Blog Break: How to Take a Frugal Vacation

We just got back from our “family vacation”.

How does a family of 10 take a cheap vacation?  Ingenuity!

First, don’t own a pool.  That way, your kids think swimming is the most awesome thing in the world.

Second, don’t vacation often 😉  Really, it’s all the more wonderful when you do.

Thirdly, don’t have cable or satellite.  That way, a hotel room seems like a really cool place to hang out.

Finally, don’t get out much.  That way, a continental breakfast seems too good to be true.  My daughter points to the orange juice fountain and asks, with her eyes wide:  “Is that orange juice?” “Yes.” “Is it F-R-E-E?”

For a much needed, short “vacation”, we took the kids a whole 30 miles away, and stayed at a hotel with an indoor pool, since we expected inclement weather.

My first concern was that we were going to have to pay for two rooms–the limit for one room was 5 people.  This doesn’t help families like ours!  So, I asked.

I called the hotel, told them we had “a unique situation” and that even if we paid for 2 rooms, my kids would all want to sleep in the same room, and she said “no problem”.  Score!  We’ve already cut expected expenses in half!

Then, we packed snacks and one night’s supper and lunch and ate in the room in our pj’s while we watched movies.

The night we went out to eat we ordered “The World’s Largest Seafood Platter” for $18.95 and split it between myself and all of the children.  Aaron ordered his own 😉

We bought a few end-of-the year water toys on sale, loaded up, and you would have thought we took them to Disney World.

This would also work for a great winter get-away, since the pool is indoors.

So that’s our favorite family get-away idea…I think we’ll make it a habit.  Oh, and we’ve also done the same thing for just 1 night as a spur-of-the-moment treat.

P.S.  If you like the t-shirt, we have some for sale!  Drop me a line.

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27 Responses to “Blog Break: How to Take a Frugal Vacation”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Aww, that sounds like fun! Kids are so fun during trips; I still practically jump up and down when presented with the idea.

    Children do seem to think pools are the funnest thing in the world; my sisters and I were three such kids, and we grew up on a bay! An old friend of ours used to lend us her pool once a week, and pool-time at my aunt’s house was always a million-dollar hour. Swimming lessons made memories of a lifetime, and I’ll never forget our second trip to Disney World. My most treasured memories of DW are the rides and the characters, so it baffled me when my mom, upon recalling our second trip there, told me that after the trip she asked us girls “What was your favorite part of Disney World?” and we answered, to her great chagrin, “The pool!!” The look on my mother’s face recalling that moment was priceless 🙂 I don’t know what it was about pools that was quite so magical; maybe all the mermaid games.

    This is out of the blue and possibly a little silly, but out of pure curiosity, what were a couple of the movies you guys enjoyed? 😛

    Th

  2. Michelle says:

    Love your husband’s shirt!!!!! Answers the questions without saying a word.

    Blessings,
    Michelle

  3. wordwarrior says:

    Jennifer,

    We watched Night at the Museum 2, and Mall Cop 😉 Not our favorites, but some we had not seen. We like movies a lot.

  4. wordwarrior says:

    Michelle,

    I meant to mention, we have these shirts for sale (they were some I “designed” last year and sold on the blog.) I’ll have to double check to see which sizes are still available, but if you’re interested, let me know!

  5. Fun! Wow, I never realized Bria is so tall!! Either that our you’re short 😉

    Jennifer- Oh, I totally played mermaid games in the pool!

  6. Kim M. says:

    Love the pictures 🙂 I bet y’all had the pool mostly to yourselves since it’s the start of the school year for most?

  7. Word Warrior says:

    Bethany,

    I’m afraid you are right…she is tall–5’7, I think? People think she’s the mom 😉

  8. Word Warrior says:

    Kim,

    Oh, I meant to mention that. Waiting ’til school starts back was no accident–pool totally to ourselves the whole time.

  9. Laughing and loving the descriptions – it is sooo much like why we enjoy our vacations!

    And the continental breakfast/OJ fountain – the kids in our clan of travellers figured out to bring empty water bottles to breakfast to have juice for later. ;o)

  10. Kim M. says:

    That is awesome!

  11. Jennifer says:

    I love movies too 🙂

  12. Gina says:

    Looks and sounds like y’all had a grand time! When we had our third baby, we were living aboard a 30′ sailboat. We had her at our midwife’s house since there wasn’t really enough room in the boat for such an event. As a gift, some very thoughtful friends of ours bought us a night in a hotel room the night after she was born so that I would be more comfortable and also to give our other little girls a treat. What a blessing it was! 🙂

  13. Ann says:

    I have had to learn how to like camping… no sorry I do not love it yet but it is the only way we can have an affordable holiday. We search for camp sites in the National Parks that say ‘free’ and as long as they have toilets I’m prepared to spend a night or two! We face the same problem, our church is having a family camp at a local resort, the maximum their cabins sleep is 6. It will cost too much for two cabins, so we have decided not to go. Our next mini holiday is next month. Diana Waring is coming to Australia and I’ve booked us in for the conference. I even found a cabin which sleeps 8 in a caravan park that also offers my childrens’ favourite holiday activity – fossicking for sapphires, that is sieving gravel dug from riverbeds for sapphires and other gems. It is a real treasure hunt! Better than going to a theme park they say and a lot cheaper and even better when they find a big sapphire! I wear one my son found and was persuaded to hand over which was put into a ring, a very special gift for my 40th birthday! I’m looking forward to hearing Diana Waring and the children are hoping to find more gemstones!

  14. Margaret says:

    Great shirt!

    What a smart way to vacation!

  15. Mrs W says:

    This sounds like something we would do! Glad you had a good time.

  16. Such a terrific plan – we’ve done exactly the same thing and it really IS a vacation. We pick the newest executive hotel on a weekend (great rates, little occupancy, never anyone in the pool, and a wonderful breakfast buffet.

  17. so fun! how did you do that with a little baby? where does she sleep?

  18. Word Warrior says:

    Katie,

    Oh that’s the fun part…we let our infants sleep in their carriers until they are a few months old. She never knew she was in a different place!

    And the hotel room had a large chair with ottoman that we made a bed in for the next smallest. The pull out couch slept a few extra when we placed everyone cross-ways. Then the other queen held the rest!

  19. Cheri says:

    This is a great way to entertain the kiddos! We drove from CO. to Florida and back with our 4 kids and dog last year. I kept running into the same problem with the hotel rooms. (max. occupancy of 4-5) We stayed in hotels for 2 weeks, and found only a few who did not insist on us getting a second room. Even the “Family Suites” only accomodated 4-6! We liked the Drury Inn chain if we could find them. They have a HUGE breakfast selection (just stay far from those powdered eggs! LOL!) They had pancakes, waffles, fresh fruit, bacon, sausage, etc. AND, they keep the juice/soda fountain and other “snacks” out for guests all day. Saved us a lot of money on food! My kids never get soda at home, so it feels like a special treat when they do get it!
    I was also going to add, look for towns who have nice Recreation centers, and stay there. Often for around $30. the whole family can get in for a day, and they usually have terrific slides, pools, saunas, raquetball, workout center, etc. Much cheaper than Disneyland, and mine actually enjoy it more!
    I am glad to see that other people enjoy these simple, frugal vacations as well!

  20. Kelly L says:

    Great idea…not so good for us as we have a pool, but ours thinks any hotel room is awesome. She even liked the closet, I mean room, in Tokyo this summer. Just to make you laugh: I could sit on the toilet, open the bathroom door, put my clothes on the bed and wash my hands all from that position. I am 6′, my husband 6’5″, and our 9yr old is already 5’1″. It was a little tight, to say the least, but we loved it! You should have seen the look on the hotel staff when we giants came into the lobby! Priceless.

  21. We do EXACTLY the same thing! Another blessing of having large families! ( I just had my 11th) They appreciate little things and they don’t even know they are little, to them they are HUGE! And they never have to swim alone! I do want to know where you got the t-shirt! I LOVE IT and that is the most annoying question! One thing that always stops people in their tracks, is this answer, “No we have never figured that out, could you tell me!” They NEVER want to go any further!:)
    Thanks for your blog! We raise our family with the same principles and ideas that you do! Come check out my blog if you can! Mine is not quite as beautiful and elequent as yours however!
    God bless you and your family as you are on this journey for Him!
    Heather

  22. Word Warrior says:

    Heather,

    I designed the t-shirts last year to sell on the blog…we have a few left if you’re interested.

  23. Faith says:

    How Sweet!!
    My 6 yr old nephew wanted a “Kid’s Day” to come after “Mothers” and “Fathers” day. So they went to a hotel for the weekend too. His kids (all 4 of them) are early risers, and I think his least favorite part was waking up at 4:30 to watch “Tom & Jerry” with them.

  24. Becky says:

    Four years ago we had to stay in a hotel for 6 weeks for my husbands job. Our girls were 4yrs and 22m. I took them swimming everday. The oldest asked if we were at disneyland. I said yes. They loved it. I had no house cleanning to do so I just played with them all day. Some grest memories out of a crazy time.

  25. Word Warrior says:

    Ann–wow that sound like it’s going to be a blast–I’m jealous.

  26. Word Warrior says:

    Gina,

    A sailboat? I would LOVE to hear more of that story 😉

  27. Michele says:

    I love that idea! (wish my autistic kiddos slept in hotel rooms though – blaaah!)

    We stayed at a farm once; that was fun! It was good for us becz it was someone’s house on the farm, so the kiddos slept better since there were regular bedrooms.

    No pool, but we don’t swim. Loved the cows though…! LOL.

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