Our ten year wedding anniversary is coming up in September. Isn’t that amazing and wild! We had toyed around with the idea of going to a far off place or doing something expensive to celebrate. Zip lining in Costa Rica or food tours in Spain. For three reasons, we’re skipping on a major vacation this summer to celebrate our whopping 10th anniversary and doing something different instead.
3 Reasons We’re Skipping a Major Summer Vacation
The first reason is that Mr. Frugal Mom$ter, aka Chris, does not seem to be in any rush to get his passport renewed.
It expires at the end of the year, but it has to be sent for renewal in the next week or two in order to have it in time for any summer vacation plans out of the country. Despite my prompting, it has sat on his desk for three months now. I’m not going to do it for him; he’s a big boy.
This has been a blessing in disguise, as I was hesitant to travel out of the country this summer specifically. Maybe Chris has been procrastinating on purpose, but I doubt it. He just lets things go and go and go…
The second reason is that I don’t feel comfortable traveling out of the country leaving Monkey and Crab behind.
When I’ve thought about world travel, I always wanted to bring our children along with us. Summers spent overseas learning about the world sounds incredible vs. quick one-week vacations to feast in a new location.
With our financial goals, world travel is on the slate for after the mortgage is paid off which will be around the perfect age for Crab to enjoy long trips (5-7 years old) without needing naps. Prior to that, I’ve always had shorter trips listed to explore first. Local areas, local states, or treks to Florida to play with family.
A whopping third reason is the cost of such travel.
While I’ve played around with credit card travel hacking the last two months, I’ve found it just hasn’t been my cup of tea. Credit cards are a slippery slope and knowing I had minimums to meet for the rewards meant I splurged quite a bit more than I would’ve otherwise. You may have noticed this in my expense reports. I have decided to curtail my hacking for now, though it has brought me about an extra $400 overall in just a few months of “normal” spending.
The cost of a 7-10 day trip to Costa Rica or Spain lies around the $3,000 mark when we add in said passport, excursions, and food on the trip. Sure, I could set it up it for less, but I don’t really want to do all that work right now. There were sweet spots into such travel for the summer where it dipped below that figure by a few hundred dollars for booking, but otherwise, prices are up and my desire is down.
For a few thousand dollars, I could pay down our mortgage or we could have a really amazing long summer of day trips with the kiddos or fit in a few household renovations for far less.
While years ago I’d be amazed we had even $3,000 saved, to begin with, the idea of spending it all on one week’s adventure seems foolish for us at this time especially when you read on. Plus, I want to take the children along with us to zip line or see the world!
Designing a Life We Love
Years ago I read about designing a life you want to live where you don’t need a vacation to escape from it. I took this concept to heart and started working to create a life we love.
“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” – Seth Godin
We’ve moved our home to a location we love. We’ve changed jobs, taken on second jobs, and started or closed businesses that have brought us more joy. We renovate our home with our own hands and take lots of pride in sharing our work. This is only the beginning of designing a life we love.
The best thing about it all is that we don’t need an escape.
We don’t need a break from it all to sit and drink on a tropical island. As Chris and I joke, we say, “we live where other people vacation.” And to top it all off, we get to vacation for eight weeks every summer in this very awesome vacation spot we call our home.
When I think of a trip in the thousands this summer without the kids it doesn’t resonate with me. I don’t need that break. I don’t even need the escape. I just want to do something new, which is what we’ve been planning to do.
Our Summer Un-Travel Plans
Chris and I are planning a stay-cation of sorts where our little guys will spend a few days with their grandparents for a sleepover, a nary half hour away from us. We’ll go off to do adult things like white water rafting, maybe a dinner cruise, and other nature exploration around our beautiful state. Biking to the beach? Sure! No passport required.
In addition, we’ll not have to worry about pet sitting for our growing pet brood, nor the extra costs of meals. We’ll plan a few nice meals out to local adult places we have never been to, but otherwise, this stay-cation of sorts will not dip us any further into our savings. We save all school year to cover our summer costs so we don’t have to work unless we want to.
It’s been budgeted for and will allow us to keep our reserves full, our mortgage pay down plan on schedule, and give us the martial fun we seek. Don’t tell Chris, but I have a magazine of the top 51 trail hikes in NJ I’m going through to find some cool hiking spots, too.
A last note on not taking a vacation relates to weight gain.
You should know by now that I’m still sadly working to get rid of the baby weight from child numero dos. He’ll be two this summer and I gave myself two years, but I’m definitely a bit of away from my normal. I’m down 40lbs with another 20-30lbs to go.
We all know weight gain is a norm while on vacation, and since I am drinking less (a few days were back on tap) and trying to get my running groove back, the last thing I need right now is an island drink and endless junk food at my fingertips. Oh, and the fact that I’m gluten-free and have been reminded I need to stay egg-free (ugh, Easter) all-inclusive food just doesn’t sound that appetizing!
I share this story with you because I’d like you to think about why you vacation. Is it to escape or is it just something you do? Do you need it or just want it? Is it what is expected of you?
Coming to this conclusion was so easy for us, Chris didn’t even push back against it. When you think about his TV wish list, you can believe I was surprised. I believe we’re both coming to a place where we enjoy what we’re doing, where we live, and working towards our goals is more exciting than a one-week trip.
This is not to say that a foreign trip won’t happen in the coming years, but this summer our plan feels just right for us.