How to Take an (Almost) Cheap Vacation

Taking a vacation does not have to cost and arm and a leg if you take some time to plan ahead, use coupons and watch for vacation specials, you can save a great deal. Road guides often have lots of coupons for hotels and discount coupons for places to visit. Last trip we had a Days Inn listings book and used many of the free or heavy discount coupons they offer. A seniors card can get you a 10% discount or more at many hotel chains. Many hotels and restaurants offer seniors a discount just for the asking.

If you are traveling by car, a 10% discount can get you $ 200 on a $ 2000 mini-vacation. That buys a lot of gasoline. We decided last summer to take a seven day trip into New England to simply sight see and visit some their beaches. We arrived in Dennis, Massachusetts on a Monday morning with beautiful sunshine and warm 80 degree temperatures. Never having been there before, we grabbed a room at the first vacancy sign. Summer months are very crowded and not having a place to sleep could ruin a great day.

After checking in we decided to go to the beach and spend the day. Their beaches are quite different from ours in that they have pebbles or stones and not so much sand. Beautiful crystal clear waters, uncrowded beach areas, easy parking and no litter. Does not get any better than that. We stayed on the beach until about three or so and then returned to the hotel to shower and dress for dinner. There is a fantastic place called the Yarmouth House that that serves large scallops wrapped in bacon that are out of this world. Makes my mouth water. Great decor and great service to boot.

We visited several local shops and then returned to the hotel around nine. They had a great looking pool and huge spa. Sadly they were closed. Being too late to venture out again, we went to their lounge where we met a couple from New Jersey. Striking up a conversation they said they had found a much better place to stay a mile away called Gull Wing Suites. We decided to have look ourselves in the morning. The next morning we took the short drive and easily found the place. Three room suites, huge indoor and outdoor pools and a spa for about twenty people at once. Best part? Their price was almost half of what the first hotel was charging and the facilities were open twenty four hours a day. Easy decision to return and pick up our bags and move.

We sent time visiting Cape Cod with all it's shops but almost everywhere you go there are things to do and see. Set aside one day to visit Martha's Vineyard for sure. The ferry ride on a clear day is well worth the cost. If you are a seafood lover, Massachusetts offers a huge variety of lobster, clams, mussels, scallops and other delights prepared in a million ways.

We found that most if not all places offered a dinner or lunch special between certain hours of the day that was as much as 50% off the regular price. So you eat at 4PM instead of 5. Not a big deal and the extra savings are well worth the adjustment. My wife kept an excellent daily log of monies spent showing both the full price and the price we actually paid. Between rooms, meals and gas we would have spent at full price, $ 1360. Our discounts came to $ 231. That meant we actually spent $ 1129 in all for seven days or just $ 161 a day inclusive.

Try and plan a mini-vacation close to home using all the discount coupons and specials you can find and see how much you can save. We did not skimp one bit and are sure going to do it again this year.

Pete Ackerson

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