Vacation, Shmaycation, Staycation?

Indoor kart racing

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Last week was our family vacation.   This year, we decided to keep it cheap, since we raided our savings a few months ago to cover my son’s vision therapy.

Here’s what we did:

Friday (Yes, I started vacation on a Friday): My wife worked a half day, then we drove to visit my parents, roughly 120 miles north of our house. $110 for gas, round-trip, and $10 for drive-through lunch. $120 total.

Saturday:  We went to the county fair and Dairy Queen.  $18 for admission.  $30 for ride tickets.  $35 for food and ice cream.   The ride tickets were totally worth it.   My son and I discovered that he can handle the fun rides, which thrills me.  $83 total.

Sunday: We had a picnic at the bottom of Inspiration Peak, the third highest point in Minnesota, followed by a hike to the top.   That evening, my brother, his wife, my wife, and I tricked my parents into babysitting and escaped for several hours of adult time.     After a couple of overpriced drinks at a crap restaurant, we went somewhere nicer and cheaper.   A nice dinner, a few drinks, and a round of drunken go-karts later, we spent $90 for the evening.

Monday:  Back to the go-kart park for the afternoon, and the return drive home in the evening.  The go-kart park included 3 rounds of go-karts, mini-golf, and a round of bumper boats.  $40.

Tuesday:  A hands-on kids museum, a natural history museum that was hosting a portable planetarium, and a teppenyaki restaurant.  We used museum passes for the museums, so this cost a total of $160.   By far, the most expensive part was the restaurant.  The museums cost a combined $30.

Wednesday: We spent the day at the Monster Mall’s indoor theme park, Nickelodean Universe, where we tested my son’s ability to handle the fun rides for $70.   Then we ate at the Rainforest Cafe for $116, and we got my wife’s anniversary present, a family portrait at an “old time” photo studio.   We chose a 1920s theme.  I must say, I look dashing in a zoot suit.   $260 total.

Thursday:  My wife had to work on Thursday because she was short of vacation time, so I had the brats to myself.  We went to a pick-your-own apple orchard where we picked a large bag of apples, a bottle of real, locally-made maple syrup and 3 cookies-on-a-stick.   Afterwards, Brat #1 and I went to a Chinese buffet and the comic book store while the women-folk went to a saddle-club meeting. $60 total.

Friday:    We had a fried chicken picnic at the largest playground in the area, and otherwise took it easy.   $12.

Saturday:   On Saturday, my girls rode in a horse show for the saddle club while my wife put in her volunteer work hours.   Registration and the food for the potluck ran $40.

Sunday:  I had to teach a gun class, so I made money, instead of spending it.   My wife and kids played around the house.

Total, our vacation cost us $865, for 10 days of memories.   If we would have skipped the restaurants, it would have cost $465, but we wanted those experiences, too.   Our vacation fund has $906 in it, so we did all right.

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    1. Although you didn’t really travel very much, you managed to spend a fair amount of money. The good news was it was within budget.

    2. good to read personal stories, enjoyed your vacation story.

    3. Quite a busy stay-cation you guys had. It sounds like a lot of fun.

      • We try to aim for 1 or 2 things per day when we vacation. I don’t run an agenda or a tight schedule, but I like to keep things happening.

    4. That sounds like you guys had a blast! Looking forward to our upcoming vacation.

    5. Sounds like you guys had a great vacation! I could really use one like that!

    6. Sounds like a really fun time…I haven’t been drunken go kart racing since I was in college SOUNDS FANTASTIC!

      Does your brother live by your folks?

    7. I enjoyed reading about your vacation. Sounds like a lot of fun.


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