Sweet, sweet Summertime. The only few months of the year that you can get away with rolling out of bed, throwing your hair into a messy bun with a headband, and leaving the house in a pair of gym shorts and a shirt without actually going to the gym (heat makes you sweat, sweat burns calories, right?! Right.) The meaning of Summer has changed a lot for me over the last decade. In college, Summertime meant a trip abroad or a job to save money for a car. After college, Summertime started to lose its glory as life in the adult World became my reality. I actually found myself resenting Summer because, let’s be honest, I don’t really enjoy heat or the humidity here in the central Midwest. Now that I have a child of my own, I’m starting to enjoy Summertime again. As this point in my journey, I’m noticing things about Summer (and the beauty of the season) from an entirely different vantage point.
I have really fond memories from my own childhood spending time at the Lake Of the Ozarks in Missouri. My late grandfather, Grandpa Bob, had a lake house for several years. That meant late night card games, days on the boat, and Shirley temples at some dock restaurant on the water. I’d almost forgotten some of those special moments until two years ago, when our family decided to take bi-annual trips to the lake together in his memory. It’s become sort of a tradition for us to stay at Tan-Tar-A, a family resort located in Osage Beach. We love all of the great amenities that the resort has to offer and, at only two and a half hours away, the location is ideal.
We checked in on a rainy Saturday afternoon (which made for an incredibly nice and cool evening once the rain subsided) which gave us the perfect opportunity to unpack and settle into our room before dinner. Pictured above (sorry for the blurry image, I had forgot my camera during our trip) is the view from our room. Incredible, right?!
We split our Sunday between time on the Lake and time at one of the many pools available on site at the resort but the best part of our trip, by and far, was spending time with family.
After all the time outdoors, I came back to Kansas City with the best tans we’ve had in years (I generally sport a ghostly white complexion which seems to compliment my nerdy personality quite well).
As amazing as taking trips each year (or every other year, in my case) can be, vacationing can be a bit of a budget buster. We saved a lot of money on our trip this year and I wanted to take a few minutes to pass along how we made our trip more affordable to each of you.
Three Ways To Save Money On Your Next Trip
1. Spent Where It Matters, Save Where You Can
The first time that we stayed at Tan-Tar-A, we stayed in a single room in one of the hotel buildings on the property. Never having been to the resort before, we thought we were making the economical choice for our trip. We paid roughly $90/night plus taxes and fees for a room with a single King sized bed and a bathroom. Our only option for meals during our stay was to eat out, which added up quickly. Had we known then what we know now, we would have decided differently.
This year, we stayed in a one bedroom suite with a large bathroom, a pull out sofa bed in the living room, a spectacular view, and a kitchenette with a full sized refrigerator. At right around $160 a night, this option had a larger upfront cost but we were able to bring our own food which allowed us to make better choices with how we ate and was a more cost effective choice in the long run.
2. BYOB (Seriously)
Let’s face it, there’s not much that compares to an ice cold beer when you’re out on the Lake but buying from the resort or a dockside restaurant can cost a pretty penny. This year, we decided to bring our own alcohol and saved big. One of the problems with bringing your own drinks is the issue with keeping them cold. I brought these cool StyloPhora ice molds with me this year and they kept my drinks COLD without diluting them (the ice lasts longer, it’s science).
3. Make Your Days Count
It’s true what they say in that quality matters much more than quantity and one thing I’ve learned in the last few years is that taking shorter trips is not only better for your budget but can also be more fun. A lot more fun. We’ve taken long trips before where half of our days are spent trying to figure out how to enjoy the other half. Not only is that a massive waste of time but it’s also a big budget killer. Now our days are pretty packed while we’re traveling but we get a lot more out of our trips at a fraction of the cost.
We had such a blast this year enjoying the scenic Lake Of the Ozarks and I can’t wait to come back and enjoy it again in 2016. No matter where you plan to go this year, enjoy it!