16 Tips For Having a Momcation on a Budget with Momcation Ideas

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This is a guide to having a momcation, a momcation on a budget, and momcation ideas.

So confession time: being a mom and a wife is the absolute joy of my life but sometimes mom needs a break. The kind of break where I’m just sitting [in an unshared space], being silent [or just having the TV going in the background] while I do everything I want to do [or nothing at all].  A momcation with a set block of time that’s all about me.

If you’ve decided to embark on your momcation, are looking to have a momcation on a budget, or just simply need momcation ideas, then I’ve got some handy tips to help you along the way.

Mom Needs a Break: A Momcation.

So what is a momcation? The internet loves to put a cute name on everything [like “girl boss” and “momprenuer”] but a momcation is simply a vacation that a mom takes. It can be whatever you’d like it to be whether it be a solo trip or one taken with girlfriends. There’s only one rule: no kids allowed! The idea is to take time for yourself and indulge in self-care. As a mom that tries to take a solo trip at least once a year, I am all here for it!

Why Take a Momcation.

If you’re wondering why you should take a momcation, I’m going to ask you a question: why not? Moms are one of the few social classes in the world that feel they have to justify the need for alone time. It’s an unfair standard of care that is outdated and needs to be eradicated. We, as human beings, deserve self-care and that is so much easier to get when we have the time, energy, and mental capacity to focus solely on ourselves. Simply put: mom needs a break and a momcation is a wonderful way to get one.

Momcation Alternatives

OK, we’ve established that mom needs a break. But sometimes that can feel easier said than done. If you’re nervous about leaving your child, check out this guide to traveling without your child.

If you simply don’t have childcare, luckily there are a few options:

  • Look into a resort that includes childcare either babysitting or a kid’s club
  • Join Facebook Travel Groups to look for a travel buddy whom you can trade off on watching the kids.
  • Think about a cruise. With their kid club options, it’s a great way for both of you to have both a vacation and a break from each other.

Momcation on a Budget

It’s no secret that budget is a big part of travel [I talk extensively about how to afford travel here]. So if you’re looking for momcation ideas where you can have a momcation on a budget, we’ve got you covered! Here are some money-saving tips the next time mom needs a break.

Consider a Momcation Staycation

One of the easiest ways to save money is to look for momcation ideas that are local. Not only will you save on travel costs but it gives you the opportunity to experience your new city in a new way. Perhaps there is a new exhibit in the inner city that you’ve been dying to see or a particularly hip part of town that you don’t get to visit often or maybe even a suburb you haven’t been to.   Look into those areas, plot out an agenda, and have the time of your life!

If you’re in Houston, check out these Houston staycation ideas!


Save on Your Hotel

I LOVE a nice hotel! Where I stay can really make or break my trip so this is where I invest the most of my effort — finding the nicest hotel in the area without breaking my budget. My secret weapon? Priceline Express Deals! You will be given the price, area, rating of the hotel, and other basic information [number of reviews, average review ratings, hotel amenities, etc.] but they don’t give you the name.

It may seem like a roll of the dice but it is actually pretty easy to match the info with a hotel. Go through their regular results and match the information like for like until you can formulate a guess. I’ve done this for years and have only gotten the hotel wrong once. The extra work [or just simply releasing control of the selection] is worth the savings! I’ve gotten 5-star hotels for less than $100/night.

If you’re more of an apartment or house rental type of traveler, check out VRBO too.

Hit Up the Grocery Store Before Your Stay

Regardless of where you go and what you plan to do there, getting food and drinks from the grocery store is a good idea. Save yourself the cost of eating out or getting room service by simply bringing food with you. Stock up on meals, beverages, snacks, and treats before you check into your accommodations.

Look for Free Activities

Reading a novel is a great free momcation idea

This one may seem a little obvious but if you really want to ball on a budget, stick to free activities. Here are some great ideas for free activities you can partake in on your momcation:

  • Read a good book by the pool
  • Watch rated-M shows on Netflix in your room
  • Finally, type up your memories
  • Take a long, sudsy bath [without little fingers under the bathroom door]
  • Yoga at sunrise on the lawn
  • Free museums
  • Local parks with special events or performances
  • Hiking a local trail
  • Perusing a local garden
  • Discover [free] community events near you on Facebook.

Shop for deals on Groupon

When it comes to activity discounts, Groupon is undefeated!  They often offer activities and services at discounts up to 70%. You can find all kinds of things that interest you like fitness classes, spa services, attraction tickets, museum entry, and more. Be sure to scour these sites before your momcation to find some things that interest you. 

Check with your host or concierge

This is an often overlooked item and I’m not sure why.  If you’re staying in a hotel, the front desk concierge usually has a ton of goodies like coupons and brochures [with more coupons] at their disposal.  Same for rental hosts too. They can also often make all your arrangements for you without you having to lift a finger.  Just be sure to let them know your budget.  At the very least, they can make recommendations of things to do that won’t break the bank.  They’re seriously an invaluable resource so be sure to check with them at the beginning of your trip.

Bring a Friend

I’m a huge fan of solo mom travel but bringing a friend has its perks! Obviously, they provide companionship during your trip. But they also provide an extra wallet. If we’re prioritizing cutting costs, they can help split the price of the trip and significantly reduce your own costs.

Go Where the Dollar is Stronger

Your budget during your vacation will stretch a lot further if you go where the US dollar is stronger. Countries like Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, really give you a big bang for your dollar. You can get a lot for a little in places in places where one dollar equals a lot in local currency. As a bonus, many of these places are geared towards tourism and are invested in making sure you enjoy your trip. [One of my favorite destinations for this? Cabo San Lucas! And yes, Cabo San Lucas is safe.]

Look into an All-Inclusive Resort

Many people shy away from all-inclusive hotels when planning a vacation on a budget but in many cases, it can be your best option. The lodging costs a little more upfront but so much is included. Most all-inclusive resorts cover food, drinks, non-motorized watersports, transfer to and from the airport, and more. Many of these resorts are overseas in places where the US dollar is stronger so that would be an added benefit too.

Skip the Extras

An easy way to keep the budget low is to stick to the basics and skip the extras. Yep, that’s right – that means no souvenirs for the family. You can also skip package upgrades, expensive excursions, photography services, etc.

Take a Cruise

This probably works best for folks close to or in a port city but if you can get there inexpensively, cruises are an awesome budget travel option. Here are several reasons to consider a cruise for your momcation on a budget:

  • They are all-inclusive and include all your meals and beverages
  • Entertainment is included on the ship
  • Meal times are often communal so your likelihood of making friends [if you want to] is high
  • Wi-fi and cellular service can be spotty so you’re guaranteed to unplug during your vacation

Make It a Road Trip

Road trips are another great option for saving money on your trip! Consider a short [or not] jaunt to a nearby city. It will also give you some trip flexibility since you’ll be able to travel on your own time. For example, during one of my solo trips, I flew to Seattle and then drove to Vancouver, a destination I’ve always wanted to visit.

Sign Up for Flight Alerts from Scott’s Cheap Flights

If you have your heart set on a flight, signing up for flight alerts from Scott’s Cheap Flights is an easy way to save. They’ll deliver top deals and major airfare savings right to your inbox. All you have to do is provide your email address and departing airport options.

Use points and miles to offset the cost

Do you travel hack? If so, using points and miles from travel hacking is a fantastic way to help offset [or even completely cover] the cost of your trip. Check out guides for redemption guidelines for all the tips you need to make the most of your miles. [Did you know you can travel hack without credit cards? It’s totally doable!]

Travel during the off-season

This is a personal favorite because I’m all about off-season travel! It’s one of the reasons I’ve only been to Europe when it’s cold [hey, I’d rather be rained on in Paris than at home]. Prices inflate drastically during popular travel seasons like summer and even in some places spring break. It can drastically depend on your destination but I’ve found school time, fall, and winter to be the least expensive.

Stick with Nature

Last, but definitely not least, having a momcation in nature is incredibly budget-friendly. Boondocking, camping, or even glamping are super fun and easy on the wallet. The great outdoors is free [or at least cheap]. Commune with nature and yourself during your momcation on a budget by sticking with outdoor recreation.

Momcation Ideas

Looking for some travel inspiration to get you started? Here are just a few momcation ideas to get you on your way:

  • All-inclusive resort in Cabo San Lucas, MX
  • Camping at a nearby state or national park
  • Staycation at a local hotel in a neighborhood that isn’t yours
  • Road Trip to a quaint town with cute antique shops
  • Visit a bucket list worthy museum [because we love heritage travel here]

Have you been on a momcation or a momcation on a budget? What are your money-saving tips?

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