Vacation on the Cheap

By: Jill Rippy

Foster parents tell me quite often they cannot afford to take their family on vacation. Yes, my dear. Yes, you can. Spend your money on making memories and giving your foster children memories rather than things. Every kid deserves to go on vacation. Foster care is a great opportunity for these great memories. Let this sink in…the vacation you take them on may be the only vacation they ever experience.

Here are a few of my secrets to taking memorable yet extremely budget friendly vacations. These tried-and-true tips have been my “go to” travel plans for years. There are no gimmicks, no jumping through hoops and you will have a wonderful vacation!


Tip #1

Stay in Wyndham condos purchased off EBAY (CLICK HERE) Fully stocked condos are always going to be the best bet if you have a larger family and want to stay within a strict budget. We love to purchase people’s timeshare rentals from eBay. These are 100% legitimate. Most of the time, people who cannot use their timeshares will have a management company sell their timeshare week on their behalf. We buy these timeshare rentals often and feel they are completely the way to go. You can never go wrong with Wyndham properties.

Upon arrival, they will ask you to attend a timeshare presentation. Respectfully decline. I personally have never had any issues with being pressured after I’ve said no the first time.

I know you are wondering…what if the Ebay seller scams me? I’ve never had this happen, but I always make sure the seller has a 98-100% rating with a strong history of selling these timeshare rentals. Remember, they are a management company with a business to protect. Also, Ebay has an excellent reputation for standing by customers. You can expect to purchase the vacation through Paypal which also has great protections in place. The seller should ask for your contact info and please know that whomever purchases the vacation MUST be who checks in the day of arrival.

Many of these condo rentals include oceanfront properties or all inclusive indoor and/or outdoor water parks at no additional charge. They include bedrooms, living rooms, fully stocked kitchens, washer/dryers and  more.  The trick to getting a killer deal is to book within 60 days of your trip. We have enjoyed five night vacations for as little as $499 at all inclusive waterpark resorts. This price includes all fees, cleaning and taxes. And the condos are top notch in quality and cleanliness. Again, the best deals are within 60 days of your travel date.

Check out the list of possible destinations as low as $100 per night:

CLICK the link

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Oceanfront Condos

Daytona Beach, Florida Oceanfront Condos

Orlando, Florida Condos

Panama City, Florida Oceanfront Condos

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin Condos: Indoor & Outdoor Waterparks Included

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee Condos: Indoor & Outdoor Waterparks Included

California Condos

Destin, Florida Oceanfront Condos

Nashville, Tennessee Condos

Clearwater, Florida Oceanfront Condos

Sedona, Arizona Condos

Branson, Missouri Condos

Anaheim, California Condos

Pagosa Springs, Colorado Condos

Las Vegas, Nevada Condos

Williamsburg, Virginia Condos

Fort Lauderdale, Florida Condos

Tip #2

Take your own food. Freeze all meat before your trip and fill your cooler with the frozen meat and cold items. Pack pastas, cereals, peanut butter and anything that has a fairly stable shelf life in boxes and bury them on the very bottom of your luggage.  Your frozen/cold items will probably still be frozen when you arrive at your destination even if you stay in a hotel overnight along the way. Fresh vegetables, milk and bread can be purchased very inexpensively no matter where you choose to vacation.

Tip #3

Skip the extra stuff. If you are going to the ocean, enjoy your oceanfront condo and pools. Focus on family togetherness and skip all the extra stuff that is way overpriced. If you want to do something extra, find a local restaurant that is fairly inexpensive and give each kid a firm limit. Or, opt for a Groupon for a dolphin cruise or other scenic activity.

Tip #4

Pack light! Because all of these condos include a washer and dryer in your unit, each family member can pack just a backpack of clothing. Grab laundry detergent at the local Dollar Tree or throw some pods in your luggage. Each kids brings just a few outfits.

If you want to enjoy eating out and splurging without breaking the bank, check out my article The $100 Vacation Plan which focuses on teaching your children the importance of budgeting while on vacation.

Join my Facebook Group: THE FRUGAL FAMILY

Thank a Foster Parent HERE
Thank a Child Services Professional HERE
Join the discussion

1 comment
  • Thanks for all the wonderful ideas. I’m working on getting my license now. I haven’t done foster care for 48 years so it’s all new to me. Kids are out of the house so I want to start caring for children who need a Grandma kind of love. Thank you for all you do

Further reading

Those Crappy Case Workers

Being a foster parent for a number of years now, I have run into the good, the bad and the ugly regarding DCS Case Workers. My complaints have been...

You Should Just Stop Fostering

Many years ago I sat on the deck of a beach house with my step-brother.  We were enjoying an adult beverage, watching the sunset and catching up...

I Foster For the Money

If you want to evoke the passion of a quality foster parent, please spew the phrase, “Foster parents are only in it for the money.” This short...