You Deserve a Vacation... So Take One! - Smart Money Seed


You Deserve a Vacation... So Take One!

Vacations are easy on the mind and spirit, but unfortunately they can be heavy on the wallet. Flights, hotels, beer, golf, rental cars, entertainment... did I mention beer? It doesn't take much for a week long trip to eat into your hard earned money, but that's not going to stop me from traveling. I love seeing new places and escaping from the real world. After all, like we said last week, what's the point of having money if you can't spend any?

I might have been the oldest person waiting in line to get a picture with Buzz, but I'm not ashamed.

Go Big or Go Home... Sort Of

This is the part of the article where I am supposed to tell you to save money by choosing a less desirable destination or by doing something you don't actually want to do. Well I think that's bullshit. Magic Mountain is not a worthy substitution if you dream of going to Disney World, and Hocking Hills doesn't cut if you want to see the Rocky Mountains. If your heart is set on a headliner trip, then save up for it and go!

But just because you go on big trip doesn't mean you need to spend big. One common fallacy about traveling is the idea of vacation money (i.e. money that can be spent on whatever the hell you want because it's just "vacation money"). I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no such thing as vacation money. It does not exist. Money is money, and every dollar of vacation money is equal to a dollar of gas money, food money, or rent money. If you could fill up your car for $5 instead of $25, you'd take that deal, right? Well if you follow the vacation money approach you'd probably say "Nah, go ahead and take my $25, it's just gas money".

I recently went on a trip to Florida, and I'll be the first to tell you, it was not cheap. We spent 4 days at Walt Disney World and then rented a car to visit grandparents down in Naples. Disney is certainly a magical place with tons of great attractions, but they aren't necessarily known for their bargains. Just to get inside the parks I had to spent about $80 a day. But even though I spent a lot of money on tickets, I did my best to still take a few steps to live within my means.


Here are some of things I did during our trip to save some cash:
  • Planned in advance by booking hotels and flights 4 months ahead of time
  • Used the city bus to get from the airport to our hotel ($2 per person vs a $25 Uber ride)
  • Stayed at an offsite hotel rather than one of the Disney hotels or suites
  • Destroyed the free breakfast buffet at the hotel and took coffees to go
  • Utilized the hotel's shuttle service to and from the park to bypass Uber rides
  • Packed snacks for the park to limit expensive meals
  • Bought shirts before going to Disney to avoid the price mark-ups inside the park
  • Opted to only have a rental car for the second half of the week
  • Stayed with grandparents in Naples instead of a hotel (thanks Grandma Margie and Gramps Allen!!)
  • Made our own fun on the beach rather than splurging for paddle boarding lessons (see sandmen photo at the end)
If you like pineapple juice and ice cream, you might want to try a Dole Whip. You won't regret it.

I Believe in Transparency

To quote a good friend of mine, sometimes it's okay to "have your cake and eat it too". As important as it is to save some cash, you still have treat yourself. After all, vacations are supposed to be fun, right? Here are some of the things I did not save money on while in Florida.
  • At Epcot I had a $10 Guinness from Ireland and a $7 Warsteiner Dunkel from Germany. Not only did a couple of beers make standing in line with a bunch of six year olds more tolerable, I also discovered that Guinness is one of my favorite beers.
  • Disney is known for a fantastic ice cream treat called a Dole Whip, so I obviously had to give one a try. You probably should too, you won't regret it.
  • In Naples we went to a nice seafood restaurant and I ordered an Arnold Palmer, a sushi appetizer, and an ahi tuna entree. These were certainly not those most frugal options on the menu, but I take my seafood eating very seriously. Oh yeah, after dinner we went to Ben and Jerry's, too.
The point is simple; don't blow all of your money just because you're on a vacation. A trip to California doesn't mean you need to eat at ocean front restaurants every night and take surf lessons. You don't need front row seats for a baseball trip. Do some really fun things, make memories that will last a lifetime, and stash away a couple bucks in the process.

"I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them." - Andy Bernard

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