NJ Democratic Senator Robert Menendez went on two, 3-day trips to the Dominican Republic at a cost of roughly $58,000. As an inquisitive sort of fellow, I’d like to know how anyone can spend $29,000 apiece on two short trips to a the Dominican Republic?
For those of you who are not familiar with the Dominican Republic, here’s a brief overview. The D.R. is 2/3′s of an island in the Caribbean – the other 1/3 of the island is known as Haiti. It’s a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from any east coast airport. The Punta Cana region of the Dominican Republic is an especially popular vacation destination offering many resorts for budget-minded travelers who yearn for some fun in the sun.
In order to understand how Senator Menendez could have spent so much money going to such a nearby, economical destination, I’ve brought in Auggie DiNapoli, travel expert and owner of the website flywitauggie.com to help.
1PP: First Mr. DiNapoli, I’d like to thank you for visiting my blog.
Auggie D: My pleasure, One Pea. Hey, call me Auggie! I appreciate this chance to clear things up about travel costs. You can always come to flywitauggie.com for great deals on airfare, car rentals and travel packages.
1PP: That web address is interesting. How’d you come up with it.
Auggie D: I had my heart set on fly with auggie dot com, but it was already taken. So I dropped the “h” offa “with” – that’s how you pronounce it anyway, right? Turns out some lady in Orlando wit a little weiner dog named Auggie had snatched it up. She likes to post pictures of her dachshund in action-shots jumpin in her pool. She coulda chose “swimmin wit weiner dogs” - that woulda been fine wit me.
1PP: OK. Sorry I asked. Let’s get to the question at hand. How could anyone manage to spend $58,000 on two trips from New Jersey to the Dominican Republic?
Auggie D: Well, I’d try callin his office, but Senator Menendez prolly aint talkin. If he don’t wanna talk to the FBI bout it, he aint likely gonna talk to Auggie, am I right? My guess is he spent around 35 large on the first trip, learned a lil bit about travel expenses and then only dropped like $23,000 on the second one. That’s a lot cheaper than the first go-round but hey, that’s still a lotta cabbage. You can’t figger some political guy’s gonna learn much quicker than that though, right?
1PP: I hadn’t thought of the possibility that he spent different amounts each trip. Even so, $23,000 still seems like an excessive amount of money for a three day trip. Do you have any tips for Senator Menendez on how to cut his travel costs further?
Auggie D: Sure! One thing, right off the bat - chartering a private jet aint cheap. That’s gonna really eat up the dollars. He coulda flew down there for like $1500 first class. It aint that long of a flight, so he wouldna got more than one meal and a glass of domestic champagne in him, but that wide seat is a nice perk for the fat cats. Plus, they give ya them hot towels to wipe yer hands wit – that’s classy, huh? He coulda really saved some dough if he sat back in coach – those seats are only like 150 bucks. He wouldna got no food or champagne though.
1PP: How about accomodations? Surely there are some bargains to be had.
Auggie D: Absolutely! There’s bargains galore down there! I got two words for the Senator: All Inclusive. Punta Cana is packed with all sorts of options for all-inclusive hotels. They cover everything! You got your buffets, your well drinks, and even shows at night. It aint Broadway, but you get enough mai tai’s in you, who cares they don’t know all the words to the show tunes, am I right?
1PP: All inclusives! I bet the senator wishes he thought of that as an option. How else could he cut costs?
Auggie D: I’m thinking he coulda saved even more if he woulda gone down to the conference room off the lobby and listened to the time-share sales pitch. It’s only a couple of hours, there’s no obligation and the whole rest of the night is “me time”. Just don’t buy one – you aint gonna be a senator forever, know what I’m sayin?
1PP: This is great advice! I hope the rest of Washington is paying attention.
Auggie D: My pleasure, 1 Pint. Another budget buster is getting sick away from home. Stay away from that suh-vee-chay stuff and if possible, you wanna bring your own snorkelling gear. Those rental fins won’t fit and you don’t wanna find out what nasty types of diseases can grow in those mouthpieces. By the way, when I talk about dirty mouthpieces, I’m talkin about snorkels, not Washington lawyers! That’s a little joke I made.
1PP: Ha ha – Good one! Well, we’re running out of time. Do you have any other helpful hints for bureaucratic budget travel?
Auggie D: Just a couple, PeePee. One thing, always skip that mini-bar in yer room. If you wanna hit the sauce, stop for a bottle of rum on your way in from the air-o-port-o. Sneak some fruit juice up to the room from the breakfast buffet and make yer own cocktails. You dont even need to tip the bartender, cause you ARE the bartender, you know? If you’re really hurtin for bucks, a lotta these joints have wet T-shirt contests with cash prizes. Bring yer trophy wife or mistress down there and let em earn their keep fer once, am I right?
1PP: OK, that wraps up today’s edition. Tune back in next time when I talk with local experts about another important topic. Remember, if you have a pressing question, put it in the comments section and I’ll round up a local expert to help me get the answers you deserve!