We talk a lot about vacation here at Club Thrifty for one simple reason: we love going on vacation!  It is our very favorite thing to do, and we look forward to our trips all year long.  We truly enjoy deciding where to go and doing all of the planning that is involved.  Actually, I’ll take that back.  *I* love the planning.  Greg is pretty laid back and happy to be going anywhere, but I really do enjoy planning out every aspect of our travels.  Planning is half of the fun in my opinion, and I love researching travel options almost as much as I enjoy going on the vacation itself.

What is your favorite type of vacation?  Here are the options that we usually consider:

  • Going to an all-inclusive resort: Greg and I did our first all-inclusive vacation in February and loved it.  I really did enjoy having everything included for one price, and I didn’t feel nickled and dimed the whole week like I usually do.  It was really convenient not to have to carry money around (aside from tip money), and I really liked not worrying about the price of dinner or drinks (I drank a lot of booze…WOOT!).  I think we will definitely do another all-inclusive trip in the next few years.  It wasn’t a very frugal vacation, but it was a blast!
  • Renting an ocean front condo: We usually do this once or twice a year.  We typically rent a 3 bedroom condo in Florida or Alabama and go with my parents.  They would probably go anyway, so it makes sense to split the cost with them.  It’s also fun to have them around and spend some quality time together!  This year, we are renting an ocean front condo twice – in May and September.  In addition to rent and gas to drive down there, we buy groceries at the store and cook most of our meals at home.
  • Going on a cruise: We have never been on a cruise.  We’ve talked about it several times, but have yet to pull the trigger.  And I get freaked out when I read stories about cruise ships getting stranded in the middle of the ocean and the people having to eat spam and going without working toilets.  I’m also worried that I would double the cost of our cruise in drinks alone, since alcohol typically isn’t included included in cruise fare.  Still, I’m considering it.
  • Taking a staycation: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRINNNNNGGGGGGGGGG…We always talk about doing this to save money but we haven’t used any vacation to stay home yet.  It just doesn’t sound like a great idea to me.  Whenever I’m home, I only see projects that need completed and the never-ending supply of dirty dishes and laundry.  Taking a staycation seems like a punishment for making bad financial decisions.
  • Traveling abroad: I am really excited to say that we are going to Europe in 2014.  We will have our hotels and flights paid for with credit card reward points (there will be a post on this soon!).  We plan on going to Italy and London, and will even be taking a road trip to see Stonehenge!  Bitchin.

There are many things that we take into consideration when we plan a vacation:

  • Cost: For the last two years, we have budgeted $6,000 annually to spend on vacations.  That amount includes food, transportation, and all expenses.  It sounds like a lot but it really isn’t when you consider that we go on 2-3 trips per year.  We usually try to take one expensive trip and a few cheap ones to balance things out.
  • Timing: We love planning our trips way ahead of time but are always worried about hurricane season or an unexpected illness.  Luckily there are ways to buy travel insurance and I love saving money with online discounts.  I’ve had no problems getting vouchers for Direct Line insurance promotions.  Luckily, we haven’t had to cancel a vacation yet.  Knock on wood!!!
  • PTO: We each have 20 PTO days at work.  Unfortunately, they are our sick days too.  We try to stretch them out as much as possible but we do have to keep our vacations within our allotted days.  It can sometimes be challenging to fit our vacations into the time off that we have!

So, there it is.  What is your favorite type of vacation?  What kind of trips do you have planned for this year?