As I mentioned in my last post, our family is preparing to enjoy an overnight stay at Great Wolf Lodge. (In case you’re not familiar with Great Wolf, it is an indoor waterpark resort.) This trip is a combined birthday present for two of our kids in lieu of presents (their birthdays have already passed, poor kids. They have had to be very patient!)
Great Wolf Lodge is an attraction all by itself so we have no need to go anywhere else to have a great time. We’ll spend two days splashing in the wave pool, riding countless water slides and generally getting water-logged.
Here’s what I will do to keep our expenses as low as possible on this super-fun overnight trip.
1. Book the most basic room.
This resort has some amazing theme rooms. Lofts, fireplaces, cabins and bunk beds for the kids – they have some incredible places to stay. But we’re going for the waterpark, not a fancy hotel room. And the waterpark and the rest of the hotel is exciting enough so that we don’t feel the need to upgrade to an elaborate room, as fun as that would be. So we keep it simple and save at least $100 by booking a basic room.
2. Bring our own food.
The food available in the hotel is highly processed, super-expensive and honestly not that great. We bring most of the food we’ll need for the 24 hours we are there. Our family of 6 could easily spend $100-200 on food depending on what and where we eat. Food alone would double the cost of our trip so this is crucial to keeping our expenses down. We’ll take advantage of the in-room fridge to store our perishables.
We avoid most of the on-site food when taking trips like these. The food is typically highly processed, insanely expensive, and not that great. Pay $6 for a skimpy tray of french fries? No thank you! We are typically much happier eating food from home.
Pack simple snacks
Since we’re not actually going to be cooking anything, most of the food has to be ready to eat. I will bring things like:
- stove-popped popcorn (stores great in gallon zip-top bags)
- hard-boiled eggs
- cold cooked chicken
- cheese slices
- homemade granola
- boxed cereal (with or without milk)
- sandwich fixings
- fresh fruit and raw veggies
- chips and salsa
3. Don’t forget the paper plates!
We’ll bring some disposable plates, cups, bowls, napkins and cutlery and extra trash bags.
4. Order in for dinner
When we’re away for a night, we do like to splurge on take-out that we enjoy in our room. There are usually lots of great restaurants nearby that offer delivery for a much better price than the on-site ones. And eating in our room is much more relaxing than asking tired small children to behave themselves in a restaurant. We also save money on tips and drinks by having takeout.
5. Bring a movie for a relaxing movie night.
After a crazy busy day shooting down water-slides, we will all be ready to unwind with a movie. We bring our own from Netflix or Redbox. I’m not forking over $18 for the hotel’s movie service.
6. Make sure we bring the essentials.
Last time, we had to buy a forgotten bathing suit and they’re not cheap in the land of the waterpark! Note to self: check all children’s packing before leaving home. 🙂
Taking fun trips like this one lets us build memories my kids will treasure forever.
Keeping the cost down helps us to make it possible and within our budget.
How do you save money on overnight trips like this?
Photo by Vox Efx