Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wanna Go On Vacation?

So, why post all about this vacation here on YLU? Well, because of a couple of things. Let's break it down.

First, I have learned that vacations are very important. Whether you can go to Europe or if you are just going to load your fam and a tent in your car and head up the canyon for a camp out. They are SUCH a great opportunity for escape from stress and duty. It gives you are great chance to just be with family. Have fun and enjoy each other.

I am pretty sure this is something that has contributed to the relationship that Ryan and his siblings have with each other. Vacation has always been an important part of their lives. Ryan remembers a time when they had 7 small children in the family and the money was really tight. Instead of cancelling all trips, they modified it. They would load the tent (can you imagine being in the tent with 7 kids?!) in the station wagon, grab food from the cupboards and head up the canyon for an over nighter. Their photo albums are loaded with pictures of hiking, camping and vacationing together. I love that!

I can't even begin to tell you what this last trip did for Ryan. I have to tell you, he wasn't thrilled about the cruise before we headed out. To Ryan, every cent spent on anything other than paying off the truck loan is wasted and irresponsible. I get it. Having debt is not something I am thrilled about. However, I also see the value in taking time to enjoy life a bit. I knew that once he was away from all the stresses of work, grief, work and more work, he would really love this trip! And did he ever?! He totally found the value in it and came home talking about planning for the next trip! I loved that!

Second, vacations are affordable, no matter your income! We are TOTALLY not rolling in the dough! I have to say that! We live on a budget. There have been months over this last year that we have not had a paycheck (which I will tell you all about later).

About 3 years ago we decided to amp up our Lindstrom family vacations. For the first round my Sister in Law JoJo found us a really great deal to fly to Disneyland, stay 4 days and then come home. No kids under 6 allowed. That meant Ry, Me and Jake. Mal & Dawson would stay with my Mom and my Sister. Once we knew the price we set a time frame. Then we divided the total amount we would need by the amount of months we would have to save. Then we got to saving. The next year the whole family went big! They found a big home on a beach in Mexico. It was just a few hours over the border of Mexico. The house was big enough to fit everyone and the plan was set. This one we missed out on. At the time, the idea of taking Dawson out of the country didn't feel like such a great idea. I will say, this is the vacation that everyone talks about. They had SO much fun! 7 days with nothing to do but relax on the beach and play games. The food was purchased before they left. You would think that this would be an outrageously expensive trip. It totally wasn't! The drive was 12 hours. They stayed overnight in Arizona on their way there and back. Everyone chipped in on food. The house was divided equally. It was a surprisingly cheap trip, considering where they were headed! I believe it cost less than, or close to, the price of Disneyland!

The next year we found a great house on the beach in San Diego. 7 days in this house on the beach. So much fun! This year was obviously the cruise. We sailed out in the off season. Just after hurricane season. Rates were low. About $550 per person. Seriously, not bad! The flight to Florida presented a huge expense. The flights were looking to be about $750 per person. Youch! However, being willing to look at other options for days to fly out on ended up saving us a lot of money! Saturday was an expensive day to fly on. We checked flying out Friday. Bingo! $250 per person, roundtrip! Yes, we had to pay for and extra days food and an extra day in the hotel, but we found a great deal on our hotel for just $100 per night and we ended up saving so much on flights, we were still way ahead. Plus, we got to have our pre-vacation vacation! :)

The deal is to figure the expense of your trip. Figure liberally. If you think you are going to go lean on spending, reconsider. You will be in vacation mind set and believe me, the money can fly out the door easier when you are standing in some shop on Grand Turk with a string of real pearls in front of you on some crazy sale! :) Figure more than you think you will need. Pay for the trip little by little. With our cruise we paid our money down on the trip then we paid it all off little by little. That way the entire amount wasn't felt all at once. Be willing to give up on some things to make saving for the trip more of a reality! Avoid eating out, etc. It makes a big difference!

We already know that in the summer of 2012 we will be doing the Mexico trip. Because everyone has gone before they can tell us exactly how much we will need. Now we can start planning for that by figuring how much we need and by what date. Then we can figure how much we need to save per month. Paying cash for a trip allows you to come home without any lingering negatives hanging over your head! Believe me, I have felt those before! The cash way is SO much better!

GET PLANNING! Start small. Something not to overwhelming. Figure out how much time it would take you to save the money to be able to go on this trip. Set the goal. Save the money and Enjoy the vacation! There are so many amazing and beautiful things in this world. I love being able to get out and see them. Honestly, even on a tight budget doing fun things as a family is totally do able! And TOTALLY worth it!

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