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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

My Frugal Momcation Getaway

Our view of the beach from the promenade


You know what the best way to have a frugal vacation is? Let someone else pay for it! 

Ha.

Ok, but that is kinda what happened. My dear friend Babs, also a single mom, decided to treat me for a weekend getaway for my birthday. Then we had a snowstorm so it was delayed and we finally went on our vacation this past weekend. In the end, it was nice that it got delayed because then we were able to celebrate my divorce together, and the weather was infinitely better!

So first of all, Babs wanted me to share that she was looking for a place with nice amenities- a pool, a jacuzzi, that type of thing. And this Airbnb was the cheapest one that she could find that still fit the criteria she was looking for. She wouldn't tell me exactly how much it cost, but did tell me it cost less than $285 for 3 nights and 4 days (we only checked out at 8 pm), which is definitely a steal. 

This AirBnb was a good 3 hours travel from where we lived, and was a suburb of the beach town where I used to come with Mike and the kids each summer. We took the bus there using our apps to pay which gave us an extra discount on top of the already cheaper price and after being shown around by the hostess, unpacked our things.

Babs and I being silly on the bus ride in.

It was a lovely cottage in an orchard setting, with the most delicious smelling flowers giving the place a wonderful smell. There was a jacuzzi and a pool for us to use, in addition to quite a lot of garden space, outdoor couches and tables and lawn chairs, etc...

Since Babs and I are frugal travelers, we weren't planning on eating out on our vacation; she chose an AirBnB that came with a kitchen and as soon as we settled in we decided to go out to the nearest grocery store. After getting directions and walking there, we found out the store was closed. We walked to the next nearest one, also closed. We found out about a third local one and it was also closed. (National holiday. Thanks!) So we decided we would need to order a taxi to go to the city and find a supermarket that was open. The first one we went to, in the nearest town, was also closed. (What a run of bad luck!) We asked the taxi driver if he knew of a supermarket that absolutely would be open, and he drove us to another location with three supermarkets and he was able to assure us that it would absolutely be open.

The first supermarket we came to was open. Fortunately. But we got major sticker shock when we saw the prices in the store there. Everything was approximately twice the price as things cost in our local "regular" stores. We were debating whether to continue shopping there, because this was vacation after all, and we already tried 4 stores that were closed. But after looking around some more, we couldn't stomach paying such high prices and wanted to see if there were cheaper options.

Just look at that sea view!

When we got outside the store we asked someone we saw about the other stores nearby; the closest store apparently was just as expensive as the one we went to, possibly a few cents less per item, but not a noticeable difference. We asked him if he knew of a cheap or relatively cheap grocery store in the area and we got directions to another store that we hoped would be better priced.

Fortunately as soon as we got there we were relieved- they had items on sale and their sale prices were similar to our local sales prices. And the foods there were more or less within the range of what we pay for them locally. So we did a nice big shop (perhaps too big, in retrospect) and got ourselves a nice amount of special foods, to last the four days we were there. First off- lots of champagne to celebrate my divorce! What is a getaway without champagne? We also got lots of other nice foods, treats, things that are easy to prepare so that we didn't need to spend too much time cooking, and all stove top friendly since there was no oven. Since we didn't have an entire spice rack available, we bought a few multipurpose spice mixes to use over our vacation (and took the leftovers home with us). Then we took a taxi back to the Airbnb and did all our cooking for the weekend so that we didn't need to do any more cooking and could just spent it enjoying ourselves.

Delicious dinner!

Our first meal was steamed asparagus with lemon butter over bean thread noodles with an herb garlic salt blend on it. We had cheddar cheese that we intended on adding as a protein but got so stuffed.

Other foods we cooked/made were rice, minute steak stir fry with mushrooms and peppers with terriyaku sauce, steamed then fried chicken legs and thighs with an herb mixture (served with bought mango salsa), boiled then fried potatoes with spices, spring rolls with celery, cucumbers, carrots, peppers, mint, and basil in a peanut butter dipping sauce (peanut butter, sesame oil, teriyaki sauce, and lemon juice made an easy but delicious sauce) and with a spring roll sauce, tomato onion basil salad, and corn fried rice. 

We also made sandwiches with gluten free bread for me and gluten bread for her, cream cheese, lox, and tomatoes for days that we went out on trips. Breakfast was cereal with milk or almond milk. We had a bunch of different bottles of champagne plus orange juice and grape juice and flavored waters and iced tea to drink. Snacks were potato chips, tortilla chips, chocolate bars, and some gluten free cookies provided by our Airbnb hostess.

We didn't lack anything in the food department. We ate like queens, totally feasted... and the total grocery bill was about what 2-3 meals at a decent restaurant would cost. Which is why I prefer to cook when I go away so we can eat to our hearts desires and not worry about whether or not our bill will be too high. Yes, it is more work but completely worth it for me.

Babs and I along the promenade.

As for what we did? We mostly chilled, to be honest. Without the kids it's the best time to rest. It was her first break from her kids in years. And it was my first time having a vacation since corona started. We read a lot, slept a lot, watched two cute movies (Yes Day and Thunder Force). We tried using the pool but it was ice cold. We used the jacuzzi a lot. We chilled a lot. We talked and read and just relaxed.

And two times we took the bus to the nearby city and went to the beach. We relaxed on the sand and went into the water (icy cold at first but we got used to it and really enjoyed it) and even got a little sunburned. 

Babs next to a pretty fountain.

We walked along the promenade overlooking the sea and had picnics in areas that were beautiful.

Was it the most action packed vacation ever? No. Was it exactly what we needed? Yes.

Was it frugal? Well for me, obviously, I only paid for half the groceries and busing. And even for Babs it was a frugal vacation, due to her finding a good priced AirBnB for great amenities.

I am so glad I got to have this time away, and glad it didn't cost either of us too much money, but was still a wonderful getaway.

Have you ever gone on a momcation? What do you do with your mom friends when you go away? 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad you and Babs were able to enjoy some well deserved time off from real life to live a little. I have no friends to have a Momcation. I live vicariously thru others. So keep it up, I'm enjoying this. :)

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