Thanks to some leftover garage sale money and picking up some extra subbing jobs, we pulled together enough money to pay for gas to and from Southern California and discounted Disneyland tickets for our last minute one year anniversary trip. Disneyland in the fall is a wonderful pumpkin filled event (we went mid-October). I was most excited about The Haunted Mansion that gets decorated as The Nightmare Before Christmas. Giddy you might say… We stood in line with all the other crying children to meet Mickey... The next day we headed out for a “reenactment” day of our engagement…we had KFC for lunch (like our engagement)… We had a picnic in the park… And then visited the lighthouse where we got engaged at… The lighthouse is absolutely stunning and the landscaping was even more lush than the first time…One year and three months later, still glad I said yes… We then visited a cool monument just across the street… Fall weather in so-cal is just lovely… Then we ended the wonderful day at the beach…something about ocean water that makes my nose and toes so happy… We tried some action shots…We were a little off… It was pretty hilarious to try to time our jumps while splashing in the waves…But we finally got a good one… We stayed with some family while we were there to cut costs, so it was fun to also spend some time with them…we ate at a tasty little southern place…Southern California is as southern as we are able to get for now…one day we will experience real southern food…So how did we pull off a frugal vacation? Well there are plenty of websites we read on how to take your family to Disneyland under $200 but here are our personal tips…1. Visit places in driving distance: we really wanted to go to an all inclusive resort in the Caribbean and found some really fabulous deals. But it was the flight cost that kept us from being able to afford it. Find a place you have never been to or revisit a place you love all within driving distance.
2. Bring your own food: we ate pb&j on the way down, at disneyland, and on the way home. We also brought along cereal and snacks. Our lovely family treated us to dinner so our only cost for food was KFC, a cheap dinner at Disneyland, a bag of Dorritos and a 7-11 slurpee on the road. We could have even saved more by packing more food but we allowed ourselves a small food budget. It was interesting to observe other family’s at Disneyland doing the same thing…surely a family with five children need to pack their own lunch. Oh, the things I am beginning to notice and learn as a married woman…back when we were dating we bought whatever we wanted to eat! 3. Go places that are free: Besides Disneyland, the beach, lighthouse, and bell were all free. Even free parking…which is rare at many beaches.
4. Make free memories/take lots of pictures: If we did not have our camera or video camera, our trips would be a lot shorter. Taking pictures is it’s own form of entertainment and can take up quite a lot of time if you make it fun…like our beach photos…And how do I get so many wonderful pictures of me and the husband when it is just the two of us? Tripod or creative camera placement. We didn’t lug the tripod around Disneyland so we placed it on top of our camera bag on top of the trash can…they have lots of flat ones at Disneyland. We also occasionally ask people to take our pictures but I am picky (and don’t like asking strangers for things) so I prefer to set up the camera myself. My annoying camera ways used to be a problem when we were dating, but years later my husband has gotten used to it and enjoys it as well!
5. Stay with hospitable people: It was not a romantic weekend of alone time…we had that at home the weekend before. We stayed with family but still had plenty of time to ourselves. By making time to spend with each other at home, we were able to enjoy getting away to do something fun and also enjoy spending time with others we do not get to see very often. It helps to also know people who live in fabulous places such as Long Beach.
How do you save money on vacations?