But it's been manageable. A few reasons to clarify....1) We worked out butts off in the preceding months. 2) All these trips we are driving to. 3) Lake Roosevelt was camping ....doesn't get much cheaper than tents, beer, and hobo meals cooked over the fire! 4) Our Vegas Trip is a kind of a work trip. Ryan is here for pilot training - we are staying at hotel at the Air Force Base Hotel. Our room has 2 twin beds...if that gives you an idea of our "digs" (as least is safe, and only a few miles from the strip)
Many of these tips I'm about to share are kind of "no brainer's" -- but I've found them to be very valuable. So hopefully these can be helpful!
- Find the local gems. We are very fortunate to live in AZ. We are about 7 hours from Las Vegas, 6 hours from San Diego, 4 hours from Mexico (however it's not safe right now so wouldn't risk it), 7 hours from LA, 3-4 hours from Sedona...... Plane tickets are crazy expensive these days! So it's nice to be able to drive.
- When you are within a distance where you're debating, "Should I drive or fly?" -- here are a few things to consider (I did this with my trip to Vegas today)
- Will you be required to drive a distance to get to the airport? How about your flights being hours where you may need to stay in a hotel? Will you need to purchase transportation to get to the airport? How expensive is parking/day?
- How much money will you spend on your luggage fees, eating during the day, etc...
- What kind of time constraints do you have? Do you need to have a flight that leaves after or before a certain time?
- These questions developed me into deciding to drive to Vegas instead of fly.
- Check out Groupon or other deal websites for the area you are visiting. We did this for San Diego a few years ago and got some good restaurant deals
- Save everywhere you can! The little things add up. For example -- breakfast. Now when we travel (even when we fly) -- I make us stop at a grocery store when we arrive so we can get an assortment of healthy snacks to keep in the fridge. I will keep fruit, cliff bars, greek yogurts to have as breakfast. You can end up burning about $20 on breakfast for 2.
- Are you driving to your destination? Instead of stopping at Subway on the way...pack sandwiches or premake salads! I know this sounds super-cheapo of me. But once again, I'd rather save that $$ for vacation fun.
- Research, research, research! I always have a list of the top restaurants, when/where happy hours are happening, good walking/running/hiking trails, and hot spots to see.
- Hit up several different happy hours and order a small appetizer at each place (i.e. in San Diego we did oyster shooters @ one restaurant, shared fish taco at the next, shared a sushi roll at the 3rd) -- You got to try 3 different restaurants, during their discount priced happy hour. This is so much better than ordering one entree at one place!
- Pay with cash. This seriously helps us manage spending and reduces that guilt feeling. Make a budget before your trip, and withdraw your cash -- it takes away the stress of "constantly spending money" on vacation. Then you feel like your trip is already paid for by the time it's started!
- Remember - walking/hiking/running along a beautiful area of your destination is always free!