Sunday, April 17, 2011

The true costs of vacation

So this year is our big vacation year, meaning we are making more than a day-trip.  I have booked the condo in Orlando, FL and will soon be mailing my check to pay the balance due.  I will probably go ahead and purchase the Disney tickets at our local Disney store about 2-3 days before we leave.

But here is the thing that gets me about taking these "big" vacations:  I always end up needing to purchase a whole bunch of shit before the vacation in order to go on vacation.  And I'm not talking about a swimsuit or a couple new t-shirts.

In 2009, when we went to Gulf Shores, AL, we bought a portable DVD-player because we now had 2 kids and only 1 Mamaw in the car, so we knew we needed extra distraction help.

This year because we will have 3 kids and 1 Mamaw in the car, we need to purchase a luggage rack for the top of the van.  There simply isn't any extra space within the confines of the car.  I keep internally justifying the cost by reminding myself that we will use it for years and years to come since we will  never go anywhere by plane with 3 kids.  Airline tickets for a family of 5 would deplete the vacation account in its entirety.

Today we also purchased a new stroller because the one we got when N was a baby, a Metrolite, is on its last legs.  It has been a great workhorse, but it no longer folds by using the hand-grasp mechanism on the handle, which means that most of the time I just shove it in the back of the van completely upright.  And that is not going to be an option on vacation.

Everything on it acts like it is ready to just seize up and keel over.  It is pretty difficult to push M in it, so forget about pushing G if he gets tired at Disney and wishes to ride.  I have a cheap umbrella stroller, but the handles are so low, I have to hunch over to push it, which means D has to get on his knees.  They simply don't make inexpensive umbrella strollers for tall people.  Plus, it doesn't have any kind of basket underneath for storage.

The aged Metrolite and the new Maclaren Volo will both go on vacation so that each boy has a ride and we have loads of storage space for all the water bottles and snacks I will take to cut down on spending a small fortune on food in the parks.

I will also purchase some used Disney dvds that the kids haven't seen 10 trillion times in order to keep them happy and quiet in the car on the way down.

So between the dvds, stroller and car storage thingie, we're looking at $500+ just to get out of the driveway.  Not the condo.  Not the Disney World tickets.  Not the gas to get there and back.  Not the hotel room going down and coming back since we can't make it in one day.  Not the food we'll eat for breakfast and dinner at the condo.  Not the 1 souvenir-each limit I have placed on the kids at the parks.

I think I better stop blogging about this now before I cry.


D. Sawyers said...

Oh wow, driving with kids to Florida - you are brave!!!! I'm all about cheap but my 4, after 20 minutes in the car are "off the chain"...Allegiant Air out of Lexington that's all I will say!

Good luck with all of it!

Anonymous said...

Why don't you try borrowing a luggage carrier? We own one, but others have borrowed it countless times...(after it was repaired when I drove the car through the carwash with the carrier on it...whoops.) Because it's something used infrequently, pretty easy to borrow one if ask around.

Kelsey said...

I know! Those extra costs are so frustrating! BUT you are correct that a lot of that stuff you can get lots and lots of use out of so you won't have those specific costs again.

We also drive vs. flying because of cost and also because I worry that it won't be safe for Harper. And we have, what, an extra 1.5, 2.5 hours than you? It can be done!