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Vacation spending - Whoa! Way too much!

January 18th, 2018 at 11:38 am

As I've been doing the year-end financial stuff, one thing I looked at was how much we ended up spending on travel. It was way too much, definitely something we need to rein in a bit going forward.

We had a great time and had some wonderful trips: a Caribbean cruise, three trips to Disney World, Phoenix and the Grand Canyon, Kentucky, and a few smaller trips.

Part of the problem is that on a couple of those trips, we stayed at much nicer hotels than we usually do when we travel. We have always been the type to stay on the outskirts of our destination where prices are lower and then drive or take public transit into the main part of town. With Phoenix, Grand Canyon, and Kentucky, we stayed right in the heart of everything. While it's great to be able to step out of your hotel and walk to shops and restaurants and attractions, you also pay a big premium for that convenience. Time to go back to the old way of doing things.

I was shocked to add it all up and realize that we spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000 on travel between December 2016 and January 2018, so a little more than a year. Time to go back to choosing the hotels off the beaten track.

One good thing at least for 2018 is that we have a ton of Marriott Reward points. We easily have enough for 15 free nights. My goal for the year is to focus on using those whenever we can to help keep costs down. We did one free night just last weekend when we were driving home from Florida and stopped for the night so that probably saved us about $110.

Another thing is that my new job gives me a pretty generous continuing education allowance. So we will combine a vacation or two with conference time. That way the hotel and transportation costs will be covered by work. It means I'm tied up in classes for a lot of the time but I'll still have plenty of free time with my wife (and daughter if she is with us) to enjoy the local stuff.

5 Responses to “Vacation spending - Whoa! Way too much!”

  1. Dido Says:

    Nice to have the Marriott Rewards and the ability to combine work CE with vacation time.

  2. Milly Says:

    I cringe when faced with vacation prices. Between hotels, eating out, and whatever the activity is, it is easy to go through a month worth of expenses in less than a week.

    My favorite vacations this year have been very inexpensive though. We went to a hotel on the beach for a week on the husband's employer's dime twice. While he worked, I took the kids out to the hotel pools, hotel game room, sandy beach, free museum, and local park. We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and muffins from home or dinner leftovers for lunch and work paid for dinner. All we paid for was gas and parking.

    The other 3 big vacations were all trips to my in laws. We stayed in hotels and ate out when traveling there and we pitched in on grocery runs, but our costs were very low considering what we got. We went kayaking, 4-wheeling, fishing, snow sledding, and lots of tinkering with my father in law's brilliant projects (log doweler, mini saw mill, garage elevator, solar power system, plastic injection molder...)

    Moral of the story: if you can avoid eating out every meal and visit firms and family, you'll save a lot.

  3. disneysteve Says:

    Milly, we do our best to avoid eating out constantly when we travel. We always try to choose a hotel that includes breakfast. Even inexpensive hotels do that so you don't have to pay a premium to get that.

    When we go to Florida, we rent a house or condo with a full kitchen so we're able to make our breakfast and occasionally other meals. Plus we have a fridge and freezer to keep snacks and beverages.

    Even when staying in a hotel, we'll always at least bring drinks and snacks to keep in the room so that we're not buying that stuff.

    We're not much for visiting friends and family when we travel and we definitely don't like staying in other people's houses if we do visit folks, so that doesn't help much with costs.

  4. rob62521 Says:

    Many of our vacations were also part of my continuing education...we would pay for a couple of extra days at the hotel and explore the city. It is a nice perk when you work.

    Last year we went to Tybee Island-Savannah for almost two weeks. We rented a small condo and we did little things in and around the area. We ate most of the meals at the condo which helped a lot on the food budget, plus I brought stuff from home.

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