How To Have an Inexpensive Mid-Winter Getaway

Water Park

Image courtesy of healingdream /

The weather forecast says that we may not break zero degrees today, and the wind chill will make it feel like -15F to -30F outside.  That’s the kind of cold that makes your teeth HURT. You can also do this really neat trick where you can watch boiling water turn to ice crystals instantaneously.  While it hasn’t been a very harsh winter, today is the kind of day that makes me long for the warm days of summer.  It’s for days like this that several months ago we began planning a little outing.

Later this week a we’ll be heading two hours east with four other families for the 2nd annual neighborhood mid-winter getaway in the Wisconsin Dells. We’ll be staying in the same hotel that we did last year, which has both an indoor water park and amusement park.

We did a great job last year of making the three day getaway as inexpensive and enjoyable as possible, so well be using some of the same tactics again:

The Mac-Daddy Party Pad

Instead of getting our own individual rooms, for the same price per family we’ll be living large in the Entertainment Villa Loft. It’s got 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, a full kitchen, living room, and the basement is complete with a bar, big screen TV with theater seating, pool table and game table.

Now We’re Cooking!

With a full kitchen at our disposal, we’ll be taking turns showing off our mad cooking skills. We’ve made a meal schedule, each family signing up to make either a breakfast or a dinner for the group. We’re all on our own for lunches as we’ll probably be at the water or amusement park.

Bring Along Our Own Toys

After a full day of racing go-carts, wave pools, and water slides with the kids, it’s time to head back to the villa. The kids can play video games or watch a movie, while the grown ups throw back a few cold ones and play poker, or one of a dozen other strategy board games that we’re bringing along.

Hey, it’s called the Entertainment Villa for a reason!

For everything we did right, there were a couple of things we’ll be looking to improve upon to reduce the cost of the trip even more.

Boooo for Unneeded Meals!

Last year people signed up to make a lunch, but since we were at the water park nobody wanted to go back to the villa to eat and we ended up skipping those meals. The families put a lot of time, energy and money into those meals.

No Duplicate Supplies!

As each family arrived at the villa last year and started unpacking the food items they brought, we found that each family brought their own supply of soda, bread, eggs, juice and even peanut butter.  Most of these things come in packages larger than one family will eat in three days.  This year, we made a list of common items that everyone will use, and divided them up between the five families going.

Fill Me up!

Last year Vonnie bought a GINORMOUS cup that holds an entire pitcher of Pina Colada.

An entire pitcher!

The initial cost of the cup was sizable, but refills were very inexpensive. We also purchased a similar refillable container for soda for the kids. They claim to be refillable forever, so we’re bringing them along to reuse.

Seriously, an entire pitcher of Pina Colada at once!

We’re aiming to minimize our cost, but at the same time maximize our fun and cure our winter time blahs just long enough for spring to get here!

How about you?  Have you taken any mid-winter getaways? Do you have any money saving tricks that you can share to help us out even more?

About Travis

8 Responses to “How To Have an Inexpensive Mid-Winter Getaway”

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  1. Normally my brothers and I like to go skiing once a year but this year we resorted to going to a local ski resort so we didn’t have to deal with hotel cost and we waited to go a little later in the day because the cost was a lot cheaper. On top of that we pack our own food and drinks so we don’t have to pay the resorts over priced fees.

  2. Being in MI, my wife and I have said more than once that going to the Wisconsin Dells would make a great trip for both us and the kids. It sounds like a ton of fun!

    • Travis says:

      Oh, it definitely is – either Summer or Wintertime! Obviously there’s more to do in the Summer as all the outside attractions are open, but it’s much cheaper in the offseason – and many of the hotels have indoor water parks that are super fun!

  3. Karie says:

    I love it! I rent a cottage every year with my brother’s family – 10 of us in a big lakefront cottage. I would love to do shorter trips with 2 or more families. I have a son and 2 daughters and it seems like most of my friends just have 2 daughters or different ages or whatever but if you have a lot of families, somehow it all works out! Have fun!

    • Travis says:

      Thanks, Karie! You’re right, the more the merrier – We have a super close knitted neighborhood, and as mentioned, this is the second year we’re doing this. We had such a great time last year, we just had to do it again!

  4. Laurie says:

    Sounds like a great plan, Travis, for a totally affordable vacation. Thanks for the great tips, and have fun!

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