Author Topic: Vacation splurge  (Read 3003 times)

jgoody

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Vacation splurge
« on: October 18, 2017, 03:53:15 PM »
For the last few years, my Christmas present to my family (my parents, brother, his girlfriend, my wife, my son) has been to pay for lodging for a long weekend trip to the mountains.  We cook together, hang out by the fire, snowshoe, etc.  This has worked out well in the past as everyone has a good time, I get my Christmas "shopping" done in one fell swoop, and it's not just a bunch of stuff to later end up in a landfill.

This year, my brother wants to get in on giving the gift and have the snowy weekend getaway be a present from both of us.  I'm fine with this. 

My dilemma is as follows: now that there is one other party paying for this big family gift, I'm really tempted to splurge on a much nicer place than ones we've stayed at before.  Whereas before, the lodging has typically cost about $300/night, I'm currently very tempted by a place that is going to be more like $550/night.  Is this crazy?  It feels like "lifestyle inflation" and makes my mustache hurt.  On the other hand, with one other person splitting the bill, it won't actually cost me any more than what I have done in years past.

Some pertinent details are as follows:
1.) My wife will have just given birth 2 months earlier, so she may not yet be up for snowshoeing/skiing.  This has me more inclined to splurge on our accommodations this year since we may be spending much more time inside than we usually do.
2.) My folks have a very nice house/lifestyle, so while I know they have loved the previous trips for the quality family time and outdoor adventures, I'm sure the accommodations have not felt at all "luxurious" to them. 
3.) The spot I'm considering would be "luxurious" for all involved - it looks like something out of Architectural Digest
4.) I have a high income, so this isn't breaking the bank for me.  On the other hand, as high as my income is, I'm annoyed at myself that my savings rate is only about 50% - I really have no great excuses for not being able to push that up to 60 or 70% and am thinking maybe it's things like this trip keeping me from getting there.
5.) The option of having my brother do a separate trip so that we get TWO family get-togethers (and go cheaper for both) has crossed my mind, but finding mutual time off to schedule one trip is hard enough.

So... splurge on luxury accommodations (at the same personal financial outlay I've done previous years) or rent a similar cabin to years before and be stoked to spend half as much this year since my brother will be covering the other half?

Cassie

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2017, 03:55:44 PM »
Since you have a high savings rate why not try this other place and then after the vacation ask everyone if they thought the experience was worth the increase in $. Sometimes you never know until you try it.

Gone_Hiking

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2017, 04:08:43 PM »
Seems to me that:
- you enjoy giving this annual gift to your family
- your brother wants to pitch in, which is awesome
- it doesn't affect your bottom line

I would go for it.  More so, if your family enjoys it as well.  Looks to me like the best reason to spend Christmas money: an awesome get-together with family.

FireHiker

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2017, 04:10:01 PM »
Given your specifics, especially with your wife having a newborn for the trip and likely to spend a lot of the time indoors, I would go for the splurge this year. Then do as Cassie suggested afterwards, and assess together whether it was worth it or not. It is actually $25 cheaper per night than you usually pay with your brother splitting the cost anyway, right?

Frankies Girl

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2017, 04:16:03 PM »
So you routinely have something that is considered a luxury/treat is already reasonably expensive, and that in the past has been satisfactory and enjoyable for all involved, and yet you feel the need to upgrade the experience with money to fancier accommodations solely due to the fact that you have another person kicking in funds.

That is the textbook definition of lifestyle inflation to me.

I would not do it.

Breaking out of the "treat yo self" mentality is one of the MMM tenets.

Not sure why anyone on here would agree this is a good idea.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2017, 04:20:57 PM »
What is your brother expecting to spend?  It sounds like he’s expecting to split the cost of the existing arrangement.  So your idea may be a non-starter anyway.

If you enjoy the current place stick with that.  I agree this is lifestyle inflation.

ixtap

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2017, 04:27:05 PM »
Have you been going to the same cabin for a few years? Some people prefer tradition to upgrading. It certainly doesn't sound like anyone has been complaining about the previous arrangements. Even your parents might appreciate living differently for a few days.

I also agree with SimpleCycle about checking in with your brother.

jgoody

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2017, 04:44:16 PM »
Thanks so much everyone for weighing in on my first world problem!

We have in years past done a different cabin every year.  We like variety.  So we are establishing a tradition in terms of the type of trip, but not yet on one specific spot.

With regards to my brother, we've already had exactly this conversation and he is also on the fence for which "level" of cabin to go with.  If he decides he wants to go the less expensive route, then that's great and the decision would then be made.  But he hasn't yet.  Nor have I. 

Frankies Girl, I totally hear you.  Frankly I expected more face punches for contemplating this upgrade.  I can justify this year being "different" because of the new baby/more time indoors and because of the newfound co-payer, but I do worry about it being a slippery slope to the new "normal".

Cassie, thus far I'm leaning towards your solution (provided my brother is as well)

undercover

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2017, 04:59:38 PM »
Sounds like it would be pretty immaterial to your overall financial situation, so I don't think it matters which one you choose.

A) More expensive accommodations. Still pay no more than you've paid in past. You may find out it wasn't worth it or you're indifferent to the upgrade. Great, you learned something.

B) Lower overall costs on existing accommodations. Great, you saved money this year.

ixtap

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2017, 05:02:51 PM »
Sounds like it would be pretty immaterial to your overall financial situation, so I don't think it matters which one you choose.

A) More expensive accommodations. Still pay no more than you've paid in past. You may find out it wasn't worth it or you're indifferent to the upgrade. Great, you learned something.

B) Lower overall costs on existing accommodations. Great, you saved money this year.

Is it immaterial? Would cutting your costs in half change your percentage of savings this year?

jgoody

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2017, 05:50:45 PM »
Is it immaterial? Would cutting your costs in half change your percentage of savings this year?

It might make the difference between 50% and 51%. 
Or... if I can figure out some of my bigger money sink-holes, maybe the difference between 60% and 61%

elaine amj

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2017, 05:53:38 PM »
I would go for the Mustachian version. Or for your brother to cover something you currently don't pay for. The groceries, equipment rentals, a fun activity, the transportation.  Spending more simply because there is more money in the pot doesn't compute with me. I'm always for getting more bang for the buck.

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JLee

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2017, 06:12:37 PM »
My last vacation was split between Airbnbs and a hostel.  My gf and I spent an entire week in a (private room) hostel for less than the cost of one night at a fancy resort, and we probably enjoyed it more as well (so many awesome people stayed there).

I couldn't stomach $550/night to stay somewhere.

kimmarg

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2017, 06:19:26 PM »
I couldn't stomach $550/night to stay somewhere.

I was assuming it was $550/night for a large house which would sleep the entire family, no?

lbmustache

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2017, 06:55:19 PM »

I couldn't stomach $550/night to stay somewhere.

$550/night for 6 people (or 5, if the baby doesn't count) sounds OK to me.

To OP, I think it's only lifestyle inflation if you become used to it, or require it every time. After all, Mr. MMM certainly doesn't buy the cheapest of everything... he has his indulgences. I don't think a once in awhile indulgence is an issue.

The question to ask: will it make you happy?

Meesh

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2017, 07:06:04 PM »
I wouldn't do it.

Upgrading where you stay will not make your experience better because you are simply in a prettier place. If you really want to upgrade your vacation add in a cool show or activity, something fun and memorable to all do together that you didn't do before. But honestly? It sounds like you had an awesome time in the first place, can't figure out why you need to spend more money.

The better option would be to add a second trip, maybe a smaller weekender or something in a different season. Adding up your time spent making memories with your family. Your brother liked your idea because it works well, so expand on it, don't upgrade it.

What exactly are these "luxuries" you speak of that the other place does not have and how do you think it will make it better? Why would being more inside there be better than the last? You mentioned your parents live a luxurious lifestyle but did you feel they were uncomfortable before?

terran

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2017, 07:08:41 PM »
I would go for the Mustachian version. Or for your brother to cover something you currently don't pay for. The groceries, equipment rentals, a fun activity, the transportation.  Spending more simply because there is more money in the pot doesn't compute with me. I'm always for getting more bang for the buck.

Agreed, there must be other things that people normally pay for as part of this trip.

jgoody

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2017, 11:29:43 AM »
Thanks again for all the thoughtful replies.

On the guest number: 6 adults, one 2 year old, and 1 infant.  So hardly comparable to two young adults.  Also a different kind of trip.  If this were summer time and we were going to spend the bulk of our time outside, I wouldn't be considering splurging on accommodations.  We'd be camping.

As for what extra benefits we'd be getting with the more expensive place, the biggest upgrade is the ambiance.  Here is the living room:
https://a0.muscache.com/im/pictures/5c0973a2-78fb-43ab-97f9-ec1afd615f42.jpg?aki_policy=x_large
It also has a sauna, bigger/nicer kitchen, acreage, spa-like bathrooms, and more bedrooms which could be nice for noise separation with a crying infant (we'd probably keep the infant in our room and have our 2 year old far enough away that he hopefully wouldn't be woken)

I kind of hope my brother decides to go with the less expensive spot because then I can feel like a good Mustachian.  Absent that, I have to say I'm still leaning towards doing the more expensive spot this year and checking in with everyone at the end to see if they felt it was worth it.  If they feel it's worth it, I may approach the possibility of splitting the trip three ways with my folks also contributing in the future.

As an aside, I have paid for similar trips for the last 3-4 years with last year being an exception.  Last year, I got it in my head to go ultra Mustachian and spend much less money and instead make all of my presents that year.  I'm an OK amateur wood-worker and sculptor and all of the presents turned out great.  However, that experiment sucked up all of my free time for pretty much the entirety of November and December.  Consequently, I had 2 full months of very little family/social time.  On the whole, I think that experiment was a colossal failure.  All of the presents (especially my wife's) are forever tainted with the memory of that-time-we-didn't-see-you-at-all-for-2-months.  Lesson learned.

Rcc

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2017, 02:46:00 PM »
We cook together, hang out by the fire, snowshoe, etc.  This has worked out well in the past as everyone has a good time

Is it about the people, and experience or the place. Sounds like the former. Split the cost of the same style/cost place you rent and press on. Your moustache is giving you the right answer.

jgoody

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Re: Vacation splurge
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2019, 02:35:29 PM »
Thought I'd post an update/conclusion.

We ended up doing the expensive place that year.  It was great, we had an amazing time, but decided the extra "splurge" shouldn't be a regular thing.  Consequently, this year we went back to a previously visited but much less expensive place and also had a great time.  For our future family trips, we will stay at the previous/lower price bracket.

On the flip-side, the expensive cabin was amazing enough that I booked it again under much more favorable circumstances - I organized a friend trip with a big group such that we filled it to capacity.  16 people in total.  Still not "cheap" by any stretch, but the dollars per person became a lot more tolerable and we got to share a great space with a lot of great friends.