Author Topic: Re-thinking Summer Vacation - Need Advice  (Read 1869 times)

nycstash

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re-thinking Summer Vacation - Need Advice
« on: February 25, 2016, 01:30:24 PM »
I had been planning a big summer vacation this year. Travel is important to us and we had been moving towards a system of alternating one year of just visiting family in the country/at beach (great vacations in their own right) for essentially free and one year of a big splurge vacation. This year is the splurge and I have close to $6,000 set aside in YNAB for this with a plan to hit $6,500. This is for our family of 4, which includes a 7 year old and a 17 year old. For the older one, it could be one of our last big family vacations together. That being said, I'm starting to balk. I find the idea of saving a chunk of that money very appealing. I've run our budget out for the year and we could save more than we ever have if we didn't do some big spending. There is also some home improvement stuff I'd love to fast track. But perhaps most importantly, there's nothing that is shouting out to us in terms of a vacation. We had initially thought Mexico but backed out of it. Then we thought West Coast/Pacific Northwest. I have to go to Portland for work in April and am going to bring my older daughter with me so now I'm questioning that too.

So, I'm now thinking maybe we should just do a road trip - perhaps mostly camping. We need to be in Chicago at the beginning of July and need to return home to NYC about 2 to 2 1/2 weeks earlier. So I'm trying to figure out ideas of road trips that work in those stops and are reasonable. Alternatively, we need to be in Cape Cod in late August and could do a trip from there instead (though financially speaking, it would save money to combine the Chicago and vacation trips as Chicago needs to be done regardless). Do people have any suggestions for itineraries that would be pleasing to a family like ours (with an older teen and a younger child)? My kids are down for camping, though I'm sure my daughter would like some cities. Family would love things like white water rafting or canyoning. Bringing bikes is a possibility though adds to gas costs. We already did Quebec - through much of the province, out to the Gaspe, Quebec City and Montreal. I'm tempted to do those cities again with different camping just because we loved it so much. But we tend to hesitate to repeat - though we also really LOVED it. We can stay with friends for free in Burlington, Vermont. Same in Chicago.

I hate to give up the West Coast in some ways because I love the idea of it, but it's just a lot when you talk about plane fare and then renting a car on top of it. I wish it was easier to reach the SW or Rockies from Chicago. I want to do something that feels special and different, but I'd really really prefer to not spend as much money as I had originally planned. That being said, road trips can add up. We ended up spending over $4,000 when we did Quebec - though that's still $2,000 less than what I've budgeted for this summer.

Any suggestions much appreciated.

mxt0133

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1374
  • Location: San Francisco
Re: Re-thinking Summer Vacation - Need Advice
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2016, 01:40:22 PM »
If it's purely a cost issue, you can sign up for a few credit cards to earn bonus points that could potentially take care for 2-3 plane tickets.

I too have been trying to re-think our family vacations, we normally fly to the east coast to see family but also take small trips.  The things we really enjoy are the local trips like camping and weekend trips by car.  We have Hawaii planned, but the flights and hotels are covered by travel miles.  However after that we might looking into redefining what vacation and travel is for our family.

TheGadfly

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 72
Re: Re-thinking Summer Vacation - Need Advice
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2016, 01:45:04 PM »

If it's purely a cost issue, you can sign up for a few credit cards to earn bonus points that could potentially take care for 2-3 plane tickets.

+1

If you want to take a big trip every two years, you should really get into accumulating credit card rewards bonuses. In the past two years, my wife and I have opened a total of 6 credit card and leveraged the bonus rewards to plan a two-week vacation to Hawaii. The trip includes 9 nights at 5-star resorts, a 2-week car rental and 2 round trip flights from Detroit, all for nearly $0. We only need to pay for food, parking and a couple nights at a few AirBnB spots.
Cricket Referral ($25-off): https://mycricket.sparkrefer.com/5WkDGdQ

nycstash

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Re-thinking Summer Vacation - Need Advice
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2016, 03:15:21 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions, but we have terrible credit - due to past mistakes not current reality but nonetheless a barrier to credit cards, particularly high rewards cards. If people have suggestions for how to get high rewards cards regardless of credit, that would be great. But otherwise, we have to assume we are paying cash. I am very angry at myself for my failure to sign up for frequent flyer miles. Between my partner and I, we've done a decent amount of travel in the last couple of years with no miles to show for it:( Next trip I will definitely sign up.

Dee18

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1300
Re: Re-thinking Summer Vacation - Need Advice
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2016, 03:36:02 PM »
I spend time every summer in Vermont, with my teen daughter, and highly recommend it.  You could stay in Burlington for part of it, but also camp at Vt state parks, and even  visit the Adirondacks.  If you do go to Burlington, there is a beautiful bike path along the lake.  Several bike rental places are conveniently located (I like Skirack).  Within an hours drive there is paddle boarding, berry picking, festivals, and tons of great hiking. 

mozar

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2456
Re: Re-thinking Summer Vacation - Need Advice
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2016, 04:10:22 PM »
Sounds like it's a matter of priority. My number one reason for FIRE is the potential to spend time and travel with children. YMMV.
Embracing the absurd condition of human existence while also defiantly continuing to explore and search for meaning

pbkmaine

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6866
  • Age: 61
  • Location: The Villages, Florida
Re: Re-thinking Summer Vacation - Need Advice
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2016, 04:11:37 PM »

Thanks for the suggestions, but we have terrible credit - due to past mistakes not current reality but nonetheless a barrier to credit cards, particularly high rewards cards. If people have suggestions for how to get high rewards cards regardless of credit, that would be great. But otherwise, we have to assume we are paying cash. I am very angry at myself for my failure to sign up for frequent flyer miles. Between my partner and I, we've done a decent amount of travel in the last couple of years with no miles to show for it:( Next trip I will definitely sign up.

Do not wait until the next trip. Do it now.

mm1970

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4805
Re: Re-thinking Summer Vacation - Need Advice
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2016, 04:21:59 PM »
Ever consider Amtrak? 

My MIL traveled from Upstate NY through Chicago, MT, OR, and down to So Cal.  And then flew back.

You could at least make it to Denver.

We took Amtrak from CA to NM one Christmas.  Fun, but...not too terribly relaxing with a 3.5 year old. 

Guava

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 199
Re: Re-thinking Summer Vacation - Need Advice
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2016, 04:43:45 PM »
If you will be in Chicago and want to road trip from there, western Michigan and northern Michigan have some great sights and great sandy beaches plus sand dunes and lots of areas to camp. There are lots of festivals in July as well.

spokey doke

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 466
  • Escaped from the ivory tower basement
Re: Re-thinking Summer Vacation - Need Advice
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2016, 06:57:43 PM »
^^^^
Circumnavigating Lake Michigan is a pretty good option if you need to hit Chicago...I really like the area around Beulah and Leland MI, and going out to Manitou Islands is a fun trip and the water in July will be reasonably warm for swimming.  Many think it only gets better north from there...Charlevoix up to Superior, and then down through Door County WI and onto Chicago (or the reverse).  I'd take the northern route in at least one direction there or back through southern Ontario and down through either NY or VT.
“The best thing about graduating from the university was that I finally had time to sit on a log and read a good book.”
― Edward Abbey