Quicken and Excel tell the story like so:
This Summer 2008 trip took us from our home base in Norman, Oklahoma, up northeast to Tulsa via I-44. We left Saturday (noonish), and returned Monday at around 5pm. Lodging consisted of two nights in a Holiday Inn Express. Activities included visiting the Philbrook Museum of Art, the Oklahoma Aquarium, a bit of geocaching ... all topped off by a somewhat scenic return via Route 66 and a hunger-busting visit to Pops Gas & Grille.
Yup, vacationing away from home is still pricey — though it's not the gas that drained our wallets. Short of camping outdoors or sleeping in your car — neither of which appeal to me all that much — I'm not sure how much one can really slice the lodging expenses. Priceline discounts tend to average $8 to $15 per night, which ain't bad ... but it's not bargain-basement, either. (Much like last year, we booked straight through Holiday Inn.)
On the other hand, food and dining expenses can be mitigated. Take-along lunches and sandwich picnics could've zapped a decent chunk of the $159 we spent over Saturday/Sunday/Monday. We elected not to do this, however, as our household budget has been (thankfully) flexible lately. And since I take sandwich lunches to work two or three days per week ... well, practicing the same discipline during a mini-vacation isn't a task I relish.