Author Topic: Family Vacation Budget?  (Read 11532 times)

Dragonswan

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #50 on: April 25, 2017, 08:50:18 AM »
Be warned, this is an anti-mustachian response.  I go on a real vacation (no visiting relatives or religious conventions) every two years or so.  I budget and save approximately 10K for the trip.  This is because my definition of a vacation is taking 7-10 days to behave and be treated like Iím a rich diva doesnít have to work for a living. 

Last year I took a look at my previous vacations and asked myself what I liked and didnít like about them.  So, this yearís vacation will run me right around 15K for two people (doesnít count my friendís airfare). Hereís what Iím getting for my hard saved money: Iím going to France for 7 days.  I will fly business class for 3.6K (not enough points for a free ticket that far, but I am using them for the obligatory relative domestic travel this year, so it balances out) because the journey is part of the experience and I need space to unfold my wings Ė by the time I land Iíll be in full diva mode. Private car from airport to 5-star hotel (not enough points for this either, but Iíll use them for domestic religious convention travel).  Iím done with group tours where I have to compromise on what I see and the pace at which I see it.  I will have private tours (with driver or first class train ticket) of Paris, Versailles, Giverny, Mt St Michele/Cancal (staying in a cottage).  I will have two dinners in a Michelin star restaurant, a massage in the hotel spa, Tier 1 or 2 tickets to the Paris Opera and private backstage tour after the performance.  Iím sure Iím leaving out a few details, but you get the idea.

Now, OP, given the circumstances surrounding your vacation, this really is a once in a lifetime occurrence and you should feel zero guilt in doing what youíve planned to do.  If there was ever a time to not be frugal, this is it.  You can skimp and maneuver on other vacations, but this one is exempt (well accounting for the childrenís school schedule). 

StarBright

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #51 on: April 25, 2017, 09:12:34 AM »
Be warned, this is an anti-mustachian response.  I go on a real vacation (no visiting relatives or religious conventions) every two years or so.  I budget and save approximately 10K for the trip.  This is because my definition of a vacation is taking 7-10 days to behave and be treated like Iím a rich diva doesnít have to work for a living. 

Last year I took a look at my previous vacations and asked myself what I liked and didnít like about them.  So, this yearís vacation will run me right around 15K for two people (doesnít count my friendís airfare). Hereís what Iím getting for my hard saved money: Iím going to France for 7 days.  I will fly business class for 3.6K (not enough points for a free ticket that far, but I am using them for the obligatory relative domestic travel this year, so it balances out) because the journey is part of the experience and I need space to unfold my wings Ė by the time I land Iíll be in full diva mode. Private car from airport to 5-star hotel (not enough points for this either, but Iíll use them for domestic religious convention travel).  Iím done with group tours where I have to compromise on what I see and the pace at which I see it.  I will have private tours (with driver or first class train ticket) of Paris, Versailles, Giverny, Mt St Michele/Cancal (staying in a cottage).  I will have two dinners in a Michelin star restaurant, a massage in the hotel spa, Tier 1 or 2 tickets to the Paris Opera and private backstage tour after the performance.  Iím sure Iím leaving out a few details, but you get the idea.
 

This sounds amazing and is exactly what I would do if I won the lottery :)

Dragonswan

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #52 on: April 25, 2017, 09:43:36 AM »
Winning the lottery isn't necessary.  You just have to be a homebody that's somewhat frugal the rest of the time.

Goldielocks

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #53 on: April 25, 2017, 09:49:51 AM »
How much do you spend on family travel each year?
We are debt free, and about 60% of the way to our FI number ($1.5 for a family of 4). We are considering a very expensive vacation this summer and I'm having a hard time with letting the money go. Curious as to what others spend.

Perfect timing -- I FIRE'd this year, and we are finally using the $10k+ that we have saved up over the years (by taking driving / camping vacations) to go overseas as a family.   I promise you -- once you start to make the reservations, you stop caring about the amount of money as long as you stay under, and it feels really great.

That is the whole point of saving money -- is to spend it.   So if you don't need it for retirement, go spend it.

ETA -- You all seem to want details...

FRANCE 1 Month, 4 Persons.  Lots of rail travel and sightseeing
4 person family, with teens (which often means needed 2 hotel rooms), travel to France and London in July.
2 people fly home after 2 weeks, 2 people stay for a full month.

Stays -- Holiday Inn on points for one night x 2 rooms, Mid-level hotel room x 2 for 1 night, airBNB 8 nights (various cities), 3 nights airbnb in central London. Car rentals for 3 days.  5 days of 1-4 hours  of rail travel.  All airBNB's are for whole apartments except 1 that includes breakfast.   Food - eat at least 1 full large meal (lunch or dinner) out every day at restaurants.  Note, I am bringing a small air mattress in case some of the airBNB sofa bed options are not suitable for 2 teens to share.

Remaining 2 weeks for 2 persons Budget style -- 1 - 3 hr flight on easyjet, 2 nights B&B (nice but cheap, no a/c, bathroom down hall) type, 4 nights private room in hostel with kitchen access,  1 week air BNB share kitchen with others, 1 night Holiday inn free on points. 4 rail trips of 2+hrs.  Food -- picnics and make your own dinners, with only cafes or street food, generally, to supplement sightseeing.  Plus museum passes, and bicycle rentals throughout entire trip. 

Budget -- $3.5k for flights  $5k for the first 2 weeks for 4 persons, about $1.5k for the second two weeks for 2 persons.  Total budget excluding primary airfare of $100 per day per person.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2017, 10:18:27 AM by Goldielocks »

mm1970

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #54 on: April 25, 2017, 10:41:24 AM »
Quote
This is why it is extremely unhelpful to post supposed vacation expenses without providing any details.
- You have 2 active, growing, young children...yet you "usually skipped lunch"???  That is certainly an interesting way to save money.
- You drove 2500+ miles during your trip from Toronto, but no fuel costs?
- You say "no cost for food on the driving portions," but you obviously spent money buying the food you ate.
- Staying in the world's crappiest hotel doesn't sound like a vacation to me.

Eh you know, you asked, he told you.  Nobody asked before, so I'm not sure why it would be "unhelpful".  I mean, it's MMM.  Plenty of places on this board that discuss travel hacking and saving money on XYZ.  Does he have to be that specific without a request?

- Food - I don't count the food that I eat on vacation in my vacation budget unless it's "out".  Grocery store food is the grocery budget.  You gotta eat anyway.  I'm sure his kids weren't "skipping lunch", they were doing what kids do - eat snacks - all. damn. day. long.  You know, stuff you keep in the cooler in the car.

- Also not a fan of crappy motels - I tend towards AirBNBs which cost the same.  Of course, most of those have minimum stays.  Then again, I'm not into long road trips.

- travel hacking.  I know lots of people do this.  I've never done it.  Heck, my credit is frozen.  We go get free tickets every 4 years or so, which is a nice bonus.  More power to the people who love to travel a lot and love to do this.

- driving.  Our costs tend to be higher than some - we don't like driving much.  A 16-hour drive to Utah took 2.5 days for us, because we really can't drive more than 6 hours a day (which takes 8-9 with our kids).  While I have friends who can drive 12 hours straight.  That adds more nights in hotels, and I'm not a fan of crappy motels anymore.  Willing to pay more!

boarder42

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #55 on: April 25, 2017, 01:45:10 PM »
We're at 4-7k a year for a family of four.

We are locked into travelling peak because DH's job is in education. Most of the cost is just airfare as we fly cross country to visit family twice a year.

Years that we are closer to 7k are years when we take an actual fun vacation (and don't just visit family at holidays):)

you really should look into travel hacking and that could all be free

BeanCounter

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #56 on: April 25, 2017, 01:53:15 PM »
So I'm working on getting the cruise booked. Should I buy the flights through the cruise ship and pay for airport transfer to the ship? Or is it really better and cheaper to do it ourselves?
What about travel insurance? Do that through the cruise line? Or is there a better way?

StarBright

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #57 on: April 25, 2017, 02:42:56 PM »
We're at 4-7k a year for a family of four.

We are locked into travelling peak because DH's job is in education. Most of the cost is just airfare as we fly cross country to visit family twice a year.

Years that we are closer to 7k are years when we take an actual fun vacation (and don't just visit family at holidays):)

you really should look into travel hacking and that could all be free

travel hacking is on the to-do list but we are so busy right now (kids, jobs, house, volunteering commitments, etc) - that I'm not comfortable delving into it until I have the mental space for additional life multi-tasking again. Additionally we usually only fly Southwest - is travel hacking worth it for a single airline?

BeanCounter - my folks have had to use travel insurance when on cruises, twice. I just asked my dad and he said the time it was purchased through the cruiseline it was easier to get the money back. So there is one data point :)

I'm a red panda

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #58 on: April 25, 2017, 07:44:40 PM »
So I'm working on getting the cruise booked. Should I buy the flights through the cruise ship and pay for airport transfer to the ship? Or is it really better and cheaper to do it ourselves?
What about travel insurance? Do that through the cruise line? Or is there a better way?

We always do our airfare, transfers, travel insurance, and excursions separate from the cruiseline. It is WAY cheaper that way.

Le Poisson

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #59 on: April 25, 2017, 08:22:08 PM »
So I'm working on getting the cruise booked. Should I buy the flights through the cruise ship and pay for airport transfer to the ship? Or is it really better and cheaper to do it ourselves?
What about travel insurance? Do that through the cruise line? Or is there a better way?

We always do our airfare, transfers, travel insurance, and excursions separate from the cruiseline. It is WAY cheaper that way.

Call your credit card company - if you have any kind of a travel points card, you may already have travel health insurance through it. If not, check if you can get a sign up bonus to offset the cost of your flights, and get a card with the insurance attached to it.

boarder42

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #60 on: April 25, 2017, 08:53:33 PM »
A couple Barclays cards and cap one cards will knock 2k of your cruises price

BeanCounter

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #61 on: April 26, 2017, 02:10:21 PM »
Well I did it. I booked the ridiculously over priced cruise and flight for July. The price actually went up while I dicked around debating if it was too much money. The reality (that I don't want to believe is true) is that this may very well be the last opportunity to travel with my mom and I do want to make those memories. So I took the pass and I'm going to try and not worry about trying to get the best deal on this one. Total cost for our party of five will be just a hair over $10k for seven days. (Not international)
It's been helpful to get an idea what everyone spends. I think moving forward I'd like to go ahead and have some expensive trips some years and balance it with thrifty ones in other years.

StarBright

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #62 on: April 26, 2017, 03:10:13 PM »
I'm not sure what cruise line you booked on- but keep checking back on the price.

A few years ago cruise prices jumped around all the time and you could either re-book at the lower price or get the difference as a credit towards drinks/excursions.

We took a cruise about 5 years ago that we ended up paying about 25% less than we had originally planned because the price kept dropping.

sith02

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #63 on: April 27, 2017, 01:13:09 AM »
Probably $3k/year; we only do road trips, so it's mostly rentals/motels and groceries.

We find road trips far more enjoyable, especially when passing through some nice countrysides.

catccc

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #64 on: April 27, 2017, 08:56:42 AM »
Be warned, this is an anti-mustachian response.  I go on a real vacation (no visiting relatives or religious conventions) every two years or so.  I budget and save approximately 10K for the trip.  This is because my definition of a vacation is taking 7-10 days to behave and be treated like Iím a rich diva doesnít have to work for a living. 

I really love this, particularly the bold (my emphasis) portion!  Maybe one day... I know right now I would really struggle spending 10K on one vacation instead of 5K on two vacations for my family. 

We tend to relax and spend on vacation, but not to the rich diva level!  Just to the "yes, kids, you each have a 3 EUR snack budget to use as you please daily!!!" level.  (At home, they get a 2-scoop ice cream for $4 and split it, on vacation they each get their own $3 1-scoop ice cream.  I reason all the time that it's the same and we are saving $, but they aren't fans...)

catccc

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #65 on: April 27, 2017, 08:58:54 AM »
Well I did it. I booked the ridiculously over priced cruise and flight for July. The price actually went up while I dicked around debating if it was too much money. The reality (that I don't want to believe is true) is that this may very well be the last opportunity to travel with my mom and I do want to make those memories. So I took the pass and I'm going to try and not worry about trying to get the best deal on this one. Total cost for our party of five will be just a hair over $10k for seven days. (Not international)
It's been helpful to get an idea what everyone spends. I think moving forward I'd like to go ahead and have some expensive trips some years and balance it with thrifty ones in other years.

Awesome!  Have a great time, and I think alternating between pricier and less expensive trips is a great idea, something we usually follow, but have gotten out of in the last couple years.

boarder42

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #66 on: April 27, 2017, 11:09:34 AM »
or plan you trips more than 3 months in advance and learn to travel hack and get them for free. July is also one of the most expensive times to cruise usually.

des999

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #67 on: April 27, 2017, 12:00:46 PM »
I would love to know where people are finding cheap hotels (50-60/night).  I can't seem to find any no matter where we travel (in the US) that is under $125.  I refuse to stay in a complete dump, but it doesn't have to be 4 star.  Any advice would be appreciated. 

We typically spend about 5-10k per year on vacations, depending on the year.  I am pretty frugal on everything in my life, but I tend to splurge on vacations.  I just love to get away and experience new things. 

SomedayStache

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #68 on: April 27, 2017, 12:54:02 PM »
Posting to follow for ideas.

I only have records for 2015 and 2016.  Family of 5 (3 kiddos under the age of 8).  We count groceries and gasoline as part of our vacation costs.

2015: $2095
3-week vacation.
1st week was a road-trip to the beach where we stayed in my parent's RV.  We bought groceries and a few toys for the car.  This was a one-day drive so no hotel was required on the way there or back.
We drove from the beach to Colorado making a two-day stop to attend a friend's wedding in Kansas ($150 for that hotel room) and then stayed with friends in New Mexico for a few days.  We did have a one night stay in a $60 budget hotel.  It was so sketchy!  We ran out of there at 4am because it was so uncomfortable, dirty, and loud.  Vowed to never stay in a place like that again!
Finished out the vacation at a fancy pants ski-resort in Colorado.  It was summertime though so definitely the off-season.  This was an extended family gathering consisting of 5 families.  We utilized my sister-in-laws timeshare so instead of a hotel cost we bought groceries and alcohol for the crew.  All meals were cooked in the resort and the only splurge was a $25 paddleboard rental.  It was supposed to be a two-day drive home but due to our previous sketchy hotel experience we just drove the straight 20 hours, yes with 3 kids.  It wasn't too bad but I would never have made that choice (it was hubbie's strong desire to JUST.GET.HOME.)

2016: 2 trips: $1210
Trip1
1.5 week road trip to a mountain state.
Again - we stayed in my parent's RV.
On the way there and back we tent camped in state parks (this was our favorite part of the trip).  Our biggest costs were gasoline and groceries.  Cost includes a car top carrier so we could pack the tent. 
Trip2
A two-week road trip across 4 states for Christmas.  Drove out to stay at my sisters and used the Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credits for paid-for hotels there and back (no more sketchy $60/night hotels for us!).

-----------------------
Planning a 2 week road trip this summer to view the Solar Eclipse.  We are planning our route to allow for tent camping at state parks and staying with friends flung across the country.  Planning for the cost to be less than the extra paycheck in our 3-paycheck month (~$1800).
-----------------------

Our costs have been subsidized by my parents quite a bit - but the only reason they bought the RV was to have room for grandkids.  This year we're looking forward to doing our own vacation without them.  We look a bit stingy compared to some posts but we've enjoyed our breaks.  Just stepping away from work for 3 weeks straight is such a luxury!  We also spend fairly freely on fancy food items and alcohol on vacation.  My kiddos feel rich when we give them each $20 to spend however/wherever they like. 

boarder42

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #69 on: April 27, 2017, 12:57:38 PM »
how every travel thread here doesnt end with you should travel hack i dont quite understand. 

1. we're mustachians our finances are in order
2. we typically have good credit b/c see number 1
3. its essentially a risk free game in which you can get 100's of thousands of points by doing not much else than changing your daily spending card.

if you're looking for a hotel get a credit card get the points pay with points free hotel.  not 50 a night ... maybe even 5 star waldorf astoria in maui for 5 nights for free with a dinner at their fancy restaraunt for free with breakfast daily at the fancy buffet for free.

Le Poisson

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #70 on: April 27, 2017, 01:12:59 PM »
I would love to know where people are finding cheap hotels (50-60/night).  I can't seem to find any no matter where we travel (in the US) that is under $125.  I refuse to stay in a complete dump, but it doesn't have to be 4 star.  Any advice would be appreciated. 

We typically spend about 5-10k per year on vacations, depending on the year.  I am pretty frugal on everything in my life, but I tend to splurge on vacations.  I just love to get away and experience new things.


I like Groupon for Hotels. We booked the Inn at Stone Mountain through it, and were really happy with what we got - courtyard view, private balcony, and a really nice room - it was at least twice the size of any other we had on our vacation. Also, Groupon often features hotels that are a little less mainstream than those you find on orbitz etc. Current price on Groupon is $169 per night - but we booked 2 nights for $135 total. Downside was that the pool wasn't yet open for the season, and this hotel doesn't have a breakfast.

Our hotel in Myrtle Beach (Doubletree by Hilton) was $158 total bill for Monday through Wednesday. Again through Groupon. At this hotel there was no breakfast, but the pool etc. was open.

Other nights we booked on Airmiles/BMO Rewards points for free or close to it in order to average out to $55 per night.

Our hotels booked on points included:
Myrtle Beach Crown Reef: http://www.crownreef.com/
Skanky Hotel in Macon GA
Savannah - Best western Central Savannah

We only had 1 night in a skanky motel, I find it interesting that naysayers have seized on the one unpleasant night we had in 11 nights away. It shows the power of a negative review.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 03:19:27 PM by Prospector »

BeanCounter

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #71 on: April 27, 2017, 02:24:54 PM »
Let me just say that my experience is nearly every hotel in Macon, GA is skanky.

Bee21

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #72 on: April 27, 2017, 02:40:08 PM »
We spend a ton on travelling. 10k for Europe to see my folks is non negotiable, most of it is plane tickets. Plus random long weekend camping trips, boat trips whatever. I don't mind this cost to be honest, travelling and spending time together as a family is important for us. I made some cuts in other non important areas to make it feasible.

I am not a cruise person, but it looks good in the scenario you describe.

mm1970

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #73 on: April 27, 2017, 03:16:45 PM »
how every travel thread here doesnt end with you should travel hack i dont quite understand. 

1. we're mustachians our finances are in order
2. we typically have good credit b/c see number 1
3. its essentially a risk free game in which you can get 100's of thousands of points by doing not much else than changing your daily spending card.

if you're looking for a hotel get a credit card get the points pay with points free hotel.  not 50 a night ... maybe even 5 star waldorf astoria in maui for 5 nights for free with a dinner at their fancy restaraunt for free with breakfast daily at the fancy buffet for free.
Because:
1. It depends on what kind of vacations you go on, and how often.  If you like road trips and camping, what's the point, really?

2. Credit/ identity theft.  Health insurance company hacks means we have essentially frozen our credit (yes, including that of our MINOR CHILDREN) for 3 years.  Unfreezing to refi our mortgage was a complete PITA.

sparkytheop

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #74 on: April 27, 2017, 04:49:43 PM »
I use booking.com and aim for cheap but with a good rating.  I don't need anything fancy, since I only really use a hotel to sleep, shower, and maybe eat something from a market.  If it's clean, I'm happy.  Krakow had so many rooms for about $20/night, but I "splurged" there-- got a small apartment with a washing machine, right on the corner of the Old Town square, and paid $70/night.  In my experience, it's easier to get a cheaper room in Europe than it has been in the states.

kimmarg

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #75 on: April 27, 2017, 06:44:12 PM »
how every travel thread here doesnt end with you should travel hack i dont quite understand. 

1. we're mustachians our finances are in order
2. we typically have good credit b/c see number 1
3. its essentially a risk free game in which you can get 100's of thousands of points by doing not much else than changing your daily spending card.

if you're looking for a hotel get a credit card get the points pay with points free hotel.  not 50 a night ... maybe even 5 star waldorf astoria in maui for 5 nights for free with a dinner at their fancy restaraunt for free with breakfast daily at the fancy buffet for free.
Because:
1. It depends on what kind of vacations you go on, and how often.  If you like road trips and camping, what's the point, really?

2. Credit/ identity theft.  Health insurance company hacks means we have essentially frozen our credit (yes, including that of our MINOR CHILDREN) for 3 years.  Unfreezing to refi our mortgage was a complete PITA.

This.  My credit card usually gets me one round trip airplane ticket to see family a year. Then we camp the rest of the time.

catccc

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #76 on: April 28, 2017, 11:37:36 AM »
travel hacking is on the to-do list but we are so busy right now (kids, jobs, house, volunteering commitments, etc) - that I'm not comfortable delving into it until I have the mental space for additional life multi-tasking again. Additionally we usually only fly Southwest - is travel hacking worth it for a single airline?

I just started travel hacking late last year/early this year.  I wish I had started sooner.  You do really want to play close attention to your hacking requirements, min spend dates, etc.  I don't do any manufactured spend yet, just not quite comfortable with it all.  But we are doing it slowly... DH and I have each gotten one personal and one business card, so there isn't a ton to keep track of.  We usually spread out the minimum spend periods, but in the case of the Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus that was about to be cut in half, we did have an overlapping period that we needed to hit $8K in, which is a lot for us.  But between paying for expenses reimbursed by my employer, and pre-paying for some other things here and there, we were able to hit it within the time period.

Anyway... I'm getting a bit off topic.  My point in replying to you was that I think a super deal can be had specifically with Southwest because of their companion pass.  So yes, I think it is worth doing for a single airline!  An individual applying for 2 southwest cards could easily earn a companion pass and have loads of miles to use along with it.  You can book award travel with the points, and then double the value with the companion pass.  Seems like a stellar deal!

I'm eyeing this deal for the next round of hacking.  As it is currently, we are doubling up on vacations next year to maximize value out of the oodles of points we are getting from Chase.

StarBright

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #77 on: April 28, 2017, 12:08:58 PM »
travel hacking is on the to-do list but we are so busy right now (kids, jobs, house, volunteering commitments, etc) - that I'm not comfortable delving into it until I have the mental space for additional life multi-tasking again. Additionally we usually only fly Southwest - is travel hacking worth it for a single airline?

I just started travel hacking late last year/early this year.  I wish I had started sooner.  You do really want to play close attention to your hacking requirements, min spend dates, etc.  I don't do any manufactured spend yet, just not quite comfortable with it all.  But we are doing it slowly... DH and I have each gotten one personal and one business card, so there isn't a ton to keep track of.  We usually spread out the minimum spend periods, but in the case of the Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus that was about to be cut in half, we did have an overlapping period that we needed to hit $8K in, which is a lot for us.  But between paying for expenses reimbursed by my employer, and pre-paying for some other things here and there, we were able to hit it within the time period.

Anyway... I'm getting a bit off topic.  My point in replying to you was that I think a super deal can be had specifically with Southwest because of their companion pass.  So yes, I think it is worth doing for a single airline!  An individual applying for 2 southwest cards could easily earn a companion pass and have loads of miles to use along with it.  You can book award travel with the points, and then double the value with the companion pass.  Seems like a stellar deal!

I'm eyeing this deal for the next round of hacking.  As it is currently, we are doubling up on vacations next year to maximize value out of the oodles of points we are getting from Chase.

thanks for taking the time to write your response catcc - I'll have to look more into the "hacking" aspect of it. DH and I both have had southwest cards for years and usually get a free one-way each year, but I haven't figured out how to take more advantage than that. I suspect it involves cancelling and reopening cards and doing manufactured spending.

catccc

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #78 on: April 28, 2017, 02:16:26 PM »
thanks for taking the time to write your response catcc - I'll have to look more into the "hacking" aspect of it. DH and I both have had southwest cards for years and usually get a free one-way each year, but I haven't figured out how to take more advantage than that. I suspect it involves cancelling and reopening cards and doing manufactured spending.

I think there are 4 different available southwest cards, and it does involve cashing in on new account bonuses, so yes, closing and reopening, probably.  But minimum spend requirements I've seen on these cards aren't too high, ($2K in 3 months?) so probably no MS involved, depending on what your usual spend looks like.

boarder42

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #79 on: April 28, 2017, 06:50:22 PM »
how every travel thread here doesnt end with you should travel hack i dont quite understand. 

1. we're mustachians our finances are in order
2. we typically have good credit b/c see number 1
3. its essentially a risk free game in which you can get 100's of thousands of points by doing not much else than changing your daily spending card.

if you're looking for a hotel get a credit card get the points pay with points free hotel.  not 50 a night ... maybe even 5 star waldorf astoria in maui for 5 nights for free with a dinner at their fancy restaraunt for free with breakfast daily at the fancy buffet for free.
Because:
1. It depends on what kind of vacations you go on, and how often.  If you like road trips and camping, what's the point, really?

2. Credit/ identity theft.  Health insurance company hacks means we have essentially frozen our credit (yes, including that of our MINOR CHILDREN) for 3 years.  Unfreezing to refi our mortgage was a complete PITA.

This.  My credit card usually gets me one round trip airplane ticket to see family a year. Then we camp the rest of the time.

You don't just use your regular spend. You sign up for credit cards to get the sign up bonuses. There are even ways to meet minimum spend without spending the money. And it's cheaper than camping.

farmecologist

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #80 on: May 01, 2017, 08:56:39 AM »
I would love to know where people are finding cheap hotels (50-60/night).  I can't seem to find any no matter where we travel (in the US) that is under $125.  I refuse to stay in a complete dump, but it doesn't have to be 4 star.  Any advice would be appreciated. 

We typically spend about 5-10k per year on vacations, depending on the year.  I am pretty frugal on everything in my life, but I tend to splurge on vacations.  I just love to get away and experience new things.
What do you consider a "complete dump"? Motel 6 and similar chain motels are usually under $60/night mid week but higher on weekend (sometime MUCH higher resort areas) and are generally clean, and well managed. Back when I stayed in motels (don't now) and travelled with my small dog (no pet fee at Motel 6) I stayed at a bunch and they were fine. Comfort Inn, Days Inn, Econolodge, etc... are all pretty inexpensive too. Best Western is usually higher but you can join their club to get free nights.

We used the 'choice hotels' line of properties on our road trip last summer (comfort inn/suites, Sleep inn, Clarion, Econolodge, etc..) .  They also had a points promotion going on at the time which will help for our trip this year.  They were generally older properties that were well taken care of.  Very reasonable prices.  We checked on TripAdvisor, etc... before booking any of them.

While bedbugs can be an issue...we have never run into them anywhere.  I think some people worry about them far too much.  Heck...I'd argue that even 'nice' hotels can have just as much of a problem with them as 'cheap' hotels/motels. 




mm1970

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #81 on: May 02, 2017, 09:20:54 AM »
how every travel thread here doesnt end with you should travel hack i dont quite understand. 

1. we're mustachians our finances are in order
2. we typically have good credit b/c see number 1
3. its essentially a risk free game in which you can get 100's of thousands of points by doing not much else than changing your daily spending card.

if you're looking for a hotel get a credit card get the points pay with points free hotel.  not 50 a night ... maybe even 5 star waldorf astoria in maui for 5 nights for free with a dinner at their fancy restaraunt for free with breakfast daily at the fancy buffet for free.
Because:
1. It depends on what kind of vacations you go on, and how often.  If you like road trips and camping, what's the point, really?

2. Credit/ identity theft.  Health insurance company hacks means we have essentially frozen our credit (yes, including that of our MINOR CHILDREN) for 3 years.  Unfreezing to refi our mortgage was a complete PITA.

This.  My credit card usually gets me one round trip airplane ticket to see family a year. Then we camp the rest of the time.

You don't just use your regular spend. You sign up for credit cards to get the sign up bonuses. There are even ways to meet minimum spend without spending the money. And it's cheaper than camping.
I think the point was that he/she prefers camping.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #82 on: May 02, 2017, 09:36:48 AM »
Love, love, love dragonswan's determination for what s/he loves!

I would add to the posts: If any member of your family has a disability, look into disability passes. We can camp for free -as can anyone who comes with us; get a steep discount on the ferries; free admission for one adult into every museum, pool, etc; save on car fuel costs; etc. As long as we stay within our big, diverse, beautiful province, this saves us lots.

My other biggest hack is to get a place with at least a kitchenette. And to bring a can opener to create a hatchback kitchen: https://brainquirkcash.com/2016/07/12/hatchback-kitchen-using-what-we-have/

Prospector, you have been very groovy in this thread! Thanks for that :)

boarder42

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #83 on: May 02, 2017, 12:58:06 PM »
how every travel thread here doesnt end with you should travel hack i dont quite understand. 

1. we're mustachians our finances are in order
2. we typically have good credit b/c see number 1
3. its essentially a risk free game in which you can get 100's of thousands of points by doing not much else than changing your daily spending card.

if you're looking for a hotel get a credit card get the points pay with points free hotel.  not 50 a night ... maybe even 5 star waldorf astoria in maui for 5 nights for free with a dinner at their fancy restaraunt for free with breakfast daily at the fancy buffet for free.
Because:
1. It depends on what kind of vacations you go on, and how often.  If you like road trips and camping, what's the point, really?

2. Credit/ identity theft.  Health insurance company hacks means we have essentially frozen our credit (yes, including that of our MINOR CHILDREN) for 3 years.  Unfreezing to refi our mortgage was a complete PITA.

This.  My credit card usually gets me one round trip airplane ticket to see family a year. Then we camp the rest of the time.

You don't just use your regular spend. You sign up for credit cards to get the sign up bonuses. There are even ways to meet minimum spend without spending the money. And it's cheaper than camping.
I think the point was that he/she prefers camping.

possibly but many on here jump to camping being the cheapest form of travel and yes it likely is if you dont know about travel hacking.  add in travel hacking and it beats car camping exponentially when leveraged properly.  Just want to point out that its a thing its cheaper and you can have your luxury vacation for pennies on the dollar.

catccc

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #84 on: May 02, 2017, 02:23:57 PM »
a thought- camping and travel hacking are not mutually exclusive vacation choices!  I love camping!  And I just started travel hacking.  In November, DH and I will fly from Philly to Hawaii for $11.20 each, and we plan on camping at volcanoes national park, and possibly some other state parks in Hawaii.  Most of my favorite camping trips have been a flight away, not close to home.  I like to see different landscapes when I travel.  And flying to my destination also opens up the calendar.  I've camped in the Northeast in November before, and it is doable, but it can be quite cold!

TimmyTightWad

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #85 on: May 03, 2017, 01:16:01 PM »
Sheesh and I thought I was ballin with my little $2500 Saint-Maarten trip coming up in a couple of weeks.

Looks like I'm really missing out by not flying with miles card. Any suggestion for a card? It seems like I'd have to commit to a specific airline and I want to avoid that. We travel a lot and I could be raking up points if I had a proper card. Currently use a gold AMEX which has points ....but barely

boarder42

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #86 on: May 03, 2017, 01:46:14 PM »
a thought- camping and travel hacking are not mutually exclusive vacation choices!  I love camping!  And I just started travel hacking.  In November, DH and I will fly from Philly to Hawaii for $11.20 each, and we plan on camping at volcanoes national park, and possibly some other state parks in Hawaii.  Most of my favorite camping trips have been a flight away, not close to home.  I like to see different landscapes when I travel.  And flying to my destination also opens up the calendar.  I've camped in the Northeast in November before, and it is doable, but it can be quite cold!

i 100% agree i do both as well.. .we tent camp / RV camp/ van camp/ travel hack etc. we love to travel and have developed many ways to do it on the cheap.

boarder42

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #87 on: May 03, 2017, 01:49:40 PM »
Sheesh and I thought I was ballin with my little $2500 Saint-Maarten trip coming up in a couple of weeks.

Looks like I'm really missing out by not flying with miles card. Any suggestion for a card? It seems like I'd have to commit to a specific airline and I want to avoid that. We travel a lot and I could be raking up points if I had a proper card. Currently use a gold AMEX which has points ....but barely

its lots of cards i sign up and cancel 15-30 cards a year between my wife and i.  we have almost 143k SPG points now.  we're planning a trip to tahiti. --- 150k points gets us 5 nights in and overwater bungalow and 5 nights ocean view. still working out the flights but we're sitting on over 300k AA miles and growing. 

Best place to start would be to take the travel miles 101 course google them and find their facebook page.  it will teach you how to fake spend money to meet the minimum spend signup bonuses.  I fake spend 100k+ per year.  also will teach you the order you should get cards.  chase cards should come first b/c of their new restrictions.

bryan995

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #88 on: May 03, 2017, 02:09:13 PM »
A vacation budget amount is completely relative to income ...

We spend maybe $1500/year in cash and $3,000 in  free credit card points / incentives.
This is spread across 7-10 small 3-4 day trips. Occasionally 1 long one if there is a super deal.

Marriot CC
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Southwest companion pass
Etc.

boarder42

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #89 on: May 03, 2017, 02:21:17 PM »
A vacation budget amount is completely relative to income ...

We spend maybe $1500/year in cash and $3,000 in  free credit card points / incentives.
This is spread across 7-10 small 3-4 day trips. Occasionally 1 long one if there is a super deal.

Marriot CC
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Southwest companion pass
Etc.

i dont know that this is true.  yes your income sets a limit as to how high it could be but around here we're not letting our income set our spending like the rest of america.  we're optimizing etc.

TimmyTightWad

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #90 on: May 03, 2017, 02:24:13 PM »


its lots of cards i sign up and cancel 15-30 cards a year between my wife and i.  we have almost 143k SPG points now.  we're planning a trip to tahiti. --- 150k points gets us 5 nights in and overwater bungalow and 5 nights ocean view. still working out the flights but we're sitting on over 300k AA miles and growing. 

Best place to start would be to take the travel miles 101 course google them and find their facebook page.  it will teach you how to fake spend money to meet the minimum spend signup bonuses.  I fake spend 100k+ per year.  also will teach you the order you should get cards.  chase cards should come first b/c of their new restrictions.


Oh wow thanks, I'll look into this.

mm1970

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #91 on: May 03, 2017, 02:34:46 PM »
a thought- camping and travel hacking are not mutually exclusive vacation choices!  I love camping!  And I just started travel hacking.  In November, DH and I will fly from Philly to Hawaii for $11.20 each, and we plan on camping at volcanoes national park, and possibly some other state parks in Hawaii.  Most of my favorite camping trips have been a flight away, not close to home.  I like to see different landscapes when I travel.  And flying to my destination also opens up the calendar.  I've camped in the Northeast in November before, and it is doable, but it can be quite cold!

i 100% agree i do both as well.. .we tent camp / RV camp/ van camp/ travel hack etc. we love to travel and have developed many ways to do it on the cheap.
I think it's pretty clear that *I* do not have enough vacation time.

boarder42

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Re: Family Vacation Budget?
« Reply #92 on: May 03, 2017, 02:36:06 PM »
a thought- camping and travel hacking are not mutually exclusive vacation choices!  I love camping!  And I just started travel hacking.  In November, DH and I will fly from Philly to Hawaii for $11.20 each, and we plan on camping at volcanoes national park, and possibly some other state parks in Hawaii.  Most of my favorite camping trips have been a flight away, not close to home.  I like to see different landscapes when I travel.  And flying to my destination also opens up the calendar.  I've camped in the Northeast in November before, and it is doable, but it can be quite cold!

i 100% agree i do both as well.. .we tent camp / RV camp/ van camp/ travel hack etc. we love to travel and have developed many ways to do it on the cheap.
I think it's pretty clear that *I* do not have enough vacation time.

its the main driver for us in FIRE i only have 3.5 weeks my wife has 5