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Old 04-20-2013, 10:09 AM   #1
kcrew
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Value of vacations--How much is too much?

So I am exploring vacation options(not Disney) for a family of 5, including 3 teen boys, plus possibly my Mom. I just can't wrap my head around the prices. When does the price just become too much? Having the funds is not an issue--no saving or borrowing required--but I am very frugal by nature and trying to determine the relative "worth" of a family vacation.

I am wondering how others determine what is a prudent price to pay for a vacation?
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:31 AM   #2
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We go to Disney World mostly when there is free dining and we do value resorts. This has worked for us; because, we have a flexible schedule and no kids. We were able to do this for about 10 trips with free dining and I enjoyed those trips. We really maximized the free dining plan. I know free dining hasn't been around this year. Without it, I struggle going back even though we could do it financially. Last two Disney trips we actually stayed off site where we were able to have an included hot breakfast and we enjoyed some evening meals at the resort that were included, too. The evening meals were comparable to quick service. The evening meals were offered three times during the week, not everyday. Anyway, we had a kitchen included and a two room suite. We enjoyed having two TVs and the large space. I'm finding offsite being okay for us if we get a good deal. The same offsite place we used has increased their prices this year; so, I'm not as attracted to that place, either, now. I'm just going to hold tight and see what develops in the next few months with deals onsite and offsite. I do not perceive the current deals as value oriented and I'm frugal, too.

We've been taking other trips over the last five years and we like Williamsburg and Pigeon Forge for cheaper choices than Disney World. There are other vacations you can take and enjoy yourself. You just have to decide what you want to do. You may want a beach vacation and you can always find a deal some place for that type of vacation.

I actually like skipping a year, now from Disney. It seems to be more enjoyable when we go back. It's like we miss it a little and that makes it more enjoyable.

All cruise companies are taking a hit because of the Carnival problems; so, there are good deals out there for cruising everywhere, right now.

If you really need to go to Disney World cheapen up on resort and food choices. Maybe, do a couple days without the parks there and save on ticket costs.

We recently did a neighboring state vacation and visited museums and went to a few plays and we could drive there easily. This was fine for us, too.

There are a lot of choices out there for family fun.

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Old 04-20-2013, 10:32 AM   #3
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Memories and new experiences I think the value varies for each person. I have never regretted a vacation. Shop around and find deals.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:35 AM   #4
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Having the funds is not an issue--no saving or borrowing required--but I am very frugal by nature and trying to determine the relative "worth" of a family vacation.
Cost of vacation=Priceless! How many opportunities do you have to vacation with your teens???? Or even your mom???? Since you have the $ do it now, later isn't always an option! We realized a few yrs ago our "family" vacations were getting close to being over with a teenager, so we started doing 2 per year.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:59 AM   #5
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You know, it's something we're going through right now. I've put together about 8 or 10 different vacation options. Oddly enough, they all price out around the same money (within a few hundred bucks). The longer drives & longer duration trips all have lots of free stuff to do. The short trips closer to home will all require expensive activities & expensive accomodations. Still don't know what we're going to do, but by golly we ARE going somewhere!
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:00 AM   #6
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I still take my adult children on family vacations. Time together as they get older becomes more valuable.

Out of all of my possessions, vacation memories rank at the top of the list.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:01 AM   #7
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We have four children and always took a family vacation each year. Like you, money wasn't an issue. We planned and budgeted for it each year. Some years the budget was bigger than others, but every year we did something as a family.

Fast forward to today. Kids are now 29, 25, 21 and 19. They all have their own lives. The youngest two still live at home (they're in college). Oldest lives with his S.O. about an hour away and the 2nd oldest lives in GA with her S.O. (we're in NH). We see the oldest two a couple of times a year, mostly due to their schedules. I really cherish the memories of our family vacations. As they got older and out on their own their schedules no longer mesh with ours and its harder to get together. They also carve out time to spend with their S.O.'s families too. I don't regret a dime that we spent taking those vacations and spending the time when they were younger.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:04 AM   #8
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I set out a vacation budget for the year and look at options for what we can do within that budget. Vacations mean much more to me than material things. I work very hard for my money and I want my family to enjoy the benefits of that hard work.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:11 AM   #9
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Since your not planning on Disney, why not try your own back yard/State. Most States have great places Historic and other wise to see and explore.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:20 AM   #10
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I can deal with about up to $5,000. Anything above that is

Usually try to stay in the $2,000 - $3,000 range.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcrew View Post
So I am exploring vacation options(not Disney) for a family of 5, including 3 teen boys, plus possibly my Mom. I just can't wrap my head around the prices. When does the price just become too much? Having the funds is not an issue--no saving or borrowing required--but I am very frugal by nature and trying to determine the relative "worth" of a family vacation.

I am wondering how others determine what is a prudent price to pay for a vacation?
When looking for hotels, etc. be sure to check out other timeshare deals, meaning timeshare owned places that rent or timeshare owners renting points/stays. Get the most out of the money you do have set aside to spend.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcrew View Post
So I am exploring vacation options(not Disney) for a family of 5, including 3 teen boys, plus possibly my Mom. I just can't wrap my head around the prices. When does the price just become too much? Having the funds is not an issue--no saving or borrowing required--but I am very frugal by nature and trying to determine the relative "worth" of a family vacation.

I am wondering how others determine what is a prudent price to pay for a vacation?
If it is a destination I want to go to and the cost of the vacation fits my budgeted vacation amount then I go.
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Old 04-20-2013, 12:01 PM   #13
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How do we determine what is a prudent price for a vacation?

Honestly, I think you just KNOW! When you look at something you can just feel yourself deciding either that it's worth it or it isn't.

We take all the factors into consideration (duration, distance, location, activities, transportation, desirability, etc) and decide what we think would be a fair price for the experience and then judge the price tag accordingly.

I approach vacation planning one of two ways...

Either I set a budget and find a trip to match


OR


I pull a vacation from the bucket list and price it out. If it seems too expensive, I do tons of research trying to preserve the experience whilst making concessions that bring the cost down. (ie switching cruise lines, driving versus flying, finding less expensive accommodations a little further afield from the sights, etc).

For example, our next vacation will be a Mediterranean cruise. This is at the top of our family's bucket list and we've been looking forward to it for years. The kids are finally old enough to appreciate and keep up with the itinerary DH and I want to follow. Because it's so important to us, we are prepared to pay more for this particular trip than we do for most of our other vacations. It's value is increased simply because we want it so bad.

Even so, we ARE looking for ways to bring the cost down. Unless we get a ridiculously great last minute deal...we will not (gulp) be cruising with Disney. I have spent hours researching the travel options. Some discount airlines only fly on certain days and to certain European cities. I have found that quite a lot of money can be saved by taking advantage of these adjustments.

We've also really cut back on our souvenier money in recent years. A small token from our travels doesn't add to our memories of the experience any less than a big expensive one does.

Good luck with your trip. I hope you can fiind a version of what you want with a price you can be happy with!!
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Old 04-20-2013, 12:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stayhomemom77 View Post
How do we determine what is a prudent price for a vacation?

Honestly, I think you just KNOW! When you look at something you can just feel yourself deciding either that it's worth it or it isn't.

We take all the factors into consideration (duration, distance, location, activities, transportation, desirability, etc) and decide what we think would be a fair price for the experience and then judge the price tag accordingly.

I approach vacation planning one of two ways...

Either I set a budget and find a trip to match


OR


I pull a vacation from the bucket list and price it out. If it seems too expensive, I do tons of research trying to preserve the experience whilst making concessions that bring the cost down. (ie switching cruise lines, driving versus flying, finding less expensive accommodations a little further afield from the sights, etc).

For example, our next vacation will be a Mediterranean cruise. This is at the top of our family's bucket list and we've been looking forward to it for years. The kids are finally old enough to appreciate and keep up with the itinerary DH and I want to follow. Because it's so important to us, we are prepared to pay more for this particular trip than we do for most of our other vacations. It's value is increased simply because we want it so bad.

Even so, we ARE looking for ways to bring the cost down. Unless we get a ridiculously great last minute deal...we will not (gulp) be cruising with Disney. I have spent hours researching the travel options. Some discount airlines only fly on certain days and to certain European cities. I have found that quite a lot of money can be saved by taking advantage of these adjustments.

We've also really cut back on our souvenier money in recent years. A small token from our travels doesn't add to our memories of the experience any less than a big expensive one does.

Good luck with your trip. I hope you can fiind a version of what you want with a price you can be happy with!!
I agree 100%! I like to pull from our bucket list.

I feel there's so much of the world I want to share with my kids. As time went on I felt like I was doing a disservice to my kids to only show them WDW. Some places of natural beauty I felt I just HAD to show them, like Niagara Falls, Yosemite & Grand Canyon. Other trips were more about our nation's history like Williamsburg & Statue of Liberty. (DC is on our list too.)
Some places are just neat to visit like riding a cable car in San Fran or touring Alcatraz or Hoover Dam. In the end, it's educational for all of us, even if it doesn't feel like it at the time.

To me, this is priceless. Usually you kind of know what amount feels right. Dh can't enjoy himself knowing a trip is super expensive but a little splurge here & there doesn't hurt. There is a "happy medium" where it's a nice trip but not too outrageous.

We usually take several smaller trips each year but since this summer's vacation is a Med cruise, it will be our only vacation for the year. We used to have the USAirways visa card & saved a ton of miles over the years so we only had to buy 1 seat on the plane. Without this, we probably wouldn't be doing this trip as that would put dh in that feeling like we're spending too much & makes it hard for him to enjoy. He really wants to visit Costa Rica but the only times we can go with our kids' school schedule is in their rainy season & they're too old to just pull out of school. CR will just have to wait til the kids are done school or we'll go on our own once they're grown.

Happy Travels!!
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Old 04-20-2013, 12:43 PM   #15
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I still take my adult children on family vacations. Time together as they get older becomes more valuable.

Out of all of my possessions, vacation memories rank at the top of the list.
I don't know how much is too much,that varies by person,I'd say. I'd much rather spend time and money doing things, seeing things....vacations are making memories,carrying on favorite traditions(disney) and seeing new things (National Parks,Europe,you name it)
I decide what I want to do,then figure out if I can make it fit my budget....
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