Fab Frugal Getaway 101

Sandy beaches, palm trees and gourmet meals. Magnificent ski slopes, a beautiful chalet and a cozy fire. Pristine hiking trails, a rustic cabin and the sound of loons on a lake. Everyone has an ideal getaway – something they’ve dreamed of doing forever but just never got around to it.

Every Mom I know is in desperate need of a break, because we usually put others first. It’s in our nature to take care of everyone else, and then tend to our own needs. But what we fail to realize (and I still have a hard time with this), is that it’s important to take care of ourselves, and our relationships with our spouses.

But, somehow, years go by and you realize household expenses have eaten up the travel budget and that year-end bonus you counted on has fallen through. Something always seems to get in the way of that trip you and your spouse always wanted to take…the perfect vacation, for just the two of you.

Well, I’m here to tell you that whatever your ideal getaway is, there are ways to achieve it, on a budget.

So here are a few ways to help you fit a much-needed getaway into your budget.

1. Have a savings plan and stick to it (it’s easier than you think)
It’s a well-known fact that most of us spend more than we realize on expenses like our daily Starbucks fix or eating at restaurants. It’s also true that if we set aside even half the amount we spend on these things each month, we would have hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars extra each year.

I’m not advocating completely giving up little pleasures…after all, the name of the game is to be fab *and* frugal, right? What I’m suggesting is setting aside $25 a week (for many, this is two lunches and a few Starbucks runs) and at the end of the year, you’ll have a whopping $1200 to spend on a vacation! You won’t get a 5-star European vacation for $1200, but what you *can* get is a fab getaway that you and your spouse will love, and that won’t leave you in the poorhouse! The best part? It’s relatively painless to achieve – if you stick to the plan.

2. Take advantage of daily deal websites
Subscribe to daily deal sites that offer vacations at a fraction of the regular price. Try Groupon Getaways, Living Social Escapes and TeamBuy Travel.

Caveat: you’ve got to read the fine print and know what you’re buying, because these types of deals usually come with stipulations like specific travel windows, blackout dates, etc. (But, what else would you expect when buying a trip for 1/2 off, or less?) Also, it’s important to discuss with your spouse in advance what type of trip you’d like to take – for example, a tropical getaway or a ski adventure? Decide early on so that you can jump on a deal when you see it; they usually don’t last long!

3. Have childcare plans…and a back-up
Even the best childcare plans can fall through – baby’s Grandma gets sick, or Auntie is called out of town for a work emergency. Be sure to have a back-up plan, just in case.

And if this is the first time you’ll be leaving your little one overnight, try to do a few trial runs before the big trip. A night away here or there will help your child understand that Mommy & Daddy aren’t gone forever. And, more importantly, it will prepare you for some of the feelings that will arise when you’re away.

4. Make it a yearly occurrence
Once you realize that a vacation is possible, try to keep up the momentum and plan one every year. It will become a beloved tradition that you and your spouse look forward to with great anticipation. It’s also great inspiration to get you through rough patches – sleepless nights with the kids, stressful times at work, winter “blahs”… things that can leave any couple feeling disconnected. After taking your first getaway, you’ll be amazed how much you long for the next one.

Whatever you do to get away from it all – be it a weekend at a Bed & Breakfast or a full-on tropical escape – enjoy your alone time. Here’s to a fab getaway… hopefully, the first of many!

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