Vacation has been on mind a lot lately. This is probably due to the fact that I am due a one week vacation at work and my boss wants me to take it before August. I am ready for a break anyway, so this suits me just fine. So on June 17th I will officially have a one week break!
I wrote about taking vacations on the cheap on the Fat Wallet blog a few weeks ago, but since my “less” is probably lower than most, I need to be a little more creative with my vacation ideas.
If I stick with the new budget I made I will have about $300 to spend on vacation. I really want to get away or do something for at least a couple days. And of course I want to make some fantastic memories with my girls.
Here’s what I am thinking.
Option Number 1 – Camping
The location of our camping trip would be the determining factor as to whether the girls would enjoy this. Some place that’s not too crowded but is still wooded and preferably has a pond or lake would be ideal.
If I could find a campsite to suit us I can borrow all the camping gear from my dad. Our cost would just be the campsite rental and any food we buy.
My brother and his son would probably tag along if I did this. That’s major bonus points in my book.
Option Number 2 – A Stay in the Amish Country
I have been browsing Living Social “escapes” section to see what kind of deals they have. I have seen a few cabins available in the Amish Country for a 2 night stay for $172. There is a big lake at one of these spots so we could go fishing, take boat rides, and tours of the Amish country.
I figure I would probably spend close to $100 in gas for the trip there and back, plus another $150 on food and activities. I could get a friend to go with me and split the $172, so this is still doable.
Option Number 3 – A Day at an Amusement Park
The girls would probably love this the most but I think it would be the most expensive. I would have to get another adult to tag along. (There is no human way possible that I would be able to stay sane while trying to keep up with a three and four year old at a packed amusement park.)
The last time I went tickets were around $40 a piece. It would cost around $120 for all of us to get in and I have a feeling the remaining $180 would be spent fast.
This is a last resort……….
Help me out guys! If you had $300 where would you go for a mini vacation? Have any of you ever taken a really cheap vacation? If so, where did you go and what did you do?
Any suggestions would be much appreciated!
Thomas @ Your Daily Finance says
With a family of 5 there aren’t many places we can go for $300. When we don’t want to spend a lot we take a trip and visit relatives who are about 3 hours away. Since we are staying with them and they have amusement parks near by it lowers the cost. Plus all the kids love being together. Amusement park food is expensive.
KC @ genxfinance says
We’re thinking of park where we can fish, hike, some water canoeing, and spend a lot of activities outdoors for the kids. So a mountain park would be really ideal for us.
Sean @ One Smart Dollar says
I love camping. It’s cheap and it’s extremely relaxing.
John S @ Frugal Rules says
I think both #1 & #2 sound good, but would likely lean towards the first option. We have taken numerous cheaper vacations. We usually take a day trip overnight somewhere and just limit the amount we eat out to stretch our money.
My vote is for camping; I have the most/best memories from camping trips rather than trips to an amusement park. Kids can learn so much from camping.
I mooch off my sister. Seriously, her family has a cabin in the mountains. It is now a family tradition to mooch !
Don’t forget about hotels that are close by. Hotels are a novelty to kids. They are airconditoned, have great beds to jump on, and hey have swimming pools ! Not a bad deal. ; )
Would not do the amusement park. Limited rides for kids your age. I find they are only worth it if you can take advantage of an all day long type thing. Perfect for my 16 year old and I, but not for the two youngest.
I’d do the camping… Since you have a week you could probably get more nights camping for your buck. Some places have really nice facilities and not so rustic, for pretty cheap!
I agree about just staying at a hotel….kids love it! They can swim in the pool and you can order pizza and let them watch all the TV they want. And maybe it’s just me, but camping is my nightmare….it’s all such hard work-showering, cooking, etc are all such a pain. I know people enjoy it, but it is the last thing that relaxes me and my worst idea of a vacation. The girls are young, so they will love anything-you don’t have to do something big to make great memories!
Trina Brooks says
I’m with Alysia camping wouldn’t be for me. I did Niagara Falls cheap. I live close enough to drive, chose a hotel with pool that included breakfast. Look for hotel deals that include extras. I made my daughter choose 2 things she wanted to do. She knew there was a limit. For us a museum (Ripley’s) or an aquarium or mini golf can use up a lot of time. Of course looking at the falls and all the neat places is free. There were lots of coupon books to be had. A cheesy tourist town can have lots of fun, free things to see.
I think lodging is usually the most expensive part of the vacation (if you’re not flying) so one thing that I’ve done is to rent a cabin/house with a few friends (maybe you can go with another family). We’ve gone to the Poconos in PA, rented a cabin…used the BBQ and kitchen to make food…go swimming, play football outside, and there’s white water rafting and other fun activities in the area. As for day trips, my wife and I have taken her little cousins to the museum (they got free tickets from the local library), the zoo, picnic, the beach, local festivals and family-friendly events.
Laurie @thegrugalfarmer says
I love the Amish country idea with a friend, Alexa – it sounds wonderful!!! Also, not sure if your state has these, but our state has on its campgrounds “camper cabins” – little cabins with just a bedroom and a front room/porch that sleep 4-6 for $50-$60 a night. We often talk about doing this instead of tent-camping it, just for a little bit of luxury. We are working on a frugal vacation this summer too – can’t wait to share what we find!
My Money Design says
I would go for the camping if you want the most bang for your buck. But having two kids of my own, probably the amusement park is where they’ll have the most excitement and fun.
One week, $300. I recommend finding a friend or family member that lives within a couple hour drive and see if you can stay with them for the week. This way you get free lodging, some free meals, you could cook for them in return. Plus you could explore a new city and your girls could interact with the other families kids (if they have them). Have fun!
Anthony Reynolds says
You can do a lot with $300 if only you have ideas or plans ahead of time that includes cheap packages and stuff. You cannot go far with that budget though because plane tickets alone are already quite costly unless you were able to already acquire it with a discount.