Thursday, June 21, 2012

Disney World Family Vacation on a Budget

And Finally, We Saw the Castle!

One month ago, we took our first family trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  Since this trip was going to cost more than our typical family vacation, we tried to use as many money saving ideas as possible.  We enjoyed our trip and were happy with the results of our money saving ideas. 

We opted to drive rather than fly in order to save money.  It was about a fourteen hour drive for us.  We used two days to drive to Orlando and used points we had earned and purchased to stay for only $11 at a Quality Inn for one night.  Once we arrived at our destination, we stayed 7 nights and then drove straight home (which was rough!)  We spent one day at Magic Kingdom, one day at Hollywood Studios, one day at Animal Kingdom, one day at Sea World and a few hours at Typhoon Lagoon.    

Silver Lake Resort Condo in Kissimmee, FL
Living Room of Our Condo
We booked our trip online through a travel service that sold time share packages.  We stayed at Silver Lake Resort in Kissimmee.  We received all the promised tickets after attending the time share presentation.  We loved the resort and our condo was perfect!  As expected, the time share presentation was a little difficult especially while trying to keep our two little ones entertained.

We purchased four certificates before leaving home for two restaurants in Orlando and two in Kissimmee.  We used three of the four on our trip.  Overall, we were happy with the restaurants and the savings.  In the future, we will most likely just purchase certificates for the Kissimmee area since that seemed to be more convenient.  We did save a little on those meals, but also found it was a great chance to tip more generously!  We also took advantage of a Kids Eat Free meal at IHOP. 
We did take soda, milk and snacks into the Disney Parks.  I purchased a couple of cute Igloo cooler bags from Kroger that worked perfectly and fit well in our stroller.  We did save a lot by not having to purchase drinks or snacks in the parks.  We tried to avoid eating at the parks when at all possible.  We also used our own stroller rather than paying to rent a stroller from the parks.

Our total cost for our trip was around $2,800.  However, we did splurge on a princess makeover at Downtown Disney which cost about $200.  So, it is possible to take a family vacation on a budget at Disney World! 

One of the Parades at Disney

Monday, May 7, 2012

Almost Time for Disney

In a couple weeks, we will be heading to Orlando, FL for our next family vacation.  We are very excited!  This will be our first trip as a family to Disney World and Sea World.  This is also our first trip where we have planned carefully to try to limit our expenses.  We started planning in February for our trip in May.  We have always dreamed of going to Disney World but did not expect to go this soon.  We thought we would wait until our kids were a little older.  There were a couple reasons that we decided to go this year.
1) We are staying at a time share and feel like we are getting a good deal.  The total is much cheaper than what we expected for a trip to Disney World.
2)  Our youngest is 2 and is free to Disney World and SeaWorld which is saving us a couple hundred dollars.

There are a few other things that we have planned to save money while on our trip.
1) We used points that we had earned through Choice Hotels reward program to pay for most of the cost of a hotel room to spend the night on our way to Orlando.
2)  We are planning to drive straight home after our trip without spending the night.
3)  We purchased several vouchers from for restaurants in the Orlando area to try to reduce the amount of a few of our nicer meals.
4)  We are going to take lunches and snacks with us into the parks at Disney World.
5)  We are taking our own stroller instead of renting a stroller.
6)  We are loaded down with restaurant coupons and will try to use those when possible.
7)  The tickets that we purchased for Sea World come with either Free Meals for the day or a second visit to the park.  We are going to take the Free Meals option.
8)  We plan on eating at Steak and Shake on the weekend since kids eat free on the weekends.  (That is the promotion that runs in our state, so as long as that is true, we will eat there.)  We will keep our eyes open for any other restaurant promotions for Free Kids Meals.
9)  The place we are staying has a full kitchen, so we will buy groceries for our breakfast and may possibly cook our own meals a couple times.
10) Our time share promotion came with a Kids Eat Free card that is accepted at various restaurants in the area. We will use that when possible.

Most importantly, we are planning on having a great time!  We can't wait to see the smiles on our children's faces!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lodging Help for Family Vacations on a Budget

Have you decided on your family vacation destination, but haven't figured out where to stay?  If your family is like ours, we really prefer to stay somewhere where we have a little more space than a standard hotel room.  We also enjoy having a kitchen.  It just seems to make our vacation a little more relaxing.  If so, Vacation Rentals By Owner may be for you.  This is a site where you can find homes to rent while on your vacation.  I have not personally booked lodging through this site, however I know people who have used it and were happy with their lodging.  This is a good place to start if you know your destination for  your family vacations on a budget, but are unsure where to stay.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Family Vacations on a Budget - St Louis, MO

Have you ever been to St. Louis, MO?  This city is full of things to do for family vacations on a budget.  We love the St. Louis Zoo.  Admission is FREE.  However, there are several things to do within the zoo that have admission costs and you must pay for parking in the zoo lots.  We have been to several other zoos and this one is really good compared to some of those.  Other good places for families are the City Museum, Science Center,and Grant's Farm.  General admission is FREE to the Science Center but there are admission prices for some of the attractions.  Admission is also FREE to Grant's Farm, but there is a parking fee.  These attractions are just a few of the available things to do in St. Louis.  With some attractions not charging admission fees, it is possible to take fun family vacations on a budget to St. Louis.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ideas for Family Vacations on a Budget

Are you having a difficult time deciding where to go for your family vacations on a budget?  Here are a few places that we have enjoyed on our family vacations.

1.) Branson, MO

2.) Gatlinburg, TN

3.) Chattanooga, TN

4.) Estes Park, CO

Monday, March 26, 2012

Try for Family Vacations on a Budget is currently offering $25 gift certificates for $2 when you use code BLOOM at checkout.  If you know where you are going on your next family vacations on a budget, you could save some cash on meals by purchasing several gift certificates to use on your trip.  The code is valid through 3/31.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ideas for Making Family Vacations on a Budget Possible

Vacations are a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with your family.  However, any type of trip seems to take quite a bit of money.  If your family doesn't have a lot of extra money, this can be a major source of stress during your family vacation.  If this is this case, try these tips when planning your family vacations on a budget.

1) Select a location that is within a couple hours of driving from your home.
2) Take snacks and meal items with you for the drive.
3) Be creative in your selection of a place to stay and meals.
4) Pick one or two activities that your family really wants to do that you will have to pay for and then try to find a few free things to do.
5) Limit the length of your vacation to 2 or 3 nights.
6) Spend a little time relaxing at your hotel or wherever you decide to stay.

Remember, the most important part of family vacations on a budget is enjoying your family.