Author Topic: Cancelling expensive vacation?  (Read 7352 times)

fujiters

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Cancelling expensive vacation?
« on: September 24, 2014, 07:02:07 PM »
I keep alternating between frugality and extravagance. In one of my extravagant moods, I booked a trip for my husband and I to go to Saint Lucia and stay at an incredibly expensive resort (I justified this in my mind because it's been a few years since we went on vacation). We've recently spent a lot of money treating my dog's cancer, and now I'm feeling terrible for taking an expensive vacation during the same time we're hemorrhaging money for chemotherapy. While we can swing it all financially (indeed--the vacation has already been paid for), I'm leaning strongly towards cancelling to salvage the nearly $4000 I put into it. I purchased through Expedia and purchased their Travel Protection, which in theory should allow for cancellation for any reason, a refund of the hotel cost, and the ability to get a credit for the airfare (posts on some travel forums lead me to think the credit for airfare may involve a fight). What would a true Mustachian do?

Goldielocks

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2014, 07:13:03 PM »
What would a true Mustachian do?

You already know it as you are posting to this site -- sell the "luxury" vacation if you get a full refund or small penalty only.   
Buy a budget version, saving $3000.   
(e.g. Bahama VRBO vacation instead?)

Prepube

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2014, 10:36:22 PM »
If you did not go into debt to pay for the puppy chemo, and you are otherwise reaching the financial goals you have set, then keep the vacation!  You deserve it.  If you are carrying any consumer credit burdens, cancel it, pay off the credit card, and schedule a less fancy trip next year.  I had to do that last year, and this year's trip is so much more guilt-free!

amberfocus

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2014, 11:30:46 PM »
I've actually been in a similar situation.

Around this time last year, one of our kitties got sick and racked up nearly two grand (!!!) in vet bills. The SO's family had scheduled a Disney trip for the following summer, to which the SO and I were invited, but no flights, etc. had been purchased yet. The SO wound up going, but I declined, and it was a no-brainer for me. I think if it had been a discretionary vacation, rather than a pre-planned family event where he gets to be Super-Uncle to the nieces and nephew, he would have cancelled as well.

At the end of the day, and this may sound weird but I don't care, I value my pets way more than anything else, including money or vacations. If one of mine were sick with cancer, I would much, much rather stay home with them than go off on vacation and lose more precious time with them -- especially if they're suffering, or if what they have might be terminal. You can reschedule Saint Lucia anytime, but you only get so long with your furry companions, and depending on the prognosis, that time may be running out. If nothing else, I know I'd be worried sick about them while I was away, and I wouldn't enjoy the trip anyway.

So if it were up to me, I'd vote face punch and nix the trip. (And I really hope your dog gets better.)

Clarion

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2014, 12:38:34 AM »
That's a tricky one.  I'm not sure what I would do in your situation.  What does your husband think about it?  Do you have debts that you should be paying off instead?  Is it going to greatly affect your FIRE ability or desire? If not I would probably go on the vacation.

I can sympathize with alternating between frugality and extravagance though.  I struggle with this also.  I was doing so well until my mobile phone broke recently.  In a panic I  raced out and purchased a new one on a crazy contract before thinking it through.  Now I am having regrets. 

chasesfish

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2014, 06:06:32 AM »
Umm, yes.  I'd cancel it and re-book somewhere else in the Carribean.   Its insane to spend that much for a week in the Carribean, you can generally get a decent hotel or VRBO for $100 - $150/night on plenty of the safe islands.   Basically you should spend less than $1,000 on airfare that can be supplemented through rewards credit cards, $700 - $1,000 on a nice condo/apartment/guest house, and maybe a rental car.   I've done this on Grand Cayman (which was very nice) and St. Martin (not so nice).

I love to travel, but the all inclusives tend to be tossing money away and they're generally in the areas of the Carribean which aren't as save.  I now pass on those places.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2014, 01:18:13 PM »
I struck a balance between travelling now and travelling later. $4k is a lot of cash, I suspect that ultimately you're planning on spending more when you get there as well.  I also realize that every vacation I forgo now allows me to buy 2 identical vacation later on, due to the power of compounding returns. I can afford to wait, not everyone can. The beauty of FI is that multiple trips/year is a feasible expectation, not just a luxury, all paid for by compounding returns. The trick with the balance is that I don't want to give up living now either, so I still vacation but do it much cheaper than before, even though I could pay for a month long trip to Europe or an all inclusive for 4 weeks. It's not about what I deserve, it's about what I want in life.

Would you rather reach FI sooner or travel now? What's more important to you?

GizmoTX

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2014, 01:28:40 PM »
Double check that you can truly get refunds or workable credits for your hotel & air before you pull either plug.

For the contrarian view, you don't know that you have time in the future to do anything, including a nice vacation, assuming that your finances are in good shape.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2014, 01:37:39 PM »
If you can actually cancel it to get your money back, then do so. There's no reason to go on a vacation if you're not 100% comfortable with the amount you're spending.

I don't know if your concerns about finances are warranted or not - maybe it's just a knee-jerk emotional reaction. But that emotional reaction may prevent you from having fun.

Put it off. Think about it again next year. Spend time with your dog instead. You'll just worry about him while you're away, anyway. Assuming he's still alive... You didn't say. I hope so. :)

But if you can't get your money back - then just go and have a good time.

fujiters

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2014, 06:34:58 PM »
Thanks for the responses! The $4000 (actually, ~$3600, if that makes a difference to anyone) isn't expected to impact FIRE plans much...but that's a slippery slope because almost all purchases on their own don't have much impact. We don't have any high-interest debt; the only thing we have is $120,000 left on our mortgage with a rate of 2.5%, which would be insane to pay off any earlier. My husband (who is very pro paying for conveniences whenever possible) doesn't think we should cancel...but I wonder how much of that is the desire to avoid spending time looking at alternatives.

I'm still incredibly ambivalent. It's difficult to draw a financial line (for me) on experiences. It's easy to look at durable goods and determine whether and how they are expected to perform their function, and at what price, and then buy the item that is least expensive per expected use. It's harder to quantify how much the memory of the amazing vacation is worth versus its, perhaps slightly less amazing, alternative and at what point you should stop downgrading (or if you should only ever take staycations).

By the way, my dog is still alive and relatively well. He has lymphoma though, which while curable in humans is essentially terminal in dogs (I think largely because vets don't want to give chemo in the quantities given to humans, for various reasons). We're literally buying him time at this point, but it was expected to give him another year of healthy life, which we felt was worth pursuing given a typical dog's lifespan (and we thought if we pursued similar plans for all our dogs in the future, we might end up sparing ourselves one death).

RapmasterD

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2014, 06:37:25 PM »

If you did not go into debt to pay for the puppy chemo, and you are otherwise reaching the financial goals you have set, then keep the vacation!  You deserve it.  If you are carrying any consumer credit burdens, cancel it, pay off the credit card, and schedule a less fancy trip next year.  I had to do that last year, and this year's trip is so much more guilt-free!

I agree...if you're hitting your MMM savings goals. That's where it all starts.

Prepube

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2014, 08:15:09 PM »
I have had to put down four Newfoundlands due to various types of cancer.  They were difficult decisions but they all died in my arms, where they belonged, and none suffered much from the pain of the disease.  Two had bone cancer, very painful for them if it goes too long.  I loved these animals and parting from them was exceptionally difficult for me. I wish you the best in making those hard decisions. 

Now go on your vacation as it sounds like you are in the right kind of place to do so guilt free.  You're doing right by the dog, by your FiRE plans, and by the SO if you go. 

Prepube

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2014, 08:16:44 PM »
On the other hand, if you are ambivalent about the trip, don't go.  Wait til something that excites you comes along and make it worth every dollar!

southern granny

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2014, 08:34:05 PM »
I will only say that while I do have some regrets on money I have spent and purchases I have made, I don't regret a single dollar that was spent on vacations or travel.  You say you haven't had a vacation in a few years, so I say go and enjoy.

MrsPete

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2014, 08:48:44 PM »
I'd split the difference:

I'd cancel the expensive planned vacation -- and instead plan a different, less pricey trip. 

dude

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2014, 06:44:19 AM »
I'd split the difference:

I'd cancel the expensive planned vacation -- and instead plan a different, less pricey trip.

Yeah, this.  Expedia should be able to credit the airfare toward another trip right away.  Go somewhere for half the price -- there are many options, including Mexico, Costa Rica, and Roatan (all of which I've been to in the last two years for half or less of what you were going to pay).

Cromacster

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2014, 07:46:21 AM »
If you did not go into debt to pay for the puppy chemo, and you are otherwise reaching the financial goals you have set, then keep the vacation!  You deserve it.  If you are carrying any consumer credit burdens, cancel it, pay off the credit card, and schedule a less fancy trip next year.  I had to do that last year, and this year's trip is so much more guilt-free!

No, you don't deserve anything.  This the mentality people use to get into mountains of debt. 

If you are not in a hair on fire emergency and have some extra savings to pay for.  You can make a choice to spend it on a luxurious vacation, but while doing so realize you are spending a crazy amount of money just to go relax in some sand.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2014, 07:47:59 AM by Cromacster »

chasesfish

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2014, 08:09:43 AM »
Umm, yes.  I'd cancel it and re-book somewhere else in the Caribbean.   Its insane to spend that much for a week in the Caribbean, you can generally get a decent hotel or VRBO for $100 - $150/night on plenty of the safe islands.   Basically you should spend less than $1,000 on airfare that can be supplemented through rewards credit cards, $700 - $1,000 on a nice condo/apartment/guest house, and maybe a rental car.   I've done this on Grand Cayman (which was very nice) and St. Martin (not so nice).

I love to travel, but the all inclusives tend to be tossing money away and they're generally in the areas of the Caribbean which aren't as save.  I now pass on those places.

It seems like my post is being completely ignored - I think you SHOULD travel to the Caribbean, its an awesome experience and a wonderful part of the world, provided you don't go in October (lots of places are closed AND you can get smacked by a hurricane).   I just question you setting $1,000 to $1,200 on fire based on your choices of accommodation/resort instead of a nice guest house and a real Caribbean experience.  You should be punched in the face for that choice.

RWD

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2014, 12:21:36 PM »
Just anecdotal, but Saint Lucia is one of my worst travel memories. We probably spent less than an hour on the island (cruise port of call) but it involved a cab driver trying to extort us for money and then the cops getting involved and taking the local cab driver's side. We ended up having to pay the cab driver to release our luggage from his trunk after he had driven us maybe a few hundred feet...

fujiters

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2014, 01:18:14 PM »
I think I'm going to keep the current reservations. It's been a bit difficult to find the price breakdown for flight vs hotel in my confirmation or via my Expedia account. Judging from current airfare prices, the flights were ~$1900 for the 2 of us...and since we can only use that as a credit for another flight, that's a (huge) sunk cost. While the hotel is more than other options, it does include the use of a lot of water sport equipment (kayaks, paddle boards, wind surfing, snorkeling), which should cover most of our entertainment (we don't like to sit on the beach all day). It is also a seemingly beautiful and unique location (there's a reef within swimming distance of the hotel), so that's also worth something. I'm assuming VRBO don't typically come with tons of water sport equipment, so we might end up renting equipment in that situation (and paying taxi fare to get to a rental company), cutting into the price difference.

If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have reserved this, but given the sunk airfare cost it's probably not worth cancelling.

In the future, I think I'll be better off setting a hard limit of $2000 for a vacation and always working within that constraint so I don't end up with painful buyers remorse. I also might start credit card churning to help fund vacations. I only recently found out how lucrative that can be.

Goldielocks

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2014, 10:43:03 PM »
You deserve it.

Um, I can't beleive this was posted to a MMM forum. 

If the cost of an item vs ones' finances is such that you wouldn't blink twice about it, go ahead.
I deserve tons of things I can not afford.....   Never buy something because you deserve it, rather because you want it and can easily afford it and your goals too.


Prepube

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2014, 11:46:32 PM »
She said she can afford it and that her financial goals are being reached.  She deserves it.  Now I have said it twice on an MMM forum, and I have a feeling I will say it again a few times.   If financial goals are being met and there are no debt, a splurge every now and then is not a sin.  If you are reaching your financial goals (or have reached them already), and there is no stupid debt or other unwise financial obligation, then come up for air occasionally and splurge a little.  You'll still retire early if you exercise restraint and moderation over the long haul.  MMM would approve of wise choices, including the choice to take a vacation, and guilt is a totally unnecessary emotion.

Goldielocks

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2014, 12:08:41 AM »
She said she can afford it and that her financial goals are being reached.  She deserves it.  Now I have said it twice on an MMM forum, and I have a feeling I will say it again a few times.   If financial goals are being met and there are no debt, a splurge every now and then is not a sin.  If you are reaching your financial goals (or have reached them already), and there is no stupid debt or other unwise financial obligation, then come up for air occasionally and splurge a little.  You'll still retire early if you exercise restraint and moderation over the long haul.  MMM would approve of wise choices, including the choice to take a vacation, and guilt is a totally unnecessary emotion.

Although I agree that splurges can be okay, if finances warrant,  I still look askance at the term deserve. 

Want it, afford it, get it and enjoy it deeply.    But not "deserve " a splurge.


   You desrve a break today....
!  bleh

Prepube

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2014, 07:13:56 AM »
"Heck no!   Cheers to those who choose to make budgets cuts that dont matter - perhaps keeping to one car or not eating out, to pay for those things that do ( friends and family and of course reading).

 Its all about your personal balance of money, goals, living life, FIRE."


You deserve a cheer, too.

Calvawt

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2014, 10:20:19 AM »
I would vote to refund and try again.  As many have said, using reward cards and some time planning could get you a stellar vacation for half that cost.

lemanfan

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2014, 10:25:14 AM »
plenty of the safe islands.

Which islands are considered safe and which are seedy?

chasesfish

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #26 on: September 28, 2014, 10:33:21 AM »

plenty of the safe islands.

Which islands are considered safe and which are seedy?

I've traveled to a number of the islands, I personally felt safest on Grand Cayman, Bonaire, Aruba, St Thomas, and St John.   I would not go back to Grenada, St Lucia, or St Martin (was here for a week, kind of a different place if cruise ships aren't in port).  There were a few others I was indifferent about, like Puerto Rico or the British Virgin Islands.

You can also pull the CIA World Fact Book, there's a good correlation between average income and crime.


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fartface

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Re: Cancelling expensive vacation?
« Reply #27 on: September 28, 2014, 02:15:50 PM »
Travelocity is terrible. I'll never book through them again. My husband had a flight (w/the supposed "travel protection") that he needed to cancel. WELL he PAID Travelocity $400 for the flight and the amount of 'credit' he got when it was all said and done after 'non-refundable taxes/fees BS' was about $150. And this was AFTER hours and hours of BS phone calls/emails to customer service who couldn't find his trip #.

Buyer beware w/Travelocity. I'd find out EXACTLY what you've got coming if you cancel. They are frauds in my opinion.