Frugal Travel, Expensive Travel, Travel

by Katy on March 24, 2014 · 9 comments

Coin Girl

My family is in Washington D.C. right now, and it’s a very interesting mix of very expensive and extremely frugal.

Here, let me elaborate:

  • My husband is being presented with an award, so the airfare and very nice hotel for the two of us was free. However, the tickets for the kids were $580 apiece. Frugal/expensive.
  • My husband was given a stipend by his employer for incidentals, but yesterday’s hotel breakfast was $84 with tip. Frugal/expensive.
  • I packed sandwiches, chips, cookies and fruit for the airplane, but we still splurged on food court food as we were hungry for dinner by the time we were leaving the Chicago airport. Frugal/expensive.
  • Yesterday’s entertainment included walking down the National Mall and stopping into The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Dinner was included in a banquet presentation by my husband’s employer, and we were able to walk everywhere we needed to be. And when my husband started taking everyone to the museum cafe to get drinks, I found us a drinking fountain. Frugal/frugal/frugal.
  • Yesterday’s souvenirs included a penny found on the ground (Lincoln Memorial on the back!) and making one of those squished penny thingies at The Smithsonian. I was mock horrified to find that the hand-cranked-squished-penny-machine cost $1.01 instead of 51¢. Frugal/expensive.
  • Today’s breakfast is part of the festivities, so it will be free, but we are going to a restaurant to meet up with an old friend for dinner. Frugal/expensive.

Saving money where we can so that’s available for when frugality is not an option. It’s the Non-Consumer way.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Greta March 24, 2014 at 4:33 am

The National Zoo is free!


Diane March 24, 2014 at 4:45 am

Sounds like the best of both worlds. I remember being on the mall back in the 80s with my children. Every museum is wonderful. Have a blast!


Shannon March 24, 2014 at 4:55 am

I love DC but do agree that it’s a combo of frugal and expensive.

I love your hat!


Carolyn March 24, 2014 at 5:12 am

I think that is why many of us are frugal, so we can splurge when we need/want to.
A friend of mine is very frugal, but will be taking her family to Japan for spring break.
It’s all about knowing your priorities (and not going into debt to reach them).
Enjoy your trip!


Jo March 24, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Bingo. We do just that…live frugally overall, but splurge guilt free when we do splurge!


CanadianKate March 24, 2014 at 5:30 am

re: breakfast. I have a set of plastic bowls, plates and cutlery (bought at a dollar store), paring knife and veggie peeler that I travel with plus lots of ziplock bags. Fancy hotels don’t have fridges and microwaves but regular ones do. (Actually, I try to only stay at hotels that offer a minimum of fridge and microwave.)

If there is no fridge, I either walk for the milk in the morning before breakfast or keep it in the ice bucket overnight. The room will have tea/coffee and sugar.

I buy a roll of paper towels (for napkins and washing up), cereal, fruit, veggies, bread and milk (plus lunch meat if I have a fridge) and that takes care of breakfasts and lunches (which are packed in the ziplock bags and tossed on the top of my day pack.

My dh loves a greasy-spoon breakfast so he’ll often go off and find one of those ($8 instead of $20 in the hotel restaurant.) Of course, most mid-range hotels include at least a continental breakfast now, but I don’t always like the choice of cereal so will often just use it to supplement (i.e. take bread, peanut butter and a banana back to the room and make myself a lunch sandwich.)

For dinners, we often order a large pizza and then eat half one night, eat out the next night and leftovers night three. When on the road, my dh’s expense reports seldom claim more than $20/day for food on average.


patti March 24, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Sounds like you have a good outlook. I always think the memories are the best part and worth every penny! Your family will always remember this trip.


Barbara March 24, 2014 at 8:08 pm

I wish I could attend the meet-up but I have to work. Two places to grab inexpensive food is Nandos on 7th Street in Chinatown and Spy City Café at 9th and F Streets, NW. Let me know if there is another informal meet-up.


Linda in Mass March 26, 2014 at 3:44 am

We normally forgo the hotel breakfast and ask the hotel staff for good recommendations for local breakfast spots. I ask them where they would go for breakfast as a local. We usually get breakfast for half the price or less.

When we went on a free trip to Hawaii, we went to a local breakfast place and spent $15 for a huge breakfast, while those who stayed at the hotel paid $85. We had a great breakfast and got to see the island off the resort.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: