|Posted on October 12, 2011 at 8:00 PM|
Here is thefirst of two truth articles. The bottom line. How much does it cost?
In June, we vacationed on the Outer Banks. I discovered years ago that renting a placeon the beach is totally dependent on the real estate principal – location, location, and location. While location can determine the price, you may not want to stay where it is affordable.
For example, I prefer national parks, outdoors, few people,and slow pace. My sister prefers not to vacation with us because she likes a city with lots of restaurants and nightlife. That would just tire me out.
My first piece of advice is to determine what type of vacation you like. If you like the city, then determine which city and what you want to do. Airfare can be a problem but with sites like farecast and airfarewatchdog you can fly across the country, with your family. For the five of us to fly to New York City (LaGuardia) is round trip $200 per person. The same cost as flying round trip to Florida or Kansas City. To go the west coast from here in Ohio, it is an average of $350 per person. Knowing these numbers helps me in budgeting. I set aside the money for the next year, or put aside some each month, for that big family trip.
I travel to NYC every few months. The family travels with me frequently. We have squeezed into one-bed hotel rooms tripping over ours muggled sleeping bags. I found several good deals on two room suites that slept everyone comfortably for an average of $200 per night (a steal in NYC!) We also borrowed an apartment from a friend.
When we travel to places like the Outer Banks, the first decision is to decide length of time. Due to the twelve-hour drive, I like for this to be the family week-long vacation. We rent a house usually far from the crowds. Why? Mostly because I can rent four times the house for half the price. For example,in the high season, we rented a three bedroom near the ocean (one block off)for $695. Full kitchen, washer/driver, family room, outside shower and short walk to the beach. The down side – we were a hike from any semblance of civilization. Worked for me though Quiet days. Beach walks. Making dinner with the kids not for the kids. Space for my autistic son to stretch out.
Factor in meals, gas, and trinkets; our week trip tothe outer banks was around $1100. Only$400 for food and souvenirs? Sure, weate out only once. The rest was normal food just as we always spend. We took out a Food Lion savings card from the local chain to take advantage of local savings. Souvenirs? We gathered shells and driftwood. I also gave the kids $10 apiece to spend in a local shop. See, we all get what we wanted!