Planning our summer vacation has been easier this year than in previous years since I had an idea as to where I planned to go and exactly what I wanted to see while we were there. St. Louis has always been a destination for us and there were two attractions that we knew we had to see if we ever got to go. This year we decided that we were going to take that vacation.
For several years, we have discussed going to St. Louis to see the St. Louis Zoo and Grant’s Farm. Being that we love animals and feel we can learn a lot from these two places, we decided that since my daughter will be 18 this year, we were taking this trip this summer. We started saving money a couple of years ago to be able to take this trip. Most of the money for it has came from saving pop cans and recycling them. Each time we take a load in, we put the money into a special jar that is just for vacation. I have friends who have been to both places and they recommended the trip highly as well. One of the best part of this trip is that the cost will not be as high as it would be if we chose to go to other places like the beach or a theme park.
As I began planning our trip, I talked with my friend who had been there a couple of summers ago. She told me that one of the reasons that she chose to go to these two places was the value that the trip could bring. Both the zoo and the farm offer free admission with parking. The zoo does have several attractions that cost extra, but with a small parking charge the entire family gets into the main attractions free.
Once I talked with her, I began to use the internet to make sure of what the cost of parking was to each place and found that for $22, our family of three can get into both attractions. The zoo offers a few extras that we may be willing to pay the small charge for considering how cheap the overall trip is. Parking at the zoo is $12 per car and the parking at Grant’s Farm is $10 per car with no extra fees for shows or attractions.
I also began to check out any packages that might be available, and I decided that I wanted to find one really nice hotel that we could stay in for at least one day. I found one by looking at the zoo website and the Grant’s Farm website. Once I had a name I began to check around on sites like Priceline and Orbitz to see if I could find a deal on this hotel. I did find one deal where I will be able to get the room for about 20 percent less than I would have if I had just gotten the room through the hotel website.
Fuel cost will probably be the largest cost we have. We plan to take snacks for the trip down and then we will go grocery shopping when we reach our destination for snacks and our lunches each day. Our evening meal will be one that we will decide on each day. There is a restaurant at Grant’s Farm that we plan to eat at, but the day we go to the zoo we may eat at the hotel in our room or we will grab something fast and cheap.
I am thinking that our vacation will cost us about $600 and I figure that we have $500 right now and another load of cans that will give us about another $75 so we won’t have to have much out of pocket expense at all. I am looking forward to going and I will share the details of our trip once we have taken it.