How To Be Cheap and Still Have Fun – Even with Teens

It was our first day in Ollantaytambo, a town in the Sacred Valley in Peru. When we woke up and looked outside our hotel window, we could see these fascinating ruins on the side of the mountain. I headed off early to find out the hours and the cost only to discover that a single entry fee was not possible, but a 3-day pass to all the ruins in the area was the minimum. And then multiply that by 5 and it becomes painful.

Darn! It is our first real day of the trip and I am already thinking finances. Yes, the reality of family travel requires that unfortunately, at least in our case it does.

And I know from temple fatigue (Asia) and church fatigue (Europe) that a pass to MANY ruins in the area would make that our sole focus which might be a bit over-kill with teens in tow. Or so I convinced myself.

I go back to the hotel, a little frustrated, and we find out that there is another way to see ruins in this area; the free way; the less touristy way… super bonus! Noah and Jade are up for the challenge (cousins that never get the chance to do cool stuff together) so I say, “Go for it!”

Now this is feeling perfect again; they leave which gives me alone time with Abby to discover the town at our pace. Together, we go and explore the alleys, the market (her first one which is always jaw dropping as the heads of cows never fail to amaze), and generally get lost in our little town. We go for lunch (and yes, something like this is memorable as we don’t live together in Canada so these moments are even more special)  and after, we run back to the hotel to report our discoveries.

Noah and Jade are tired but thrilled (much better than hyper and bored) as they show us all their pics of their hike without all the tourists. You can tell that this taste of independence in a foreign country means so much more than back home.

Capping off the day at the soccer field that Abby had found, they play a few games with the local kids in the area.

What started off a little rough, ended up to be perfect.

And in the end, the kids all agree that this was their favourite stop on our trip to Peru. And it was cheap, even better for the parents 🙂

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