Friday, June 5, 2009

Vacation On A Budget - Part One

I know that this has more to do with living on a budget then dieting but I wanted to share with all of you how my family was able to afford a vacation this year. We are obviously on a budget so we went on a budget friendly vacation.

I will start by telling you about two years ago when my husband, myself and my oldest daughter (who was two at the time) went on a wonderful vacation. Listed below are the things we did in the Philly\y/Lancaster (PA) area.

Philadelphia Zoo
Please Touch Museum
Sesame Place
Rode the ferry
New Jersey Aquarium
Dutch Wonderland
2 Phillie's Games
The Wilbur Chocolate Factory
The Strasbourg Railroad
Stayed at a hotel with a water park
Shopping at the outlets

Places we ate:
The Melting Pot
Our pricey hotel restaurant for breakfast every morning.
Room Service
A Korean Restaurant in Phillie
Pricey hotel for several dinners
Red Lobster
And many others that I can't think of right now but you get the point.

I'm not writing this to brag. I just wanted to give you a comparison of this years vacation to our last vacation. Two years ago we could afford a vacation like this because I was working. Now I am a stay at home mom and we just can't afford to spend as much money.

This year when my daughter started looking through photo albums and asking when we are going to go on vacation again it broke my heart. Our last vacation cost us $3,000.00. I knew that their was no way that we could afford that this year.

So our initial plan was to do a few day trips this summer. Which I still think is a great idea if you want to do something fun but can't afford a full vacation. It saves you so much money on hotel costs.

When I started looking into it I realized that it didn't make sense for us to do a day trip because we wanted to go to more then one attraction in the same area. This is when I started looking into hotels in hope of finding a place to stay for one night.

While on I was able to find a hotel that was 9 miles from Sesame Place. The price was great and I noticed that the forth night was free. So I read the reviews which stated that the beds were to hard, the fridge did not get cool enough and the one stated that the room had a slight oder(not a bad oder just an oder). So I talked to my husband and we decided to go for it. For that price I figured I could handle a hard bed and how likely was it that every fridge didn't work and of course I packed the Lysol. :)

The room ended up costing us $313.00 for four nights (including taxes and fees). This was an awesome price. We were so excited because the hotel that we usually stay in in Philly costs between $145 - $300 per night depending on the time of year.

The best part about this hotel is that it had a full kitchen in it. It is called Extended Stay America Bensalem. This is what started our five day vacation (much better then the 1 day trip we originally hoped for). God is Good!

We decided that if we eat breakfast and dinner in the hotel and pack our lunches that we could save a ton of money. So this is what we did. Well almost. We actually went out for dinner three nights. It was really great to have a full kitchen in our room. We ended up packing a small cooler every day with our lunch in it. It was really fun taking our lunch everywhere. Every place we went had a nich picnic area and we all enjoyed sitting down and relaxing to enjoy our lunch. Our sandwiches always tasted great and we didn't feel guilty buying food out (when it usually doesn't taste that good at the parks anyway).

We did try to make it special for the girls. For lunches we packed special treats, chips, crackers, cookies and juice boxes. For breakfast we let my 4 year old pick out some things that she wanted. Her favorite was to make strawberry short cakes. :) For dinner we had spaghetti made with lean ground turkey (which was a big hit) and hamburger barbecue (with turkey) the other night. Both meals were quick and easy to make. I found it much easier on the nights that we ate at the hotel because I didn't have to worry about the girls being cranky, tired and miserable at the restaurant. Being able to cook and eat at our hotel saved us a ton of money.

Check back tomorrow for part two of our vacation!


Twix said...

Looks like lots of FUN!!!! :D

Lizzie said...

oh your girlies are absolutely GORGEOUS!!!!! xxxxx

Lucrecia said...

Sounds ideal! We are looking into renting an RV for a weekend trip for similar reasons!

Unknown said...

Looks like your adorable girls had a great time! Strawberry shortcakes sound yummy!

Anonymous said...

Great job planning this trip! I agree - having a kitchen in the hotel saves so much money!

Can't wait to read about the weight loss!

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