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Old 04-21-2013, 08:35 AM   #46
Colleen27
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Originally Posted by clh2 View Post
To the OP - I don't think you mentioned the ages of your boys.

If you are able to plan, afford and take a vacation this year "just do it".

This will be much harder to do as the kids get older. High school has a charming way of sneaking into and taking summer away. You'll know this if your kids are in any fall sports, or if they are in the marching band.
No kidding. My son is in both band and football. Between the two, he has from the time school gets out in mid-June until the Monday after 4th of July free. The rest of the summer he's got workouts and practices and camps. And that's as an incoming freshman... Once he gets to varsity level he'll only have the week of the 4th off.
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:31 AM   #47
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For us its a combination of new experiences and value for money. We try to stay within $2000-$3000 but we've had 2 vacations that were in the $4000-$5000 range.

We'd love to do a Disney cruise to Alaska or a Hawaii trip but so far both of those are way beyond the $5000 and I can't justify that with 2 teens. We need a 3rd car plus insurance for dd16. Then college.

I agree with the posters that said that time has become way more precious with teens. I feel like we are running out of time for family vacations fast. DD took her first job yesterday at a local movie theater and I am freaking out! I don't know if she'll be able to get time off for our trips.
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:38 AM   #48
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I agree with the posters that said that time has become way more precious with teens. I feel like we are running out of time for family vacations fast. DD took her first job yesterday at a local movie theater and I am freaking out! I don't know if she'll be able to get time off for our trips.
So true. My daughter is finishing up her freshman year of college and then will be working as a camp counselor full time this summer. She is going to the beach with her friends for a week in May and then starts work the first of June and will be working until the day before she heads back to campus in August. So there is no time for her to go on a family vacation with the rest of us. :-(

We have taken expensive vacations but we like to keep them in the $2000-2500 range now since we have a kid in college. We usually do one beach trip in the summer and one other trip for fall break because our kids attend(ed) a year round school and have a long break then. The beach trip is our less expensive trip and we spend $2000-$2500 on the fall trip.

Last edited by Patience; 04-21-2013 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:59 AM   #49
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So true. My daughter is finishing up her freshman year of college and then will be working as a camp counselor full time this summer. She is going to the beach with her friends for a week in May and then starts work the first of June and will be working until the day before she heads back to campus in August. So there is no time for her to go on a family vacation with the rest of us. :-(
I am already dreading this happening in my family. I figure I have about 3 years left. And I am going to make the most of them! This past year I got a better paying job just so I'd have more money in the vacation fund.

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I would recommend El Tovar!! We didn't stay there but used the bathroom in the lobby & wished we did. All accomodations are very rustic at the GC so I don't think I'd be happy with one of the cheaper places. The location of El Tovar can't be beat!!
We traded our timeshare for one in Sedona so we didn't want to have 2 accomodations at the same time. What a dope; I should have booked it anyway. We took the GC train and while it was neat, it wasted a lot of time we could have spent at the GC.
I would have loved to do a 1 day rafting trip but so many were 3 days and most 1 day trips were sold out by the time I decided. Or maybe it was because the train times made it impossible to do both. Who did you book with?

Oh well, gives us a good reason to go back again.

Ds13 was only 8 when we went and is always asking to go back again. It was our 1st non-Disney trip and I was so worried the kids would be bored. Boy was I wrong! We all loved it.
I searched and searched for WW raft trips. I found a couple of smooth water float trips out of Vegas and Page (too far to drive round trip for a day trip). Plus my kids may not enjoy a smooth water trip as much. I saw all the 3 to 7 day trips, but most required a hike in to or out of the Grand Canyon. After 2 knee surgeries, my hiking days are over. Plus, we don't have 3 days to give to a raft trip. Finally I found the only 1 day white water trip offered. It is out of Peach Springs and run by Haulapai River Runners. You can check it out on the grandcanyonwest.com site. You are bussed to the river, take your raft trip and then are helicoptered out of the canyon. It is pricey - almost $400 per person pricey! I am saving for it now. Hopefully I can save enough for the raft trip and El Tovar! You are right...we really should try to stay there. I am so happy to hear that your family loved the area. Makes me look forward to it even more!

OP - sounds like the all inclusive food and activities type tropical trip fits the bill perfectly for your family. Keep looking for a deal, they do come along. Maybe you can switch up the dates, look at different level resorts, put an alert on Kayak.com to check daily for airfare sales. Good luck!
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:22 AM   #50
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Very good question. Believe it or not, a lot of it has to do with the food! We tend not to eat out, so this is a big thing on vacations. And at an all inclusive you can eat all you want, when you want, without having limitations on what you order. They don't have to listen to me telling them to order water instead of soda, or saying no to an appetizer...as I mentioned before, there are no lines and you can do as little(my husband) or as much as you want and there is no schedule and no stress. I one person wants to take a nap, and one wants to walk on the beach, and one wants to play volleyball, its okay and no one has to be in agreement about "what do we do today". And it's "exotic". It's hot (required) and there is the ocean. If they choose to snorkel or kayak or sail it is free. You can always get involved in a pool volleyball game or just lie in a hammock if you prefer. Nightly entertainment is available, or if someone is tired they can just go to bed and the others can stay out. We have a pool at home, btw, so renting a house with a pool would be of no interest. And a beach condo vacation wouldn't have the access to activities and entertainment that an all inclusive has so that would be "boring". And then I don't want to be cooking(nor do they want me to, lol) and restaurant meals are too stressful due to me obsessing over prices and placing limitations.

I am absolutely open to ideas!
What about a resort on a U.S. beach and prepaid Visa cards for everyone in the family? Tell them they can spend it on whatever they want, however they want with no objections from you. But, if they run out - it's McDonalds & no more "activities" for the rest of the trip.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:33 AM   #51
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I know this won't help this year, but consider getting a credit card that accumulates points you can use towards a vacation. For example, we have an American Express Card that gets points. We use it to charge whatever we can each month and pay it off each month. We have accumulated so many points, we are now able to fly the 4 of us to Hawaii round trip from Buffalo, NY! There is no other way we could afford the flights. We also have DVC, so we are using those points to stay at Aulani for 7 nights, using AE/Starwood points again from the credit card to stay on Maui for 10 days. The only thing we are paying for out of pocket for this trip are the inter-island flights and 4 nights in Waikiki before Aulani. Looking at using more points for the rental car, but haven't decided If it is a good deal or not.

I know of other credit cards that you can get points towards trips, such as Capital One, AAA Visa, American Airlines Visa, Southwest Airlines Visa, etc.

One more way to save on a vacation is to go to websites that rent condos, such as Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO)dot com and Red Week dot com. I know lots of people who have had good luck renting units across the country.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:42 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by Gumbo4x4 View Post
What about a resort on a U.S. beach and prepaid Visa cards for everyone in the family? Tell them they can spend it on whatever they want, however they want with no objections from you. But, if they run out - it's McDonalds & no more "activities" for the rest of the trip.
Agreed. Surely you can do that for less than 10k, making it easier not to stress about restaurant meals, etc?

Also, I'm sure you can do a nice cruise for 6 people for less than 10k.
Have you talked to a travel agent? They would probably have ideas you wouldn't have thought of.

And honestly- you'd be ok in all likelihood, but cancun is not the safest place to travel right now.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:50 AM   #53
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The cruise is a good idea - "exotic" and somewhat "all inclusive" save for the on shore stuff.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:52 AM   #54
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Oh, and if it makes you feel any better, I'm struggling to get my wife to okay a $2,000-2,500 trip for us this year. And yes, we have the money
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:20 AM   #55
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I know this isn't an answer, but I would love some info on Pigeon Forge. Been wanting to visit there, and probably go this summer....


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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 04-21-2013, 11:26 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by clh2 View Post
To the OP - I don't think you mentioned the ages of your boys.

If you are able to plan, afford and take a vacation this year "just do it".

This will be much harder to do as the kids get older. High school has a charming way of sneaking into and taking summer away. You'll know this if your kids are in any fall sports, or if they are in the marching band.

As far as "what is too much" that is your call to make, and your call only. My current reality is - DD is finishing up her freshman year of college in May, so my answer would probably be far lower than anyone else's.

The family time is priceless...whether you spend it at home, close to home or somewhere exotic.
They are 13, 15 and 16. Yes, sports, yes marching band...it has always been that way and I wish I had made some different decisions in the past as far as priorities. It always seems like there is something. S16 may be going away for 6 weeks this summer(we'll know soon) from 6/29 to 8/9 and when he returns S15 will have started football. The last exam is on 6/18 so we have exactly a one week window to pull off a vacation. Missing school is out of the question as S16 is a top student, and winter and spring breaks are always a no since I am an accountant and it is tax season....the more I think about it the more important it seems to make something happen...what I don't spend now the colleges are just going to take in a couple of years anyway!!
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Old 04-21-2013, 01:11 PM   #57
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I have two boys - now 15 and almost 19. I am so happy that we took the trips when we did. We have done a short Disney Cruise and a longer Royal Caribbean. We also drive a lot. But here's the thing that amazed me. They both love baseball, and of all the trips we have done, the trip to Boston was their favorite.

We toured and did a game at Fenway - got in a little history with a comedian/tour guide along the Freedom trail - did the beach in Maine - etc.

Last summer we had a tournament in Tahoe, so we hit San Fran with a game at AT&T Park - what a view. They loved Alcatraz.

We took a huge road trip to Niagara Falls that included a stop in Cooperstown.

Although the cruises and beach time were great - they actually preferred the other trips more - stops at places that interested them. We also have friends in LA - so we get to do Disneyland every few years. I count our trips as the best memories and investments I have made.
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Old 04-21-2013, 02:05 PM   #58
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we have exactly a one week window to pull off a vacation....the more I think about it the more important it seems to make something happen
Since you asked for advice------
Make your plans right now and reserve that one week as a family vacation before someone makes some kind of plan that interferes with it!

It sounds like you know exactly what your family will like and you can afford to do it. I'll bet you spend much more money in a given year on the things that (are valuable too, but) prevent your family from spending time together like the band, sports, etc. So don't feel guilty about investing some money in time together.
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:57 PM   #59
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OP, I have been thinking about your cost for an all inclusive Cancun trip. Do you have any friends or family that own a timeshare and have access to RCI (Resort Condominiums International)? RCI is having an Extra Vacation sale right now. A Thursday to Thursday, June 20 - June 27 2013 is $205.91 for the whole week at several of the all inclusive Palace Resorts! If you do know someone, they can book the Extra Vacation for you. You have to pay an extra $49 for a gift certificate to put the reservation in your name. I think it may be much less expensive than a Club Med or Sandals type of resort. Just a thought.

Hotel (Beach Palace #2999) 4 (2) occupancy, No Kitchen, Thu 20-Jun-2013 Thu 27-Jun-2013 USD 233.99
On Sale USD 205.91

The all inclusive fee:
Mandatory 7-Day All-Inclusive Program. Fees are per room, per week in double or single occupancy. 2013 Fees: Jan01-Apr06 US$2,631; Apr07-Aug24 US$2,151; Aug25-Dec19 US$2,061; Dec20-Dec31 US$3.531. Additional Adult US$716 & Children 4-17 years US$365, per week in the same room. 2014 Fees: Jan01-Apr26 US$2,763; Apr27-Aug23 US$2,259; Aug24-Dec18 US$2,164; Dec19-30 US$3,708. Additional Adult US$752 & Kids 4-17 yrs old US$383 per week.
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:19 PM   #60
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it really depends..

We usually take 1 vacation a year sometimes a couple of weekend getaways!

We usually do a big vacation everyother year

2009 Disney/Universal
2011 Cruise
2013 upcoming another cruise

smaller vacations are fun too, but not as expensive

2010 - NorthCarolina/Virginia/Bush Gardens
2012 - Niagra Falls

I usually decide where we are going and psyc everyone up for it....sometimes the kids *****/moan but they always have fun......

The expensive vacations cost about 5000-7000

the less about 3000

I always save in advance so i don't mind what we spend!

Hope u figure something fun to do!
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