Vacation

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EdithKeeler
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Vacation

Post by EdithKeeler »

I just booked a vacation for the end of September. Feeling vaguely guilty--it's a resort-type place in a pretty fancy old hotel, lots of amenities, spa stuff, etc. I paid extra for an ocean view, though declined the "reduced price upgrades" that were offered when I booked. It's over $200 a night, which is pretty high for this area--I could have stayed at a Quality Inn or similar for half the price, and a Motel 6 for even less.

Generally I don't mind staying at a cheap joint as long as it's clean, but lately I've gotten spoiled by some pretty fancy hotels (most recently, the Townsend in Birmingham, Michigan. Fan-CEE!). But I decided "what the heck." It's a vacation, I don't travel that much, and... well, I wanted to stay there.

I think sometimes you can get into the habit of being unnecessarily cheap. I'm to the point where I don't need to watch my pennies so closely, but I still do, to a point. I was talking to someone the other day, a guy I know to be extremely cheap and to have virtually no expenses, and he was saying it's "expensive" to pay someone $50 a week to cut his lawn. No, it's not expensive, not when you're making $100K a year and don't have a house payment.

Anyway. Sometimes the best part of a vacation is the anticipation of it. I went to New Orleans in January and had a great time, and it was so much fun planning the trip, where we'd go to eat, etc. Looking forward to this trip now, too, though it's someplace I've been before.

I'll try not to think about the fact that I could be staying next door at the Motel 6 for $46 a night... as I enjoy the poolside bar, etc.

What are y'all's thoughts on vacation and spending? Splurge? Go cheap but often? Stay home and avoid altogether?

FBeyer
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Re: Vacation

Post by FBeyer »

Still pending. Twice I've been on vacation in the states, RV and national parks for a month at a time, both times. I still dream about them almost every week, 5 years later. A single vacation like that cost me about a year's expenses... C40 just posted a journal update showing how my vacation is now his life. You could cut through my envy with a knife right about now.

Dragline
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Re: Vacation

Post by Dragline »

Well. It depends.

Different people have different ideas of what a vacation is. For me, it's an exploration or a road trip. For my DW, it's stationary relaxation. Last year I took son #3 on road trip from Missoula to Yellowstone. This year I was backpacking in NM with son #2. DW would not have derived any value from either and was happy just to look at pictures. Together, we would prefer to do nothing at this point. Maybe some travel later.

So it comes down to value for the buck and how it relates to your overall budget/finances. My personal preferences are cheap and more often. But I don't care whether there is modern plumbing available, and DW does.

You don't get a prize for skimping on your vacation, so just do what you find most valuable.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Vacation

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Well, I have lately found myself sometimes referring to my recently acquired vintage garden camper as my cottage, so it seems like my vacation plans for this summer are covered-lol. Generally, I think that the 20/80 barbell rule-of-thumb works well for all sorts of vacation and other recreational spending. For instance, I would greatly prefer 1 day at a posh spa and 6 days rough camping over 7 nights at the Motel 6. I agree that Birmingham is pretty darn fancy. That's why I allow my poly-amours from the Northern Suburbs to pick up the check when they haul me over to their neck of the woods. Spending $50 on dinner with me isn't too expensive if you are making over $100,000/yr., right? ;) Also, I do provide potable water in a glass jar, fresh u-pick black currants, comfy cushions with only slightly tattered harvest orange upholstery, and a private corner for peeing on the grass when they visit me at my camper.

DutchGirl
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Re: Vacation

Post by DutchGirl »

I'm going to visit Iceland this summer. It's a compromise between my guy and I. He wants to go somewhere expensive every year or so, I'd rather wait until I'm at my goal, but so we compromise to go somewhere expensive once every three years or so. I definitely won't go into debt for it (it will cost me roughly a month's salary). And our previous two big holidays (to the US and to Norway) have been memorable - worth it.

So Edith, enjoy it :-)

stayhigh
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Re: Vacation

Post by stayhigh »

I visited Iceland last spring. That was like 500$ per two of us for 4 days, including flights, car rental and everything. Few small discomforts are worth it. In my experience cost of travel is similar to cost of living - you can have a good time for 15k and 150k a year, it only depends on you. Bit of creativity, less consumerism.

jacob
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Re: Vacation

Post by jacob »

My thoughts on vacation is that if I feel I need to "vacate" [on occasion] it means that there's something wrong with my lifestyle (what I do, where I live, ...). So rather than go on vacation to fix the symptoms, I fix the entire disease by relocating to the place, by changing work, ..., or by changing whatever I want to vacate from. E.g. I would not go on an RV vacation. I would go live in an RV if that was my thing---which it once was.

It's possible that this comes from the fact that I relocate a lot. Having lived in so many different places for extended periods, I have little desire for a brief skip hop to some exotic location to balance out having mostly lived in the same place for the past decade[s].

It's also possible that my interests simply lie far outside of the extremely popular focus on seeing sights, eating things, or being pampered(*). E.g. if eating at different restaurants is your thing, which it is for most people, then the selection in ones own town might get old after a while. To me, it's just food. Same thing for museums, vista points, etc. Whereas I'm interested in doing things, e.g. operating a lathe, playing with concrete, shooting guns, researching cancer, ... and for the most part I can do most of this with a few miles of where I already live. I just need to establish the contacts, etc.

So I guess to me a vacation would be moving to Cleveland and apprenticing in a machine shop for a year. Such things aren't typically called vacation, though I would effectively vacate where I now live to go and do something new.

(*) Case in point. To illustrate how we all have different things we like, I once spent a week locked up in this tourist trap for a conference. Aside from attending the conference and a brief walk on the beach, I spent all my time there in my room working on a grant proposal because I could not find anything [at the resort] that I found more interesting. The nearest supermarket/anything was many miles down the road, so dinner consisted of the trail mix I had brought along. What they had to offer (which was a lot) was entirely wasted on me.

It's said that price is what you pay and value is what you get. When it comes to spending, I still look at what I get, not at the ratio between what I pay and what I could pay. To me having lots of money doesn't mean that all the usual stuff just becomes relatively cheap. It's more that I can afford to play around with bigger projects.

User avatar
Ego
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Re: Vacation

Post by Ego »

@jacob: ≈ + 1

Freedom from vs. freedom to.
Vacate from vs. vacate to.

IlliniDave
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Re: Vacation

Post by IlliniDave »

EdithK,

The main thing is that it's the place you want to stay and the way you want to do it. What good is financial independence if you're not free to enjoy a reasonable luxury every now and then

Myself, I think I'm a little like jacob in that I'm planning to live my "vacation" five or six months of they year. In the interim, when I travel, the only reason the word "vacation" comes to mind is because I have to tell them something at work to account for my absence. Usually I'm visiting family and do it as a no frills affair. I say that with no implied judgement regarding people who do things differently and like to make an "event" out of time away from home. I follow my own muse and among my last thoughts before sleep each night is to hope no other poor soul is stuck with such a curse. :)

EdithKeeler
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Re: Vacation

Post by EdithKeeler »

OK, I have to laugh. My traveling companion put me in charge of planning, and we had the discussion about the resort and the price. After I booked it, this morning he said, "Hey, why don't we just stay in the Super 8 next door and book time at the spa (at the fancy place)? Then we can go to X-restaurant and Y-restaurant and do the boat thing you wanted to do." Ha! So fancy reservation canceled, Super 8 booked, boat trip booked, spa reservations made, and will make dinner reservations shortly. I'm actually good either way--I wanted to stay at the fancy place, kind of, but I'd really rather do more "stuff." This works out great, actually.

I love that he "gets" it.

A favorite song: "Super 8"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fdSqADvjOs

Laura Ingalls
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Re: Vacation

Post by Laura Ingalls »

jacob wrote:My thoughts on vacation is that if I feel I need to "vacate" [on occasion] it means that there's something wrong with my lifestyle (what I do, where I live, ...). So rather than go on vacation to fix the symptoms, I fix the entire disease by relocating to the place, by changing work, ..., or by changing whatever I want to vacate from. E.g. I would not go on an RV vacation. I would go live in an RV if that was my thing---which it once was.

It's possible that this comes from the fact that I relocate a lot. Having lived in so many different places for extended periods, I have little desire for a brief skip hop to some exotic location to balance out having mostly lived in the same place for the past decade[s].

It's also possible that my interests simply lie far outside of the extremely popular focus on seeing sights, eating things, or being pampered(*). E.g. if eating at different restaurants is your thing, which it is for most people, then the selection in ones own town might get old after a while. To me, it's just food. Same thing for museums, vista points, etc. Whereas I'm interested in doing things, e.g. operating a lathe, playing with concrete, shooting guns, researching cancer, ... and for the most part I can do most of this with a few miles of where I already live. I just need to establish the contacts, etc.

So I guess to me a vacation would be moving to Cleveland and apprenticing in a machine shop for a year. Such things aren't typically called vacation, though I would effectively vacate where I now live to go and do something new.

(*) Case in point. To illustrate how we all have different things we like, I once spent a week locked up in this tourist trap for a conference. Aside from attending the conference and a brief walk on the beach, I spent all my time there in my room working on a grant proposal because I could not find anything [at the resort] that I found more interesting. The nearest supermarket/anything was many miles down the road, so dinner consisted of the trail mix I had brought along. What they had to offer (which was a lot) was entirely wasted on me.

It's said that price is what you pay and value is what you get. When it comes to spending, I still look at what I get, not at the ratio between what I pay and what I could pay. To me having lots of money doesn't mean that all the usual stuff just becomes relatively cheap. It's more that I can afford to play around with bigger projects.


Didnt you have some meal per diem or something? :roll: I am pretty sure I could have spent every awake non-conference moment staring at the water. That being said I dislike flying and would rather spend 6 months WOOFing on the Big Island that 3 or 4 days there. I suspect the actual cash required would be about the same.

CECTPA
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Re: Vacation

Post by CECTPA »

I'm suspecting that I have a dysfunctional relationship with travel... I'm still trying to understand.
My last vacation was before ERE, I went to Europe to see my parents and then to California. Business class travel, taxi as needed, all that stuff. I think I spent about CAD$10K or so for 3 weeks (including paying for my parents tickets, meals and stay). Also including a resort in Santa Rosa, CA where I attended a lifestyle medicine conference. Anyway, it was a splurge and it was fun, but regardless the level of comfort I created for myself I was quite homesick. Despite the fact I live in a god-forsaken hole (1 grocery store, only 50% paved roads, the closest movie theatre 160 miles away).
I don't think I would ever feel more comfortable anywhere except home. Business class is stupid. It doesn't make your transantlantic flight less tedious. You can't have your usual rice and beans at a 5 star hotel. I don't care about "free" booze, spa's and stuff. The comfort you create for yourself at home can't be replicated, that's what I understood.
One last trip will be to West Coast, because I promised it to my DH. We will be staying at the famous Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC, expensive suite, harbour view. I suspect that even there it won't be better than home, but I wanna make sure one last time :mrgreen:

jacob
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Re: Vacation

Post by jacob »

@LI - I received diem per day which was paid out regardless of whether it was spent. However, unless I'm somehow forced to, e.g. conference dinner, I prefer trail mix over having to deal with restaurant hassles (the food, the waiting around, being surrounded by other people eating). Usually, I can get something better than trail mix from a supermarket, but given the isolation, this was more or less a prison resort. My point with the example was to illustrate my weird incompatibility with typical recreational/vacational pursuits. This resort was intentionally built to offer everything humans would normally desire: upscale ($200/night) hotel, restaurants, nightly entertainment shows, spa, gift shops, a wide selection of restaurants, sandy beaches (including fenced in dolphins to swim with), and so on ... but in my strange incompatible world, I found everything about it boring. As such this could also be why I don't so these short trips. Anything that can be done in a couple of weeks by a tourist (see list above) I don't find very inspiring.

Laura Ingalls
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Re: Vacation

Post by Laura Ingalls »

I to tend to dislike resturants. But I suspect you could have bought an overpriced to go chicken salad sandwich, liberated some leftovers from the conference room or took off on a hike looking for mangos. Your choices werent trail mix vs expensive sitdown meal.

I enjoy both museums and vistas. I totally get others not liking museums. I admit I am struggling with not liking vistas.

jacob
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Re: Vacation

Post by jacob »

@LI - Yes, but I think I'm constitutionally incapable of buying overpriced anything. Also, I guess I could also have gone down to the beach and started fishing? In any case, I already had the mix. I started bringing my own supplement calories just in case after another conference (held at a castle in the middle of the Austrian Alps (no way out, 2 mile switchback dirt road through the forest at night in the winter) where food comprised one small meal served on a large plate); there's only so many cookies and apples that can be gathered from the conference room.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Vacation

Post by EdithKeeler »

I don't think I would ever feel more comfortable anywhere except home. Business class is stupid. It doesn't make your transantlantic flight less tedious. You can't have your usual rice and beans at a 5 star hotel. I don't care about "free" booze, spa's and stuff. The comfort you create for yourself at home can't be replicated, that's what I understood.
One last trip will be to West Coast, because I promised it to my DH. We will be staying at the famous Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC, expensive suite, harbour view. I suspect that even there it won't be better than home, but I wanna make sure one last time
I'm schizophrenic about travel. I like to go places... but I hate the getting ready to go (packing, etc.) I enjoy the planning part though--where will we stay, what will we eat, where will we go? I hate air travel and am MUCH happier when I can just throw my stuff in my car and go. I love seeing new things, experiencing new people, eating new food. But I LOVE the comforts of home. I sort of hate spending the money on stuff, but I like what the money can buy... but then I sometimes feel guilty or frivolous when I do stuff like indulge in a spa weekend or something. I'm looking forward to this trip--because it's to the beach, which is heaven on earth for me--and while I've wanted to stay in the fancy hotel, I'm actually relieved that we've opted for the low price choice. (We'll take our bikes, and I was thinking that in the fancy place I'd feel weird about walking my bike thru the lobby and keeping my bike in my room--cheap place, I don't care).

I'm enjoying a couple of "staycation" days at home right now, and loving every minute.

leeholsen
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Re: Vacation

Post by leeholsen »

jacob wrote:My thoughts on vacation is that if I feel I need to "vacate" [on occasion] it means that there's something wrong with my lifestyle (what I do, where I live, ...). So rather than go on vacation to fix the symptoms, I fix the entire disease by relocating to the place, by changing work, ..., or by changing whatever I want to vacate from.
I think Jacob is mostly right here.

For instance, I go to Breckenridge Colorado often and would love to live there; but I am not willing to work the extra 10 years to afford something there(what I live in currently is about 8 times as expensive in Breckenridge); so I take vacation there.

However, my plan is to move to new Hampshire after FI and I will not be going to Breckenridge after that as there is enough in NH that is similar to Breckenridge to keep me content.

But even then, I'm going to want to see places like Toronto, San Diego, etc and if you have a desire to see other places; you need to budget.


However, if you do need to travel; you could probably work on cutting costs.

For instance, in Breckenridge; I go weekdays to get the best rates and airfares, fly early in the morning or late at night (but that's generally to avoid crowds over airfares). I also go when most aren't going anywhere. I found that if you can travel in September, October and april; you can get best deals almost anywhere except someplace like Disneyland. of course, if you have kids in school makes that hard; but it wouldn't stop me; they are my kids; not the schools.

Eureka
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Re: Vacation

Post by Eureka »

I see a tendency to use 'travel' and 'vacation' as synonymous in this thread. To me they are not.

When I have vacation (i.e. 'time off from work' as I do still work), I do prefer to stay at home. I love my cottage and live in it because here is exactly where I want to be. During periods off from work, I read (more) books, do (more) gardening, undertake (more) projects of my own choice (both practical projects in house and garden and by learning stuff through online resources and lately studying investment strategies) and (more) yoga. Once I quit my job, I am really looking forward to doing way more of all these - and this is my main motivation for ERE: to be able to spend my time exactly as I prefer to.

However, I also do travel some, but to me this is not 'vacation'. I travel to meet/visit family or friends who live far away. Or to attend yoga workshops. The amount of travel will probably stay the same after I stop working.

Although, I enjoy hiking and could imagine doing more of this (and for several days/weekss at a time) once I don't work, and I have also long thought that a vipassana retreat would do me good, so maybe I will eventually do that.

So I agree to the point that one should never need a vacation to escape from one's 'real' life, but change one's life if such an escape seems needed. OTH I travel (i.e. do not stay at home 365 days a year) in order to keep up with people who are important to me, but live in other parts of the world - or to participate in activities that will give me new insights.

jacob
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Re: Vacation

Post by jacob »

@Eureka - Good distinction. It seems like we now have three concepts. While most---it would seem---have different binary choices, for me it's: travel: yes, tourism: no, vacation: no; whereas for most it's travel: no, tourism: yes, vacation: yes. There are several very controversial blog posts along the travel-tourism axis on the blog. I have for the most part considered tourism and vacation to be identical for most people.

Peanut
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Re: Vacation

Post by Peanut »

I joked to DH just the other day that our motto is "we don't vacation." People are always asking if we're going somewhere this summer. When they tell me what they plan to do--Bahamas, lake resort, 3rd trip to Disneyworld this year!--it just seems unappealing and a waste of money to me. Of course if they love it, it's money well spent.

My family never did the common American vacations thing, whether it be nature road tripping or exotic beaches or guided European vacations. We did travel a lot, but it was almost always in the context of visiting family (all over the U.S.), or joining my dad at an overseas conference. So housing was usually paid for and destinations were pre-determined. We liked it and I never knew anything else, so planning and paying for anything else has always seemed a foreign concept to me. When I've traveled as an adult, it's mostly been visiting friends who lived in other cities or spending a couple months in an archive somewhere. With a group hike and destination wedding or two thrown in. So touring was part of it but never the whole of it.

By now I've traveled enough that my former wanderlust is much less. I don't even have a bucket list. And unfortunately the few places I'd be interested in visiting for their own sake these days, mostly because of their radically different cultures and environments, would all pose some security risks.

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