Vacation Fallout: The Good, the Bad, and the Expensive
A few years ago, I wrote a Back from Vacation post from my first international trip in over ten years due to poor finances. Thought I’d give it another go.
There are so many good things to say about it. I loved this trip.
Scenery. It was scenic and picturesque and beautiful, just as I expect it to be. Wow.
Food. The food was unexpectedly very good. I didn’t know what to expect really, so I was pleasantly surprised by some very, very tasty dishes and delicious desserts. One of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten in my life, was there. Oh, I already miss the food.
Activities. Got to do some local activities, hit the touristy spots (which were actually good), and cross off a few bucket list items. I had a blast!
Relaxation. I really, really, REALLY, needed this vacation. I had no idea how much stress I was under here until I was over there. Holy cow. I could FEEL the difference in my body. This confirms that I need to make preparations to make some changes in my life next year.
The Length. The trip was too short. Period.
The weather. The weather wasn’t sunshine all day, every day; quite the opposite in fact. Even the ‘bad’ weather was beautiful to look at in all its chaotic glory. However, it did curtail activities.
Wooo boy! Where do I start?
Pricy. European. Everything.
Food. All that yummy food was expensive. This was a really big ‘bite’ out of my budget. (Ugh. Ok. No more puns in this post.) It was SOOO worth it though!
Tours. While they were the least stressful way to get around, especially in light of the weather and the driving conditions it caused, they weren’t cheap.
Accommodations. My accommodations were reasonable in cost, but whenever you’re paying for a place to sleep for more than a few nights, costs add up quickly.
Shopping. This was also reasonable. I didn’t go crazy buying things. No big ticket items. With one exception, I didn’t buy and bring back anything I won’t wear or consume (food/snacks, skincare with unique local ingredients, a few local items of practical clothing). This helps me to minimize clutter. I don’t have space or use for knick-knacks and thingamabob souvenirs just sitting around. So I restrained myself well, but costs do add up some over several days.
Data Data Data. I somehow used a ton more data than I usually do, even though I had access to wifi in the places I was staying. I had a 30-day international package set up through my carrier, and even still, I think I’ve blown through a ton more data than I expected to. I was using Google Maps for navigation and reading news feeds and boards. Silly me. I learned that those use a lot more data in the background than I thought. I will get the bill at the end of this month and I shudder to think how much it’s going to be.
The Unexpected. I had some unexpected expenses that will be the biggest blow to my budget. (1) Before I even arrived at the destination, my backpack and luggage both broke independently of one another. Both were old, but my suitcase was ancient (15+ years old). I’m having to buy an immediate replacement for my backpack, but will hold off on replacing the luggage for a few more months at least. (2) The second unexpected expense came from one of the legs of my flight being canceled by the airline. I had to book another expensive flight leg to stay on schedule. It is unlikely that I’ll be compensated for this missed flight leg while incurring all the additional cost.
Final Fallout ($$ over my 2019 travel budget): $Unknown…
My current back-of-the-napkin estimate is $1600 over budget and climbing. Yikes!! Once the other bills come in, I’ll have a better idea of what I’ll need to do to get back on track.
Student Loan Update
Since my last post, a couple of automatic payments went through, which have brought my balance down to $27,000.
I will likely need to shrink my future payments over the next month or so to clean up this (incredibly fun and worth it vacation) financial mess.
Have you gone over budget recently? Was it worth it?
“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW Archives)
So glad you had fun! Scandinavia, right? Just regroup, don’t think about the overage too much, and keep chipping away. Sometimes you just have to do this for the soul.
Hubby and I are going to Newport, RI this summer for a week and should be able to do it on the cheap. I found round trip tickets on Southwest for $200 each, which was super because this is August travel. Our daughter and family and son live there so we go there quite a lot and have a place to stay. We try to avoid restaurants and cook great meals at home. (It’s fun to spend the “restaurant” money on ice cream outings as we are out and about, and the grands really do like this better.) I project $700-800 total for a great vacation.
I’m not worrying about the overage. It may delay my debt payoff by a few weeks, but that’s not the end of the world. It was totally worth it.
Yes, very nice vacations can be had at all price ranges. Have fun in Newport!
I’m so impressed – and excited for you! – that you’re down to 27k. You *earned* that vacation, DD.
Thanks, Anonymess. I greatly enjoyed it. 🙂
yay, welcome back! If the airline canceled your flight, they ought to compensate you for it — how annoying….
I just went to Mexico myself. I’ve been to Europe a bunch, and it’s so expensive. Mexico was really cheap once I got there; $16/night Airbnb, and all the street food and museum admissions and even cab rides (though only a few, I mostly walked or took public transit) I could handle for about $200 US for ten days. So maybe consider it for next year!
Thanks, C! I’m glad you got to enjoy Mexico. Those prices seem crazy low after what I just dealt with abroad.
I admit Mexico isn’t at the top of my travel list right now, but that could change. If I were to go somewhere south of the US right now, it would likely be Argentina. I have a LONG list of places I want to visit. I’ve accepted that some places will be pricier than others.
Sounds like this vacation was something you really needed and the right desicion for you, overage or not! 🙂
If you’re comfortable answering, I’m curious as to why you’d rather slow down the debt payoff (even if just for some weeks) rather than dipping into your sizable opportunity fund to cover the rest of the vacation cost?
Hey Maria 🙂
I’m slowing down debt repayment right now, because I just feel more comfortable keeping that cash on hand around a little longer. I can always reallocate some of the opportunity fund to the debt at a later time.