Saving with a Staycation

Last year we went away to a cabin in a popular vacation spot three hours’ drive from our city. It was great, the cabin was beautiful and every day we went to our friends condo property where the kids swam in the pool. Then we would go on walks to the playground, bike around and bbq while having a few beers on the patio. It was great.

But we were also doing a lot of the stuff we do at home. We were cleaning up after the kids, trying to keep our toddler out of the cupboards, making dinners, etc. It wasn’t all relaxing. This got me thinking. Do we really want to spend $300+/night on a cabin this year? It’s a lot of money!

Then last weekend we decided to get out, we put our youngest in the bike trailer and took our boys on a bike ride to a big school parking lot where our oldest could practice his new pedal bike. Then we went for lunch, biked around the community, took our youngest for a nap and after dinner biked down for ice cream. After the kids went to bed we hung out on our deck and had a beer. It was awesome. Then it hit me.

It's not where you go on your vacation, it’s what you do. So instead of driving three hours and paying over $2,000 to rent a cabin for a week we’re going to stay around town. My boys have never gone to the wave pool, the petting zoo or a hundred other spots around town. One benefit of living in a medium sized city is that there are things to do right here.

So I started a fun list (in clear, best list app ever):

  • Zoo - did yesterday! Best part is we have yearly passes so it was no problem to go for a few hours and then hit drive in for milkshakes and burgers. 
  • New nature playground (pic below) complete with a sand area and a well that kids could get water from. They loved it and better yet, our four year old biked to the park.
  • Splash park. It's going to be 30c (86 Fahrenheit) tomorrow so we'll likely check one out tomorrow. There's a ton within 20 minutes driving from our house.
  • A provincial park with walking and biking paths, thinking we need to take the bikes. Also thinking we need to get to one with a little creek so the kids can throw rocks and build bridges. That was one of the funnest things for me when I was young.
  • Science center.
  • Bowling (with bumpers so the kids don't get discouraged).
  • Dino museum
  • Amusement park
  • Petting zoo
  • Farmers market
  • Luge course
Packing up the bike trailer in the VW golf. Ended up getting a hitch reducer so we can take the bike rack on our SUV. Too hard packing this in every time!

Packing up the bike trailer in the VW golf. Ended up getting a hitch reducer so we can take the bike rack on our SUV. Too hard packing this in every time!

Amazing nature park! Thanks Cam for telling me about it!

Amazing nature park! Thanks Cam for telling me about it!

Best part about it is we all get to stay in our comfy beds and we’ll have an extra few thousand in our savings that we didn’t spend. Downside is that you have the pull to be productive, you still have to clean, etc. But I'm doing my best to relax!