Frugal Vacation- How to Have a GREAT Vacation on Limited $- Budget Vacations & Frugal Date Ideas

Ok, new question time! How do you give you & your family a great vacation on a limited budget? What do you do that helps cut the costs? My husband and I despretly want to take the kids to Disney, but it's becoming a distant dream now. We are going to relocate this summer out of neccessity,

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    Default Frugal Vacation- How to Have a GREAT Vacation on Limited $


    Ok, new question time!

    How do you give you & your family a great vacation on a limited
    budget? What do you do that helps cut the costs?

    My husband and I despretly want to take the kids to Disney, but it's
    becoming a distant dream now. We are going to relocate this summer
    out of neccessity, and all of our Disney savings are pretty much
    going to that. It really sucks, BUT, with 3 kids, you have to
    move where the jobs are.

    Anyway, because the Disney trip is on hold probably for a few years
    yet (we originally planned to go in the spring of 2008), we are
    going to do a much smaller, closer vacation this year for us and the
    kids.

    Other than packing food, and not eating out at attractions, we're
    looking to cut costs by using coupons, getting a really cheap room
    that will sleep 5 (actually, it sleeps 8, and it's a bit more
    expensive than a regular room, but it includes a microwave, fridge,
    & grill for cooking), using coupons for area attractions, and going
    during the week when prices & crowds are much lower.

    I also plan to cover a portion of the gas by using my reward points
    at my gas station for a free $25 gift card, and filling up with that
    for the first drive. It probably won't cut the gas cost in half, but
    it should come close. It costs us roughly $30 to fill the tank up,
    and I'm anticipating only one fill up per "way", so 2 fill ups. I do
    plan to budget for a 3rd, though.

    I thought about camping, but we don't have -any- camping supplies,
    and cramming 5 of us into a tent just doesn't sound relaxing or fun
    to me or my husband.

    We plan to stop at small places along the way- city parks, zoo's,
    maybe a museum or two, and are looking to see how much a zoo
    membership costs for different zoo's. Many have recipricol's, where
    you can use your membership from 1 zoo to enter other zoos free of

    charge. The memberships are cheaper at different places, too, so if
    I find the cheapest one to get it at, then I can take the kids to
    zoo's all summer long free.

    Souviner's will be limited to a set price per kid (more if they
    bring their own saved birthday money and what not). We plan to see
    exactly how much each thing costs, and find out ahead of time of
    anything offers a discount or coupon, and that will go into the
    budget.

    While we do plan to bring most of our own food, I'll budget an extra
    amount for that, just in case. I plan to let the kids each get a
    snack here and there.

    So, what ways do you save money on vacationing costs?

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    Re: Budget101.com : Frugality on Vacations


    We take numerous day trip vacations during the summer and spend the nights
    at home.

    From: "herberkids3"

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    Re: Budget101.com : Frugality on Vacations


    Someone told me you can get coupon books for your state anyone know
    anything about this. We are on a very tight budget but would like to
    take the kids on a mini vacation.

    BB
    Crystal

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    Re: Budget101.com : Frugality on Vacations


    We save our change in a big wooden box I have. Whatever is in there by the
    time we want to go on a vacation that is the money we spend.
    Last year we went to an amusement park that was about an hour and a half
    away. We bought a 2 day pass ( which is cheaper) and spent one night at a
    hotel. I got a AAA discount.
    We came back the second night. The hotel had an indoor pool and a hot tub
    and a resteraunt.
    It was really nice.

    This year we will probably go camping. There is a really nice lake and
    campground about 45 minutes from here.
    We will take some daytrips while we are there to the local caves.
    Monika

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    Re: Budget101.com : Frugality on Vacations


    we really havent vacationed much because it is so expensive. One dream trip we did take was 2 1/2 weeks in Great Britain. It was a bargain because my husband is from there and we stayed with family, often ate with family, as well.
    We got an amazing deal on flights...round trip from Philadelphia, which is 20 minutes from me to London Gatwick airport which is close to my sister in law. For all 5 of us, the flights were $1451.00. My friend is head of security for the airline we took and even got us bumped up to first class on the way over. I sort of felt like the Beverly Hillbillies go to England lol.
    We had an amazing time, spent half in North Wales, and half outside of London. Did lots of the touristy things, but also spent alot of time with family. Even went to France for one day!
    We rented a car for less than $300 for the entire time thru EasyCar. Our biggest waste of money was, no doubt, the eating out. There was really no reason for it as often as we did. Prices are much higher over there to begin with and we had family more than willing to have us for a meal. We were completely broke when we came back and I wouldn't do that again. I'd be sure that are bills were paid up for a month after we got back. The stress put a damper on the whole experience.
    My husband is going back this year for just 9 days, and the trip is already much more expensive with flights and car rental. I'm sending over a limited amount of spending money because he is a TERRIBLE spender.

    I'd love to get back soon and its one of the reasons I'm trying to save money. My girls need to see their family and I just love it over there.

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    Re: Frugality on Vacations


    We've had some wonderful vacations where we sort of roughed it, but
    without actually having to sleep in a tent. One of the ways to do
    this is to check to see whether campgrounds have cabins for rent.
    Some call them Kamping Kabins. You basically get the beds, light and
    possibly heat. You provide sleeping bags or other bedding. You'd
    probably need a camp stove or you could cook hot dogs over a campfire.

    Also, some state parks have cabins, platform tents, or yurts that they
    rent. Same sort of deal--you're renting a place to sleep, but you
    have to provide bedding.

    Another option is hostels. They aren't just for college students!
    When I was homeschooling my daughter, we took a lot of great
    education-related trips where we stayed in hostels. Most hostels have
    dormitory-type rooms, but some have family rooms, too. The great
    thing about a hostel is you don't have to eat every meal out! You can
    use the kitchen. This was great for us, because my kid would just as
    soon have Spaghettios or other comfort food after a day out. A lot of
    hostels offer free breakfasts.

    All of these options can be cheaper than a motel or hotel. Of course,
    you don't get the perks of a swimming pool, etc. I think part of the
    fun of traveling with kids is staying somewhere that provides them
    with some entertainment, such as a pool.

    Oooh, one other idea, check out the casino hotels on Indian
    reservations. They can sometimes be a really good deal.

    Sue

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    RE: Budget101.com : Frugality on Vacations


    We actually do camp at least twice each year; we?ve bought items throughout the years that we use to make it our own ?home-away-from-home? J

    If we go to a specific attraction, I contact the local Chamber of Commerce for brochures and coupons.

    Hotels - We try to always get a room with kitchenette (if staying in a hotel, continental breakfasts are mandatory for us!). Don?t forget about all the discount hotel sites where you can search for the lowest fares. An indoor pool is a good extra but sometimes that just makes the kids want to hang out there and not venture out for more fun.

    Using your rewards points for a gas card sounds great!! I am on a site that now offers a debit card so I usually opt for that option so I am free to use it when and where needed most.

    We try and schedule in some down-time for the kids. Yes, it?s vacation but that doesn?t mean I have to drag them in and out of a million places just to say we?ve been there/done that!! They mostly enjoy the laidback atmosphere and not having to be stuck at home.

    If we eat out at a nice restaurant, we do it at lunch time. Prices are almost half of those at dinner (and you can still use any coupons at that time) and you still get enough food to satisfy. We save the sandwiches for dinner. **you can see if the place you are going has a local Entertainment coupon book. They are typically $20 (they will start discounting them towards the summer as new books come out in October) and can save you much more than that in just a short time.

    We do take some food with us but I have started to understand that that isn?t always a good use of space in the vehicle. Yes, some things are too good to not take from home (sodas, car snacks, condiments) but some things you can just as cheap and easy at a grocery store near your destination. Most towns have a WalMart so I don?t worry about taking bread and fresh meat ? I just buy it there. **The kids have started requesting to have a picnic if it?s going to be a long drive. They get to eat and then run around exploring the rest area/ picnic area while we relax and regroup J We just have everyone make up a sack lunch (so you don?t have to prepare it there) and put those and drinks in a small cooler and that?s all we take out.



    Hope some of this helps! Yolonda

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    Re:Frugality on Vacations


    So, what ways do you save money on vacationing costs?



    My husband?s parents own a timeshare in Hilton Head. We are blessed to be able to go on vacation with them each year. That eliminates the need for lodging for our family. What we are responsible for is food, gas, souvenirs, and any activities we do. In order to keep the cost down we take our own snacks and most of our food. We plan on eating breakfast and lunch in the cottage, which has a full size kitchen. I also plan on cooking 2 or 3 nights. Nothing fancy but much cheaper than eating out every night. We usually stay for 5 or 6 days so, we plan on eating out 1 or 2 nights. To help keep the cost down on eating out, we eat dinner early (5:00pm) so we can get a better price. Then we eat a snack, like popcorn, fruit, etc later on. We only plan on 1 or 2 activities that require paying. We tell our children, ahead of time so they won?t be disappointed and keep asking. We let them help plan, ages 8 and 10, which really cuts down on the complaining. We try to get up early and go to the beach and then come back around 11:30 eat lunch and either go to the pool OR do our activity. We then like to go back to the beach in later in the evening to watch the sunset, look for shells, etc. We stop at the Visitor?s center when we first get on the island and we get coupons, free information, and a really cool place to tour. The visitor?s center is a wealth of information. We even research on the internet before we go, which is a great big help. One year we took our bicycles and rode them around instead of using our car. We had less sand in the car and had a wonderful time because the kids love riding backs. Not to mention healthier. As for traveling we make our lunch keep it in a cooler and stop along the way at parks, rest areas (our favorite) to eat. When we stop for gas, the kids know that they can?t get anything because we already have snacks, and treats in the car. I save lots of money by planning ahead. We leave our house about 3 or 4 am and this saves money because it isn?t has hot, no a/c, and the kids sleep, for quite a while. In the past we have stopped at a buffet type place for breakfast around 9 or 10 am and considered it brunch. This helped because we didn?t eat again until we got to the island, except snacks. Since the kids are older we don?t do this as much because they don?t eat free anymore. So a picnic is what we do, and then they get to run off some energy and play for a while. This makes the trip go by much faster. We live about 9- 10 hours from Hilton Head, so it can be very expensive traveling if we don?t plan ahead. We try not to buy anything on the island because it is more expensive, and usually buy our perishables right before we get on the island. Being prepared and planning is what makes for a frugal and fun vacation.



    Jennifer, KY

    God is GOOD!!

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    Re: Budget101.com : Frugality on Vacations


    That's a good one. We spend one night away, but try to make the most of the day before and day after, so it feels like a two day trip. We also do it during the week so it's cheaper.
    Lesa

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    Re: Budget101.com : Frugality on Vacations


    >>How do you give you & your family a great vacation on a limited
    budget? What do you do that helps cut the costs?<<

    It really depends on the place you decide to go and what you consider a "great vacation". But in general, go at an off peak time (indoor waterparks in the winter for example), Disney in January that sort of thing.

    Do a lot of searching for hotel deals in the area you want to stay - they are definitely out there but it takes a lot of work to find them. ALWAYS ask is this the best price I can get on this room/car etc. Most hotels and car rental places will not offer up their best prices unless you specifically ask. If you have AAA, mention that and get quotes with and without the AAA.

    Bring food/water/snacks. Have a HUGE breakfast (usually the cheapest meal) and eat smaller the rest of the day - bring sandwiches for lunch if you can. Or eat lunch out (cheaper than dinner) and have the sandwiches/pizza in the hotel room. If you can get a mini fridge or microwave in your hotel room, its usually worth the extra expense so that you can cook/eat in the room. Or use a huge ice chest if you drove to keep items like milk, drinks, leftovers cold.
    We've often stayed in Extended Stay Hotels which tend to be VERY reasonable (49-79/night) depending on where they are located. They have a full size fridge, stove, microwave, coffee pot etc. right in the room and very clean and secure. They don't usually have pools (some do have outdoor pools) but if you are only sleeping there and doing other things during the day it doesn't matter so much IMO.

    Don't be afraid to drive instead of fly. There are so many great little stops that you can make along the way that are sometimes more fun than the actual destination.

    HTH's a little bit.
    Monica in IL

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    Re: Budget101.com : Frugality on Vacations


    At the moment, we are planning a family trip to the Florida panhandle coast at the end of April. There are 8 of us, but our oldest son, who will be 20 by then, will probably not be going.


    We will be driving from Denver to Fla; we will purchase gas at Sam's Club or Walmart whenever we can. We are planning on leaving in the late evening & driving through the night. The kids can sleep in the car, & hubby & I will trade off driving. Driving through the night will hopefully eliminate some of the needs to stop (and the temptations to spend). We'll stop early enough for the 2nd night to get a good night's sleep & let the kids blow off some energy, so we'll try to get a hotel with a pool for that night.


    We will make sure any hotels we stay in on the way there, & on the way back have free breakfast. We will take food & drinks for lunches & snacks along the way.


    We have been scouring the internet for rental beach houses that we can get for under $1000 for a week. We have found several. This is a bargain for us since we would have to rent 2 hotel rooms. We get a fully supplied kitchen~ we only need to supply the groceries, hopefully from Sam's Club or a Super Walmart. We'll plan a few meals out during the week we stay, but we will mostly supply our own meals. I'll shop & cook as if we were home, unless we decide to splurge a little.


    Our extra expense for this trip is one that will help us out with others, & that is a cargo rack on the back of our Caravan. We have, in the past, wasted so much time unpacking & repacking the back end of the car just to stop for lunch. A rack will make the packing easier & keep our coolers more accessible.


    None of our kids have a desire to go to Disney, SeaWorld or anything like that, except maybe Universal Studios.
    This trip is mostly for ds#2, who turned 18 last week, so he has gotten to choose the location & the focus (go to the beach & don't do anything!) So, this trip is mostly a beach trip, just to spend time not pressured to have to see stuff & do stuff, although we will do some sightseeing.


    If the budget allows, we may fly ds#1 out for a couple of days.


    I tried to talk dh into beach camping, to keep costs down even more, but he didn't want to! LOL!


    * * dee * *

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    I signed up for the Wyndham ByRequest membership (free) and I frequently get emails from them giving me discounts on Wyndham hotels in and out of the US. I just saw an email earlier this week for an all inclusive (food, drinks, & activities included) room in the Caribbean for under $75 per night.

    I would suggest checking to see if your hotel offers a loyalty program and see if you can sign up. The Wyndham gives great perks like a free snack/beverage when you arrive, you can specify how many pillows and what kind you want, etc.

 

 

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