Monday, April 11, 2011

Frugal Vacation

Hubby and I love to get away every year.  Todd does not require a vacation away but I do!  Growing up, I have great memories of different places we went as a family: Nova Scotia, Disney, Phoenix, Hershey, Cooks Forrest, and the Bahamas to name a few.  Whether we were “tenting it” or wined and dined on a cruise ship, we had a great time and it was something I looked forward to every year. 

I like to explore and experience my surroundings.  Since being together, Todd and I have been camping a couple of times, an Alaskan cruise for our honeymoon, Gatlinburg, TN for our one year anniversary, Lancaster, PA for our second anniversary, Washington, DC for our third anniversary, Michigan, Indiana and upstate New York.  The first few years, we took one week vacations but they seemed to eat up our precious vacation days real quick!  Last year, we did several 3-4 day weekends and we had a blast!  By doing this, we chose not drive any longer than 4 hours away from home but still explore new places and attractions. 

For our four year anniversary next month, we are going to the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. I found an awesome cabin that is pet friendly and only $111/night after taxes!  This will be our first vacation with Lana, so it should be interesting.  I am thinking the trails will wear her out just as much as they will wear us out!  Usually, we have a piggy/puppy sitter come to take care of them twice a day when we are away.  Because this place is pet friendly, we are saving $20/day alone by bringing Lana with us.

Generally, we do not stay in hotels.  We like our privacy, hot tub (a luxury) and the modern amenities of home.  That being said, we have used Vacation Rentals By Owner for the past three get-a-ways we’ve taken.  We have found affordable places to stay costing us $100 or less a night! We enjoy staying in houses or cabins because it helps us to save money on eating out and it is more relaxing for us.  Todd and I are foodies: we enjoy eating!  If we were to go out to eat three times a day on vacation, we could easily spend $60/day on food.  When we go on a vacation in a cabin, I try to plan special meals that we don’t generally eat at home.  For instance, I am planning on making homemade biscuits* and sausage gravy for breakfast on vacation.  I will also make waffles at home and freeze them.  We can pop them into the toaster and have waffles for breakfast one morning.

Seeing as this vacation will consist of being on hiking trails most days, we decided that we would pack lunches to take with us.  Lunches will consist of cold cuts and marinated tomatoes and onions on hoagie rolls.  I will make homemade granola bars* and seasoned oyster crackers* as snacks along with fresh fruits and vegetables. Dinners will be hamburgers, steak and shrimp.

In the past, I would plan meals for every day only to come home with a lot of food!  This trip, as you can see, does not have many food items.  Simplicity is the key on this trip.

Just by going out and enjoying nature, we are planning on a nice, relaxing, frugal get-a-way!

What do you do as a family to save on vacation?

*Recipes will be posted so you can try them for yourself. They are simple to make and delicious!


  1. Oh how I love cruises, and planning vacations too! I also love being outdoors and enjoying nature, it's such a sense of renewing. You really gave me some excellent ideas to save more, yet experience a nice vacation!

    Enjoy your four year anniversary vacay next month! (it's our 4 year this year too:)

  2. What are your thoughts on cruises? I loved our cruise, but it was EXPENSIVE when you get drinks and pay for the "special" dinners. We had a blast - a once in a lifetime opportunity, but I remember the bill afterwards it was NOT PRETTY. I justified it by saying it was our honeymoon. It only happens once. But the cruise cost more than our entire wedding! OK. We had an inexpensive wedding ($2500), but still!