As you know, I’ve been saving money every month towards Universal Studio tickets for a mini vacation this week over the Thanksgiving holiday. I requested and was approved to work remotely for two days this week (Tuesday and Wednesday,) and have hotel points for three nights. These are my frugal vacation tips for making this trip work within our existing budget…for the most part!
Should I Cancel the Trip?
After I found out about my job situation, I did contemplate cancelling the trip, but decided that I really need this break. We left Monday night after work and drove down. It’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders already. While I had to work yesterday and today, the feeling of freedom prevails and let’s me breathe a bit after the overwhelming amount of stress I’ve been under. (I also have to work in the wee hours Friday morning and Sunday morning to administer all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday digital content even though technically the corporate office is closed.)
Without further ado, we are ON VACATION and I couldn’t be more happy to be here. Here’s what I have done to minimize the costs and keep this trip from impacting our monthly budget too much:
- Gas – there will be no impact for the cost of this travel on our budget because the difference between the miles driven to FL versus driving to Gymnast’s training 4 days a week is minimal.
- Hotel – we split the trip down into 2 days because I was wiped from starting work at 3am on Monday (another midnight web flip.) I had to pay for one night in the midway hotel. The rest of our trip nights are covered by hotel and credit card points. Cost $98
- Food – I went to Dollar General before we left home and bought a ton of snacks and drinks. And we have saved the bulk of our typical $400-600 grocery budget so we can eat out at some fun places. In addition,
- Our breakfast is free at our hotel;
- The kids have been told we will be drinking water at every meal out; and
- Our favorite method of saving money while trying cool places is the Appetizer and Dessert meal.
- Entertainment – I have saved the money for Universal. And we have some movies we would all like to see. The kids all know that any entertainment is on them, out of their allowance. They can choose to participate or not. Other than that, we are enjoying sleeping in, wandering around City Walk and just goofing off.
Chosen Family – Our Old Nannies
On a personal note, the little kids’ nannies (3 sisters from the same family) all now live in Orlando. They have been part of our lives since Princess was born 13 years ago. We are hoping to get to see them while we are here.
The oldest sister began with us after I returned to work after my maternity leave (was still working in the corporate world then.) The next sister took over two years later when the eldest got married (Princess was in her wedding.) Then the third sister took over when the middle sister left for college, and she was with us through the birth of her two kids and even when the twins arrived 6 years ago. (When the twins first arrived, I could not leave them alone with the younger two, so I always had to have a baby sitter for them for those first couple of years if I had to leave.)
Do you have special family or as I call it chosen family you will see this holiday season? Because I am not really close to my immediate family, my chosen family which is quite abundant plays a big role in our lives. I think it’s made it easier as well being a blended family / foster / adoptive family to see those not related by blood as important members of our family.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Whether you cook, go to someone’s house or go out to eat like we do, enjoy the time you have with your loved ones!