The last time my family took a vacation was 8 years ago. That also happened to be the year we bought our first home. The day we came home from said vacation, I saw a real estate agent putting up a for sale sign in the front yard of a house in our neighborhood that I always said “If that house EVER goes up for sale, I will own it”. The owners of the house I so desperately wanted had lived in the house for 30 years. I was assured that they were not going anywhere anytime soon. We were renting a house 6 houses away. So, I got to walk past it daily and admire it (OK, more like envision my family living there). As fate would have it, we saw the house with a real estate agent the very next day. We put a bid on it immediately. Like filled out the paperwork at their kitchen table, type immediately. Obviously, our bid was excepted and we moved into the house. Needless to say, our family vacations to ANYWHERE became instant staycations. Being a homeowner is EXPENSIVE. If you follow my blog, you will remember that we built my new AMAZING kitchen this spring. My bank account is still trying to recover from it. Needless to say this year’s vacation was set to be another staycation.
But The Universe stepped in and here is how it all went down.
My youngest daughter is 4 years old. She is all about the beach, mermaids, and dolphins.
Since her fascination with mermaids began she has asked or rather BEGGED and BEGGED and BEGGED some more saying, “PLEASE, CAN WE TAKE MY MERMAIDS AND GO TO THE BEACH AND SEE THE DOLPHINS!” This has gone on for 2 years.
The Universe stepped in when my 18 year old daughter was invited to spend a week with her best friend at a beach in Delaware. As soon as the 4 year old found out that her big sis was going to the beach, she immediately packed her swimmy, mermaids, stuffed dolphins and PJs in a bag and announced she was ready to go to the beach. After a day filled with tears and heartbreak when we told her she was not going, Hubby and I decided to make her dreams come true.
I grew up with the ocean as my playground. I spent most of my childhood and teenage years basking in the sun, salt air, and seas of Florida. When my family moved up north, we began to go to the beach yearly so that I could get my salt air fix. Virginia Beach, Virginia to be exact.
For this trip we were going back and forth between the Florida Keys and Virginia Beach, we opted for Virginia Beach.
The main reason is that we have no idea how my 4 year old is going to do at the beach. We are currently on a waiting list to have her evaluated for possible Autism and sensory related issues. With that being said, it could either go really really good or really really bad.
Oh, and Virginia Beach is known for wild dolphins swimming close to shore.
CAN WE SAY BEST MOM EVER!!!
To help my bank account not cry too much more this year then it already has, we found all kinds of ways to save money on this amazing impromptu vacation.
One trick is to go during the off season when the rates are at least half of what you would pay during peak season. We opted for the beginning of Sept. The weather and ocean temps are still pretty warm then. Be flexible with your check in and check out days. It can save you even more in the long run. We are checking in on a Sunday and staying until Saturday. Also, some hotels will offer you an additional savings (15% for us) by booking a month or so in advance and paying for the room in full when you call to set up your reservations. Keep in mind though that this usually means the room is NON refundable.
So, we saved an additional 15% off of the already half priced oceanfront room. The hotel I chose just recently turned into a timeshare this year. Timeshare type hotels are amazing for those that want to save some extra money. They offer great amenities that regular hotels do not. This includes a full kitchen, an actual bedroom with a door, and a family room. This works awesome for us as we have no plans of eating out while we are there and will give my youngest a more normal home setting. I will also bring all our food and meals with us, saving us more.
Another perk to going off season, EVERYTHING is on clearance!
Packing list is coming soon.