[TASK] Fnd me the best option for meeting my friends and my girlfriend in separate states. Paying $5-$20 depending on savings over the only option I could think of.

Best option I could think of, but a really shitty one hence my desperation, was to just drive from NC to Chicago, then from Chicago to Cedar Rapids, then back home to NC.

Detailed Prices: Driving from NC to Chicago = $105
Driving from Chicago to Cedar Rapids = $35
Driving from Cedar Rapids to NC = $130
~$270 in gas total, plus a fuckload of driving and wear on my car. Would not be looking forward to that, but it saves a few hundred dollars compared to other options I thought of.

Flying from NC to Iowa costs like $400-$500 from what I saw, which is annoying because flying from NC to Chicago costs $97. I guess nobody wants to go to Iowa haha.

My friends are meeting up in Chicago at O'Hare airport July 31st evening and again on August 1st morning for people who get there late. We then go to an AirBnB we all pitched in on ($160 per person for August 1st - August 4th) and then we hang out on the 4th until we gotta go catch our flights or head home.

My girlfriend's birthday is on June 30th, so I'd like to visit her then if possible, but I just can't think of a way it'd make sense to do that given flight costs, and if I'm driving there, I might as well be driving to Chicago too since it barely adds extra time or gas cost.

I'm hoping maybe there's an option I'm missing someone can point out and save me a hundred bucks or two and I can pass some of it along to them depending on how much, but currently for both trips with my idea I'd be spending nearly $1000 total.

Driving to Chicago: $105
AirBnB: $160
Food + Activities: $150
Driving to Cedar Rapids: $35
AirBnB: $150
Food + Activities: $150
Driving Home: $130
= $880. This isn't including potential extra gas from stopping to sleep or eat. Brb gonna go cry.

Flying to her and renting a car for a week is probably the most expensive option out of anything I've considered I think. None of my buddies are gonna want to drive 4 hours to pick me up and 4 hours to

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