Because most of us can't take a two week vacation to Hawaii every season, I present some frugal ideas for those quick weekend getaways. The biggest expenses of the weekend getaway are usually the airfare and hotel charges. These ideas focus on limiting or eliminating those big charges.
Friends Are Friends Forever
Some of my favorite vacations have been to places where an old friend is now living, like my recent trip to Calgary. Most of us have a friend from our past that lives in a different city now. Truth be told, if they're new to the city, they probably wouldn't mind some company. After all, you said you'd go visit them when they moved away. Now is the time to take them up on their offer.
Mention to your friend that you are thinking of visiting the city and would like to know the best place to stay. They'll likely offer up their pad for free. The weekend trip just got a few hundred dollars cheaper. Be sure to honor their generosity by picking up a few of the meals when you dine out.
Staying with a friend has plenty of non-economical advantages as well. You essentially have your own tour guide to the city. You'll know the best places to dine, what things are worth seeing, and you'll know the quickest way to get there.
A Camping We Will Go
Forget the long lines at the airport and the nickel and dime charges of the hotels. Break out the tent and go camping at your nearby State or National park. Some parks even have cabins, so you don't even need a tent.
State park fees are usually extremely reasonable and the parks themselves are very well maintained. Your tax dollars go to build and maintain these parks; you might as well get some use out of them. We do this once or twice a year and have a blast every time.
Close Only Counts…
If camping isn't your thing, then choose to stay at a hotel in either a city that you can drive to in a few hours or simply stay at a hotel in your own town. If you're just looking for one night away from the kids, this can be the best option.
Take this opportunity to explore the town you live in and to discover new dining and entertainment spots. If you're like me, there are hundred of places and attractions you haven't seen in your own town.
Your best bet on a hotel is to look for deals at the high-end business sector hotels near downtown. These often go vacant on the weekends and prices drop considerably. You can usually get a nice hotel room for a decent price.
Cheaper By the Dozen
Have some really cool friends? Take your next quick getaway with them. I remember doing this as a kid with my parents and their friends and loved it.
Weekend rental houses and cabins can be had at the fraction of the cost of hotel rates per person. Carpool to get there, group your meals and activities, and your savings really start to increase. Be sure you plan only a few group activities and meals though. Leave some time open for just your spouse and kids.
Can you think of other ways to create a more frugal weekend getaway? Share your ideas in the comments below…