Road Thrifting to Charleston

Since we both just graduated from college, Matthew and I decided to plan a bunch of road trips to see more of the east coast before we head west to Denver.
First destination: Charleston, South Carolina.

At 5AM this morning, Matthew and I were in his car, ready to begin our first post-grad road trip.
Here’s something you should know about Matthew: He loves his car, a 2005 scion tC.  He really treats that thing like his baby. Anyways, it’s a little car, but it always manages to carry all of the necessities for our trips.

Sunrise at 5AM, backroad driving, & cheap SC gas prices

So, with a car full of bikes and clothes, we left Kennesaw and headed to Charleston, planning to avoid traffic so that we could get there as early as possible so we would have the whole day to explore. Unfortunately, traffic exists – even at 5 in the morning. This put us back about an hour. BUT we did stop to enjoy the cheap South Carolina gas prices (1.95/gallon), and we were able to take some backroads, which not only made the ride much more enjoyable, but it allowed Matthew’s car to get some great gas mileage (29.7 mpg).

When we arrived in beautiful Charleston at around 11AM, we searched around for reasonable parking. We usually do some research before trips to prepare for this, but neither of us found the time to do so before the trip. So, even after asking the cashier at Harris Teeter, unfortunately, we weren’t able to find anything available that was cheaper than the $16 parking garage at the College of Charleston. Way too expensive, but we decided it was okay because we would be there all day (and we really had no choice..).
After parking, we decided that we were hungry so I went to pull out our prepared peanut butter & jelly sandwiches from the trunk, but they weren’t there β€” turns out we forget them β€” frugal tip: after making a pre-made lunch, make sure you actually remember to bring it along for the trip..
No worries though, we were able to snack on some granola bars we brought, as well as some free samples at the downtown Charleston market πŸ™‚

Biking downtown Charleston

After walking around downtown a bit, we decided we would wait until the 4:00 happy hours to eat downtown. We got out our bikes and biked everywhere, making sure we saw every corner of downtown, and more β€” we biked across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and explored the other side as well.

The Arthur Ravenel Jr.Bridge

Frugal tip: Bikes are > (& cheaper than) driving and Charleston is GREAT for bikes β€” everyone goes pretty slow downtown, so you can easily jump on the road with the cars to see everything without spending any money on gas.

After all that biking and walking, we were pretty hungry when happy hour came around at 4:00. We had some trouble finding our way back to the parking deck, but when we finally made it, we immediately made our way to the famous Hyman’s Seafood for $3 drinks. Matthew enjoyed a whiskey sour and a beer, while I had a white zinfandel and a whiskey sour. We also got some hushpuppies, which we thought were free…but turns out they weren’t. Oops.
Frugal tip: Always ask the waiter if an item is actually free before getting it…

Then we went to Queology (as seen on TV’s BBQ Pit Wars), where we got half-price BBQ nachos for $5 (so yummy!) and Matthew got another beer for $3. The food and drinks were more than enough to keep us full for the rest of the night.

Expenses of the day:
Parking: $16
Gas: $20
Food: $25
Total: $59

From the beautiful, colorful sights and the biker-friendly streets, to the awesome weather and the great, half-priced food, it was definitely a successful first day in Charleston! However, we were in for a surprise when we made our way to the campground at James Island County Park that night..
Be sure to check back here to read about how we were accidentally cheaper than we planned during our first night in Charleston.

forever frugal & free,


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