Anthony and I are really (read: really really) trying to save money for our future farm.
[source]Note – if you haven’t checked out Richard’s stunningly written blog, and you like what I have to say at all, check it out! He’ll make you laugh and ponder, which is exactly why I read blogs in the first place.
So, while we really wanted to take a trip, we also wanted to not blow our budget. That being said, Anthony and I are both foodies, love adventure, and trying new things. So, here is what we did to help us save some money, while still enjoying our time. Note: I am not saying “this is the most cost effective way to travel” – we wanted to feel like we splurged a bit, so we tried to cut costs in ways we wouldn’t notice.
- Give travel/vacations as a gift to each other – or yourself, of course! I gave Anthony the gift of this trip for his birthday, and then volunteered to have it be a gift for my birthday as well. Considering we would have spent at least $150 per person on each others birthdays, by giving each other the gift of this travel as our present instead, we A) saved $300, no sweat, B) didn’t buy stuff we didn’t need, and C) had a treasured time celebrating each other, as well as enjoying the vacation.
- Take short vacations. Studies have shown that short vacations taken more frequently are more enjoyable than one long one. It’s also often more cost effective. We found a great three night package that included a free tour, free breakfasts, and free ferry transfer to the island.
- Pack your own snacks. We packed a huge bag filled with carrots, cucumbers, fruit, celery, salsa, chicken liver pate (recipe to come soon!) 3 bottles of soda water, a bottle of wine, and nuts. We didn’t want to be held hostage, buying $7 an ounce macadamias, when we could use our own. We also wanted only to get booze we wouldn’t normally have at home, not a run of the mill glass of wine. This way, we didn’t waste money on unhealthy and unnecessary snacks, and we enjoyed our cocktails even more, as they were special and unique.
- Share your meals. Ant and I both love eating out at nice restaurants – it was one of our favorite hobbies in New York. It’s also a great way to break a budget. The hotel had a very special – and not inexpensive – restaurant specializing in local foods, and we wanted to indulge (and we did, twice!) To make it more affordable, we shared everything (except the home baked bread, which was a treat just for Ant.) We shared one appetizer and two mains, which saved us the cost of an appetizer, and desert.
- Choose your indulgences. If you notice above, we skipped desert. Part of this is because, well, I haven’t had sugar in 8 years so it doesn’t hold too much appeal, but also because Anthony decided he’d rather have a fun cocktail than desert. Often we look at vacations as an excuse to splurge and totally indulge, and then get the bill at the end (both in health and wallet.) Instead, we looked at the trip as a way to splurge wisely, and it made all the difference.
- Bonus, if perhaps a bit more uncouth: Borrow from the buffets. We had free breakfast buffets, and Saturday night dinner buffet. I’m not saying we did this, but if we did, we would have taken our tupperware (see point 3!) and perhaps, subtly, filled those with roasted vegetables, nuts, and some apples to have as a nice (and ‘free’) lunch. (I do figure, if they are charging a theoretical $25 for breakfast (even included, you still pay for it!), you might as well get your money’s worth). I’m not saying it’s a good idea, but it certainly would have cut costs…if we had been silly enough to do such a thing. What are your tips for saving money on vacation? What are your favorite splurges?