As I have mentioned before, my family LOVES to travel. Not only is it a great chance for us to spend quality time together, but we also try to select vacations that have some educational value. Of course, one of the biggest obstacles that families face when trying to plan a vacation is that vacations can get quite spendy.
One of the reasons that I work so hard to save for my family year around, is so that we can save up for the things that mean the most. For us, traveling and making memories together as we explore new parts of the country is high on our list of priorities. And while I firmly believe in saving money to put towards these adventures, that doesn’t mean that I don’t check out every angle with which to save along the way.
One of our favorite tricks for saving money at quality destinations is to travel in the “off-season”. I am not a big fan of crowds, so right out of the gate, traveling in the off-season is a plus for me. But even better, most resorts have deeply reduced prices in their low traffic seasons. A couple of months ago, we found out that my son would be competing in the State Wrestling Championships. This meant that we would be traveling about 6 hours across the state for his competition, which was only one day. I was so excited when I realized where his tournament was because it put us only an hour and a half away from the Snow King Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I was offered to do a resort review there, and this was going to be a perfect fit for my family!
As we rolled into Jackson Hole, this was one of the first things that we saw:
A big thanks to the staff for welcoming us with a yummy plate of cheese, crackers and fruit …
And the condominium itself was wonderful! The kids loved this bed that popped right out the wall, how cool is this?
The kitchen was very roomy and stocked with everything that you would need (besides the food) to make all of your daily meals and snacks. A quick trip to the local grocery store, and we were set for the weekend! This would be a wonderful retreat for a family (or even two!) as it is so much more like home than a hotel room:
Of course, one of the best parts of Jackson Hole is the great outdoors … and the fact that you can enjoy it all for FREE! Within minutes from the resort, we were driving right by buffalo, elk, deer, coyotes and we never did see a moose, bear or a wolf, but we did talk to several other sight seers that did. If you happen to head to a resort near one of our national parks (Jackson Hole is just miles away from Yellowstone Park) consider going on a FREE Park Weekend. That alone with save you quite a bit and is a huge benefit (especially when traveling with kids) because it makes it easier (and cheaper) to spread out your trips into the park without feeling like you have to get your money worth each time.
We spent so much time just walking around trails and visiting landmarks. (like the below pictured Cunningham Cabin, read more about it here) My kids were just in awe of this piece of history that had been built in the 1880s … and it was so neat to watch them try to comprehend living back in that day. Honestly… I saw just as many smiles of excitement as we walked through the great outdoors of Wyoming a I did while we zipped around Disneyworld. No.joke. (and truthfully, this was far less expensive, lol!)
Another great way to save money while on vacation, is to look for local community centers. We looked online and found out that Jackson Hole has a great recreation center where the kids were able to swim (in a huge pool with TWO great slides, by the way) for only $4.50 each. They had a blast and it was also a great time for us (Mommy and Daddy) to relax a bit as well.
One area of a budget that can really get hit hard when traveling is the food budget. We like to travel with a cooler full of snack and sandwich items so that we don’t have to eat out for all of our meals, but we also like to find restaurants that serve large healthy portions, and fair prices. One of our favorite spots in Jackson Hole is The Bunnery. It’s a quaint little joint that is always packed, but there is something on the menu for everyone, including kiddie meals that are nice portions but priced around $4.00 each. And, The Bunnery makes their own awesome granola! If you share the email addresses of three friends, they will give you a free bag of granola right there on the spot, so score one for us on this stop:
As you know, I am very frugal in just about everything that I do… however, I am also very passionate about spending money on quality entertainment and travel. I (we) have found that if we save money year round by watching our budget and pennies, then it makes it quiet easy to fund our vacation/travel fund, and save up for the times like this when we can make memories as a family. One thing that we have been doing this past year, is that we started what we call our travel fund. Whenever we save BIG on an item that we knew that we HAD to purchase, we tuck away the difference that we saved. This way, we are putting the rewards of our savings efforts towards our time together as a family!
Overall, I would highly recommend this vacation to any of you that are considering a family get away. One of my biggest tips for really cutting back on your budget would be to consider traveling in the off season. For one, you can probably get up to 1/2 off (or more!) on a room or condominium. There are far less crowds obviously in the off season, but you can also score some pretty great deals at the local diners and gift shops as well, as we have found that most businesses adjust their prices to the off season as well.
And even if you don’t travel in the off season, there are so many free things to do in a resort area such as Jackson Hole that you can really offset the cost of your stay by dining in (the condominiums provide the perfect opportunity to do so!) and by taking advantage of the (too many to list) great free activities, sight seeing and community events that towns like Jackson Hole has to offer! Also, don’t be afraid to take advantage of the knowledge and experience of hotel and resort staff by calling and asking them for input on how to save and/or maximize your travel dollars. . . every little bit helps when it comes to planning for an enjoyable get away for your family!
We hope to head back to Jackson Hole soon, as it is high on our list of favorite places to visit!
*Disclosure: A big BIG thank you to Sara and the folks at The Snow King Resort for the opportunity to review your beautiful resort! This resort review was sponsored by Snow King, however these opinions and thoughts are my own and were in no way influenced by another person.