Posted by Tim Stobbs on July 18, 2014
Well sorry folks if I haven’t got back to your comments lately, I’ve been on vacation for a few weeks and I am just getting caught up. You have to love the schedule feature of WordPress to allow your friendly blogger take a break once in a while. Anyway unlike last year’s epic month long vacation that cost $7500 we decided to do all our planning around a request from my oldest son….can we go camping this year?
After last year I was sort of looking to go a bit more low key anyway, so camping nicely fit the bill. So we bundled that with a visit to my mother-in-law and went camping afterwards in Banff for five nights. There we hiked daily (25 km in total), enjoyed great food and roasted lots of marshmallows. I can also state for the record that the top foot of the lake we went swimming in was tolerable but below that was down right arctic (which felt great on a +28C day). Then to round it out we had a wedding to attend during last weekend in Saskatoon where we literally let the kids dance until they dropped.
Unlike last year we actually only spent one night in a hotel, so our overall costs were much cheaper. In fact we just broke the $1100 mark for a two week trip or $78/day for a family of four. So how do you keep your costs in the basement for a vacation? Well here are a few of my ideas.
- Alternative Accommodations – Avoid spending too much time in hotels, they can add up really fast for your costs. So try staying with friends, family or camping or if you plan to spend a while in a given spot perhaps look into a short term rental. I’ve also hear of people using Air BnB and house exchanges with some luck.
- Cook Your Own Meals (some of the time) – Our eating out in Banff consisted of Cows Ice Cream (twice). That’s it. Otherwise we found the grocery store and cooked our own meals. To make things easy we prepared as much as the food as possible so most of the time I was putting something in a pot or fry pan and heating it up to eat. Then we obvious ate out when on the road and we took out some friends for breakfast one day.
- Do Free Things – We had a great time in Banff by balancing doing some fun paid things like the upper hot springs and then going to the beach or a hike (which didn’t cost any extra beyond the park entrance fee). We also attended several shows at our campsite where you got to learn more about the wildlife of the park.
Yet despite the cost savings I didn’t feel like we were being cheap ever on the trip. We all had a great time and came back to the house tanned, happy and relaxed. Also I tend to know we rotate between big trips and little ones so I don’t mind the low cost years as I know we will do something big again in the future.
So what are you doing for you summer vacation this year?