Tis the season for saving — Budgeting for a winter getaway

2023-12-19  3 minute read

Tara Silliker

Lifestyle Debt

The holidays are just around the corner and a winter vacation is in your future. Whether it’s the hundredth time you’re going away for the holidays or you’re finally pulling the trigger on that winter getaway, you’re still left with one big question: how can we afford this?

Smiling friends relaxing in chairs on the mountain top at sunny day Back view

Whether it’s getting creative with where you go and how you spend your time, or working together as a family to make some amazing winter getaway memories without breaking the bank, it is possible maintain your financial health while giving your family that special experience.

And no we’re not talking about a budget tracker or debt calculator — although those debt tools are always a great resource. We’re talking about fun budgeting tips to make your holidays shiny and bright.

A trip full of presents

The vacation is the gift. Take the hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars you’d normally spend on presents for the whole family and dedicate it toward a dream vacation. When the family starts putting their Christmas wish list together, get everyone to ask for things to do on vacation.

Parents and kids alike can make a holiday wish list full of special restaurants, activities and events, or tourist attractions that they each want to do while on vacation. You can populate your entire itinerary from your kids’ Christmas wish list!

Travel locally

You don’t have to go far away for a holiday retreat. Save the cost of airfare by going to a local gem and cozying in for the holidays. Lots of local towns or nearby cities have a distinct holiday experience to offer. Explore local traditions and events in your own backyard.

You’ll be surprised at what you can experience within a short drive. Find a great family spot, bring all your favourite games and your holiday jammies, and enjoy getting a break from the city.

The best things in life are free

Whether you travel near or far, everywhere you go will have a range of local activities that won’t cost you a cent. If you find yourself in a winter wonderland, make sure you bring tobogans and skates. Where there’s snow and ice, there will always be free, public spaces sor skating and sledding.

Even in the winter, outdoor activities are a lot of fun. Hiking or cross-country skiing are also popular activities for the winter getaway. Get ready for rosy cheeks belly laughs, there’s nothing like enjoying free winter activities with family and friends.

The nightlife is lit

No, not the clubs. You are parents now, after all. But the streets and town centres will be aglow with every colour of of the holidays. Cities, towns, and communities all treat the holidays as something special. They invest in some of the most beautiful displays of lights you’ll see all year.

Some areas even have local light parades or public events. Check the calendar of your winter destination to see what kind of public events are happening when you’re going to be in town.

Celebrate whenever you want

Speaking of when you’ll be in town, you don’t have to wait until winter holidays to celebrate the holidays. You’ll find that airfare and lodging are much cheaper in the shoulder seasons.

Pull your kids from school a bit early and take that holiday trip in the fall. Maybe this could be the beginning of a new holiday tradition. Avoid the hustle and bustle of December altogether and celebrate on your own time.

Do it yourself

An oldie but a goodie. Give Amazon a smaller piece of the pie and make your own holiday experience. Come up with DYI presents that are heartfelt expressions or well-thought out experiences. Sometimes the best present is a surprise picnic in a winter wonderland living room.

Doing it yourself doesn’t stop with presents. Make your own decorations. Prepare all your own food. Bake, bake, and bake some more, staying cozy with the oven on as you go. Your holiday can literally be what you make it.

And finally… hot chocolate

One of the best parts of winter getaways is capping off days and activities with a nice cup of hot chocolate, and this is no different. Make an experience out of it. Continuing the DIY theme, you can even make your own hot chocolate bombs. Use your favourite mug. Leave it overfilling with marshmallows.

Many cities and communities have launched their own hot chocolate fests where shops and cafes all put their best mug forward. Drink in every cup and every moment for the best vacation yet.

Enjoy your loved ones 

At the end of the day, whether you stamped your passport or drove an hour away, when the wrapping paper is torn and the feasts are enjoyed, it’s all about spending time together.

The real purpose of a winter getaway is to get a break away from the hustle and bustle of life — and replace it with the hustle and bustle of family and friends. Appreciate the little moments. The laughs and the inside jokes. Memories old and new. Because you’ll never have to break the bank to remember how much you care about each other.

Happy Holidays from MNP.

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