Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Traveling on a Budget

Before I start this post, I want to put a disclaimer in. I am by no means an expert on traveling on a budget and know that I have much to learn and could improve in many areas. This post is just some little tricks that we used on our last trip and I wanted to share them.

Okay, so back to my tips on traveling on the cheap. We had to make our way back to Ottawa for our follow up appointment with the clinic there. We were there at the end of October for some testing with the hopes of figuring out what the heck is wrong with me. I will be doing a separate post later with details on what we found out and what the next plan of action is. I did two separate posts on our mini vacation that you can read about here and here.

As you may remember (or just refreshed your memory by clicking on those two links), we stayed in a really nice hotel for our October trip. While we got a good deal for the room, it was still a little pricey. Since our most recent trip was going to last two nights, we decided to get a cheaper hotel. Especially since we're a little tight for money lately. We used again in order to get a good deal and scored a hotel for $73 a night plus tax. So our two night stay basically cost us the same as our one night stay last time. Sweet! While the room wasn't as fancy pants as the last one, it was clean and comfortable.

Our room. See the old tv in the corner?
The bathroom
Our room also had a balcony that we never used since it was freezing cold the whole time we were there. But we did venture out once to take pictures.

They even gave us a key for the room! Like a real key, not a swipe card. It's been a while since we've stayed somewhere that hasn't upgraded to the swipe card system yet.

But the best part of this room and the part that significantly helped keep things in budget was the fridge and microwave.

Our mini kitchenette
I was so excited when I found out each room had this little "kitchenette". I immediately started planning our meals and snacks and how we would save so much money but taking advantage of this amenity. Once we got to the hotel, I unpacked all of our food and moved right in to our little room.

The fridge full of food

Our snacks
Here is a list of what I brought:
  • Cereal and milk for breakfasts
  • Leftover stew
  • Snacks which included applesauce, apples, muffins, pita chips, nuts, granola bars and chips.
My breakfast
Yes, I just woke up
I even brought our own dishes and cutlery (in case they didn't have any) as well as dish soap, a dishcloth and a drying towel. I was prepared! I really didn't want to have to eat out if at all possible and I am proud to say that it was a success!

Me washing dishes in the bathroom sink
We ate sandwiches in the car on the way to Ottawa on Thursday night. Friday morning we had cereal for breakfast, stew for lunch and then went to a friend's house for supper.

Our stew lunch
Saturday morning I had cereal and Dan ate the complimentary breakfast provided by the hotel and then we ate snacks until we got home at 1:30pm. Are you impressed or what?

We did splurge a little on our admission to the Aviation Museum (stay tuned for a post on that) and we did pick up a few items from Ikea. But overall we did the whole trip for a decent price and I feel good about it.

Do you have any tips on saving money while traveling?


  1. Traveling during the off season is key! You get much better rates at hotels. I went to Oktoberfest in Munich last year and the hotel was REDONK during the festival (think $300 a night for something basic- thank god for sharing rooms!) but after it was over it dropped super low and we enjoyed some touring time in Munich.

    Also, dont be afraid to try smaller, less visited places. I was in Mexico City this fall for two weeks (staying with friends so no hotel!) and it was SOO affordable because they don't have tourist markups!

    Another key point is to avoid souvenirs. You really only need photos and memories!

    OH! and lunches out are usually cheaper than dinners so plan to have your "fancy meals out" midday and buy dinner at the supermarket

  2. Wow Casey, those are really good tips. And lucky you to do all that fabulous traveling!

    I definitely steer clear of souvenirs, they are so expensive. I take a ton of pictures instead. Just wait until you see my post on the aviation museum. :P

  3. Love the tips! We brought a suitcase full of food and groceries with us for our stay in Dallas! Our room didn't have a microwave so I brought one of those too! LOL, I was actually reallly embarrassed (and quite a few people gave us the side eye when they saw all our luggage) by the amount of stuff I packed but in the end it really did save some money and was well worth it!

  4. Katharine - You're my kind of girl! I LOVE that you brought your own microwave with you. So awesome. And who cares if people thought you were nuts, you will never see them again and you saved money!

  5. We were recently in Ottawa too! We've discovered the joys of B&Bs. They're often cheaper than hotels and with the added bonus of an amazing hot breakfast. The one we stayed at was $95 a night, but we could have gone for one that was $85. And breakfast was AMAZING. Food is a huge part of our vacation experience, - and we don't travel for a lot of reasons OTHER than pleasure - so we like to save our money on the room so that we can try out some awesome restaurants.

  6. Jeanette - I've only ever stayed at a B&B once and it was kind of awkward. I felt like they were watching us. Maybe we should try it again though.

    I love food too. But with all my restrictions, it's hard to eat out so it was nice to have the fridge and microwave available to heat up food I brought.