Friday, October 14, 2011

Ask the Host Q10: Family Travel

We wanted to go away for a 2-3 day trip with our 3 year old daughter this winter. I looked into a few places and everything seems so expensive... am I looking in the wrong places? We live in NYC and I thought maybe Disney, but it would cost at least $1500 for 3 days!

So, personal question - if you are going away with your family, how much will/did the whole trip cost? Also, any suggestions on a quick trip idea that won't use up too much money?

Disney... Yeah, they're really expensive. You know what? I think it's worth every penny. Ever been somewhere looking around for a potty or a place to get a (relatively) nutritious snack for your kid? Not at Disney you won't, because as soon as you turn your head and finish your thought, whatever you're looking for magically appears. (*NOTE* This is not a paid Disney promo, they really are that damn good.) If you can make the math happen I highly recommend a trip with them. It really is a stress-free, if highly sanitized, adventure.

I know everybody says they love to travel, but I really, REALLY love to travel. I'm only happy when I'm planning my next trip. I took a break in The Parasite's first year because I was on Mat Leave and the cash didn't flow in quite the same way as it did when we were DINKS. Since I went back to work and we got back on the travelling horse we have gone away a couple of times a year.

Now that you're looking at full fare to fly with your little one road trips are obviously the cheapest option. We did a 10 hour trip this summer with The Parasite and, while it went better than we expected and we had a lot of fun, it was decidedly not relaxing. Your experience will depend a lot on what you expect from your vacation. Look, things are rough all over. We all make choices based on what we want from our lives. In our family, travel is a priority. I take transit instead of owning another car and I bring my lunch every day. I drive to a grocery store further away because it's cheaper AND they offer airline points. I do this so twice a year I can get the hell out of her for a week or so.

Atlantis Aquarium - Nassau Bahamas, January 2011
At the beginning of this year we went on a Disney cruise and all three of us had a great time. They really do it right. I came back feeling renewed and refreshed, and it wasn't just my trip to the spa on the Disney private island that did it. Our next vacation will be another cruise in the dead of winter, with another cruise line that boasts privacy for families and an amazing children's program. Paying to have The Parasite's needs catered to suits our life right now. We're also going to some pretty exotic ports of call which satisfies my wander lust.

How many dollars do we spend on family vacations? Probably too many dollars by many people's standards. How many of those dollars do I regret spending? Not a single one. Figure out what you want to do and how much you want to spend. If you find a big gap between what you want and what you can afford, you can delay your trip to bank more cash, or you can change your destination.

This post is part of a weekly series, Ask the Host, allowing you to ask any question you want as long as you're prepared for a brutally honest answer. Got a question? Send me an email with "I have a question" in the subject line.

1 comment:

Catch My Words said...

Disney is great; however, being there is like someone sticking a vacuum cleaner in your wallet and sucking everything out.

If you live in NYC, have you ever explored the Catskill mountains? Or gone skiing in Vermont? How about a train ride to DC? Not that these trips would be any cheaper.

I would think you could have a great and cheap vacation just by driving out of the hustle bustle city and going camping!