Cheap Vacations

Hotel Bristol w Warszawie
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Last month, we went on vacation for a week.  It was our first debt-free vacation, ever!  We had a busy week, full of fun activities and it didn’t break the bank.  We saved money on everything we could.


We save a lot of money by staying at a casino/hotel that was a 20 minute trip away from our vacation city.   This won’t save money if you have a problem with gambling.  The only time we went to the casino was to get to the connected restaurant.

We made the hotel even cheaper by arriving on a Sunday and leaving on a Friday, avoiding the weekend rates.  That gave us a full 6 day vacation with no rush to pack and 2 days to recover and relax when we were done.  We just didn’t see the point of checking out on Saturday, just to head home, when we could check out on Friday, spend the day seeing the sights, then leave late.


I like good food, but feeding a family of five for a week costs far too much.  So we compromised.

We brought milk and cereal to the hotel.  Instead of rushing to get out of the hotel for breakfast, we had a leisurely breakfast in our jammies and took our time getting moving.  No stress.  For our daytrips, we packed sandwiches, juice, and snacks; avoiding the need for lunchtime restaurants.  Dinner was our extravagance.  Every night, we ate someplace nice.   Not fancy, but nice.  Our food budget was about $30 for the week, not counting dinner.


I had  a plan to keep every day fun, without resorting to using an agenda.  We were far to flexible to call it an agenda.  They just don’t make vacations fun for me.   We had one thing planned each morning, one each afternoon, and one each evening.  Every day, one of those things was spending a couple of hours in the hotel pool.  No stress.

The first thing I did was hit the city’s tourism website for coupons.  Yay us!

We tried to group our activities geographically to save on parking.  For example, one day we went on a sight-seeing boat tour, then walked over the a retired-ore-freighter-turned-museum and only paid one parking fee, which was actually reimbursed by the tour company.

We also hit a lot of state parks, which was mostly free, except for the daily parking permits.

Some of the museums had gotten together to offer a “3 attractions for the price of 2” deal.  This was available to us, but I didn’t find out about it until the end of the week.  Luckily, it only cost us a few dollars more to use the other coupons.

When we had some spare time, we did other things, like bowling or catching a matinee.   They were just some cheap  time-fillers, but still good times.

All in all, we had a great time.  Nobody was bored and we didn’t end up broke.  A good time was had by all, and I got to teach my son how to play poker.

How do you save money on vacation?

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    1. I’m so glad you had so much fun! We splurge on food on vacations, but we also use coupons when available. Buying tickets in advance to events we definitely want to go to helps a lot. Have a great weekend!


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