The recovery from my last family vacation has given me a new mind-set when plotting and planning future travels; some of the repercussions following my trip are surrounding financial restraints, while others are related to the “come-down” associated with the return from much-needed vacation time. Even the recent trip stemming from a family member’s wedding seemed to exceed my pragmatic budget and impact my mood upon return. It seems that the incidental expenses always surpass what I anticipate, even when attempting to estimate generously.
Also, the feelings of angst that accompany the often exhausting time spent packing-in all of the requests and activities can contribute to a big let down upon return. There are some simple strategies that could alleviate the hardship faced when coming home, and that don’t impact the quality of the journey one bit. I plan to adopt these practices, and others may find them useful as well.
Don’t underestimate the savings to be had through shopping sites and group savings found online. This is particularly relevant when seeking tickets to amusements or attractions, and can save many individuals on admission prices during the trip.
There are three of us in our family, therefore I assign a separate day for each individual’s preferred activity or recreation. For instance, on my son’s allocated day, we eat at his chosen restaurant (the Waffle House or fast food, typically) and head to a bevy of amusement parks and sights. My day is frequently the day we head to local malls or markets, following a morning spent lounging on the beach or by the pool. This ensures that everyone gets the opportunity to do what they love, and no one feels overlooked during the holiday. The remaining days of the trip are spent participating in the planned tours, sightseeing, and attractions that are conceived when arranging and envisioning the journey together.
It is human nature to want to be on the run the entire time spent away, but it is critical to feel restored and recharged during these periods of respite as well. I never make plans for the last day of the trip, and try to allow for time when arriving home to get reoriented and organized for the inevitable return to work and my daily grind. After-vacation fatigue can impact the subsequent disappointment of it coming to an end, and exacerbate any feelings of regret over budgets or money spent during the vacation.
As for over-spending, there are many realizations often experienced later that can make a significant difference in how travelers adhere to a vacation budget. Creating a slush-fund that is used for the incidentals that are not appointed during preliminary planning provide a powerful tool that keeps such expenses low, while also giving some consumers the opportunity to reevaluate these purchases when caught up in the flurry of vacation activity and fun. Ask lodging staff about in-room refrigerators that could make it viable to skip a pricey restaurant at mealtime now and again. These features can save significant money on snacks and beverages, which I recently observed first hand when spending a girls’ weekend in the Big Apple, New York City. Typically, establishments will not charge additional fees for these refrigerators, as long as travelers don’t consume any optional food or drinks provided inside at premium pricing.