Frugal folks know that vacations are costly. The time, meals, lodging, money, travel, it all adds up.
This where the mini-vacation (Minication) can be a frugal person’s go-to solution. The ten rules of a successful and frugal minication are:
- Location should be within a few hours driving distance from your home. Far enough to feel like you have gotten away from it all but close enough that you don’t have to fly, just drive.
- Allotted away time should be three days to recharge, preferably two nights in a hotel with check out on the third day. This saves on hotel bills and helps frugal types take advantage of all those two day getaway specials.
- BYOS. Bring your own stuff. My BFF and I pack coolers full of bottled water and snacks because while we don’t mind spending money on a good meal, the thought of shelling out $7 for a bottle of water is not acceptable to either of us.
- Choose your companion(s) wisely. My BFF and I happen to travel very well together. We have similar interests and I can adapt my usual furious pace to her more laid back approach. It works out really well for both of us. We also know that treasure hunting in thrift stores and antique shops is something her husband and my partner would rather not be doing at any time, in basically any universe or alternate reality so we try and indulge when we go on minicays together.
- Less is more. We don’t try and cram a ton of stuff into three days, just the things we truly love. For us that means one special event (last trip we hit the Monterey Bay Aquarium on our minicay) and treasure hunted. We did basically nothing else but shop and enjoy a few good meals.
- Meal Plan. Luckily for me, my BFF had spent time in Monterey during her career so she knew quite a few good restaurants. Like I said, we don’t mind paying for a good meal so we hit two very nice restaurants on our minicay.
- Timing is everything. Had we gone on a weekend, we would have had to deal with far more traffic, tourists and crowds. Instead, our schedules allowed us to take off mid-week which saved on the stress, hassle and oh yes, the hotel was cheaper too.
- Set a budget. My partner found us a great deal at a hotel using his membership and various discounts but I still ran the numbers by my BFF before I ok’d the reservation. Be sure you and your traveling companion(s) are on the same page financially speaking.
- Try locations you think you already know. As long time Bay Area residents, both of us have been to Monterey many times but we never did a minication in that location. The weather is generally far cooler than we usually prefer but the sun was shining, we brought jackets and we had a fine time. Note to self: not every minicay has to include pool time to be successful.
- Consider a diversion. While driving to Monterey, my BBF mentioned that the discount outlets we happen to be driving by were her favorite. We decided to hit them on the way back from our trip which turned out to be a great idea; there were tons of summer sales, I needed new clothes for an upcoming job and we both got some great bargains. The moral is, be prepared to divert from your established plan, you never know where the road can take you.