March 29, 2016

Tennessee Spring Break Vacation

The Ripples Family
Ziplining in Tennessee
We just got home yesterday from a fabulous spring break trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Budget-wise I lost track of where we were at in each category.  Next time, I need to take my spreadsheet with me so I can keep better track.  But I do know we were under in some categories like eating out and groceries, but definitely made up for it by going over in other categories.  I think we went over budget just slightly.

We saved up all the money to pay for the trip ahead of time but charged everything to get the rewards.  So last night when we got home, I was able to pay the credit card off.

Here's a recap

Accommodations - We shared a 2,000 square foot cabin with my parents.  We split the cost of the cabin.  Our half was just under $1000 for 9 nights.  The cabin was beautiful, super clean and had 3 bedrooms, 3 full baths, 2 kitchens and an indoor hot tub.  It was also right across the street from the resort's indoor pool and game room.

Entertainment - Over Budget

  • Dollywood has a special that if you go at 3 pm, you get the next day free.  So we spent a day and a half at Dollywood riding rides.
  • Magiquest - This was a decent deal.  There were 4 attractions: magiquest, mirror maze, mini-golf and laser room. With a coupon, it cost us $109 including the tax.  But we went 3 different days for a couple hours each day to use up all the tickets to the different attractions and Big R is now a Master Magi which was very exciting for her.
  • Shows - We didn't plan on doing any shows but decided to take the girls to The Hatfield's and McCoy's dinner show.  It was so much fun and Mr. R and I went up on stage to participate. When we purchased tickets for this show, we were able to add discount tickets for a magic show that was really spectacular.  Big R was mesmerized. 
  • Ziplining - This was another unplanned expense and was a bit pricey, but I'm so glad we did this.  It was a great experience and so much fun.
  • Mountain Coaster - This was another activity that we didn't plan for but ended up doing on the second to last day.  It was fun but I don't think I would spend the money to do it again.
  • Cabin - We spent a lot of time at the cabin watching rented movies, playing board games with the kids, swimming and doing puzzles.  My mom and I put 3 puzzles together that were pretty difficult.  Plus we had drinks on the porch almost every evening.
  • Mr. R and I spent a day riding the trolley and tasting moonshine and wine at different locations.
  • Easter - The Easter bunny found our cabin so the girls didn't miss out on doing an egg hunt and getting Easter baskets.
  • Reading - I read 3 books on vacation while Mr. R and the girls were swimming or playing at the park.
Food -  Way under budget We ate at the cabin a lot.  We picked up stuff to make nachos, salads, lunch meat sandwiches, spaghetti, hot dogs and breakfast items.  There were days when we didn't eat out once.  But we still got to enjoy a few good restaurants.  On the last morning, we ate at The Old Mill which was delicious.  I'd definitely go back for breakfast next time we are there.

Gas -  Under budget
I budgeted $200 for gas.  I think we filled up 4 times.  My car usually takes about $30 to fill up so we came in under budget.

I had planned on and budgeted for doing a ghost tour but once we were there, I totally forgot about it.  
This was the perfect mix of fun exciting activities, relaxing, and great family time making memories.

The girls went back to school today and I head back to work tomorrow. My last day at my job is only a week and a half away.  Then I get to start my new job that I am so excited about. 

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