How to mini-Vacation on a Shoestring Budget: We did it in Dayton


Last week was our daughter’s spring break and we were all itching to get out of TOLEDO!! Since a long family vacation wasn’t in our budget we instead did a mini-vacation and you can too!! Here is how…..

1. Location: Plan your trip around family and/or friends.  You know that friend of yours that moved a few years back and she has always been bugging you to visit and stay with them but you feel like your family would be an imposition? Or, maybe your sister or brother just relocated and could use the company?  Kindly accept their offer, it is really easy, repeat after me, “Yes, we would love to visit”. We stayed with my sister in Dayton.

My sis: "Of course you guys can stay at my place...." I am so blessed.

2. Set ground rules for your stay. Express to your friend or family any specific that need to be followed during your visit such as nap time, food budget, avoiding souvenir traps, bedtime, etc. But do remember to have this discussion in a kind manner, after all, they are providing a place for your family to stay during the duration of your visit.   Also, do not be demanding, be appreciative and kind.  Bring your own towels, linens, food, etc. then be grateful for any towels, linens, etc. that are provided.  Do bring a small thank you gift for your friend/family, a nice bottle of wine, something from your home town is known for (glass figurine or chocolate) or something your friend/family enjoys.

3. Travel: Keep the travel short and sweet when possible.  Try to minimize your travel trip to a location that doesn’t require more than one days travel. Also, if you will be traveling in the car all day locate a park at the halfway point for children to run around and blow off some steam (you will be happy you did so once back in the car).

4. Means of transportation for travel: Gasoline prices are ridiculous so in order to keep our trip within our budget I swapped cars with my hubby.  He stayed in town for work and drove around in the Yukon while I took the kiddos on our trip to Dayton in his Cadillac.  True, the Yukon has so much more space and it also has a DVD player but it guzzles up the gas.  So, instead of using $80 for gas I only spent $45. And since we wouldn’t have the DVD player the kiddos were each allowed to pick out a Playaway View from the library as entertainment for the travel (these are FREE as long as you return them on time).  We also played a few games and sang some songs along the way.

5. Food: Traveling can make fast food very tempting, it is at every exit/rest area and it is convenient.  Sure grabbing a bag and unwrapping dinner, passing it around, and tossing the trash back in the bag is convenient and requires no pre-trip preparation.  However when traveling on a shoestring frequent fast food stops can quickly add up and so does the cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium. So, for your wallet and heart’s sake steer clear of fast food. Instead pack snacks and meals for the family before you hit the road.  Remember to bring a cooler for any perishable foods. For our trip I packed my version of a kid’s happy meal.

I made PB & J sandwiches; packed carrots, juice box, napkin, and fun Easter candy treat in Easter buckets.  The buckets not only contained crumbs and trash but the kiddos thought it was so special and fun.  I ate carrots and an apple while I drove, both are eating while driving friendly foods. Also, go through your pantry and refrigerator and pack food for your vacation.  Milk, OJ, cereal, fruit, veggies, PB, Jelly, bread, Coffee, and pretzels are my go to foods.  Try to limit the food you purchase while on the trip but you are on vacation so be sure to budget in a splurge for dinner one night, a snack another, and of course a coffer or two or even a glass of wine for mom and dad.  When dinning out at a restaurant with the entire family it is wise to discuss your budget with your children before you enter the restaurant.  If everyone gets water you are already saving money right off the bat.  One of the best options for dinning out with the entire family is pizza.  On our trip we ate dinner at a local pizza establishment and the large pizzas were only $13.  Or, if pizza isn’t your forte splitting entrees is another great idea when vacationing and if you eat your dinner earlier you can usually get the lunch price.

6. Attractions:  Seek out local attractions that are free such as mega playgrounds like the one our kiddos enjoyed in Dayton. 

Ask around, the locals are always eager to share all the wonderful attractions their town/city has to offer.  Like the Yellow Springs Young’s Jersey Dairy Farm we visited…..

 My Three Little Piggys

 

Old McMaxwell had a farm..

These guys reminded me of my kiddos, all they have to say is “ma..ma..ma…

Time for that special treat!!

I love the name. 

Yep, that water looks all natural! Our toddler kept trying to jump in, she would have been dyed blue! Remember the movie Meet the Fockers?

I had a tough time taking pictures and running after our toddler…this is one of the girls together, cute photo huh?

Look online to see if there are free museums in the area like the National Museum of the U. S. Air Force.

We just so happened to visit on Family Day. They had a lot of fun activities for the kiddos.

Lastly, checkout your local memberships for reciprocity at other establishments located near you vacationing destination. Our Toledo Zoo Membership got us into Boonshoft Museum of Discovery for FREE!!

7. Mommy Mentality: This is one of the most important tips.  As we all know moms are constantly modeling their behavior for their children and vacation is no exception.  It is important that moms express enthusiasm for the attractions you will be visiting on your trip.  As moms we know the difference between a deluxe vacation and a mini-vacation on a shoestring budget. However moms have the power to make that mini-vacation on a shoestring budget into a deluxe vacation memory.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

So, our grand total for the trip:

Gas- $45

Food/coffee-$40

Entertainment $8 for putt-putt & IMAX tickets $25

Souvenirs- $35

Total= $153

Spending quality time with family and seeing some amazing attractions while making wonderful memories= PRICELESS

So, where have you mini-vacationed? I would love to hear some suggestions for places we should visit in the future. We are trying to decide where to go this summer, tell me about your home town, should it be our next destination mini-vacation?

 

 

 

 

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Categories: Mini-Vacation, Uncategorized

You're off to great places! But do keep in touch!

In the words of Dr. Seuss, You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go. And when you get there take us with you!

7 Comments on “How to mini-Vacation on a Shoestring Budget: We did it in Dayton”

  1. April 18, 2012 at 11:21 pm #

    Hi, I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Please check in at my website for details. Have a great day! http://www.susartandfood.wordpress.com

  2. April 19, 2012 at 12:48 am #

    We mini-vacation to Indianapolis (we are in Chicago) alot. My sister leaves there and we stay with them. We have done everything from visiting a presidential home to heading downtown to see all the Indy 500 pace cars.

    We also hit up Sandusky alot (I grew up there) and there is always a ton of free stuff to do around the lake!

    • April 19, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

      Indianapolis is definitely in the running for our next mini-vacation. It seems like they have something the entire family would enjoy. I know my hubby and son would like seeing the Indy 500 pace cars. Sandusky rules too!! There are so many fun family destinations in Sandusky. Two of our favorites are Cedar Point and Kalahari.
      I am off to research some more fun family attractions in/surrounding Indianapolis. Thank you for sharing your mini-vacation destinations.

  3. April 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Looks like a great time!! And I appreciate the money-saving tips. We did something similar last week on our spring break and drove from Denver to St. Louis and stayed with my brother and family there. A lot of fun hanging out, playing with cousins, cooking out/drinking wine, and went to the top of the Arch! Many of the attractions (zoo, museums, etc.) in St. Louis are *free* Thanks for sharing!

    • April 19, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

      That sounds like a lovely spring break. I have always wanted to go to St. Louis. I hope your family treasures the memories. Thank you for visiting this blog and sharing your mini-vacation with me, it means a lot to me.

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