Monday, March 7, 2011

Saving Money on Vacations

When Squiggy was extremely sick, I told Todd that we needed to get away when the pigster was better, just the two of us.  We didn’t expect Squiggy would pass on us after three weeks of trying to nurse him back to health.

We tend to go away in May every year for our anniversary.  May is the time when we are completely sick of Ohio weather, and need to go someplace and forget about everything we are dealing with.

I wanted to go do something with Todd this month, and we may, but we are not able to make a long journey due to our schedules at work and meetings I have to attend.  I may take a Friday or Monday off that Todd has off, and we may go to Amish Country where we got married in 2007. 

At this point, we are looking for an extended weekend vacation.  I was thinking about someplace warmer than NorthEast Ohio, but not too far away so that we don’t have to spend the week.  Todd and I really enjoy forests, rocks, and scenery.  I noticed that there was the Monongahela National Forest within 4 hours driving distance from where we live in Elkins, WV.

I then went to my go-to place to look for affordable cabins in the area. We have stayed at two different cabins from this website and had nothing but great experiences.  One was on top of a mountain in Gatlinburg, TN.  The other was a week in Lancaster, PA in a cottage that a Mennonite family owned, right in the middle of Amish country.  I smile just thinking about the horse and buggy that went by daily, the fresh milk, eggs, yogurt and granola and the cows that would look through the windows from across the street. We want to go there again, we had such a great time (and we generally have a rule that we don’t want to go anywhere twice; we want to experience NEW things together.)

Since Squiggy has passed, Todd has latched on to Lana. I’m not saying that he didn’t love Lana before, but he is really attached to her now. He wants to take her everywhere with us all of a sudden whereas before, he wanted her to stay with Squiggy. After all, we got her to be Squiggy’s companion.  That being said, he wants to take Lana with us on vacation.

We had a pig-sitter for when we went away when we had Squiggy.  My mom gave us Squiggy within months of marriage, so everyplace we went, we had to schedule the sitter.  It wasn’t cheap either.  We had her come twice a day to feed and play with Squiggy.  She loved Squiggy, and Squiggy loved her.* 

Now that we have a mobile animal we can take with us, I started looking at cabins that are pet-friendly.  I found one that is on 46 acres of secluded woods, has a fenced in back yard AND has a large crate for when we are out of the cabin.  How perfect is that?  The price of the cabin is not bad either, $111/night after tax.  The cabin has 3 bedrooms, a large porch, a hot tub, grill, all utensils, bedding, etc.  We need to arrive with clothes and Lana.

I’m not sure why I started looking at cabins instead of hotels, but let me tell you, even though we are paying just a LITTLE BIT more per night for the cabin, we have the cabin all to ourselves.  We have all the amenities that we would have at home (plus a hot tub which is a treat for us.)  We don’t have to pack as many clothes because we can wash them in the washer and dryer at the facility.  We prepare our meals at the cabin, saving us money!  If we go out to eat, it is usually for lunch, which is at a lower rate. And now, with taking Lana, we are saving $13/day on the cost of a kennel.  Also, on a trip like this, we will most likely do a lot of hiking (with Lana,) which means we may be having a sandwich for lunch at a park.  Many of the activities are free, including museums and trails.  Not to mention historical towns (I love old towns and antique stores!) 

There is ONE frivolous thing I am looking into doing while on this trip, and that is a train ride.  When Todd and I were on our honeymoon, we went on a train ride through the Yukon Territory while we were in Alaska.  We had a blast, and every trip we go on, it seems we go on some sort of train ride.  We may do so in the Monongahela National Forest, or we may just cheap out and skip the ride this time around.  We’ll see. ((Side Note: I asked Todd about the train and he said he'd prefer to save the money and just hike on trails.))

All I know is that it is always fun to experience new things, take in the sights, and enjoy our time together. 

What do you do to save on vacations?

*It may sound as if Squiggy was a pain, he wasn’t.  He just wasn’t mobile.  If we had to pay a sitter triple every time we went away, I would…just to have him back again.  

1 comment:

  1. You do know you will have to take the chicks somewhere to be cared for? I hope? They won't be able to survive with only someone coming a few times a day. Well, I would be afraid for mine. Does your dog mind well enough not to run off into the woods where snakes, bears, and poison oak/ivy live? I guess I am being a worry-wart.

    Save on vacation? My last vacation was in 1982, and my sister got free rooms for ten days in Florida because she worked for Holiday Inn. We ate dinner out and lunches and breakfast in room or in car as we traveled.