July 23, 2009, 5:00 am

My Plan For Frugal Vacation

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Frugal
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vacation-propertyFor those who live in Quebec and have already taken their vacation, you are probably pretty upset about the weather. In fact, I don’t think we had 5 days of sun in a row here in Montreal… quite disappointing! However, I keep smiling for 2 reasons:

– Landscaping looks amazing in front of my house

– I haven’t taken my vacation yet 😉

We are taking 2 weeks in middle of August, hopefully the weather will get better ;-). In the meantime, we are planning our budget in order to make sure that my credit card bill doesn’t look like a rainy day when I come back!

I don’t want to go broke on vacation! What can I do?


Back in February, we started looking for a vacation property. We decided to apply the same formula as last year: rent a vacation property in a place we barely visit yet (Quebec is big enough to spend your whole summer without going through the same city twice!). Since we had to pay a deposit upfront and the balance at the beginning of July, we started to put money aside back in February. We didn’t save money by planning, but at least, there are no bad surprises approaching the “V” day.

Renting a vacation property has a lot of great advantages:

– You can cook your own meals.

– You can bring a lot of food from your house.

– You contribute to local economy (it’s a small act on our behalf but if everybody does it, local tourism will get better during the recession).

– If it rains, you are not stuck in a 10X10’ room ;-).

– It’s more “personal” than a hotel room.

– Kids have their own room (you know what this means, don’t you?).

– Vacation properties are pretty cheap when you drive more than 4 hours from Montreal 😀

Here’s a few frugal activities we planned:

– Visiting the property and the neighbourhood makes another cheap activity (we rented a place with a land of 1M sqf; it’s like a huge forest!).

– Going to the grocery store elsewhere and buy all kind of unusual stuff makes it an activity for the whole family (it seems stupid, but we had a lot of fun doing this last year with the kids!).

– Eating marshmallows in front of a fire.

– Drinking wine and taking sun on the roof terrace (the picture in this article was taken from the actual vacation property we are renting!).

– Spending an afternoon in Quebec City walking in the old part of the City.

– Renting a few books from the library.

– A bunch of pens and sheets in order to make drawings if it rains.

– A UNO game card deck ($1.99 at the dollar store!).

– A few other board games for kids.

– Picnic in a park (it’s amazing how a blanket, sandwiches and a soccer ball can transform your afternoon!).

We decided to spend more money on one thing…

We will go see the whales on a cruise! While this wasn’t too much expensive, this will probably be our one and only activity requiring more than $20.

Overall, for a 7 days vacation trip, I should cost about $1,600 for the family (this includes the vacation property at $1,100). Then again, it is far from being pure frugal vacation, but we are still much better than spending a week in Disney World 😉

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