Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Cost of A Vacation for Six

All investing and no fun can lead to a happy me but a not so happy family.  I am the only one who actually doesn't mind managing the finances and money matters in my family.  The kids are slowly learning and my wife leaves it to me since I use my computer and online services.  Both systems work but my system allows me to get things done faster and produce reports I enjoy studying.

Here is the breakdown of our 7 night trip to the beach and a 2 day visit with my brother:



Lodging

$1,966

This was the largest expense.  We stayed at hotels during the trip there and while visiting my brother.  Luckily we have a relative that works at a major hotel chain and is able to pass a discount on to us.  The remainder of it which was the big chunk was the condo on the beach that we stayed at.  

I found it as one of the deals on Kayak.com.  Overall the site was easy to use and compare different places.  Unfortunately I should have listened to the reviews.  We have stayed in condos and beach houses before but this was probably the most run down and outdated condo we have ever stayed at.  I felt like I stepped back into the 80's and the mold and rotten wood set my house fixing senses tingling.

Food

$803

We did our best to keep this expense down.  Several trips to the grocery store provided snacks and breakfast.  Our condo was equipped a kitchen so I did pancakes and french toast.  Some days it was just cereal or a bagel so we could get out to the beach. 

One of the nice surprises is the hotel did provide us with lunch for the entire stay.  They gave us tickets and we could trade them in for a lunch.  The choices were limited but this saved allot of money.  

Feeding six and not doing fast food every night was were the majority of the cost came from.  You can see it in the break down.  When it broke $50 dollars that was probably for a decent dinner.  Eating healthy and avoiding fried foods was our goal and we did pretty good at that.

Fun & Souvenirs

$387

Not everyday was spend entirely at the beach.  We did some shopping for souvenirs and went to an old plantation turned garden.  It was full of beautiful sculptures and flowers and the pass was good for 7 days.  It also had a small zoo of animals indigenous to the area.  My wife and I enjoyed strolling through them as the kids raced around hiding in the mazes it created.  One of the other larger expense in this category and actually cost more than the gardens was a trip to an aquarium with my brother and his family.  I did not realize it cost that much to run one and pass that on to us.  Must the salt water fish.  I hear they are pretty expensive. 

I did put my wife's frequent visits to The Fudgery in here as well.  Can't justify all that sugar as food (sorry dear.)  However it is the best fudge I have ever had in my life.

Gas & Tolls

$248

Unfortunately I cannot afford to fly the entire family anywhere.  So all of our trips are road trips.  The kids spend the time watching movies and watching the landscape go by.  My wife and I switch on and off with the driving which we don't mind.  The old minivan is still going strong and we will probably continue to use it until it falls apart.  Space is limited so I use my master packing skills to squeeze in 5 suitcases and all the other beach stuff into the back and any nook and cranny I can find.  It gets about 21 MPG on the highway so gas wasn't that much.  There were a couple of toll roads but they were limited and we were blessed with no traffic jams.

Conclusion

The total cost for 6 people for 9 days of fun and relaxation came to $3,404.  That is roughly 567 dollars per person.  If anyone can do a vacation to the beach for less than that per person please let me know your secrets.

While this doesn't have much to do with investing I though this would be worth sharing.  Any tips you can learn to save money will lead to more money you can invest.  My kids will only be young once.  I try to balance good memories with them and achieving my goals.  That is how I succeed in life.

Thank you for reading!

10 comments:

  1. Not bad for a family of six. Have you looked at airbnb for lodging? They come recommended by Warren Buffett!

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    1. Thanks LAH.
      No but I will take a look at the site now. Always looking for the best deals and unique places to stay.
      -DFG

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  2. Hi there DFG,

    This is off topic, but I nominated you for the Liebster Award. You can do whatever you want with it, but I hope you will accept it.

    Cheers!

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  3. Hi DFG,

    It sounds like you had a great time! I hope you were able to relax and enjoy the time with your family.

    How did the food costs on vacation compare with your regular weekly food costs when at home?

    Did you learn any lessons that you could apply to your next vacation? Since lodging was the biggest expense that'd be one place to start in looking to reduce expenses somehow.

    Best wishes!
    -DL

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    Replies
    1. Hey DL,
      I did have a good time (wasn't at work).

      Food was $803 for 9 days. Usually we spend about $900 a month on food and $150 eating out (includes take home as well). So that comes out to somewhere around 2.5 times my usual weekly food expense. I suppose that isn't bad considering dinner is your most expensive meal and we ate out every night.

      This is my advice...yes you need to go on vacation and get out of the house. Staycations don't cut it when your wife's job is a homemaker and mother. Being at home is work to her. Lodging is always high. I like to stay right on the beach so there is a price to that. Allot of my friends will go a block or 2 off of the beach and the price drops in half. A friend suggested another beach I had never heard of. This might be the way to go as they are off the beaten (and commercialized) path.
      -DFG

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  4. Sounds like you had a great vacation on a relatively small budget, great job!

    Probably the easiest way to further cut costs are the lodgings, but I can't imagine paying less than 200 for six people. That's only 33 dollars per family member!

    Cheers,
    NMW

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    Replies
    1. Welcome NMW. This won't last forever but when we stay at a hotel all six of us pack into one room (and I snore.) Kids love it for some reason.
      -DFG

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  5. I think you did quite well with keeping costs low on your vacation. I hope to be able to plan like that when i take vacations in the future. One thing that would have saved even more money is cooking in for a few nights. Also I'm not sure if you know anyone with a camper, but if you could get access to use one the fees for campgrounds are relatively cheap compared to hotel rooms. You could also try vacationing at off peak times of the year when costs are less.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the advice Krystal and welcome! Unfortunately my wife is not a big camper so it is either hotels or cabins (with running water) for us. I do have a friend that goes to the beach as soon as his kids are out of school in June. Rates are cheaper early that month but the water and weather in general is cool.
      Kinds regards,
      DFG

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