Hiya, this is a draft from waaay back in April! Enjoy ♥
When ever I feel stressed or overwhelmed I make wishlists on AirBnB and dream of all the places I’m going to go and the people I’m going to meet and the adventures I’m going to have.
A few weeks ago, I was doing exactly that, but was feeling so down I decided to book Lauren and I a weekend away over Easter. I texted her to make sure she was free and told her not to make any plans!
We drove to Hot Springs, Arkansas and stayed two nights in an AirBnB. The first full day we explored the historic district and relaxed. The second day was really the point of the trip: we went to Magic Springs Theme Park and embraced our inner children! We left on Holy Thursday around 6 PM and returned home early Saturday evening, a quick and successful weekend away!
Overall we had a short and sweet adventure that recharged both our batteries.
It’s about $30 to fill my tank and I had to fill up twice. This is obviously the most varied aspect of a budget. It depends how far you’re going and even the terrain! I filled up before we left and again before we returned. Hot Springs is only about 3 hours from where we are, but it’s a pretty hilly area so we used more gas than if we’d gone some where flatter, like Texas. Haha.
The lodging: $187
Hotels can be the most expensive parts of travelling, but sometimes AirBnB can save you hundreds! I easily could have spent double if I’d stayed in a traditional hotel. This trip was my first experience with AirBnB and I can honestly say I will utilize AirBnB every time I travel. (Future post coming: Tips to utilize AirBnB. Lol.)
Our hosts were Mickey and Jill and we stayed in a little apartment space they created out of their basement. It sounds like it could have been sketchy, but was actually beautiful and very cozy! Their property is located in a neighborhood called Hot Springs Village, a gorgeous gated community that is literally packed to the brim with things to do.
While the AirBnB as a little farther from where we were visiting, it made more sense to make the drive to/from a few times than to pay nearly $50 more a night for the convenience of being a few miles closer. I was also sold on this listing because it had a fridge and microwave! If you want to read my ravings about my wonderful AirBnB experience you can check out my review on the pages linked above, I really go into detail. Haha!
Along with accommodations, food can be one of the most expensive parts of traveling. I find that when I travel I want to try new places that my home town doesn’t have or I like to indulge in treats I avoid at home.
To save money on food we made frozen pizzas to make and eat on the road the day we left. As mentioned, I chose our AirBnB because it had a fridge and microwave. This meant we were able to pack foods for lunch and dinner (Mickey & Jill provided breakfast foods/ snacks in the room!). We packed microwave rice/ soup for our in-room meals and a picnic lunch for our day out.
We planned to eat out once, so before we left I found a restaurant near Bath House Row that was accommodating of our food allergies and was different from what we could find at home. This led us to Tosha Kitchen, a delicious and cozy Indian/ Pakistani restaurant located right off the main street of the Hot Springs Historic District. We spent about $23 there, opting for lunch specials and sharing an appetizer.
Activities, Day 1: ~$57
Our first day was spent exploring the main street right off of Hot Springs National Park. We walked around Bath House Row, a street full of historic bath houses that have been around since the late 1800’s utilizing the areas natural hot springs. We went in antique shops, boutiques, a lot-park, a old-fashion toy store, and of course the Bath Houses.
Exploring the area was free and allowed us to talk, relax, and enjoy everything the area had to offer. We paid for admission to two things, Hot Springs Mountain Tower ($10 with military discount) and Tiny Town Trains ($12). Both of which were entirely worth it! Check out my post Exploring Hot Springs, Arkansas to read more about those adventures!
The non-essentials that we spent money on were some macaroons ($5) at a sweet boutique, postcards and souvenirs ($12), and a spirograph that we fell in love with at an old-fashioned toy store ($18).
Overall, we had so much fun and didn’t spend quite as much as I had anticipated! The best part is that if we hadn’t bought snacks or souvenirs/toys (that we didn’t really need☺) we only would have spent $22 on admission to the tower and Tiny Town!
Activities, Day 2: $53.80
Obviously water/ theme parks can be very expensive. I decided to add Magic Springs to the itinerary because I knew Lauren would love it (she’s a kid at heart ♥). Mid April turned out to be the best time we could have planned the trip. The weather was perfect, and since the water park wasn’t open yet, the admission price was reduced! There was also an April special going on since it was the last month before the water park opened. And of course we had to pay $10 to park.
We saved by packing our lunch, not purchasing a locker, and only playing Plinko ($5) once! Haha. Lauren won two free funnel cakes! Which also saved us money because we definitely had to get funnel cakes!
At the end of the weekend we spent a total of: $380.80
However, you can subtract $40 if you don’t count the souvenirs, spirograph, and the game of Plinko. Lol. It was definitely worth it. We had so much fun! I got to revel in the history and charm of the historic district and Lauren got to let out her inner child at Magic Springs. We didn’t break the bank, but we got to have a little vacation.