Budget Travel Travel

Weekend Getaways – An Affordable Way to Travel

I like getting away.  I love my home and my tiny town but even on the weekends there is still stuff to do.  You know the stuff – grownup stuff like laundry, cooking, dishes and all that jazz.  That’s why I love traveling, all of that outside stuff gets temporarily pushed to the side and allows for total presence in family or friend time and that is so enjoyable! But traveling can be really expensive, especially if you’re on a tight budget, and it can seem so far out of reach.  That’s why my family and I started getting away, just for the weekend.  It’s such an affordable way to vacation and here’s why.

  • The time you need to take off from work is minimal.  My husband owns his own businesses now and I stay home so our schedules are much more flexible than they used to be but we started out with weekend getaways so we wouldn’t use up all those precious vacation days in one trip.  Weekend getaways are great because at most, you’ll only need to take Friday off.  If your vacation days are limited, this is a great way to maximize them and stretch them out. Our weekend getaways always start on Friday and we are home late Sunday night.
  • One or two nights in a hotel is more affordable.  When you’re on a budget a decent hotel for a week or more can really be expensive and overwhelming not to mention the new trend of adding on parking fees and resort fees. It’s getting kind of out of hand.  It’s much more doable for a night or two.  If your dates are flexible, Groupon deals come out all of the time for hotels and bed and breakfasts that are really nice for an affordable rate. Services like that can provide a lot of bang for your buck but only if you have flexible dates.  AirBnB, FlipKey and Homeaway are sites that I use most frequently for vacation rentals.  I’ve stayed at some really nice places for as low as $30.00 a night including cleaning fees. You can choose between renting a room or a whole home depending on your needs, there are even bed and breakfasts listed on those sites too. Expedia also offers some pretty great sales on rooms at higher end hotels so I am always checking there before deciding where to stay.
  • Driving is cheaper than flying.  Chances are, if you’re only going away for 1 or 2 nights, you’re not going somewhere so far away that you’d need to fly.  We typically spend our weekend getaways at Walt Disney World, since we are annual passholders, which is an 8 hour trip from my house.  An 8 hour car ride two ways is less than 4 tanks of gas in my car and that’s a heck of a lot cheaper than 1 plane ticket, not to mention for an entire family.  If you’re weekend vacationing with friends, like we did when we went on a cruise to the Bahamas, everyone piles in one car and splits the gas it’s that much more affordable.
  • Destinations are endless. No matter where you live, I guarantee you there are some cool places within an 8 or 9 hour drive for you to explore.  Not only that, I’ll take it further and say there are many affordable options too! National parks, gardens, the beach, a lake, small towns, large cities, vineyards, festivals and theme parks all make great weekend getaways.
  • Expenses are minimal.  When you’re out of town for only a few days, you can keep the expenses minimal.  If you’re leaving bright and early on Friday or Saturday morning pack snacks, drinks and even breakfast food for the road.  Book hotels that offer a free breakfast buffet for the mornings you’ll be there that way you’re only paying out of pocket for lunches and dinners. If the  activities your doing allow for it like the beach or a hiking, you can always stop at a local grocery store and pick up picnic supplies for a meal or two.

Weekend getaways are an affordable way to hit reset on life.  Because they can be affordable, you’ll be able to do more mini trips throughout the year.  I can’t tell you how much my family looks forward to these weekends away, its a much needed break from the hustle and bustle and a time to focus on having fun with family.  Do you take mini vacations?  Where is you family’s favorite place to retreat? Let me know in the comments below!

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