We’re back from vacation, and we had a great time, and stayed in budget. <phew> We spent just under $350 for the week. We would have spent that much at home, so it’s sort of a wash. We didn’t save anything, but we didn’t spend more than I anticipated. We came in well under $400 which was my budgeted amount.
Vacations can be expensive especially with 4 kids, and 3 pets to care for.
1. Stay With Family And Friends
We keep costs low by staying with my parents. They live on the bay in Delaware, about 20 minutes from the beach. We get the best of both worlds, a quiet place to stay, stuff to do (pool, golf carts, bay beaches, biking, etc.), and a short drive to the chaos and fun of the boardwalk, outlets, and the beach.
If you have family or friends who live a few hours away consider “vacationing” at their house. It’s a great way to go somewhere new, and save a ton in the process. Just be sure to include in your budget a nice dinner out with your hosts, or a home cooked meal you make, or a hostess/host gift.
It’s a great alternative to a “staycation,” especially when you are like me and spend 90% of your time at home.
Learn more: 5 Travel Tips For The Budget Traveler
2. Pack Light
We were able to pack light since my mom has a washer and dryer (and loves doing laundry), and they have everything necessary for beach play, pool play, and plenty of good food.
Learn more: Worry-Free Vacation Tips
3. Take Your Pet With You
We also brought along our dog, which saved us a bundle on pet sitting/kennel fees.
Our expenses included:
- gas ($0! BillShrink covered our gas with a gift certificate I won)
- movies ($70-one with kids, one date night)
- boardwalk fun: rides, games, and food ($100-includes date night for $20, parking, ride coupons, and junk food :))
- eating out (one meal, a date with our girls $55)
- shopping ($50)
- mini golf ($0-the ‘rents treated and we had 2 free games)
- a new game ($20)
- pet sitter for the cats ($40)
Learn more: How To Save For A Disney Vacation
TOTAL SPENDING: $335
Gas was also partly covered by a gift card I won from BillShrink! Bill Shrink is a great tool for finding cheap gas, especially while on the go. (I’m not sponsored by BillShrink, but I did use their service while we were on vacation and thought it was handy)
How do you stay frugal on vacation? Or do you stay frugal all year and use vacation as a time to splurge?