Living in the great state of Minnesota, winters sometimes seem endless. Arctic blasts like we had recently — where the daytime high was -22°F — make it almost unbearable.
For the past few years, our family’s taken a midwinter vacation to get a break from the winter blahs. There’s a tourist destination a few hours away that is known for hotels with huge indoor water parks. This provides us with a very summer-like environment during a very winter-like season.
Unfortunately, with the holiday season just coming to a close, we don’t have a whole lot of extra funds lying around for a vacation. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way; and we found several ways to bring down the cost of the vacation and make it fit within our budget.
Here are four ways to have an inexpensive midwinter vacation with your family:
1. Travel during the off-season
Not only does taking off in the middle of winter give us a nice break from the weather, but it’s also off-season for tourist locations — which means the hotel prices are half what they’d be in the summer. Also, there are several days towards the end of January when the kids don’t have school, so we try to have as many of our vacation days fall in the middle of the week when prices are lowest.
2. Travel as a group
There are actually five families that go on our midwinter adventure. For the same price we’d pay to each have our own cramped hotel room, we pool our money and rent a five-bedroom multilevel condo. Each family has their own bedroom and bathroom in addition to a shared kitchen, living room, and recreation room.
3. Make your own meals
Eating out while on vacation is super expensive, especially at tourist destinations. We utilize the kitchen in our condo by having each family sign up for a meal during our stay. Each family only has to plan and cook one meal, and we all save a ton of money on food.
4. Bring your own entertainment
We’ll spend most of the day at the water park, but during the evening time, we’ll make full use of the condo. The kids bring along their video game consoles, and we bring along board games and cards.
Here’s a breakdown of the budget for our vacation:
- Accommodations (three nights including water park and indoor amusement park access): $600
- Gas (one tank): $65
- Food, drinks, and snacks: $150
- Incidentals (three days): $150
Not bad for a four-day, three-night vacation for a family of four!
Do you take a midwinter vacation? Our trip isn’t for another week — do you have any additional tips to save us even more?
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