Are you planning a vacation for you and your partner this year? Going away on holiday can be expensive – between flights, hotel rooms, and eating out for every meal…even a long weekend at a destination can add up!
Maybe next year? If you’re trimming back this summer you’ve got to find a less pricey way to feel like you had a real vacation without cutting back on the good times.
1. Have a Spa Day
Doesn’t a full day of spa treatments for you and your loved one sound blissful? Eat lunch on site, leave your phones at home, and enjoy a day of pure pampering. But cheap?? Well – now it can be.
Keep an eye out on those daily deals sites and this once not-so-cheap experience won’t set you back too far. Just be wary of the up-sell once you get there.
2. Be a Tourist in Your Home Town
Booking one or two nights at a hotel right in your own hometown can be surprisingly affordable. Use sites like HotWire.com, Jaunt.ca, TravelZoo, or Travelocity.ca and book a night at a luxury hotel at a surprising discount. Once you check in, walk around like you are a tourist:
- Walking Tour: sign up for a walking tour and learn about the history of where you live – plus you’ll get some exercise. Some cities even have FREE tours! (If you’re in Vancouver or Toronto…check out TourGuys.ca)
- Sight Seeing: soak in the major attractions your town has to offer. Often you can buy a discount pass that will get you entry into multiple attractions at a fraction of the cost.
- Go Out for a Swanky Meal: plan ahead and get your hands on a group deal for a swanky restaurant close by. You’ll enjoy a nice dinner out…on the cheap.
3. Get Active!
We complain about the weather 88% of the year (it’s our right as Canadians)…so when it’s nice outside – get outside, and get active! Go for a walk to the farmer’s market, go for a bike ride, or play Frisbee in the park.
If you’re looking for more of a serious commitment, sign up for a race and train together. If you’re a running newbie, start with a 5K race and be each other’s training buddy (see: Couch to 5K Training Plan). Looking for a race that’s a bit different? Sign up for an “Amazing Race” style race like CityChase.
4. Go Camping
Book a few nights at a provincial or federal park – it’s super cheap! Unless you plan on becoming a hard-core camper, resist the urge to hit the stores and spend your vacation savings on fancy gizmos. Ask around for a good tent, sleeping bags and air mattresses. You’ll need a portable stove and a lantern, but otherwise you can camp without much gear at a drive-in camp site.
This is a somewhat rough-and-tumble experience that’s not for everyone, but as long as there’s bathrooms near your site and great hiking and swimming, getting away to the outdoors for a few days is a great opportunity to bond with your partner and get away from everyday life. Need to know more? Parks Canada has info on what to bring and how to book.
5. Plan a Day Trip
Get up extra early one day and head out for the vacationland near you for a day trip. Pack a picnic, bring your bathing suit, and find public beaches and docks to spend your day. Drive home when it gets dark…and the whole day will probably cost you under $100.
6. Buddy Up
Find another couple who want to have fun and save money and go out for an extended picnic, day trip to a beach or vineyard together. If you have something others enjoy like a big-screen TV or excellent cooking skills, swap time at your place for a cottage weekend or use of a backyard pool at theirs.
You don’t really have to go far or spend lots to make summer feel like a vacation. It’s about getting out of your regular routine, enjoying a few perks — different scenery, no responsibilities, a nice glass of wine, a good meal — rather than total decadence and a long holiday. Start plotting now for a way to make this summer inexpensively fun.