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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Frugal Vacationing

I'm a little off my blogging schedule this summer. I used to post about my grocery shopping trip on Wednesdays, but there really hasn't been as much structure to that so far so I'm not really organized on that front (still shopping frugally, just not documenting it.)

What's on my mind right now is our vacation we are taking in a couple of weeks.

We try really hard to take the kids on some kind of vacation every summer, and then Rick and I try to get away every year together, too. The kids' vacations tend to be the more frugal ones. We've been to Branson, Missouri, where we only spent $350 for a full 5 days. Then we went to St. Louis, Missouri, (our favorite, I think), and only spent $750 for a full 5 days. The next year we splurged a little and went to San Antonio, Texas. I think we spent about $1,300 for that week of vacation. Then the next year we really splurged and took the older two kids on a 7-day cruise. Even at that we only spent about $3,000 with excursions and all, for 4 of us. And we had been planning that trip for many years. Last year, since Rick and I went to Bermuda together, we just took the kids to Dallas and stayed at Great Wolf Lodge for 2 nights. That's not a cheap vacation, even when you do it the frugal way. But, it was fun.

This year we are going on a week-long camping trip with Steph and her family to Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills of South Dakota; Cody, Wyoming; Yellowstone for 3 nights; then the Grand Tetons. Steph and I are both frugal gals, so this has been a well-planned trip. They're doing it a little cheaper than us because they are borrowing a family member's 5th wheel. We are renting a pop up for 10 days, so we have that extra cost. But, the campsites are only going to run us about $150 for the whole week. Gas will be the most expensive cost. 

As far as activities, we have some plans to do some cool things at Mt. Rushmore and at the Grand Tetons. But, mostly, once you pay the $25 to get into Yellowstone, the cost is minimal, if any. And we're taking the majority of our own food. By using our food budget for that week, that we already have to use anyway, we won't be out much in food.

I've managed to save some money out of my grocery savings from the year to pay for any food on the road and extra treats. And we've saved some gas money out of our gas budget from this year (during that short period of cheaper gas prices) to pay for our activities we have planned. I worked at Just Between Friends to pay for the camper. So, really, all we will have extra to pay for along the way is gas. I'm pretty happy with that!

So, I've got a few questions:
1. To where have you taken your family on a frugal vacation?
2. Have you gone on this particular vacation? Can you give any advice?
3. What are some unique things you do with your kids in the car on long travel days?

I'll probably have several more random posts about this soon, seeking additional advice.


  1. We took the Yellowstone trip several years ago and it's a great inspiration to share with your family.

    When we went on long road trips we would see how many different states we could collect from license plates. I hate to say it but it's still fun to do that at 50!

    Your Ozarks Bud

  2. My family and I do a really fun game, well we think it is fun anyway. It's the ABC game. You obviously start with A, you find a word in a sign on the side of the road, which includes interstate signs, exits, billboards, gas stations etc. It doesn't include cars, trucks, semi's. It has to be a stable not moving sign. It is really fun when those rarely used letters come up......Being the competative family we are, we do keep score. Whoever finds the word gets the point. There can be ABCDE all in one sign.......

  3. Sounds like so much fun! And what a beautiful area your going to spend time in!

    Thanks for your support and comments! I had the same thought about God using Caroline to help this little girl. I sure hope so! I can make the trip to Dallas when you are going we need to hammer out the details so I can meet up with everyone!

  4. Wow. Glad I found you.

    We actually just returned from Branson, although I don't think we can call it a vacation. Since we live a little over an hour away we only stayed for one night and took in SDC and the Dixie Stampede.

    My question is this: We are planning to head up to St. Louis to take in the zoo. I am not sure if we will stay a night or not, since it is only a 2 1/2 hour drive. What did you do while in St. Louis that you enjoyed the most?


  5. We haven't had a vacation in a few years.
    My husband and I are discussing going to DC this fall. It will probably be our last family vacation since Marcus wants to go into the military after graduating in 2010.


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