Frugal overnight vacations
Get Away on the Cheap
by Elaine Snyder
Taking a Break without Breaking the Bank
The Day Trip Vacation
My Story: Vacation Meals
Do you feel frazzled and find yourself daydreaming about vacations on the beach, only to watch the dream dash on the rocks because you remember your bank log entries? You need to get away. But how? Read on, trooper. This is your lucky day. For nine years, my husband and I have lived on one meager income from a non-profit agency. We are experienced at having a cultured night away at less than $100. Here are some great tips to bringing your dreams to reality:
- Lodging: Online research is fabulous. If you don't have a computer, go to the library. Look up motels and bed and breakfasts for the area that you would like to visit. Most cities or tourist attractions have websites dedicated to lodging. Motels can be cheap, and if you can see a room online, you know it's clean. B&Bs often have several levels of price, and if you don't mind an attic or basement room, these can be great and quaint. B&Bs also offer great hospitality and can share insight into tourist attractions. Want even cheaper? Go in the summer and bring a tent. For less than, $20 you can sleep the night away. Even better, find an old friend who might be willing to let you spend the night for free.
- Food: When we leave early in the day, my husband and I always pack a lunch to eat on the road. I always pack snacks to eat so I won't feel like I have to buy food instead of paying my way into a museum. If we plan to be alone for some romance at night, we often bring some sparkling juice (or whatever your romantic choice of drink might be), little cups, some yummy chocolates or fruit. You get the picture. Throw a blanket on the floor and you have yourself a picnic without having to order out. For eating out, we pick a cheap place online before we leave, bring the directions, and eat there for dinner. To get a taste of the good life at expensive restaurants, eat there for lunch and save a load of cash.
- Entertainment: Again, research online. A lot of museums have hours where you can get in half price, or simply offer a donation. How about a stroll in a lovely garden? Go to the right B&B and you might have this in the backyard, or if you ask at your lodgings, someone might be able to direct you to a lovely park with beautiful, romantic gardens. Find a little theater tucked away on a side street, and chances are you'll find an affordable evening out, especially if it's a show that's been around for a while. If you can manage a night out during the week, a lot of cities and towns have Thursday night concerts in the park for free. If you check their calendar online, you can find out what group or type of music is featured each week. Look into local non-profit groups that conduct historic tours of old homes or places of interest. We are also fond of the state parks. They have great sightseeing, swimming, hiking, history, and fun. Even window-shopping can be nice, just walking the downtown strip of historic villages, then stopping for a cup of coffee at a local shop. Also, if you can spend a little more, look for special packages offered by local B&Bs or low-priced hotels that give you a deal on tickets to shows, pro sports games, and restaurants.
Protect your travel investment with Travelex Insurance!
The key is to research the freebies. I always bring directions, addresses and phone numbers printed off the web so we don't waste our precious time driving around all night. Folks, the weekend get away can be yours for about $100 or less, depending on your tolerance for lodgings. Heck, my hubby and I slept on the floor at a friend's empty apartment once! Free, free, free is all we cared about when it meant a little time to be alone.
Take the Next Step:
- Is debt preventing you from taking your family on their dream vacation? Take a look at our FREE debt course and start working your way out of debt today so you can provide your family that vacation tomorrow.
- Find an affordable bed and breakfast within your price range
- It's tough raising kids today! You need every time and money saving idea you can find. That's why you'll want to get our free weekly Dollar Stretcher for Parents newsletter. You'll find great ideas designed just for parents that will help your family 'live better...for less'! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor
We're still paying off last Christmas and worry how we'll afford the holidays this year without charging it again! Tell us: Yes, we could use help getting out of the debt trap we're in! or No, debt is not a problem for us but I'm always looking for ways to trim my family's expenses further!
More Money-Saving Tips for Families
- Best September bargains for thrifty shoppers
- 5 big bills you can cut fast
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- 4 steps to a simpler (and more frugal) life
- Start now and have a stress free Christmas later
- Raising money for your school, church or non-profit group
- Inexpensive storybook costume ideas
- Organizing the disorganized mom
- This week's Readers' Tips