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Vacation on a Budget March 28, 2011

Posted by frizzybaker in Adventures, Uncategorized.

If you followed my spring break trip, you’ll see that Kevin and I had a fabulous time. . . and on a budget! Everyone is tightening their belt these days but you can still have a relaxing 5-day vacation (in the Keys) for as little a $800 (which is what we did)!

Total Estimated Expenses: $834.29
Total Actual Expenses: . . .

Here are a couple of tips to keep things inexpensive

1. CAMP!
The campground rent was $42.75/night and included electrical hook-up, grill, hot shower house, and laundry facilities – all in the comfort of our own tent. If camping is something you enjoy, I highly recommend it. We were also fortunate that there was a Publix and K-Mart within a short walking distance. 

Total Actual Cost: $42.75x4nights = $171.00

2. Stay with friends:
Spend the night with friends. We had a friend in Fort Lauderdale which a) broke up the drive, b) provided a free place to crash, and c) we got to hang out with an awesome couple! This is a win-win situation.

Total Actual Cost: 1 night = free!

3. Drive the most gas-effecient car:
With gas prices sky-rocketing to almost $4.oo/tank, driving is not cheap. . . unless you have a car which averages a 34-38 miles/gallon, a pleasent suprise to us! We estimated a total of distance of 1200 miles on 28 miles/gallon with gas averaging $3.60.

Total estimated cost: $154.20 + $25.00 (toll roads) = 179.20.
Actual Cost: $128.00 + $20.00 = $148.62.
A difference of $30.58
in savings!

4. Pack things to eat:
We broke each day into breakfast, lunch, and dinner x 5 days.
I knew Day 1 we would be eating at our friend’s house, so I packed homemade oatmeal for Days 2-5. I also packed tea for me in the morning 🙂
For lunches, we brought a loaf of bread, packaged tuna fish, and peanut butter. For side items I planned apples, banannas, carrots, chips and cookies. I didn’t count this into the budget because these are things we would normally eat during the week at home.
We planned to go out three of the 5 nights and cook on the grill for the remaining two.

Total estimated food expenses: $200
Actual Food expenses: $125.30
which included trips to publix

as well as three dinners out.
We saved 74.70!

This is an area I feel that splurging is acceptable. I’m not going to drive 1200 miles and not do anything! However, with a little planning in advance, there are some great deals for off-season travelers, coupons available to first-time customers, and discounts for students 😉

Total Estimated Price: 284.00

Activity #1. First, we stopped by the Everglades which was $10 for entry and $16 to rent a kayak for two hours. http://www.nps.gov/ever/index.htm

Total Actual Cost: $26.00

Activity #2. In Key Largo we took a 4 hour boat and snorkel tour to see the coral reef. This was worth the cost! www.keysdiver.com

Total Acutal Cost: 77.29

Acitivty #3. In Key West, we took a 4-hour snorkel and kayaking adventure in the backcountry. This was the best activity we participated in and has received many media accolades! http://lazydog.com/index.php/kayaking

Total Actual Cost: 129

Activity #4. While we were in Key West, we decided to use our student discount and see a play! We got 1/2 price tickets! (I know I am not a student, but my husband is and I look like I am 16 so it counts!) www.waterfrontplayhouse.org

Total Actual Cost: 50.00

Activity #5. Our last day in Key Largo, we went to John Pennekamp State Park. We swam, hiked on the trails, and educated ourselves in their tiny musem. Well worth the whopping $8.00 entry cost. http://www.pennekamppark.com/

Total Estimated Cost: $280
Total Actual Cost: (26+77.20+129+50+8)
= $290.29
We were in the red by $10.29


Total Estimated Expenses = $834.29
Total Actual Expenses =$735.21

But wait! I forgot to mention our unexpected expenses. We were suckered into paying $32.00 for parking in Key West. 😦 Luckily this didn’t hurt our budget, but my advice to you is to plan for life’s unexpected twists and turns (unexpected ticket, unexpected hotel purchase, unexpected car break down, ect).

Total Estimated Expenses: $834.29
Total Actual Expenses: $767.21

I hope this helps you all when planning your next vacation! Enjoy it!



1. Nicole @ Yuppie Yogini - March 28, 2011

This is awesome! I tweeted it bc I’m sure lots of people would be interested in cheaper traveling ideas.

2. TAMMY - March 30, 2011


frizzybaker - March 31, 2011

that’s what my HUBBY should do – he did the whole budget. maybe that is his calling and not psychology 😉

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