Our family loves to get away together on the weekends. But staying at hotels and Airbnb’s can get expensive. We have explored many options in search of a smarter way to vacation.


We could save money camping, but we are definitely not what you would call “happy campers.” To each his own, but I could never understand why anyone would want to leave all the modern comforts of home to cook dinner over a fire and sleep on a bed that I won’t recover from for over a week of chiropractic care. Bathing in lakes and eating with the bugs and creepy critters isn’t relaxing for us.

Road trips have become more complicated now that we have started pulling a boat behind us. I’ll never forget the time we didn’t have the boat on the trailer properly, and I watched as it flipped off and rolled into oncoming traffic. Besides the added boat-pulling stress, we have to pack fishing gear and all the necessities that may not be provided while still having enough room for our giant teens to sit somewhat comfortably. That means we have to rent things like paddle boards and kayaks when we get to our destination verses a one-time investment just for the sake of space. We usually have to find a dog-sitter as well, since many places are not dog friendly. Unfortunately, much of my time is spent wondering if my little fur baby is being cared for well.

Traveling in an RV

When I was growing up we had an RV. As a kid that was pretty fun, but for my parents it was a lot of work driving a long, wide vehicle down busy and sometimes narrow roads pulling our boat. I could feel the tension in their silence as we drove along. Each trip involved first docking the boat, then finding a camping site that was as level as possible. Backing up the RV wasn’t just a challenge for my parents, it was a war. Frustrations were high, setting the tone for their time together, whereas I would quickly run out to play and decompress.

But now that I am the mom, I am looking to find the best vacation experience possible — not just for my kids, but for our family as a whole. Besides the fact that an RV depreciates so quickly, becoming a money pit, the logistics involved in getting it ready for the trip, operating it, and storing it become the kind of hassle that makes one dread vacationing.


Airbnb’s seem to be our best option, but at sometimes $500 per night, usually with a minimum stay, there are plenty of hassles to overcome for the price. We still don’t have the freedom to bring our dog or leave our boat stored and docked, awaiting our arrival — along with any other toys such as fishing gear and kayaks.

And why should Airbnb-ers get all the profit of owning a property that is virtually paid for by families like us, who could be reaping the benefits of an appreciating property investment of our own? We could enjoy vacationing on our own land where we no longer have to pack and unpack all of our necessities. And we could skip having to pull our boat out of storage and tow it through traffic to our destination.

A Cabin From Leland’s

We have some friends who are fortunate enough to have family with property on a lake that was being underutilized. Our friends invested in a vacation-home cabin from Leland’s Cabins that could accommodate both families. The cousins play while the aunts and uncles relax and enjoy reminiscing of the days they were their kids’ ages.

They came to an agreement about their joint investment that enables each family to enjoy the cabin for vacations together and also for the families to enjoy the property alone. They have each been investing in toys that can be shared by whomever is visiting as well as the furnishing to make their cabin feel like a home away from home.

Although we don’t have family locally, my husband and I are willing to invest in the future of our own kids and their families by using my friends’ model. With Leland’s Cabins, I think we have found a smarter way to vacation.

Guest Post By Rebecca Gates

Rebecca is a published author and blogger whose greatest passion is connecting with her family. She spends her days wondering how her children have outgrown her already and when exactly did these lines appear on her face. With just a few years left before her boys begin to leave the nest, her goal is to make as many memories as possible before they spread their wings. She also enjoys reading, writing, traveling, restaurants, red wine and quality time with her husband and friends.