September 28, 2014
When our son Seth, The New York Times Frugal Traveler, invited us to join him for part of his annual summer trip, we couldn’t refuse. Flying across Canada for four days with your grown child is a no-brainer, sort of.
However, this time there was a catch. We had to do the frugal planning for the “older generation” portion of his three-part Pacific Northwest trip. He gave us a budget and the rest was up to us. He would only go along.
That meant another challenge, one we put to ourselves. We had to be “better” than the rest. We didn’t want any younger people outdoing us in providing frugal fun.
The planning was not easy. According to one source, Vancouver is the second most expensive city in the world (after Hong Kong). Peter and I spent hours on the Internet to find a place to stay and plan our days. We had a “had to do”, “want to do”, and “just too expensive” list of activities. We knew that we would be riding a lot of buses because our Airbnb accommodation was a ten-minute walk plus half-hour bus ride from downtown. 70-something readers can see Seth’s take on our trip at http://nyti.ms/1utQruq But I’ll just say that it worked.
Peter did a heroic amount of the planning. My major contribution was to serve as our cashier, holding all our Canadian cash. Funding innumerable bus rides, each requiring $6.25 in Canadian coins was a challenge. But most stores gave change with a smile.
Everything worked. The weather was perfect. The flowers, the mountains, the art, the neighborhoods, the “frugal” restaurants, our apartment in the ‘burbs, the long walks, the togetherness with one of our (charming, handsome and talented) grown sons made for a way-too-short trip.
When Seth left us downtown to catch a train to Seattle, we had one more bus ride to our apartment. Without Seth, we only needed $3.50 in Canadian coins.