22. Kentucky

Bourbon — betting — and beer!! State number 22, Kentucky — and my college roommate, Carolyn! — showed us a great time. We came just in time for the Keeneland Spring Meet, and made a stop at the Woodford Reserve bourbon distillery.

Woodford Reserve was beautiful. The whole drive in from the highway was full of rolling, green hills, winding fences, and gorgeous horse farms. Our tour guide was great and we got to see the mash room, their huge copper pot stills, and the building that houses thousands of barrels and aging bourbon.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Next — we were off to the races!! Keeneland was a cool mix of very casually-dressed people who go there just to bet (and know the whole science and method behind it) and dressed-up and half-drunk people who were just happy to be there and drink Keeneland Breezes. We lucked out with gorgeous weather, but Carolyn and I both lost nominal amounts of money betting on the horses with the biggest butts.

We also found time for visit a few breweries (West Sixth and Mirror Twin). Mirror Twin had a Cinnamon Toast Crunch beer that was so delicious, it made us very thankful we bring growlers on trips like these! Our last day brought with it a hike at Red River Gorge. Driving through the Gorge was gorge-ous (see what I did there!?) but the hike itself — Indian Staircase — proved to be too difficult/fear-inducing/athletic for everybody but Matt.

Kentucky impressed us, entertained us, and fed us well!!

 

 

Travel Tip: How we save 20% or more on hotel rooms

You can get a lower price on just about anything with a bit of research and patience. Without a doubt, this goes for hotel rooms, too!

We save a lot of money on our quest to see the country by using Priceline’s Express Deals. Express Deals give you a pretty sizeable discount on hotel rooms — but you don’t know for sure what hotel you are getting until you finish booking.

Matt is great at finding amazing deals using this and the bidding tool ($104/night, including taxes and fees, to stay at a brand new, trendy hotel in Manhattan? SIGN ME UP.) He’s also great at figuring out which hotel we’re getting before it’s booked.

I’ve been planning a one-night stop in my college town of Athens, Ohio; a city with remarkably few affordable places to stay. Sorry, not sorry — I am not willing to pay $100/night for a 2-star hotel with mediocre reviews and within walking distance of nothing.

 

Anyway, I was browsing Priceline’s regular deals and getting ready to just suck it up and spend the cash — when I ran across this glaringly obvious Express Deal that saved me about 20%.

Here’s how they show up on the website. I knew the ‘secret’ Express Deal was the Baymont because the descriptions and stars are the same, and when I clicked on the deal, a popup told me “someone else just booked this room for $91!” Case closed.

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 10.27.15 AMScreen Shot 2018-03-31 at 10.27.36 AM

There are websites that will help you when it’s not this easy. Matt prefers ExpDeals, but we have also used Better Bidding.┬áIt just takes a little bit of reading and research and time, but the savings add up (especially if you’re booking for multiple nights).

Below is the end result: The left is what we would have paid, had we not bothered with the Express Deal — for the same exact dates and room. On the right is my receipt. A difference of about $20 I can now spend on delicious beers in Athens!!

A tip (From Matt): You might notice our taxes/fees are more expensive. With Express Deals, they’re calculated from the total *regular* cost of the room. With the bid tool, they’re calculated from your winning bid.

Happy haggling!!