Need a Get-Away?
Here are some useful tips for planning a affordable mini-vacay without breaking the bank.
One of the best things a person can do to recharge and get away from life’s stresses, is to take a vacation. When we think about vacationing, we know we have to save money and most folks have to wait until they have banked enough vacation days at work to get that much needed get-away time we all deserve.
What if you could take a mini-vacation and didn’t have to save so much, or wait so long? Why not just get away for a weekend?
I think I have some great ideas on how to get away a few times a year, without traveling too far away or breaking the bank.
You don’t have to fly across the world to a all-inclusive destination to have a great holiday. Of course a week in Cabo at a all-inclusive resort would be amazing, but don’t forget that you most likely have some pretty amazing destinations close to home.
Please note the following reviews and links are not sponsored.
Hotels can be very expensive. Ok hotels ARE very expensive. One of the first ways that we save money when traveling is by booking through the Airbnb website for our accommodations. I estimate we personally save up to 60% when traveling on accommodation by booking through Airbnb, rather staying at a conventional hotel. If I do ever stay at a hotel. I only book through hotels.com. Booking through hotels.com allows for great last minute rates and each and every stay helps you to collect points towards a free nights stay after 9 bookings your 10th stay is free.
Check out their site and sign up by going to http://www.hotels.com (there is no cost to sign up and many times you do not need a credit card or deposit to hold your reservation)
I recently stayed with my spouse overnight in Vancouver BC at a Yaletown apartment that he booked through Airbnb for my birthday in November. I think he spent just $75 a night which compared to $400 plus a night for a room in a hotel, this was amazing. We were able to stay comfortably in a one bedroom condo central to everything and he surprised me with a night out at Cirque de Soleil. If we would have had to pay for the cost of renting a hotel room, in addition to our event tickets and dinner, the evening would of cost over $1000.
This past summer we both spent an amazing two nights not too far from home at a local fishing lodge for just $150 per night. The apartment style accommodation had two spacious bedrooms (with really comfy beds) a full kitchen, large bathroom, and a deck with a beautiful view of the Fraser Valley. Each of the bedrooms not only had a queen bed, but also a single bed. The living room also had a pull out double bed couch. You could have slept 8 people comfortably for just $150 per night (please note that there may have been an additional charge for extra guests). In addition to the great accommodation (full 2 bedroom suite w/private entrance over a barn) the gorgeous country property had horses, chickens, and a huge fire pit area with benches to roast marshmallows and star gaze at night. The whole weekend including accommodation, groceries, and some beverages cost us $375.00 cnd. You can’t beat that. We were literally 30 minutes from home, but it felt as though we were miles and miles away from anyone. In just a few minutes you could be at Cultas Lake fishing, hiking on tea pot hill, or enjoying a guided boat fishing excursion on the Fraser River with our hosts. The owners of the lodge we stayed at called “Bent Rods” located in Chilliwack BC were absolutely amazing. I would recommend this Airbnb stay to anyone wanting a little get-away with everything you need for a relaxing weekend away. Our friendly hosts allowed for a late check out. We didn’t want to leave. You can check out Bent Rods here at: http://www.bentrods.ca
One important tip anytime you use Airbnb, is to make sure that you check out the reviews before booking. I myself have never had any issues with any reservations or with the accommodations, but you can never be too careful. I find most hosts to be pleasant and quick to answer any questions you might have before confirming your reservation.
Another significant cost savings by booking an apartment or house via Airbnb, is that you can cook your own meals. I know, I know, this is a vacation right? But if you are reading this blog, you likely want to get away as soon as possible and want to do it on a budget. Spending the evening making an amazing meal with your partner can be romantic and a lot of fun. Just think, the hundreds of dollars you will save from not going to expensive restaurants, can be put towards your next vacation. If you want a great site to check out some simple, but delicious recipes to cook while you are away check out: http://www.allrecipes.com I use this site all of the time and never run out of new ideas.
Not everyone has the same view of what a vacation means. Some people like to get out and explore, shop, and dance the night away. Others just want to catch up on reading, put away their phones, and sleep in. For me, it’s a little bit of both. To get the most out of your time away, it is good practice to do some research of some of the local attractions and activities near the place or town you are going to stay.
Pro tip- most places have a “visitors center”. Be sure to stop by and get some suggestions of places to go and things to do. Many times they will have coupons for local attractions.
One of the things that I really enjoy is visiting the local thrift and antique stores of any new town I visit. If you plan ahead and gather info on shop locations, hour of operations, etc. You can be sure to get out to as many shops as possible. Some of my best finds have been found at thrift stores. Window shopping is a fun, yet affordable, vacation activity and you never know what kind of unique treasures you might find to take home that are affordable. You might even find an old dresser or night stand to refinish once you get home. Check out Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com for some great DIY projects for inspiration. I made a little business restoring and painting furniture a few years back that funded many vacations for my family. Think outside the box when planning and saving for vacations. You deserve to spend as much time enjoying life as you do working. (I think this was more of a reminder for me then for you haha)
My next suggestion may not be available everywhere, but if your community or the place you are visiting has a “farm tour” or local “farmers market” be sure you check it out.
Here in the Fraser Valley we have the Circle Farm Tours http://www.circlefarmtour.com
What is a Circle Farm Tour? A Circle Farm Tour is a road map that directs you to a variety of specialty farm-gate vendors, open air markets, charming eateries, heritage sites, fairs, and other special events. There’s a brochure and map for each participating community. The tours are self-guided, meaning that you travel in your own car, at your own pace, when it suits you. Each community brochure/map directs you from 10 to 20 venues. All are related in some way to agriculture and the area’s farming heritage.
If you don’t have something like this in your town, maybe share this link with your city and see if you can get something like this started. Support your community by shopping local and supporting local farmers.
Once you have booked your accommodation and planned your stay, you may want to add a few of the inexpensive or free suggestions below that will add some fun and create lasting memories of your mini-vacation.
Here is a list of 20 activities I have thought of and many I have enjoyed myself while away on vacation🎤🎬🎨🎟🎻🎳🎰🎮🎭🚲🚤🛶🏖⛺️🏔🌄🌁🏙🛒🖌📓🛏📽🖥
- Find a lake or pond and go fishing
- Rent a little boat on a lake and have a picnic
- Plan a hike or nice walk
- Go to the local library and check out some books or some videos
- Make a kite and fly it at the beach or park
- Go to a local cafe and listen to some live music
- Sing some karaoke at a local pub
- Check out a local museum or art gallery
- Go visit the local animal shelter and give some love to those that need it most
- Take a tour of a winery
- Bring a camera and put those photography skills to use. Use the photos to make a memory book of your trip
- Go swimming and hit the hot tub or sauna at the local recreation center
- Film a mini documentary and make your own travel blog
- Make some crafts from items you have collected on your vacation I.e seashells, rocks, twigs, etc
- Have a campfire and roast marshmallows or make s’mores
- Make an amazing playlist on your phone and go for a long drive
- Make a DIY projector or buy one and watch an outdoor movie
- Renew your vows with your partner
- Rent some bicycles and hit some trails
- Drop in to a community pottery or yoga class
These are just some ideas to make vacationing a little more fun and affordable. We all need a break and what better way to do that, then treating yourself to a mini-vacation. If you have any additional ideas and would like to share, please comment and let me know.
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