Author Topic: Mustachian Vacations?  (Read 7208 times)

P938LVR

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Mustachian Vacations?
« on: July 19, 2014, 12:22:46 PM »
How do you vacation when you are trying be mustachian? Where do you go? Do you stay in hotels, with family or in a motorhome? How much do you typically spend? How frequent are your vacations?

lifejoy

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2014, 12:34:48 PM »
Staycations! :)


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tracipam

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2014, 01:18:08 PM »
Dunno; vacations are one of my primary exceptions to mustachianism.  :-) 

samburger

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2014, 02:23:57 PM »
I don't have this one totally figured out, either. Here's where I'm at so far:

  • We don't go abroad, at least not in our current phase of wealth building.
  • We primarily car camp. I love road tripping and I love camping, so food + gas + camping fees = cheap trip. We get the best bang for our buck when we can find good camping with interesting towns/cities close by for day tripping.
  • We minimize plane travel (see above), but when we do fly, we fly somewhere to see (and stay with) friends.
  • I consider travel a negotiable luxury. It's non-negotiable for a lot of people, which is fine, but I'll blow way too much money if I think that way. My net worth is at about $30k right now, so even a reasonably frugal trip abroad could run me 6% of my net worth. 6%!

Lots of folks advocate for using credit card rewards to pay for travel. I started churning for just that reason, but once the rewards started to roll in, I couldn't help but treat it like I would any other income. It could be a good option for you, though.

Zikoris

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2014, 02:35:32 PM »
We're not really that Mustachian about travel, but we do try to keep our costs down.

- Accommodation: We rent places on AirBnB, discount hotels, or sometimes really good sale packages.

- Food: We get places with kitchens whenever possible and shop for ingredients at the local markets. Restaurants have huge portions, so when we do eat out we typically order a main and an appetizer, or a few appetizers and no main, rather than two mains. Generally no drinks in restaurants other than water, unless there's something really interesting on the menu. We don't drink alcohol at all. We don't go to expensive places to eat.

- Other: We don't shop, we spend money on experiences instead - so we come back from Paris with the memory of climbing the Eiffel tower, rather than coming back with a bunch of plastic Eiffel towers. We plan vacations around where we can get a good deal, rather than have specific destinations in mind. We travel carry-on only, so no luggage fees. We research before we go to avoid "tourist taxes" as much as possible.

We do two international trips a year, one about two weeks and the other about one week. We've been to England, Mexico, France, a Caribbean cruise back to Mexico as well as Belize, Honduras, Caymans, and Miami, and done "fancy backpacking" style trips where we cover a lot of ground/countries to the French Riviera, Italy, Monaco, Guatemala, Hungary, Austria, and Switzerland. We spend about $7600/year combined.

MillenialMustache

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2014, 03:05:08 PM »
The least mustachian part of my life is vacations - in fact, my husband says if we didn't buy vacations, we wouldn't spend any money at all! We camp, we also stay at inexpensive hotels ($50 a night or less), sometimes we do Air BnB. We stay with friends and family. We drive places and rarely fly. We are flying for a trip to Alaska next summer, but we are going to open a credit card and use the bonus miles. We sign up for Groupons in the area and see if we can get discounts for things we want. We sign up for mailing lists of things we want to do and often get coupons. We try to find free or cheap (admission less than $10) things to do. Like MMM has said, there are so many free things, why pay for things? We usually splurge once or twice a trip on something we really want to do that is $50 each or so.  We pack breakfast food and make it things that are treats, like Pop-Tarts.

We only go overseas about once ever 3-5 years right now (will be more when we retire). We stay places like convents to save money. Check out Rick Steves - he often has budget ideas for places in Europe.

With that said, I absolutely love cruises. If you are within driving distance of a port, they are very inexpensive sometimes - less than $100 a day, and that includes the hotel, all food, and activities. We often spend nothing on board or only buy one or two drinks. Often in port we do things for free.

We take 2-3 week long vacations a year. We try to stay under $1,000 for a week for at least two out of the three. Our most expensive trip was 10 days in Italy - we paid about $5,000 for that, $2,500 was flights.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2014, 03:07:36 PM by Ashley57 »

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2014, 03:33:18 PM »
Honestly, vacations and travel are one of the reasons/motivators for WHY we are mustachian. We value experiences, adventure, and time together so we save and scrimp and then don't beat ourselves up over our travel expenses. We've been abroad many times and we travel to see family several times a year.

That being said, we don't spend much on our vacations--we use credit card points for hotel rooms or use Airbnb, we cook our own food/shop at the grocery store, and we avoid spending on tourist traps. We also choose destinations based on cheap flights. We usually don't set out with an itinerary in advance, we search for cheap travel opportunities and then say HEY, let's go to... Slovakia! Which, btw, was awesome :)

We plan to travel even more once we're FIRE since we'll be able to take advantage of last minute flight deals!

jabber

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2014, 04:02:39 PM »
Mustachian recommendations:

Combine family vacations with business trips (be sure to check with your accountant or conduct robust personal research on the IRS rules)
Combine with trips to check on your rental properties that you bought in places where you planned on returning to.
Combine vacation with moving for your next job.

Itchin4Scratch

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2014, 09:06:22 PM »
I used to live in NYC, so I met people all around the world.  When I go on vacation, I try to visit one of my far away friends so I can save money on hotels and eating out.  The bonus is I get to visit an old friend, AND I often get a free tour guide who knows where the cool stuff is!

I also heard of this program called "couch surfing" where you can stay with random strangers on their couches in exchange for hosting random strangers on your own couch.  I don't really know much about this program or how safe it is, but I heard good things about it.

I had a friend who recently traveled across South America for 14 months.  She did it for under $20k.  She told me that her biggest money savers were cooking her meals instead of eating out and going to less touristy spots that didn't cost so much.

I also have another friend teaches English in a new country every year, and she has been to 3 countries so far (Russia, Thailand, Brazil).  She loves it so much, and she usually gets free room and board when she teaches.  She doesn't make a lot of money, but she gets to keep almost everything she makes.  When I retire (or get close to it), I'm thinking of doing this myself so I can see the world.

WonderingAgain

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2014, 09:21:13 PM »
Just a comment.

It comes up over and over about how if you stay some place with a kitchen you can cook your own meals and save money.

Uhm, for me, the whole point of a Vacation is to get away from doing the cooking and other chores.

I mean, pay for the room AND have to cook and do dishes.

Hell just stay home.

Daisy

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2014, 09:57:21 PM »
I'm replying to stay tuned to the comments here, as I love to travel and save money.

In response to WonderingAgain, I kind of agree with you. I love to taste the local cuisine when travelling. However, it depends where I travel.

If it's a domestic location, it's possible that the "local cuisine" is similar to where I live so it may not be worth going out for every meal.

Also, it depends what the nature of the trip is. If it's to go skiing or do some other outdoor activity (cycling, hiking), maybe the point of that particular trip is not to experience the local culture, so some of the meals can be eaten in.

But if I am going to a foreign country and it's a short trip (a week or two) then I will want to try as much of the cuisine as possible. Maybe in my FIRE days if I spend a month in a particular place, I may eat in half the time since there will still be plenty of time for ethnic food sampling. Some of my best travel experiences involve food (I'm a foodie). The best example is finding the dessert of the gods in Australia - sticky date pudding. After sampling it the first night there, we HAD to order it every night for the next two weeks there - no joke.

One meal I find hard to pay eating out for is breakfast. Eggs, yogurt, fruit...kind of simple to eat in. However, I have had some interesting breakfast foods in some countries such as Turkey and the Middle East  where they serve things we don't typically eat for breakfast in the US. Or a nice thick hot chocolate with churros in Spain....mmm...gotta have it. In Spain, you also see these nifty machines that process a bunch of oranges and take a whole orange, slice it in half, and juice it...nice fresh squeezed juice at almost every cafe.

Sometimes the kitchen is just a side benefit of getting an apartment vs. a hotel because the apartment is cheaper. This was the case in London.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2014, 10:04:01 PM by Daisy »

chouchouu

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2014, 11:01:43 PM »
We compare fares on kayak.com and the airlines. Some airlines charge differently by the website, eg Lufthansa charged more for booking flights from their Australian website than from their European website, so make sure to double check so you don't get ripped off. I also factor in cost of getting to airport into flights, some cheap tickets cost more if the airport is in the middle of nowhere with only an expensive shuttle service.

As pp mentioned air bnb is good, as is hotelscombined.com

I like travelling by train, you tend to get into the cities and can take sleepers to bring the cost of hotels down. In SE Asia it's cheaper to head to Chinatown and walk around to find lodging than book ahead. If you're nervous you can always book one night for the first night and then find your own accommodation but you're not going to find the $10 clean but wash with a bucket place online. Works for even nicer places, in Luang Prabang I paid $12 where a friend had a similar place for $90.

Stay with friends, take public transport. Rent a bike. You can still have nice food without eating at restaurants, I love the patisserie Gerard Mulot in Paris and grab stuff for picnics at the Luxembourg gardens. Look for accommodation on local websites rather than international ones, eg Rakuten for Japan and immoweb for Belgium. When backpacking instead of a towel go Japanese style and have a washcloth instead, just squeeze water out and dab yourself dry, you can even multipurpose a sarong/towel/bedsheet.

Zikoris

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2014, 11:51:49 AM »
Just a comment.

It comes up over and over about how if you stay some place with a kitchen you can cook your own meals and save money.

Uhm, for me, the whole point of a Vacation is to get away from doing the cooking and other chores.

I mean, pay for the room AND have to cook and do dishes.

Hell just stay home.

If the whole point of a vacation is to get away from cooking and chores, maybe you should just stay home and hire housekeeping and meal delivery services for two weeks? It would be considerably cheaper.

For me, the "whole point" of vacations is to travel to amazing destinations and have great adventures all over the world, while also not destroying my chances of early retirement. Cooking certainly fits into that. Shopping at local markets and trying interesting ingredients is a blast.

Russ

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2014, 12:33:58 PM »
cooking and other chores.

cooking is a chore? there's your problem

MrD

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2014, 12:59:40 PM »
cooking and other chores.

cooking is a chore? there's your problem

I love to cook and you won't see me touching a pan or a pot while on vacation. Why would I spend hundreds/thousands of dollars to visit amazing parts of the world and then setup shop for 1-2 hours a day cooking when I could instead be exploring a new area and trying local cuisine on a nice outdoor patio?

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2014, 02:19:26 PM »
cooking and other chores.

cooking is a chore? there's your problem

I love to cook and you won't see me touching a pan or a pot while on vacation. Why would I spend hundreds/thousands of dollars to visit amazing parts of the world and then setup shop for 1-2 hours a day cooking when I could instead be exploring a new area and trying local cuisine on a nice outdoor patio?
We try to hit a happy medium with this. We don't cook elaborate meals on vacation, but we do try to only buy 1 meal a day (or less) at a restaurant. We'll get a box of granola bars for breakfast & make our own coffee, we slap sandwiches (usually just bread & cheese) together for lunch and take a picnic. We also love to try local cuisines, but not for every meal--it's just too rich for our budget.

When we're abroad, we hit up a local grocery store (good way to explore the food of the culture) every morning and basically picnic all day. Since we're eating from our grocery sack all day, we get to enjoy wonderful picnic spots and aren't tied down by long wait times at restaurants. We'll then select a few restaurants we want to visit and enjoy a nice dinner or two. This system works pretty well for us.

Cressida

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2014, 11:28:58 PM »
cooking and other chores.
cooking is a chore? there's your problem

In my experience, people tend to find cooking a chore if they're solely responsible for cooking in their household, unless they just happen to love cooking by nature. If it's "your job" and it's not something you naturally enjoy, then of course you'll want to get away from it on your vacation.

WonderingAgain

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2014, 11:54:17 PM »
cooking and other chores.
cooking is a chore? there's your problem

In my experience, people tend to find cooking a chore if they're solely responsible for cooking in their household, unless they just happen to love cooking by nature. If it's "your job" and it's not something you naturally enjoy, then of course you'll want to get away from it on your vacation.

Exactly.

Well, let’s see, in my experience, over 3 husbands, children and many decades -

You get to go to the grocery store. If you go during the day there is the obligatory screaming child or two, that can be heard across the entire store. Yes, I understand the Mother is overwhelmed. If you go late at night, they are out of all the advertised specials, but it may be worth it to avoid the noise and crowds. Everything costs twice as much as 5 years ago, but your food budget hasn't changed because your income hasn't doubled in the past 5 years.

Then you get to haul it all into the house, put most of it away, and then stand in the kitchen for 10, 15, 20 minutes fixing ‘the meal’. Some meals take multiple steps and many pots, pans or bowls.

Then you serve ‘the meal’, it’s eaten in 15 minutes or less, with typical complaints and rare compliments.

Then you get to do the dishes.

Repeat again the next day, and the next, and the next, and the next…..

Tell me again why this is a good thing?

WonderingAgain

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2014, 12:01:47 AM »
I'm all for mustachian (read inexpensive or free) vacations. I just don't want to bring the household chores with me, because then it's not a vacation, it's just work at a different place. 

*grin*

iris lily

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2014, 12:40:43 AM »
We aren't Mustachean about travel, and yet, the past few European trips have been partially subsidized by family: Whenever we go to Switzerland we stay with relatives for some of the trip, and last time father in law paid for one plane ticket because DH carried his mother's ashes to Switzerland.

 When we've been to Scotland in the past we have often stayed with Scottish relatives for parts of the trip. Now the last time we went, we stayed in a castle, and that fab but expensive experience was paid for by my mom.  And she paid for plane fare.

We are now old and the relatives are dying off, so we are going to have to bootstrap it ourselves next time.


norabird

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2014, 08:04:27 AM »
Camping is a pretty mustachian vacation.

Basenji

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2014, 08:10:43 AM »
Just a comment.

It comes up over and over about how if you stay some place with a kitchen you can cook your own meals and save money.

Uhm, for me, the whole point of a Vacation is to get away from doing the cooking and other chores.

I mean, pay for the room AND have to cook and do dishes.

Hell just stay home.

If the whole point of a vacation is to get away from cooking and chores, maybe you should just stay home and hire housekeeping and meal delivery services for two weeks? It would be considerably cheaper.

For me, the "whole point" of vacations is to travel to amazing destinations and have great adventures all over the world, while also not destroying my chances of early retirement. Cooking certainly fits into that. Shopping at local markets and trying interesting ingredients is a blast.

+1 our favorite thing to do is go to a local market and be able to cook local food. We love to travel but have cut back since having dogs and trying to be frugal. But we recently had a great family trip where we all (10 people) crammed into an airbnb house that only charged $200 per night in a very desirable town. It just wasn't on the water, what a deal!

greaper007

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2014, 08:12:22 AM »
Just a comment.

It comes up over and over about how if you stay some place with a kitchen you can cook your own meals and save money.

Uhm, for me, the whole point of a Vacation is to get away from doing the cooking and other chores.

I mean, pay for the room AND have to cook and do dishes.

Hell just stay home.

I'm going to assume you don't have kids.    They really drive up the bill at a restaurant.   This past trip it was nearly impossible for us to eat out for under $35 (except for fast food), and that was for breakfast.     It's also more work to take kids out than it is to stay home and eat, and beers are about a third of the price.

If it was just me or my wife I would probably agree with you.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2014, 12:24:36 PM »
Cooking on vacation, I do some. Breakfast is faster at the hotel, eating out takes time away from seeing things. Lunch is usually packed. My favourite meal in Paris was a baguette, cheese and juice on a park bench. What's not to love about a picnic in Paris? Some suppers out, unfortunately most meals don't live up to expectations. The best part is always the company I spend the time with.

Staycations are great! See all the best parts of your home town that tourists come to see. Go out to a local festival. I spent one enjoyable stay with $200 of foreign beers, all different and multiple styles. Afterwards I was pretty knowledgeable about beer, it was a fun vacation hobby. I think that was the same year I went sky diving, quite the experience.

Zikoris

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2014, 12:34:23 PM »
Quote
Exactly.

Well, let’s see, in my experience, over 3 husbands, children and many decades -

You get to go to the grocery store. If you go during the day there is the obligatory screaming child or two, that can be heard across the entire store. Yes, I understand the Mother is overwhelmed. If you go late at night, they are out of all the advertised specials, but it may be worth it to avoid the noise and crowds. Everything costs twice as much as 5 years ago, but your food budget hasn't changed because your income hasn't doubled in the past 5 years.

Then you get to haul it all into the house, put most of it away, and then stand in the kitchen for 10, 15, 20 minutes fixing ‘the meal’. Some meals take multiple steps and many pots, pans or bowls.

Then you serve ‘the meal’, it’s eaten in 15 minutes or less, with typical complaints and rare compliments.

Then you get to do the dishes.

Repeat again the next day, and the next, and the next, and the next…..

See, this is the opposite for me.

I go to the grocery store at times that are convenient for me, generally Saturday morning when it's fairly quiet and fast. We keep a really well-stocked kitchen, no never desperately need to go RIGHT NOW because we have no food. We go with a list and are in and out in less than 10 minutes, and pay less than we did five years ago because a) we're better shoppers now and b) we haven't inflated out lifestyles. We do still keep the same grocery budget as we have for years, $230/month, which feels pretty extravagant given how much our shopping has improved and how much more we get for our money, but we're happy.

I would pretty rarely need to cook as soon as we got home and put things away, since we don't do "emergency no-food-in-the-house" shopping. Even if so, cooking is a pleasant enough affair - he puts on some good music, and we chat and joke around while I make what's on the meal plan for that day in 20-30 minutes.

There are certainly no complaints, since we do the weekly meal plan jointly and only put stuff we really like on it. I wouldn't make something he didn't like.

We take a short nap/rest after dinner, and then he does the dishes. I do any finicky dishes that I don't want him to touch, like cast iron pans or fine china.

I pack up leftovers into individually portioned tupperware for our work lunches, which go into a rotation system so the oldest items get used first (unless there's pastry involved, in which case it goes to the front of the line). We always have ample leftovers, so never need to eat out at work.

And repeat the next day. It's really no trouble at all.

zippyc

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Re: Mustachian Vacations?
« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2014, 05:21:29 PM »
We had a great time in Maui 1.5 years ago. Got plane tickets for $305 each, got a 1 bedroom condo VRBO (not on the beach) for $85/night including all fees, shopped at grocery stores and Costco (they have many ready to eat items, like Chicken and marinated shrimp that fed me for days). We only ate out one meal, but it truly didn't feel like a chore to us. We did rent a car. Packed our lunch and explored a different beach each day. My husband brought his own snorkel gear and I had my books.

This year we had to pay for 4 plane tickets to Kauai (kids came this time), but lodging was free due to staying with family at their timeshare. Pool was free, beaches were free. We didn't have much of a kitchen, so we research good breakfast joints where the locals eat. Eat a huge breakfast (cheapest meal to eat out), make PBJ's for lunch, bought rum and pina colada mix at Costco and used the blender in our room for fancy beach drinks. We would use the Marriot grills to make dinner most nights. My thrifty husband also did a little research on craigslist before we went and we ended up finding an out of the way second hand store where we bought boogie boards for $2, a hoodie for $2 (daughter took hers off right before we left the house and forgot it), and a few 25 cent books for the kids to read. The woman told us if we came back before we left, she would buy anything from us that we weren't taking home.

We also enjoy camping and my favorite thing is a good old fashioned road trip. We stay at cheap hotels and visit a lot of national parks. Badlands and Bryce Canyon knocked my socks off. Glacier national park is one of the most beautiful places that I've seen in my life (I live in Seattle and I've been to Switzerland multiple times). Mt Rushmore really is smaller than you would think, but it was still neat and I love the education my kids are getting while traveling the country. Personally, geography only makes sense to me once I've been someplace. And at the end of the road, we accomplish our obligatory annual trip to Chicago. Not really cheaper than the plane, but a hell of a lot more fun!

Having kids really took the joy out of eating out for me. The bill is bigger and they really just want something simple and cheap in the end. I'm truly glad that they've made me appreciate eating at home, or picnicing more. One time, in Key West, we splurged on Lobster tail on sale at Winn Dixie. The butcher offered to steam it for us, so we just needed a salad and a side to go with our Lobster. We ate outside at our rental under the trees and twinkle lights. For $36 we had an awesome lobster meal for 2! Having someone ask me if I'd like ground pepper on that for another $80 would not have been worth it. :-)