Our Summer Vacation on a Budget

Modernmami-hawaii Last year my husband and I took a vacation to Hawaii. It was our 5 year wedding anniversary and since we never had a honeymoon, we did a combination anniversary celebration/honeymoon trip. It was great. We had a great week of fun and relaxation. Did I mention we went on our own without our daughter? Yup, we sure did. ;)

This year, though, we wanted to take a trip that included her. We felt pretty bad after the trip last year when she saw the pictures and kept asking if she could go up the mountain with us. But, adding an extra person to the trip means one more airplane ticket to pay for, one more bed in the hotel room, and one more person to feed. All of this in a year where job security is uncertain and the economy isn't doing great.

How are we getting around it?

Well, first off, we are going with my extended family. That means, we're splitting the cost of the trip amongst 3 families. So, we rented a house and split the cost. We also shared the cost of the rental car with one other household. Already, these steps are saving us money.

For the airfare, we monitored flight costs religiously for about a month. When it seemed like the cost wouldn't go down any more and the dates were getting too close to keep waiting, we went for it and booked our flights. Of course, we're flying coach.

Once we're actually on our trip, we'll continue to save money by going to the local supermarket and stocking up on food and drinks. Since we're renting a house and not staying at a hotel, we have access to a full refrigerator and stove. We'll be able to save money on breakfast every day, snacks for the kids, and maybe even lunch. I imagine there will be days when we can pack up sandwiches for everyone and take them on the road with us.

Our destination also has many opportunities for free or very cheap outings. Sightseeing around the capital, hiking up waterfalls, beach days, and local parks will all help us save on entertainment while we're on our trip.

I'm excited for our vacation this year for many reasons. But, knowing that I am also not going to spend a fortune will help me enjoy it even more.

Oh! And where are we going? To my birthplace, Puerto Rico.

Melanie Edwards is a Modern Mami. As a latina working mother, she provides an honest depiction of the everyday humor and drama in the life of today's wife, mother and woman from a Latina perspective. She often blogs about the special concerns working mothers have in attempting to achieve a work-life balance. Melanie has been married six years and has a 3-year-old daughter.
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Comments

Sounds heavenly!

That sounds like a wonderful vacation.

Melanie,

I like the photo you added.

You provide a lot of great ideas for managing a vacation on a budget. Really smart stuff. One thing I found worked really well for my family while on vacation was to allow my daughter to invite a friend to come along. We did this twice, at age 14 and 15. It made my daughter happy, since, as an adolescent, she wasn't so keen on hanging out with mom and dad for a week. In terms of cost, well, I didn't ask the other family directly to pay for their kid. Instead, I knew they would give her spending money, which took some of the pressure off us.

Later in the summer the friend's family reciprocated by asking my daughter to go with them to the beach for a week. There's something to be said for sharing resources—and children.

bananas & Cathy: I'm hoping it will be both heavenly & wonderful! I have no doubt it will be.

NIck: That sounds like a great idea. I know teenagers are more likely to enjoy vacations with a close friend. My daughter is only 3, so I think I'm still safe. ;)

Melanie, that sounds like a great way to take an awesome trip and cut costs. Is splitting the cost of the house rental really a huge saver over a hotel? Love these ideas. Thanks!

Sounds like an awesome vacation! I really like traveling with my family because I only live near one family member, my sister, and I don't get to see the rest of my family nearly enough. We have made a couple joint trips, once to Las Vegas, and it worked pretty smoothly both times.

These are some really great ideas, Melanie. We've gone on a few extended-family vacations, and while there are definitely pros and cons to that, you really can save quite a bit of money.

And the Hawaii trip? Sounds awesome!

Sarah: Yes. Hotel room would be cost per night times 6/7 nights times 3 rooms since there's 3 families. The house has 3 rooms, so when split 3 ways we're each spending the equivalent of maybe 3 hotel nights. Plus, it has a kitchen AND washer/dryer.

Lynnie: It will be nice to get together like this. My brother lives in another state, so it's definitely good to share this vacation with him.

Katrina: You're right, there are some ups AND downs, but overall I think we'll be fine. And, Hawaii WAS awesome. LOL

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