On our way to the Outer Banks, we decided to break the trip up a bit and stop in Williamsburg for a few days.

I wish it was because we are deeply interested in the historical meaning of this area for our American friends. While it is fascinating, I have to say, sadly, we were lured there by the shopping.

I do need to explain something for all my American friends, however, to make me seem less shallow and unpatriotic (for them – which I totally am, usually:)

Stuff in the States, for the most part, is ridiculously cheap compared to what we pay at home.

I was grocery shopping and oohing and aahing at how cheap things were! Milk! Meat! Cereal! And please don’t get me started on the variety that there is. There is stuff that I have never even heard of!! We see some of it on commercials on TV on American channels, but to walk through the aisles and see the selection is quite a trip in itself. ( I do have to question why there are so many pancake houses, however?? We don’t even have 1 back home and we counted at least 5 in a total of 10 miles here!!

So after I loaded up on groceries, and laughed at the bill which was half of what I would have paid at home, we headed over to the outlets.

The only downfall of outlets, is that there is so much to buy, and we really have no room to put it all in our car because we are sooooo packed. Luckily I have that handy car packer that I talked about in my last post:)

We shopped.

A lot.

All of us.

I would say my kids are shopaholics, but I know it’s simply because they are as blown away with how much they can buy with their money as I am.

So, another little travel tip: Before we go anywhere on vacation I ask the kids to give me all their money that they want to spend. This is whatever they have saved from gifts, allowances, extra jobs etc. I count it up and put it on little “credit cards” that I make them. Then, whenever they buy anything, I pay, and then it gets deducted off the card. It avoids them walking around with money, or me having to exchange everyone’s money. For this trip, because it was only the States, and Gabe is older with his own bank card, he kept track of his own money and used his real debit card. But, it works like a charm with the other guys. When their money is spent, their money is spent. Because it is their own money, I have found over the years that they are much better shoppers, looking for deals, evaluating if it is “really worth it” – so outlets are a real treat for them too because they get more bang for their buck!

Aside from shopping, we did walk around Colonial Williamsburg one day and it was very pretty. But, we aren’t all up on our American History (before you judge me, ask yourself if you are up on Canadian history??!!) so I think we got the gist, but certainly missed a lot there was to offer. Β (We also didn’t want to pay the $50 per person that was required to do all the things that would have likely taught us more and made it a more educational experience.)Β We also walked around The College of William and Mary – which is gorgeous! Oh, to be back in school again. I would love a campus like that. Some nice gentleman also came up to us and asked if we were dropping one of our kids off since it was the freshman start day; he wanted to welcome us. So sweet! What hospitality! But do I look old enough to have a child in college? Probably:((

We did also find a chocolate and candy store in the little town. We quickly zeroed in on the chocolate caramel covered apples, which my kids were thrilled that I offered to get them each one. Again, to put it in perspective, these chocolate covered apples at the stores we can buy them at back home are $12.99 EACH compared to the $3.99. This was their chance to try these babies!

We spent some time poolside, and spent some time watching Gilmore Girls (our family show right now), and everyone got some good forced reading time too.

Certainly off to a good start for our vacation!

This is typical Josh:)


Williamsburg — 24 Comments

  1. Looked like a great start so far and must say that I love the credit card idea and am so going to have to remember that for the future now. Thank you for sharing that here!! πŸ™‚

  2. Looks like a fun first part of the vacation! Love the shopping outlet idea….
    (wish my kids were more shopaholics…they like shopping and what they get just never want to spend their money…big savers or spend on candy!)

    I am with you all the way! Who cares about the American history when you can shop and eat caramel apples at 3.99!!!

    Hope outerbanks is amazing!

    Last day of freedom for us here at cottage and school begins tomorrow (of course kids have been great now this weekend so makes me want more!)

    Wont text you as sure you want to disconnect..but if ever you want an email/text chat I am all ears:)))

  3. Sounds like a great start to your trip!!!
    I love the idea of the travel “credit cards” for your kids – what a neat way to teach them about saving and spending!!!
    Enjoy your vacay!!!
    Love all the pictures!!

  4. No, you don’t look old enough to have a college age kid! And $12.99 for caramel apples? That is insane. Fun to hear your perspectives about the states. I guess I’m just used to it here. I remember years ago when the American dollar was worth more and shopping in Canada was even more fun. Now I’m sure it’s the reverse. The credit card idea is brilliant!

    • I know, right? !2.99 for an apple is insane! Almost as insane as me having a college kid?!?!?! It’s funny how in many ways Americans and Canadians are so similar – and then so different in so many ways…. There are some things that surprise me every time. Free refills is another one! My kids LOVE the idea of free pop…but of course, there is free water they can have too!

  5. I had no idea stuff was cheaper in the US than in Canada. My kids hate to shop, but there are plenty of touristy stores in the Outer Banks with lots of cheap crap (I mean treasures) for the kids – hope they still have money left on their credit cards!

    • Well, considering in Ontario we add 13% to everything for our sales tax too…It is quite shocking really. Our income tax is super high too – can range from 30-50%. We are taxed like crazy. And then they say healthcare is “free”. I am enjoying the grocery shop here that’s for sure! And yes, always money on their cards for crap/treasures – but they seem to be choosing a bit more wisely:)

  6. Sounds like so much fun!
    I love the idea of the kids’ ‘credit cards’ – so very clever.
    Also, I will never judge someone for being lured by good shopping. πŸ™‚

  7. I love love love your credit card system idea. I was carrying around plastic baggies of money for my three on our last trip and it was quite the pain. I will definitely be borrowing your system on our next family vaca. πŸ™‚

  8. Don’t worry about not being brushed up on your US History – 90% of Americans can’t even tell you who the Speaker of the House or Vice President are. (Sad but true!) – at least you have an excuse, eh? HAHA! I got to use “eh” at the end of the sentence! πŸ™‚

    I didn’t realize things were so darn expensive in Canada. I wonder why things are so much more expensive up there than down here?

  9. Great Pictures! I think I gained weight just from looking at the candy store pictures Lol. I have relatives that live “up north” – meaning the northern states such as Maryland. When they “come down” (to New Orleans) to visit, they ALWAYS go shopping… and I’m not talking just for cloths and trinkets. They will buy FOOD to bring home, seriously… because our cost of living is so low in New Orleans (and so is our income comparable to other states). So, they make the money up north and come down south to spend it. They get more “bang for the buck” and hey, it helps our economy of here, no complaints πŸ™‚

    • I can understand why they buy food and bring it home!! Our salaries are certainly nothing to complain about, but we do have crazy income tax (I mean, crazy) and sales tax (13%) and property tax, school tax and every other tax you can think of….Our housing is also insanely expensive. But, we have nothing to complain about!

  10. Yes indeed, you all are off to a fabulous start. I love your system that prevents the kids loosing money! Definitely worth adopting. Your kids would be fine with me being shopaholics. THat is right up my alley. Enjoy the rest of the trip!

  11. That looks like SO MUCH FUN!! We have Williamsburg on our family bucket list, and you have definitely made me want to check it out! πŸ™‚ P.S. I totally want to live in Stars Hollow that is how much I love Gilmore Girls!-Ashley

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