My Hilarious Attempt At Trying To Save Money On Family Vacation

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“I like to think my husband married me for my sense of adventure, quick wit, and dashing good looks. I’m always busy, always talking, always moving. He is the complete opposite, bless his heart.

We decided when we had our children that we would take at least two family vacations every year. One 7-10 day trip to anywhere we thought sounded good, and one long weekend trip within 6 hours of home.

It was my turn to pick the long weekend trip. Bless my heart.

Wife sits on stair below husband and takes a selfie while both are smiling
Courtesy Allison Lemons

I got on Groupon and found a cute little Children’s Zoo about 5 hours away in Michigan. I had never been to Michigan before. I won’t name the names of the towns we visited because, well, if you know you know, and if you don’t, I hope you get a chance to find out.

We loaded up the car and off we went. My husband indulges me too much for my own good.

The zoo was great, but the story takes its turn when we get to the hotel that I ‘got a deal on.’

First of all, we pull up to this hotel that ain’t worth a hill of beans and it was deserted. Not a single car in the lot. People walk in and out of the lobby from smoking.

We park the car. ‘Allison, this is a mistake.’

No way! It’s great. It has a pool for the kids to swim in.

I was enthusiastic, I love a good adventure. My husband had his reservations, but again, he followed my lead.

We check in, get our room, and decide to take the kids swimming. Everyone gets their swimsuits and off we trek through the hotel.

It smelled faintly of smoke, but don’t they all these days? Anyways, we get to the pool, walk in and immediately start coughing.

Problem 1: They had painted the walls and didn’t vent the room. It literally burned our lungs.

My kids were piiiiisssseeeeddd. They love swimming.

We told the front desk about the problem and they quickly went to ventilate. We waited about an hour and went to check it back out.

Problem 2: We get back down to the pool area and get in the water. It was bathtub warm.

Then we saw big chunks of hair floating around in there. We quickly got out. My husband gave me this look like ‘I told you this was a mistake.’

I quickly assured him it was probably just a poorly kept pool. Ha ha ha.

We go back to the room to shower off the sauna water. My husband jumps in and goes to adjust the shower head and it pops right off, cracks him in the head, and rolls under the sink. Problem 3.


Oops. It happens. It’s not a Hilton for God’s sake. We’re just here to sleep.

I go into the bathroom to find the shower head. I go to grab it under the sink and notice what looked like a rag wrapped around the sink pipes, and it was… dripping.. a colored.. scented liquid. Problem 4.

I’m never going to live this down. I didn’t even tell my husband about the rag because, well, he has a line much shorter than mine. He’d also tell me that my roof ain’t nailed on all that tight, and we need to GO.

I made a mental note not to let my kids feet hit the bathroom floor, and we were checking out first thing in the morning. I’ll take the loss on the second night I’d already paid for.

As fate would have it, my daughter dropped her pacifier on the floor under the bed. I bend down to grab it, and what do ya know? There’s a pair of dirty underwear under the bed. Problem 5.

I LOST IT. I told Jacob we were leaving the next morning. It was the straw that broke the horse’s back.

I quickly abandoned that pacifier and decided to go to the car and get another one. I was laughing hysterically. Of course, this happens.

I called my Mom to tell her about our tribulations in Michigan. She wasn’t surprised. She knows I find myself in these situations sometimes.

When I hung up with her I was laughing so hard I had been crying.

The lobby is smaller than an apartment dining room. The poor guy behind the desk sees that I had been crying. He asked me if I was okay, and I busted out laughing again.

Poor guy probably thought I was nuttier than a squirrel turd. I proceeded to tell him everything that was going on, and he honestly looked horrified. I’m still cackling. This is the story of my life.

He asks if he can come to our room and take photos of everything, and he’ll report them to his manager.

Sure. Come on in buddy.

My husband at this point is totally over my sh*t. I’m not crazy by any means, but I’m not convinced he doesn’t think so.

About 20 minutes pass and we hear a knock at the door. It was the poor desk clerk.

‘You have to leave.’


‘This room isn’t up to standard and we don’t have any other available rooms. We’ll refund you your money, but you have to leave.’

‘There is literally no one else in the parking lot?’ I said this with more tears pooling because again, HOW DOES THIS STUFF ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME?

‘You have to leave.’ And he walks off.

That was it. I couldn’t contain myself. I was hysterical.

Not in a sad way, but in the way that makes you wince one eye and tilt your head like you’re going to spontaneously combust.

‘Allison. Seriously. I told you this place was bad.’

‘Yeah. I hear you. My bad.’


We had to go two towns over to find a nice Holiday Inn to stay in. He lectured me the whole way, knowing he would indulge me again if the opportunity came about.

I cracked up again. My poor husband. He knows for a fact, this will happen again.

It isn’t the first time we’ve had an experience like this. Won’t be the last. If we didn’t have our children with us, we might have roughed it.

We loved Michigan. We love each other. We love that we choose to go and have adventures and make memories over tangible items. I can honestly say we keep things interesting.

Father crouches by the shore of a lake with his young son and daughter
Courtesy Allison Lemons

I can also say that I married an amazing man. A man who knows that unfortunate things seem to find their way to me. A man who really does do everything for our family to see us all happy.

A man who loves adventure as much as I do, and loves a good story. He is great. He is indulgent. He is loving. He is fearless and selfless. Find you a Jacob.”

wife takes a selfie with her husband, both are smiling
Courtesy Allison Lemons

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Allison Lemons, of Erlanger, Kentucky. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Join the Love What Matters family and subscribe to our newsletter.

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