Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Local Things to do that are Almost as fun as Travelling

If I could, I'd be travelling every chance I got.  The truth of the matter is, we travel way less then we want to.  Compared to other travel bloggers around the web, we've been nowhere! We haven't even been overseas! We've only been to various parts of Canada and the United States.  Basically, anywhere we can drive.   And I hope to change that, but in the meantime I am exploring areas in my country that I haven't seen any chance I get.  

But what about those times that travelling just isn't in the budget? Or you can't get the time off of work?  Well,if you are like me, you may feel sort of blue if you have to stick TOO close to home.  But there are things you can do to make sure you are having at least CLOSE to as much fun as you would have if you were travelling.

1.  Hit up local festivals.  Especially ones focused on various cultures.  Every Summer there is an ethnic food festival in my area.  I look forward to it all year.  It gives me the chance to taste foods from other countries right in my own hometown!  And of course, it's the one time of year I allow myself to buy a ridiculously expensive freshly squeezed cup of lemonade - by a guy in a giant lemon, no less. :)  

2.  Hit up as many food trucks as you can.  Speaking of food, the food trucks that are available these days are absolutely amazing!  I discovered our area has quite a variety of trucks selling everything from tacos, to perogies, to deep fried pickles.  I definitely plan to sample a few I've never been to this year.  I may like to stuff my face more than the average person though....

3.  Find some local wineries or breweries.  We live in an area that is popular for their wineries.  Although i haven't been on a wine tour due to having small kids with me most of the time, it would be a pretty nice way to spend a day with my husband.

4.  Go camping someplace new.  There are so many provincial parks (or state parks if you are in the US) with unreal beauty and adventure waiting for you.  Go camping at one of the parks you've never been.

5.  Go to all the local Farmers Markets.  I love to walk along all the booths at Farmers Markets with their brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, flowers, and artisan creations. Drive a little farther than your usual market destination and discover a new market you've never been to!

6.  Throw your own party, theme and all.  Invite all your friends over for a BBQ.  Want to feel like you are travelling?  Pick a country for your theme. Have a Luau or a Fiesta or celebrate Chinese New Year.

7.  Make a meal from another country.  I know, there I go talking about food again.  Search on Pinterest for some recipes of some dishes from other countries around the world and try creating it at home.  

8.  Relax in a little coffee shop.  One that you have never been to. Bring a good book, and order one of those lattes that have the pretty foam pictures drawn into them.  And of course, don't forget to take a selfie.  I have no shame in taking selfies. With food.  I will take selfies with food for as long as I walk on this earth.  

If you can't go on a big trip this year, how will you fill the gap?  It's easy for me to feel sad about it when that happens, but instead of wasting my time being sad I would rather fill my time with fun things to do!

Monday, May 9, 2016

5 Ways we are Saving Money to Travel

Travelling, for us, is a priority. But we live on one low income which means we need to be creative in how we make travel happen. In my last post, HERE, I shared that we are going to Colorado this September. Some of our ways to keep travel expenses down will be camping at cheap and free sites, making our own meals, and driving instead of flying there. Regardless of how cheap the trip itself will be if we cut corners, the truth of the matter is that we still need a good chunk of money to travel. 

Here are some ways we are making it work.

 1. We put at LEAST 20 dollars away from every weekly paycheque. 20 dollars doesn't seem like much, but after months of doing that you will easily have a few hundred or more dollars building up. If we have extra money from a paycheque, we put in more than 20, and there has been the odd week we can only put in 10, but SOMETHING alway goes into the fund.

 2.Christmas money. Every year we get some money from relatives for Christmas. Sure, initially we wanted to spend it on things such as clothes or items for our house, but we reminded ourself what we wanted more.

 3. Points Cards. We are big fans of the PC Plus points program. Most people use these points for free groceries, but do you know you can use them to purchase a gift card from No Frills (or Loblaws, or Independent Grocers) such as a prepaid Visa? We save our points, buy a gift card, and use it for gas on our trip.

 4. Surveys. Okay, so this is not my favorite way to earn money, that's for sure. But it's something I can do at home in the middle of homeschooling my kids or tending to the needs of my family. It's not a lot of extra cash, but it's something that will make a difference on our trip.

  5. We don't eat out much. Nor do we go through drive thrus for coffee and donuts very often. Since Christmas our family has gone out to eat once, and my husband and I have gone out to eat a couple of times separately with friends. We even stopped ordering pizza for our family, and instead make our own homemade pizza. We are big foodies and LOVE to eat out, but we know we will love an adventure on the road even more!

 Saving for a trip you really want, especially when living on a lower income will take sacrifice and time. But in the end, if you really want it, you can make it happen! It may take longer than someone with more disposable income, but it's not impossible. After our trip to Colorado, we are saving for a family trip overseas. We are estimating this will take us 5 years to save for. 5 YEARS! For this impatient woman, it's going to be tough, but I want this trip and have decided I will be fighting to make it happen.

 Where would you go on a trip if you had the money? Are you saving to go somewhere?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Colorado Bound

This coming September we have decided it was time for another big trip.  After doing copious amounts of research, we settled on Colorado.  It has been 4 Summers ago I first saw the mountains, and I really didn't get much time to "play" around them.  I have been desperate to go back.  But this time instead of the Canadian Mountains we are headed to Colorado!

Because we live on a limited income, we will once again be driving.  Our farthest destination in Colorado, Silverton, will take us 30 hours to get there.  But the journey is always half the fun for us.

Starting in Silverton will allow us to trek along the Million Dollar Highway.  One blog I read described it as being a "sneeze away from driving off the edge."  But the views are apparently magnificient, and I am still upset that we never drove along the Icefield Parkway when we drove through Banff, Alberta.  So I refuse to miss this opportunity!

Million Dollar Highway
The drive on the Million Dollar Highway will take us to the Ouray and Ridgeway area, where we hope to take a hike out the the Lower Blue Lake.  However, this hike is 10 km round trip, so I am not sure if  am pushing my luck in thinking my kids will be able to do this.  My two older could do 7 km for sure, but I am wondering if those last 3 kms will be possible.  As for my youngest, who is 4, he hates walking on the best of days.  So all this to say this hike is still up in the air.  But the lower lake is a gorgeous turquoise colour thanks to being fed by glaciers.  So I imagine it really is a sight to be seen.

From there we will drive towards Canon City.  On our way we will stop and camp where we see fit.  There has been a great website, called Free Campsites, that shows many free or super cheap ($12 or less) campsites along the way.  Many of these have no amenities, but many still have outhouses (but don't forget to bring your own toilet paper!).  We are going to attempt to camp at some of these free sites.  We will see how it works out.

Royal Gorge

In Canon City we will be exploring the Royal Gorge.  From there, we will head over to Manitou Springs to see the Manitou Dwellings.
Manitou Dwellings

 And then on to Colorado Springs where we hope to explore many areas, The Garden of the Gods, and Seven Falls.  One of the locations we are excited about as a family is the Family Center at Focus on the Family.  We listen to their radio program and they have an area for kids at their centre that includes Wit's End from Adventures in Odyssey, along with some other fun things.

Seven Falls

As you can see, even though it is months away, we are already excitedly planning away.  Am I missing anything you think we shouldn't miss in Colorado?  Stay tuned to find out how we are saving for our trip, and how we are hoping to cut costs to make a trip like this possible for a one-income family of 5!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...