Winter time in Western New York is long. Some years it isn’t so much about the cold, as it is the grey dreary days. I’m one of those people when it’s sunny out, my mood is elevated. It’s the best day even if it is only 20 degrees outside.
My husband and I have been married for 11 years. On our financial debt pay off journey, time together was at home. When our kids were babies, I would plan date nights at home. Even if my husband’s parents would come to babysit, we didn’t have enough money to go anywhere.
So here we are 11 years later, and debt free, we are ready for trips away the two of us. We were very blessed to have an amazing bible study group at our church that was for married couples. We started it right after we had our first daughter. To this day, I know that group saved our marriage and set us up on a beautiful path.
If you need encouragement as a couple, check our Right Now Media, there are many great conferences and bible studies for couples on it.
In almost off all these conferences for couples you hear over and over the importance of spending quality time away with your spouse.
This is even more so when you have kids. Life tends to get busier as the kids grow older, in different ways then when you are changing diapers and constantly explaining things.
Sometimes it seems easier to put aside a night together. I’m here to say I think every couple should have at least ONE overnight a year. At least. If you are on a debt pay off, reward yourself with an overnight.
As a frugal couple I want to share with you ways you can do this without breaking the bank. Yes a $3,000 vacation would be lovely, but is it necessary? Not really.
Do you really need that photo to share on social media? Nope.
Let’s get into it. Here is how to have a cheap winter getaway.
It’s a classic. If you want to plan a getaway Groupon is an excellent choice to do it. Many times when I am planning anything fun to do I check Groupon first.
If you are wanting to save money check out a new area in your home state. You don’t need to travel far to make a memorable trip. On our last trip we went to Niagara Falls. It’s only an hour away. If you have a long winter season getting out of routine helps so much.
Pick a Tourist Town
If you visit a tourist place most likely it’s quiet in the winter.
Which means in the winter, prices are cheap. If you have an area that is very popular in the summer check it out in the winter. Try to pick a place that has sight seeing to do. If you are a couple that likes nightlife or being able to go out to restaurants then always check on this before you book a trip in an off season place.
For my husband and I we like to go out every once in awhile but we would rather explore things in nature.
Get Club Level
I wasn’t aware of this at hotels until last year. We rarely stay at hotels. Usually my husband and I go tent camping in the Adirondacks in the summertime. But now we are liking to break up winter with a couples getaway.
With the other tip I have to save money is to go during the week when rates are cheaper. If you book a hotel and there is a business meeting or conference going on, you may be able to upgrade to the club level for free.
Always ask if it is possible to be on the club level or executive level. It’s worth trying to check in early too. It may even be worth the cost to upgrade.
Club level at hotels usually means this, you get access to a room with a nice view, free Wifi, snacks and beverages throughout the day. Most serve dinner and offer happy hours. At the Sheraton in Niagara Falls, they have Happy Hour from 5-7pm. daily. This means free alcoholic beverages folks.
This alone may even make your stay worth the upgrade. You get access to free water and pop along with snacks all day. Breakfast and dinner are another perk. You can also take all the food and beverages from the club lounge to your room.
It’s worth also signing up for Hotel perks rewards if available.
If you find that staying in a hotel in the winter time is too pricey try AirBNB. We tend to go tent camping in the summer when hotel prices are higher, but AirBnB is a great option in the winter too.
If you sign up for an Airbnb account you’ll get a $55 credit to use towards your booking here.
If you are looking specially at Niagara Falls USA, book a package.
All hotels these days come with a mini fridge and microwave. If you are on a tight budget and want to save money consider picking up a pre-made meal. My go to place is BJ’s and I just did a review on all six of the pre-made meals I’ve tried here. It also includes the Chicken Parm we had during our Winter Getaway.
Costco, Wegman’s and many other retailers have fresh made meals. Picking it up to microwave will be cheaper than going out to eat. If you have club lunge access at your hotel, they always have plates and silverware. Otherwise be sure to bring some from home.
AVOID UBer During Peak Times
If you are planning a getaway in a very touristy place, let’s say Nashville. ( We went there last year) don’t rely on Uber or Lyft during peak times. The rate is tripled. We found if you need a ride during peak times try the local taxi service. It is usually less than Uber and Lyft. Otherwise plan on traveling BEFORE peak times.
Book Hotel with Free Shuttle
When you are looking to stay at a hotel and fly look into finding one that has a free shuttle service from airport to your hotel room. You will never want to rent a car right at the airport. When went to Nashville, this was a must have. Our Nashville hotel had a shuttle bus to and from downtown that was a lot cheaper than Uber.
Travel Mid Week
If you have vacation days try to make your trip during the week. Rates are cheaper and there is less people. If you are going to book an airline ticket Tuesdays are the best days to get deals.
Don’t Rent a Car at Airports
The prices are ALWAYS higher then if you booked it before or online.
Don’t try to look up car rental prices online and then go to the car rentals, the online prices are not good when you book in person same day.
You will save the most if you bundle a hotel, car, and airline ticket together. If you know you will need all three I always use cheaptickets to do it and save more money.
Rakuten( Formely Ebates)
Did you realize they give you cashback when you book travel and vacations through the site? If you sign up for an account here you’ll get a bonus $10 to spend.
Eat Where Locals Eat
Although I love getting a Groupon deal with extras, sometimes the Save $10 on a $40 purchase etc. may not be worth it. For example when we went to Niagara Falls the Rain forest cafe is outrageous.
It’s a one and done kind of deal. If you don’t have kids totally skip it. No one who lives in the area is eating there. Utilize your smart phone and look for local places to eat.
Cheapest Places in US To Vacation
If you are looking for actual places known to be cheap check out this blog post.
I hope this helps to inspire you to plan a winter getaway for cheap. It can be done and there is no rush when it comes to saving money. There will always be a deal.
Share any other tips you have with us below?
Stay tuned for my post on how we went to Niagara Falls in Winter for SUPER SUPER CHEAP!