I am finishing off my trip here in Minnesota. When I have met people on my travels and told them my route, which finishes up in Minnesota, they give me a puzzled look as to why I would want to go there! Well my Uncle and his family live here (meaning free accommodation – well to an extent as he had me doing data inputting!!). It wasn’t in my initial plans to stop here, but I had around 12 days to spare on my ESTA visa, so I altered the flights and here we are.
The ESTA, have I mentioned that already?! I cannot remember – I feel like I’ve written so much on my travel blog and I can’t remember what I’ve included and what I haven’t! Well the ESTA was introduced a few years ago by Obama and allows visitors into the country for a maximum of 90 days – it costs $14 which you have to pay by credit card. I never actually looked at what the process is for staying in the US for longer than 90 days, which I now regret as time has flown and I wish I wasn’t going home soon.
Altering my flights was easy enough as with my flights (that I purchased through STA) I also purchased a multi flex pass for £70 each which allowed us to change the dates for up to three of our flights and you just have to pay the difference in the taxes. This probably was a slight waste of money buying the multi flex as we only made one change and I still had to pay around £350 for the change so I’m not sure it did save me much money. Our trip was very structured so we wouldn’t really have changed the flights unless it was an emergency or something like that.
We hired a car from Minneapolis airport, similar costs as before – $30 a day. The State of Minnesota do charge a fee for a driver under 25. But the collection of hire car was very straightforward as I had pre-booked it online.
My relatives live in Prior Lake near the city of Minneapolis, around a 30 minute drive from the airport. Here we spent the next few days doing pretty much nothing which has been very nice as in the last few months we haven’t had the chance to have a lazy day as there has been so much to see! I also used this time to do a bit of shopping – I tried to leave the shopping as late as possible a) because of carrying it and b) to gage how much money I had left to spend.
Also in Minnesota we discovered Dairy Queen ice cream cakes. Pretty much birthday cakes made out of ice cream. Between $20-30 for a 10″ cake so it lasts a good few days!
Minnesota is home to the Mall of America – which used to be the largest Mall in America, but has now been over taken. There is a theme park inside it with rollacoasters so it’s pretty big, with all the shops you can imagine.
You also find the best Targets in Minnesota, as lots here are Super Targets. Target is a store that sells pretty much anything and everything – I love it! My Uncle tells me that people say if you can leave Target having spent under $300 you’ve done well.
So after cramming in all this in a few days we packed up to head North to Breezy Point which is where my Uncle has a timeshare.