A Frugal Girls Mini Vacation

I just got back from a great trip with my mom and two sisters, Violet and Lizzy. We moved abroad when my little sister Lizzy was only 6, and Violet and I moved out of the house right around then. We realized that we girls never really did trips together, and Violet had the idea to go on a hiking trip/mini vacation with the three girls and our mom, and we had an awesome time. 
It was frugal and fun and just hit the spot.

Violet wanted to go to this specific water hike that is very famous, and is a rite of passage, of sorts, for locals, as it something a large percent do growing up here, which we never did since we only came at a later stage.

We left yesterday afternoon, came back yesterday night. 

Entire cost of the trip? 

$25 per person plus groceries.

My mom has off Tuesdays. So that she wouldn't need to take any vacation days, we left the area after she finished work yesterday. We used a hybrid car to save money on gas, and drove approximately 2 hours until we reached a camp ground, on a beautiful lake. For the camp ground, we paid per car- the car cost $28, and we divided the cost among the four of us, so $7 per person.

We arrived at around 7 pm, enough time to set up our tent (one we used for many years on camping trips as children) before it got dark.

For supper, my mother brought along leftovers which she warmed before she left, and kept in an insulated bag to keep warm. 

After eating supper, I collected some firewood and leaves and kindling from around the area, and got a fire ready... only I noticed in the fire pit there were some embers from a previous fire. We decided to see if we could get the fire lit with no matches, just using that ember, and we did it! It wasn't so easy or fast, but it was an enjoyable challenge.

My sisters roasted hot dogs and marshmallows on the fire (which my mom and I didn't have as we both follow the paleo diet.)

In the morning, we packed up our tent and drove another 20 minutes to get to the nature reserve where this park was. Entrance fee was $6 per person.

Once in the nature reserve, we hiked across a plateau, and then down into a gorge, in which a stream flowed. 

The path of the hike was literally walking through this stream the vast majority of the time. It was over 100 degrees Farenheit today, but the water was icy cool, making it quite a pleasant walk.

Eventually, at the end of the trail, we reached an oasis like area, a massive pool with water over 20 feet deep in the center, and a waterfall flowing into it, with trees and flowers growing all around it, shading much.

We swam and enjoyed here for quite a while.

While we were hiking, we ate food that we brought along from home- dried fruit, homemade ground beef jerky, nuts, chestnuts, carrot sticks, butternut squash and banana leather for the Paleo people, and tortillas with sausages and carrot sticks and crackers and cookies and pretzels for everyone else. 

After that, we ended up going to another park close by, with free entrance, where we also hiked along a stream in a gorge, filled with lots of beautiful plants.

Though it is against the law to pick plants in these nature reserves, as a forager I couldn't help but notice how many different edible plants there were. We saw grape vines, wild raspberry, mint, figs, dock, mulberries, jujube, acorns, milk thistle, wild fennel, wild mustard, capers, chasteberry, lupine, amaranth, and much more...

We saw birds and frogs and fish and lizards and crabs...

And then we drove home. We were originally planning on stopping at a restaurant along the way, but decided that that would just be unnecessary, since we still had so much food left in the car, so we ate more leftovers and dried fruit and nuts and jerky as well as some canned veggies and were perfectly content with that.

The last $12 for the trip? Cost of the gas split.

This was quite a fun trip. It was nice to have a break from my routine, and have an enjoyable time, excising, in beautiful nature, with my sisters and mom. We plan on doing something like this again!

And best part of it really was that it didn't set us back financially at all. Even babysitting we bartered so that wasn't a monetary factor!

What is your favorite type of frugal vacation? What types of frugal vacationy activities do you like?
Does this look like the type of trip you'd enjoy?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Sounds like a wonderful girl's bonding time. The banana leather sounds intriguing - do you have a recipe?

  2. What a fantastic trip! We certainly don't need to spend much to enjoy a really special time with the ones we love.

  3. Nope, give me a nice hotel and eating all meals in a restaurant, along with sightseeing and shopping. To me, that's a real vacation. Eating only meals and snacks brought from home sounds so depressing.

    1. I hear that. Io each their own. We were actually trying to find a restaurant in the area to go to, and put out feelers to do research on the topic, but got no responses. Eating at restaurants is challenging because my mom is not only on a paleo diet, but auto immune paleo, which means off nightshades too, and most restaurants that do serve paleo foods put paprika on everything. We tried...

    2. Will you please write about auto immune paleo, a bit more, if possible. I am autoimmune systemic scleroderma for 3 yrs, having hard time with diets. Would appreciate your input. Thank you so much?

    3. Anonymous, auto immune paleo is non processed foods, only meat, fish, poultry, vegetables and fruit. What makes autoimmune paleo different from regular paleo is auto immune paleo also doesn't allow any eggs or nuts or seeds of any kind, in addition to forbidding nightshades which includes potato, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, goji berries, paprika, etc... and i think chocolate too. The purpose of autoimmune paleo is an elimination diet, and once off everything that is a potential autoimmune trigger hopefully the symptoms will be gone, and then people try adding one or two back at a time and see if any symptoms return. My mom has successfully reintroduced eggs and some nuts and seeds, but still doesn't eat nightshades, which makes eating out hard, because paprika is on EVERYTHING especially grill restaurants which otherwise are great for people who eat paleo.

  4. What a great way to spend time with your family, good for you ladies! I'm happy you enjoyed yourself and saved money!!

    As I get older I rather staycation then go anywhere but I know my husband is itching for the beach so as soon as I figure out a way to take my 80lb dog with us, chances are we will go camping (don't care for that but gotta do what I can for my dog and hubby..lol.) For me, I'm a hotel person with a lovely pool if I have to go somewhere but I've found most hotel's won't accept a dog over 40lbs. Now that his parents have moved back to our state, my brother in law is pushing for all of us to go camping. So it's bound to happen. I'm curious to see if everyone can survive my snoring...ha!

    Keep 'em coming, love to read about your adventures.

  5. I also cook in advance and bring along our own food to eat on vacation. We prefer to spend the money on activities rather than restaurants.

  6. That sounds like a wonderful mini vacation!

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