Thursday, June 12, 2008

Is There Really a Such Thing as an Affordable Vacation?

With everyone singing the same sad song of seemingly never ending brokeness, is it really feasible to take your family on a full filling, fun-filled vacation? My answer is no. Every time you turn on the television you see commercials for vacations...Disney, Vegas, Jamaica etc. Steve Harvey is forever telling us we can afford to travel in style and treat our families. He is also telling us we can afford to eat healthy, but that's another blog by itself. I understand the tourism industry trying to stay viable in this day and time but what about the working family? Our finances aren't viable enough to actually pull off these vacations. Now I admit, a few years ago, I was balling out of control...taking trips to Jamaica, LA every year, Vegas, Santa Fe, Albuquerque etc. It was fun and I had the time of my life. I really did. But, I should have savored the moments because I haven't been on vacation in 2 years now. The economy has quickly crumbled into the molting mound of debt and heartache it is today. Even the tears of the many can't reverse this action and Disney wants us to spend 1600 for a family of four for 7 days. In normal times this may not be bad but now...forget about it! Unless you live in the Orlando area you will spend much more than that because you have to get there in the first place.

So maybe my sights are set too high in wanting to take my son to Disney. So how about a trip to Myrtle Beach? Well, let's see.
Gas round trip and there: $175 - at current Gas prices of $3.85/gallon
Hotel Accommodations (2 nites): $270 - at average hotel prices not including taxes
Spending Money $200 - including food, and attractions- no shows
Total for a 2 day wknd- 2 1/2 hrs away $645- for me and my son alone.

For me to pull this off I would have to either not pay the rent, which would cover it, or not pay the light bill, the car payment, and the cell phone bill. Then I could pull it off. That's a shame.

So how do we achieve that much needed rest and relaxation without breaking the bank and neglecting household bills? My guess is aim low, plan small and simple. I suggested a camping trip to my neighborhood state park. I have Sesqui park right across town. So let's figure up that trip...
Gas round trip: $ 35 - can get there and back on 1/2 tank or less
Tent $ Free- my job has one I can borrow
Food $ 75 - including grill, and hot dogs with fixins
Bedding $ Free - I own a blow up mattress
Cooler $ Free - I own one
Camping fee $ 25
Total Cost of neighborhood camping trip: $135.00 for me and my son alone
Now will this trip provide much rest or relaxation? Probably not because my son is scared of the dark and there won't be a night lite. He's scared of bugs and hello, its in the woods. He's full of energy and there won't be much to do but run around. There is no power therefore no movies etc. But hey, its cheap and its a getaway!

Is this what we vacation enthusiasts have been reduced to? Camping in your seemingly backyards? God please help us. I want to go back to Vegas, visit Hawaii and go to my sister's graduation in Los Angeles soon! There has to be rest for the weary that's not six feet under. Actually a friend told me they don't dig six feet anymore, so maybe 4 feet under. But who wants to vacation that way? Anybody got any suggestions?

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