This summer we took three vacations, two of which were week-long trips with extended family. A fun and frugal time was had by all. Here are some of the ways we saved money while on vacation:
- Rented a house and we prepared most meals there. Better yet, for our second vacation, we borrowed a summer home from a friend who lets friends stay there often. She is happy to have it “lived in” consistently, and we were happy to enjoy it! We made sure to re-stock her paper goods and any house supplies we used. We’re still trying to think of an appropriate way to say “thank you.”
- Visited a National Park, with plenty of places to see, walk, hike, and swim — all for a $25 week-long park pass. Plus, the park has several ranger programs each day and a free Junior Ranger Activity Book that helped our 5-year-old interact with what he was seeing.
- Consolidated cars with others, which reduced our per-car parking and entrance fees.
- Before hitting the road, we pumped up our tires to maximize our gas mileage and bought snack food at our local grocery store to avoid any impulse snack buys at convenience store prices. We also packed our own lunches for most excursions and refilled our Camelbak at every opportunity so we didn’t have to buy expensive, bottled, water.
- We are still driving our gas-sipping Prius, but for the second vacation we borrowed my parents’ minivan because we had too much baby gear for our Prius. We are in that season of our lives when going on vacation means packing a portable crib, a baby gate, a big ole diaper bag and a weeks’ worth of diapers, and a stroller. Packing everything so easily into the minivan was such a joy, we were even tempted to buy our own! But we have to keep in mind that this season of our lives shall pass. We’re not about to buy a big car just for one week per year when we could use the extra space. The numbers just don’t add up. I mean, really, we could spend less on a new baby gate, portable crib, and stroller and ship them to our vacation house than we would on gas year-round with a 25-MPG vehicle.
How have you kept your vacations frugal? Do you have any frugal Labor Day plans?