This past week, the Kiddo and I used one of his last remaining weeks of summer freedom to travel to the Pacific Northwest and visit with family. It was quite possibly the most frugal vacation I've ever had as an adult: in total, we spent $404, including food, transportation, and activities. Not too shabby for a weeklong vacation for two, I'd say.
|Free and spectacular views at Snoqualmie Falls|
Here's a rundown of how we did it, what went well, and what I'll do differently the next time around:
Airfare: We purchased round-trip tickets on Southwest for $203.70. Fortysomething and I both have Southwest credit cards, and given that we've put quite a few hefty purchases on those cards over the last year, we'd racked up a decent number of travel points. It wasn't enough to cover both tickets in full - tickets to Seattle over the summer months are pricy - so I had to buy extra miles to cover the difference.
Lodging: This came out to a grand total of nothing because we stayed with my brother and his family. They graciously opened their beautiful house to us for five full nights. They're the kind of people who love to have people over to their place, and they do their best to make their visitors feel entirely at home and at ease. They're amazing. Crashing with family isn't always an option (plus, not everyone wants their siblings invading their space for days on end), but when it is, it certainly does cut down on expenses.
Activities and food: I budgeted $200 for food and activities. Although I wanted to keep our spending under control, I also wanted to have the flexibility to make a few pricier purchases and treat everyone to a nice dinner, since they were letting us stay at their house and shuttling us all over Seattle. My family was entirely accommodating of our budget and planned plenty of free outdoor excursions. We visited two beaches - Dash Point State Park and Seahurst Park - and Snoqualmie Falls. We hiked on local trails and viewed the Space Needle from the laid-back Alki neighborhood. For low-key activities, we napped, read, and walked the dog around the block.
|Seahurst Park at low tide|
|Views of the Seattle skyline from the Alki neighborhood|
|Vino at Chateau Ste. Michelle|
|There's some Sexy Vegan Tofu beneath that slaw|
|IPA at Odin Brewery|
Still, at the end of the day, our activities and food came in at $200.53 - just a few cents over.
Bottom line: I succeeded in not overspending, but I had a lot of help. Being able to bunk at someone's house cuts costs in a big way. Having a family who respects budget constraints and is creative enough to come up with amazing yet free things to do is also enormously helpful. Accommodating visitors is emotionally and physically draining - even when said guests are as awesome as we are! Ha! - so I can't thank my family enough for their hospitality.