus I would much prefer a Hampton over a Super 8, so that’s what I booked.

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