Vacation on a budget

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We recently returned from a five day trip to Seattle with my parents. My dad had a conference to attend, and so my husband and I kept my mom company and also got to sneak in a short visit with my husband’s father who visited from British Columbia since it was a short trip for him to come see us while we were there. We had a wonderful time, and we actually spent less than we expected to. I had a rough daily budget in mind for food, bus fares, entry fees, etc., and we went over it a couple times but then came in under budget other times, so it evened out. Even though we stayed at a fairly upscale hotel close to my dad’s conference location, it was not an expensive trip, and that was due to a few factors:

  • hotel location was close to the monorail, light rail, and a major bus pick-up area – took light rail to hotel and back to airport
  • hotel location made many destinations walkable, even for my mom – within 1 mile
  • close proximity to a major shopping/dining area and small plates at hotel restaurant made for some amazingly delicious $20-$30 dinners
  • hotel had refrigerators so we bought milk and cereal at the nearby IGA and had hotel coffee each morning
  • pre-purchased discounted tickets online for Seattle Center’s Space Needle and Chihuly Garden & Glass with hotel business center
  • pre-purchased discounted tickets online for the Experience Music Project (EMP) and Cinerama showing of ‘Iron Man 3’ in 3D with hotel business center
  • took lots of pictures and saved receipts, ticket stubs, wrist bands, and other ephemera to put into a Smash Book (on-the-go scrapbook) instead of buying lots of souvenirs – we came home with an almost-complete book and a great record of what we did each day
  • what souvenirs we did buy, we kept to useful or locally-made items – two t-shirts for my husband, one from a small art fair, where I also got a turquoise necklace

Also, I was relieved and pleased how easy and fun it was to travel with my parents, and my husband agreed. We hope to do some more traveling with my mother, specifically to France, because my father is not interested in travel outside of the US. This made us both excited for planning a few more trips with her.

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