Tales from the not-so frugal trenches.
Our Vacation on a Budget
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We still have a few more weeks until school starts after Labor Day, so it’s time to plan our vacation.
I say this as if this is a yearly occurrence which it is most definitely not. This is actually the first time since my oldest was born that we are in the financial position to actually GO SOMEWHERE on vacation. We have visited family throughout the years for holidays and family celebrations like weddings but I don’t count that as vacation!
Even though I am tempted to go all out for this vacation, alas, financially we are a bit constrained. So a budget vacation it is!
The most important thing for me at this point is going somewhere where my kids can run around, go swimming, and just chill outdoors. Living in an apartment building in a urban area there is not much chance for us to do that and we are all feeling a bit cooped up.
The two biggest expenses for us are the lodging and the rental car. We don’t have a car so in order to easily (or at all) get to a destination is to rent one which usually ends up being quite pricey. We have a local place where we rent from that usually ends up being the cheapest and we put the rental car on a credit car that gives CDW coverage so we save on insurance.
Everything else we do as cheap as possible. We go on cheap or free hikes, swim in the pool, and bring our small portable grill to BBQ. No fancy trips or eating out for us! I find that if the place we stay is nice and pretty, we don’t need to spend money on entertainment or food. We do try to factor in a small amount for ice cream or other small treats along the way.
So… a place to stay. Because our vacation is a bit later than most, we were able to save a bit on the price of the car and the place.
I searched around and it seemed that AirBNB would give us the best bang for our buck. It was necessary for me to find a place in nature, with a pool. This meant that hotels were out so no point hacking with credit cards. Once we were doing cash, then AirBNB seemed like the cheapest place. We searched and found a cute (hopefully! We haven’t gone yet) cabin that shares a pool with 2 other cabins in a vacationy spot not too far from a beach. I immediately searched on Ebates/Rakuten for cash back and discovered that Airbnb does not appear on any cash back sites.
Since I had never used Airbnb before (remember, we haven’t been on vacation in 6 years!), I was able to open a new account with a referral code and saved $50 on my booking. SCORE! Feel free to use my referral code to open a new account (just use a new email address) to save on a future booking. We booked for 1 night- all the budget could handle, unfortunately But if we leave first thing in the morning, we can do the beach that day and then head to the cabin for 1 night and then do something the next day on the way back home. I think it will be a much-needed break even if it is a bit short!
I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!