Last trip without baby {on a budget}

This weekend was our last baby free getaway.

I know life isn’t over when baby girl arrives, but it will definitely be different, and it will be a while before we can drop her off at Grandma’s for a weekend getaway.

If you follow me on instagram, then I’m sure you’ve seen a million pictures of our weekend away in Ormond Beach.

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When we found out we were pregnant our priorities needed to change; the amount of money we spent on frivolous things had to reduce, and the amount we contributed to our savings had to increase.

This meant that while we wanted to have a nice, relaxing trip, we had to be realistic and stick to a budget. I spent a lot of time looking for a hotel that wouldn’t break the bank, and that would allow us to have an ocean front room. Our trip to the condo in Daytona pretty much solidified that if I’m going to stay on the beach it HAS to be oceanfront with a balcony.

We aren’t loaded by any stretch of the imagination, so my hotel search usually starts with Best Westerns & Hampton Inns. Chris stays at both of these places when he travels for work, and has had pretty good luck. He occasionally stumbles upon a dud of a hotel, but for the most part he’s had good luck. I also like to use these hotels because Chris is a member of their points programs so we get points which eventually accumulate into a free room(s).

My search ended at the Best Western: Castillo del Sol in Ormond beach. We were able to book an ocean front room, with a balcony, and small kitchenette. We spent three nights at the hotel and paid $287, which breaks down to about $95/night (that includes taxes/fees).

Quick run down of the hotel: It was alright. The room was clean, except for the roach in the bathroom. I try not to get worked up over roaches (unless they are in my food). This is Florida, roaches are pretty much everywhere, and are unavoidable.. but still, ew. The kitchen….. It had a microwave, full size fridge, and a two burner stove top.. Great, except that there were no spatulas, or spoons, or anything to use with the one pot/pan that came in the kitchen. It was slightly frustrating, and had me wondering how we were actually going to prepare any meals in this “kitchen.” 

The air-conditioner…. It quit working on Saturday night, so our room got nice and toasty. According to Chris it probably just froze up and needed to be turned off for a while. We left it off for most of Sunday and thankfully it worked fine on Sunday night, but Saturday was a doozy.

The beds were fine. We had a room with two “queen” beds, which were more like doubles, extra small doubles… They were nothing nice, just regular, hard hotel beds. Pretty much what you would expect at a non-luxury hotel.

Would I stay again? Uhm, maybe. I would definitely research the area some more and see what else I could find. The price was reasonable, and overall the hotel was fine, but if I could find a little bit of a nicer place for a tiny bit more, it would be worth the money, hands down.

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We were planning to save some money on breakfast and eat at the continental breakfast that the hotel provided, but that proved to be a major flop but the continental breakfast was seriously lacking, which threw a tiny wrench in our “don’t spend money on breakfast plan.” Chris has seen lots of BW breakfasts; he said this one was horrible compared to what he’s seen in the past. There was a few cereal choices, a few muffins, plain bagels, and some frozen waffles.. Oh, and powdered eggs, and way over done bacon.

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We left Friday around lunch time, dropped the puppies off at my Mom’s house then headed over to the East Coast.

After we got settled into our room we headed over to the grocery store to pick up a few things so that we could eat a few meals in our room. For dinner on Friday night, Chris managed to whip up some shrimp alfredo. For lunches on Saturday/Sunday we had grilled ham & cheese sandwiches. Fancy, I know.

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After our sad attempt at the continental breakfast on Saturday, we headed down to the beach for a walk. Saturday was filled with relaxing. We spent the majority of the day people watching from our balcony. We spent a little bit of time in the pool, and went on more than one walk on the beach.

IMG_270327 weeks: About to head out to dinner

Saturday night we went to a place just down the road from our hotel called Riptides Raw Bar – Chris had a fried grouper sandwich, and I had shrimp creole. Super tasty, but I’m counting down the days until I can have a nice juicy tuna steak, mmm mmm mmmmm!!! ($56)

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We woke up to a cloudy sky on Sunday morning – We decided to go to breakfast and hope the weather cleared up quickly. We headed north out of Ormond Beach and had breakfast at Alfies. I had an ham & cheese omelet which was really yummy. Chris had a skillet, which is potatoes, onions, sausage, green peppers, and eggs all mixed together. I tried a bite (and then had it for breakfast on Monday) and it was melt in your mouth good! ($26)

After breakfast we drove up A1A (the main road that runs up the East Coast) and just took in the coastline. I absolutely love driving up the coast and seeing the beach. We stopped at a public parking area to take some pictures.

road side beach stop

We kept driving north until we got to the Matanzas Inlet, then we turned around and headed back to the hotel. By time we got to the hotel the weather had cleared up and we were able to enjoy some more time by the pool, and a few more walks on the beach. Once again, we spent the majority of our day people watching from our balcony.

We had planned on cooking dinner in our hotel room, but with our limited kitchen gear, and lack of desire to cook, we headed out to find something to eat. We wanted to find a little bar & grill to grab a burger, but after driving around for a while we came up with nothing. We headed down to Daytona to eat at Caribbean Jacks. We knew they had good food since we had eaten there in August when we spent the weekend at the condo.

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We sat outside on the deck and enjoyed the unseasonably cool weather we’ve had over the last few nights. I know it’s Fall in most parts of the country, but our weather rarely cools down this early in October. I ordered the Bamboo burger which had a juicy piece of pineapple and a jerk sauce, oh my, so so so good! Chris had the Jacks’ burger; he said it was tasty, but I didn’t get to test it out – I was to busy stuffing my face with my own burger & onion rings. ($28).

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Monday morning brought us another cloudy sunrise; we sat on the balcony for a while just enjoying our last morning at the beach. People watching from the balcony is the best. We watched kids running around on the beach, while their parents lag behind. We saw an injured pelican sit on the beach for a while before a lifeguard came along and scooped him up. That was pretty interesting – that pelican wanted nothing to do with that lifeguard.

For breakfast we returned to Alfies where we both enjoyed the breakfast skillet. After breakfast we went back to the hotel, loaded the car and headed back West. ($21)

I was sad to leave the beach, but I was really ready to get home and sleep in my own bed. I had a terrible time sleeping while we were away. Note to self: NEVER leave the snoogle at home ever again {while pregnant}. That thing is a sleep-saver. Really, it is.

Overall we had a really great trip! I’m already planning another beach trip for our 5 year anniversary in February. Yes, February. There is never a wrong time of year to go to the beach. Obviously we will have a new little one at that point, so things could change, but for now, I’ve got my planning hat on.

Budget wise: I think we did pretty good. I budgeted $600 for the entire trip and we ended up spending about $560. To ensure that we didn’t go over our allotted amount I set aside money in our bank account for the hotel, and took cash for all of our meals and whatever other random things we spent. I find that taking cash makes it much easier to stay on track and not buy little things here & there, which can quickly add up and blow a budget into oblivion.

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2 thoughts on “Last trip without baby {on a budget}

  1. So happy you got to have a nice getaway. And I hope, hope baby girl will arrive for you before the end of the year! Also, you are looking great. 🙂

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