We're back! Vacation #3 (and all 3 happened in July; best month ever!) is in the books and I'm totally wishing I could rewind life to a week ago instead of having to go back to work. Siiiigh.
We left early last Friday morning to get to Boston. We spent the afternoon and evening exploring the city and stayed in a hotel overnight with the bf's parents.
Early Saturday morning we hit the road again to go to Cape Cod! We spent the week in a little cottage community in Cape Cod with some of the boyfriend's (maybe I should start calling him by his real name? Okay his name is Mike) family/extended family.
This vacation was epic because Mike's parents paid for everything. Seriously, they are awesome. So it was a very cheap trip for us. But we still spent a bit here and there and were able to perfect a few more of our money saving tips.
#1. Bring alcohol. If this is going to be that kind of vacation, be prepared. Brainstorm in advance what kinds of drinks you'd like to bring. When we took a long weekend trip to Dewey beach with 4 of our friends, we knew there would be (a lot) of alcohol consumption. To avoid having to buy all our drinks at the bar, we brought a handle of gin and some sodas as mixers. It was a total success! We each had a few drinks before heading out and it really helped to curb our spending at the bar.
#2. Walk everywhere you possibly can. If you can walk somewhere, WALK! Yeah, it may take a little longer than driving or taking a cab, but it will save you so much money. Our first night at Dewey, we took a cab to the bar. It cost $7. Turns out it was less than a mile walk from our hotel! We could have saved the $7 and gotten 15 minutes of exercise if we had just realized that fact ahead of time.
#3. Parking. I've said it before, but parking is really one of those things you MUST research in advance of your trip. The new thing I experienced this past week was mini-trips while we were on our big trip. We were staying in Cape Cod with the boyfriend's family, but decided to take a few day trips to other locations while we were there. Since we were in vacation mode already (read: very lazy), we didn't take the time to do our normal "free parking + [city name]" google search, so the places where we parked all ended up costing $10-$15. But I'm 100% sure that we could have found something free and just walked (see tip #2) a few blocks more!
#4. Stay somewhere with a kitchen. Do you know how much you can save if you vacation somewhere where you have access to a kitchen? Ok, I don't really have an exact figure on how much you can save, but I think it's a lot. At the very least, try to find somewhere with a fridge. Instead of having to go out every meal, you can stash some food and prepare it yourself to save mucho dinero. I also really like hotels with continental breakfasts. You better believe I take advantage of every one of those! (I also usually take a snack for later-- like an apple or a yogurt or something. That's probably frowned upon... maybe I shouldn't admit that to the world wide web?)
this was our adorable little kitchen in Cape Cod. We were able to store a ton of food (and drinks) here!
#5. Drink tap water. Bottled water is expensive. Save yourself money by becoming okay with drinking from the tap. Bring a reusable water bottle and fill it at your hotel (I used the bathroom sink faucet) so that you don't have to buy water. This is especially important at the beach. You're going to get super thirsty sitting in the sun all day and buying enough water to keep you hydrated will cost a ton. (you're also saving the environment by not buying plastic bottles, bonus!)
After dinner in boston, we dumped my extra water from our meal in the water bottle. brilliant move since we were walking around in 90+ degree heat!
#6. Pack thoroughly. (alternative title: be less high maintenance.) I forgot to pack a razor for our trip. I didn't want to have hairy legs all vacation so I decided to pop into a CVS in Boston and get a razor. All the ones I wanted to get (I use the fancy ones with 4-5 blades... hi, I'm Ashley and I am high maintenance) were like $10! For a single razor! Unreal. Mike suggested that I get a small pack of those 2-blade CVS brand razors. They were around $1.50 for 3 rather than $10 for 1. So I agreed. And that razor sucked- sooo many nicks, ugh it hurts just thinking about it. But you know what? I survived, and the razors did their job. And I saved $8.50. But lesson learned- triple check that you've packed everything you need!
#7. Make restaurants worth it. If you're going to spend money eating at a restaurant, make sure it's somewhere you really want to go. The two things I really wanted in Cape Cod were a lobster roll and ice cream. We took a recommendation from my cousin on a place to get the lobster roll, and used Yelp to find a very highly rated local ice cream shop. Both of those trips were totally worth it since they were so good! Don't stop in somewhere just because it's there. If you're spending money, make sure you're getting something good.
I also insisted on a stop at Marylou's when I spotted one-- after reading about this coffee all over Tina's blog, I wanted to try for myself! it was as amazing as I could have imagined.
Cake batter ice cream + gummi bears. don't knock it til you try it.
Lobster roll + rice pilaf + clam cakes + cole slaw. Glorious
Moral of the story? I like vacations. Any way I can save money and still vacation is wonderful in my book ;)
Anyone have any other tips? Did you take/will you take any cool vacations this summer?