Like most families, we've made some adjustments for our summer plans.

A trip we take nearly every August to Big Sur got scrubbed. Instead, an economical visit to family in Los Angeles substituted. (Economical in that hotels, car rentals are not needed.) In fact, most of our days are spent hanging out with the cousins, grabbing ice cream cones in the park — a staycation, albeit one we flew about 3,000 miles to take.

However, one of us (okay, I'll admit the guilt) got the itch to take a few day trips -- and maybe blur them together. Two nights in a hotel in San Diego, a car rental, trip to Legoland...what could that cost? Yep. So much for my staycation to save money.

We did find a few ways to save though. Clearly we're not alone in our decision to cut back, and hotels are offering ridiculous savings (check out Expedia for some of the best - two nights for three, steep discounts on one-night stays). And coupons for amusement parks are all over the Net. I found one for Legoland that got us $30 off each ticket.

All of that helped -- if not creating some extra work to plan the fun. (And have any adults out there ever had a wonderfully joyful day at Legoland? 'Cause I'd love to hear about it...)

But I do wonder from a business standpoint if consumers will grow to expect these deals when (or if) they make summer plans next year. After all, once you start to roll back prices, its harder to roll them up.

A trip to Disneyland is also in the works before we head back to New York. (Yes, I am a sucker.) No coupons can be found for the "Happiest Place on Earth". Disney is one company that would rather have their park a bit empty than ever look like it's gone Wal*Mart. Does that dissuade me for going? Hardly. I am the mother of a 6-year-old, and a woman who grew up indoctrinated on Disney's siren song since I was 3-years-old. But oh my....$200 for a family of three? Before we even buy one frozen banana? Right.

So, have to admit, I'm rethinking his staycation verses vacation plan. When added all together, I think a week in Big Sur under some redwoods with a few s'mores may have clocked in somewhere in the neighborhood I'm already spending. Well....maybe not. But it would have been a whole lot more relaxing, and probably wouldn't have brought home more plastic toys, and a princess wand blaring "Small World." Yes, the 6-year-old got a few souvenirs too.

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Comment by Lauren Barack on August 13, 2009 at 12:04pm
I love Montreal....air miles are a great way to save. We were going to use some for a car rental -- but it was going to take a few days to get the certificate so we passed.....we also made some adjustments searching for taco stands instead of more upscale restaurants. In that way we turned it into a culinary quest for the best fish tacos from Laguna Beach and south!
Comment by ECHOage on August 12, 2009 at 4:33pm
Hi Lauren,
We were the road trip family this summer. We just got back from a 9 day road trip from Toronto to Quebec in Canada. We saved by using our air mile points to stay for two of the nights in Montreal. Three dinners were eaten at friends along the way. Picnic lunches were the norm. Our big expense was 3 nights at a beautiful hotel along the shore of The St. Lawrence River. Even though we made efforts to save money along the way - I never once felt like we were scrimping - it was a great trip.




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