Low budget vacations and road trips

We just returned from a trip to Memphis, TN for a national youth fencing tournament.   My son has fenced in several national tournaments, which means travel and hotel stays, and everything else that goes with it.  They say the role of a fencing parent is “Chauffeur, Go-fer, and Credit-Card Holder”, and they are right up to a point.  However, there are ways to make these trips less costly.

Many families fly to tournaments, but we drive.   My son’s first tournament was in Albuquerque, NM which is a two-day drive for us.  The hotels near the convention center cost between $150 and $300 per night, but we were able to drive to a far less expensive hotel about ten minutes away.   We paid less than half of what many other fencers paid. We chose a hotel with microwave and fridge in the rooms so that we could more easily eat in our room instead of at restaurants.  I brought a cooler with a little bit of pre-cooked food, and some frozen dinners.  We brought our tea maker and didn’t have to buy any drinks for several days. I know we spent far less than many other families at the tournament, but we still needed to do better.

The most recent tournament was in Memphis, which is only about six hours away from home, which lowered our expenses significantly. I found “extended” type hotel with a kitchen in the rooms with a full fridge, mini stove and a microwave.  This hotel cost even less than a standard hotel room with a microwave in the same area of Memphis.

I cooked several ‘one-pot’ meals ahead of time and froze them in resealable plastic bags.  We got the rest of the weeks’ groceries from a store near the hotel.  We had home-cooked food all week, and only went to a restaurant twice.

The next tournament will be in Atlanta, GA and I’m planning ahead for it as much as possible.