Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What I Learned This Week - The Best Vacations Are Cheap

Each year we plan our vacation during the week of spring break.  It works the best because Dyl and I are out of school and it is right before hubby's busy time at work {he works in the boating industry at the beach so summer vacations are out of the question}.  

My favorite vacation was when we flew out to California, around the San Diego area where I was born, and just explored.  We visited Disneyland, Legoland, and the famous zoo, but also took time to just enjoy the California sunshine driving up and down the coast stopping wherever our hearts desired.  Of course, I must say that was also by far the most expensive vacation we have went on too and like everybody else we have cut way back the past couple of years.

But that brings me to What I Learned This Week...
you can have an awesome vacation without spending an arm and a leg.

Last week was our annual vacation and we headed down to Florida with everybody else apparently as 95 south was quite the place to be.  We always drive there so we have extra money to spend while we are away rather than paying to fly our suitcases!! 

We are lucky that my in-laws along with brother-in-law's family live in Melbourne about a mile inland from the beach.  So we have a free place to stay and get to visit family we don't often get to see, which works out great.

Since we saved money by driving and had a free place to stay we only had to spend money on other activities and food.

The kids really wanted to go to Disney World this year so we decided to treat them to a day at Magic Kingdom.  Since we were staying only about an hour away we left early in the morning, stayed till after the fireworks, and then drove home.  Since we had been before, one day was enough for us to enjoy it.

The whole family loves the water so one day we just started driving in search of a beach when we came across a state park that had a perfect little cove for wading along with an Atlantic beach where the kids could body surf.  We had packed a picnic and enjoyed it on the beach together.  A full day of fun only cost us $8 for the entry into the state park.  Oh and $5 for the ice cream stop on the way home! 

The rest of the days were filled with more adventures around town.  We went fishing, on boat rides, hung out on the beach, walked down main street window shopping, visited an art gallery, made pottery, and just enjoyed being together. 

So while sometimes it is a lot of fun to spend the money for a one-of-a-kind vacation, this week I learned that the best vacations can be had for a whole lot less!!

Cheap Vacation Tips:
  •  Visit some of your out-of-town relatives {make sure they will enhance your vacation though and not stress you out} or even friends.  You get a free place to stay plus the chance to catch up with people you don't get too see very often.
  • Eat at home, but go into the local markets to find something interesting that you may not buy back home. Picnics are always fun {and cheap} too.
  • Explore the local areas.  Don't buy tickets for all the big attractions in the area, but instead drive around and see what you find.  Many places have state parks, local museums, interesting towns, small zoos, etc. 

Don't forget to visit From Inmates to Playdates to see what everybody else has learned this week!

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