Vacationing in an exotic location is a distant dream for some of us. For those who are fortunate enough to live in such places, it’s an everyday thing.
If you have friends and relatives who live on an island paradise or other popular vacation spot, the thought of going to visit them has probably crossed your mind. But you can’t just invite yourself, can you? That depends on your relationship with them.
When it comes to immediate family such as parents and siblings, inviting yourself to visit may be perfectly acceptable. If you were a tight-knit family when you were living with them, chances are they’ll have no qualms in letting you stay in their homes as long as you ask ahead of time. Popping in without notice could be an issue, though.
More distant relatives may or may not like the idea of hosting you and your family. If they’re ones you’ve talked to on a regular basis for years, asking to stay might be okay. If not, it could come off as too presumptuous.
With friends, asking to stay is a bit of a judgment call. Only you know how close your friendship is. But even with close friends, it can be hard to predict how they might react to you asking to spend a few nights under their roof.
One possible solution when you’re unsure how a friend or family member will react is to ask indirectly. Instead of calling and saying “Hey, can I stay with you?”, try giving them a call and casually mentioning that you’re considering vacationing in their neck of the woods and asking if they know any good, inexpensive hotels. They might just offer to let you stay without having to ask! If they do not, it’s probably safe to assume that they are not agreeable to the idea.
Etiquette When Staying With Friends or Relatives on Vacation
If you are lucky enough to find a friend or relative to stay with, it’s important to be gracious. By being a good houseguest, you leave the door open for visits in the future.
It’s important to spend some time with your friend or relative once you arrive. If you don’t, he may feel hurt and used. So spend some time hanging out at the house together. Invite your host to dinner or a club, and pay his way. You could even ask if he would like to visit local attractions with you. People who live near vacation spots often do not take the time to enjoy them like those who live elsewhere, so he might just take you up on it.
Don’t forget to offer to reciprocate. Let your host know that if he wants to visit your area, he can stay with you. He might want to come and visit friends and family back home sometime, and you can return the favor.
Staying with friends and relatives in exotic places is a great way to save on vacation expenses. As long as you are gracious and don’t overstay your welcome, it can be fun for all involved.
Frugal Camping Fun
When it comes to frugal vacation ideas, camping is hard to beat. Roughing it is much cheaper than traveling to a destination and shelling out for activities and accommodations. It’s a great way to spend real quality time with the family.
There are some expenses associated with camping. In fact, if you’re not careful, you can end up spending much more than you bargained for. Here are some tips to help keep camping expenses to a minimum.
* Invest in a good tent. You can find cheap tents with ease, but you get what you pay for. Spending the money to get a quality tent that’s big enough for your needs is wise. As long as you take good care of it you won’t have to replace it as soon, so you’ll be much better off in the long run.
* Seek out free camping spots. If you have friends or family members who are landowners, you might be able to talk them into letting you camp out on their property instead of renting space at a campground.
* Bring along plenty of food. You can eat very inexpensively when you go camping, but only if you avoid making runs for fast food and takeout.
* Be sure to store your food properly. A large, well insulated cooler is a must for keeping perishable food and drinks cold. Other food should be kept where animals can’t get to it. Large plastic tubs with snug-fitting lids are great for this purpose.
* Be realistic about what you will eat. If you’re going on a week-long camping trip, you’ll need to plan a little variety. Roasting hot dogs every night or eating cold sandwiches three meals a day gets old fast. Bring along a camp stove or grill and a few different things to cook.
* Consider taking reusable dishes, cups and flatware. Campers usually use paper plates and plastic cups and forks for convenience, but these are unnecessary expenses. If you bring along plenty of water, a camp stove to heat the water and some dishwashing liquid, you can easily wash up the dishes and use them again.
* Bring plenty of things for the kids (and the adults) to do. A long camping trip can get boring if you don’t. Some popular camping pastimes include volleyball, badminton, horseshoes and cards.
* Pack plenty of clothing and blankets. Make sure everyone brings a jacket and a pair or two of long pants, even if it’s hot out. It could get chilly at night. If you have all the clothes and blankets you need, you won’t have to make a trip to get more.
* Don’t forget the first aid kit. You can buy kits at drug or discount stores, or you could make your own. The essentials include band aids, antibiotic ointment, tweezers and needles (for removing splinters), an ace bandage, and a bottle of over-the-counter pain reliever. Also be sure to bring any medications that anyone on the trip may need. These things could save you a trip to the drugstore or doctor.
Camping is usually far less expensive than most outings. And if you keep a close eye on your expenses, you can have a fun vacation for next to nothing.
Ideas for Frugal Summer Vacation Fun at Home
We all need a vacation every now and then. Getting away from the stresses of everyday life for a while leaves us refreshed and gives us a new sense of purpose. But when money is a concern, jetting off to a remote island may not be an option. Even going on a road trip could put an undue strain on the budget.
It can be disappointing when we’re not able to take the vacation of our dreams, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take a break. And it certainly doesn’t mean we can’t have fun. More than anything, vacation is a state of mind. If we can get ourselves into that state of mind, we can enjoy ourselves and destress without going far from home.
No matter where you live, there’s something inexpensive you can do during summer vacation. Here are some ideas:
* Get acquainted with the arts in your area. Visit nearby galleries, or take in a show put on by the local theatre troop. Large cities may have more to choose from when it comes to art, but most smaller cities and towns have something to offer too. You might be surprised at what you find if you try.
* Plan a camping trip. Whether you rent a spot from a campground or just set up a tent in the back yard, camping is a great way to break the monotony without breaking the bank. There’s just something about roasting marshmallows and sleeping under the stars that soothes the spirit.
* Visit a museum. Chances are there’s a museum of some kind in your town. Whether it’s a history museum or just some wacky collection, it will be a learning experience.
* Take advantage of the park system. State and national parks are wonderful recreation destinations, and they offer lots of activities that are cheap or free. Some have lakes that you can swim, boat or fish in, and most have hiking trails. There are also picnic areas, and some parks host special events for the public.
* Set up your own water park in the back yard. Invest in a quick-set pool, a slip and slide, some water guns and other inexpensive water toys. You can have lots of fun without the crowds for less than the price of a couple of days’ admission at most water parks.
* Organize a block party. Have each guest bring a dish, fire up the grill and set up the badminton net. If everyone pitches in, each person’s costs will be minimal and everybody will have lots of fun.
No matter what you do during your vacation, it’s important that you relax. The idea is to take a break from work and everyday life, not to stay close enough to keep tabs on it. So resist the urge to check your email incessantly or go back to work early.
Vacationing at home has become a popular way to save money. But it doesn’t have to be a sentence to boredom. If you treat it like a true vacation and make it a point to schedule things to do, an at-home vacation can be just as fun and beneficial as a trip to a traditional vacation spot.