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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Whatevah Wednesday: Family Vacations

I didn't take this picture, but I'll post some soon.

As you read this, I am at Sea World San Diego. With a family of six, we've never had the typical vacation involving 7-day stays somewhere out-of-state, plane rides, etc. (My kids have never been on a plane.) Last year, we visited the Grand Canyon. This year, we decided to drive the 85 miles to San Diego. Yesterday we visited the Zoo, then we stayed in a hotel (two rooms were necessary) for one night, and today culminates with watery fun before we go home tonight. What always floors me is how expensive everything is. Even our overnight excursion is sure to cost us close to $1,000 and could easily surpass that figure if we did suvenires (sorry kids). Here's the breakdown: 
  • $180- entrance for all of us to zoo (with no discounts, free parking)
  • $250- entrance to Sea World after discount coupon ($20 off per ticket)
  • $12 - Sea World parking
  • $75- hotel (after using hotel points. Two rooms would have been a lot more)
  • $75- gasoline
  • $300- food (The way I figure it, with six people and high temps, we'll have several drink purchases both days in addition to meals. And treats. Maybe this is a little high but I'd rather be prepared.)  
This is already almost $900, and we'll probably get some sort of souvenir for each kid, even if it's just a keychain. And since my son missed his school registration day, we'll be paying higher rates for his yearbook and ASB card. Oh, and my husband needed a new pair of walking shoes before tackling this adventure. He stopped at Payless the night before we left but I'm counting it as a vaca expense.

It's hard to believe how quick the money goes. I dream of taking the family to Hawaii, but it might take a winning lottery ticket to get us there. Still, we have fun on these little trips. And hopefully they appreciate the time together and learn not to take life's pleasures for granted. One of my most cherished memories is from three years ago when we went to Sea World and were able to get in the water with a dolphin. It was amazing, but not cheap! Those kinds of things are few and far between for us but that's what makes them special.
Amy, Kaitlyn, me, Brandon, Mike 2008

What about you? What family trips are your favorite, or what great deals have you found for stretching those vacation dollars?


Jessica R. Patch said...

Love the family pic with the dolphin! We took the kids to Houston one year and had a ball. We've been waiting for Myles to get bigger before pouring out billions of dollars on an experience he'll actually remember!

My best trip was Rhode Island with just hubby! lol

Joanne Sher said...

EVERYTHING is more expensive in California, but still, I know JUST what you mean. We don't take family vacations as a rule. We do have a zoo membership at the local zoo, that reciprocates at other zoos. That can help.AND, of course, staying with friends and/or family instead of in a hotel.

All Rights Reserved said...

A few years ago we did a trip with the family (5) to Ocean City, Maryland right on the boardwalk. It was great, we had a partial ocean view room on the 3rd floor. We were right in the thick of the going's on in OC, MD at 17th. We had two pools, the boards and the Ocean literally within 20 steps from our hotel!
It was the most magnificent vacation we've taken to date. It was also pretty expensive. Our hotel room had a kitchenette so we packed some things and visited the grocery store. We ate out as well. All being tallied (roughly), it was close to 1800 for a 4 day, 3 night stay (might be 3 day, 2 night).
However, it is still the vacation that the kids talk about the most. It didn't involve fancy rides or swimming mammels or a giant Ocean Cruiser. Just a small hotel, the beach and lots of memories!

Michelle Massaro said...

Jessica, I love all our dolphin pictures too--they're amazing! When Trevor is older I'd love to do it again with him.

Joanne, yes it's very expensive here. But we did get a mind-blowing deal on the hotel because of Mike's hotel points he cashed in. I'll have to post about the rooms next week. OMGoodness!

ARR, sounds like the best kind of vacation--the kind where everyone enjoys each other's company more than the "entertainment". How heart-warming as well as relaxing. I'm jealous! =)