Annual Vacation Budget

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pop77
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by pop77 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:04 pm

Thanks everyone. There is a lot of useful information here. I agree with many here that spending money on vacation is more worthwhile than spending on things. The basis for my question was even for vacations, you might soon reach a point of diminishing returns. I want to get a gauge on what the average spend is before I start splurging. This forum represents a good sample set of folks who do not spend unnecessarily even though they can afford it.

If we can get the pleasure of a vacation for 8K why spend 16K though you can afford it. In other words, I do not want to tie it to a % of income.

I was trying to plan a vacation for three for a week and trying to plan around winter/spring vacations for school. I saw that nowadays, the flight/hotel charges have gone up and it was impossible to stay within $5-6K (my original budget) if I want to go to a nice warm place (Carribean, Mexico etc). Last year I skipped vacation and the year before just drove.

Sometimes you are left with choices like whether I want to drive 90 minutes and catch a flight with two stops or take a non-stop from the nearest airport.

Thanks again for the great info. Gives me a good perspective.

blinx77
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by blinx77 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:08 pm

As the resident travel curmudgeon:

Fly non-stop!

ResearchMed
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:11 pm

pop77 wrote:Thanks everyone. There is a lot of useful information here. I agree with many here that spending money on vacation is more worthwhile than spending on things. The basis for my question was even for vacations, you might soon reach a point of diminishing returns. I want to get a gauge on what the average spend is before I start splurging. This forum represents a good sample set of folks who do not spend unnecessarily even though they can afford it.

If we can get the pleasure of a vacation for 8K why spend 16K though you can afford it. In other words, I do not want to tie it to a % of income.

I was trying to plan a vacation for three for a week and trying to plan around winter/spring vacations for school. I saw that nowadays, the flight/hotel charges have gone up and it was impossible to stay within $5-6K (my original budget) if I want to go to a nice warm place (Carribean, Mexico etc). Last year I skipped vacation and the year before just drove.

Sometimes you are left with choices like whether I want to drive 90 minutes and catch a flight with two stops or take a non-stop from the nearest airport.

Thanks again for the great info. Gives me a good perspective.


Only you would know where (and if) your "point of diminishing return" is.

We haven't come close, and can't imagine that happening.
What is more likely to happen is that health would start to interfere significantly more than it already has, alas.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:15 pm

Da5id wrote:I personally really value interesting experiences growing up, including travelling, and enjoy taking my kids to different places, some of which are expensive. e.g. looking at doing Galapagos one of these years.


I would do Galapagos sooner rather than later. There is talk of severely restricting access because of the environmental damage that is caused by unthinking visitors. It is among my favorite experiences, maybe #1.

Da5id
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by Da5id » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:19 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Da5id wrote:I personally really value interesting experiences growing up, including travelling, and enjoy taking my kids to different places, some of which are expensive. e.g. looking at doing Galapagos one of these years.


I would do Galapagos sooner rather than later. There is talk of severely restricting access because of the environmental damage that is caused by unthinking visitors. It is among my favorite experiences, maybe #1.


It is on the list, but not in the cards this year due to other things. I think Alaska is the best we've been to (saw 18 grizzlies including 6 cubs at one place in Katmai National Park, was hard to beat).

Lynette
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by Lynette » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:23 pm

I have just retired at 73 so I rationalized that I could spend money on passion - travel. At the moment I'm remodeling my house! Once I sort out retirement, I'll decid if I want to continue with photography, Spanish, or finance and of course travel. I spent about $20 - $25,000 p.a. for many years. Recently I have been on a few photographic courses with Roadscholar. Some friends and family wanted to see my photographs so I put them on a blog - so if they are interested, they can view them, otherwise ignore them. For example, this is a Roadscholar tour that I took last year to Scotland: http://tourtoscotland.blogspot.com/

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:32 pm

Da5id wrote:It is on the list, but not in the cards this year due to other things. I think Alaska is the best we've been to (saw 18 grizzlies including 6 cubs at one place in Katmai National Park, was hard to beat).

Alaska is awesome! What I know about fishing can fit in a thimble, but my one trip on the Kenai River got me a nice King Salmon, which we cooked over a fire and it melted in my mouth. My wife is more of a fisher, and she loved it also. We saw a couple of brown bears and innumerable black, but nothing like your count.

SouthernCPA
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by SouthernCPA » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:17 pm

surfstar wrote:
rgs92 wrote:Zero dollars. I'd rather spend it on a nice car; at least it doesn't depreciate as quickly as a vacation (which goes to zero as soon as you get home).
I notice here that spending a lot on a car is often disparaged, but vacation spending seems more popular. Why is one more wasteful than the other?


Studies have shown that real, lasting happiness is derived from experiences, not "things".
The joy of a new car quickly fades, much more and sooner, than the joy of a nice experience ("vacation") with a loved one / friends.

You're completely off-base by 180 degrees in your "depreciation" assessment. It is the reason that many people who live the most fulfilled lives, actually own (or at least spend money on) very few things. Experiences and relationships deliver true value.


Agree 100%. Our travel and relationships with our group of friends brings us way more joy than a vehicle. I wouldn't trade our trips or time spent with friends (memories) for any vehicle. Life is short, expereince things. Who cares what you drive. That's my perspective

curmudgeon
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by curmudgeon » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:55 pm

We never really had vacation budgets. With three kids and a single primary income, we tended to default to camping trips or family visits in the early years. We were on our third house before we made our first overseas trip. We had a base mode of 401K saving(but not always maxed), paying extra on the mortgage, keeping ahead of necessary expenses; then vacations, new cars, home improvements etc came out of the pool of money that was left. If we wanted to replace a car one year, then vacation was likely to be camping/backpacking and family visits. We are fortunate to have a tremendous amount of natural beauty in the region, so sticking to a low-cost camping trip was not much of a sacrifice. When we started doing more expensive trips, we still kept to a relatively frugal style to stretch our dollars, and never really developed a taste for expensive resorts and restaurants.

m2go
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by m2go » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:12 pm

White Coat Investor wrote:We spend a lot, but we go on vacation more than most and thankfully make more than most.

Some vacations are pretty cheap- we did a 5 day backpacking trip for a couple hundred bucks. Others are not. A week in Belize for DW and I ran about $5K. The most expensive trip this year will be Japan. I shudder to think what that will cost for a family of six, but it's certainly more than Roth IRA contributions.


Depends on what you do - interestingly we found Japan not as expensive as we had feared and/or I had experienced as a business traveler. It did require judicious use of restaurants which can actually be quite cheap if you go for the "right" meals - think local which can be an adventure all of its own and you see much more of the country. Lonely Planet is your friend.

We were fortunate to get corporate hotel rates (check w/ your employer if the negotiated rates are available for private travel!), and our kids were little, so we were able to fit in one hotel room which took down costs significantly. Terms and conditions matter - hotel with free breakfast saves a bunch and is much more efficient with your team than finding a breakfast spot. (I find paid-for hotel breakfasts blew my per-diem by breakfast time in some hotels while on biz travel there!)

With 6, you may be down to 3 hotel rooms - although with Airbnb, that may be an attractive alternative provided you can find a place that can accommodate the family. We've done that in Europe a lot for 4, our daughters lover the appt overlooking Notre Dame in Paris - there wasn't even a hotel in the neighborhood which tend to be further out except a few extremely high end prestige hotels.

To answer the original question on how much we spend per year, we've averaged $15k - $20k, but have supplemented that with frequent flier points and others as well. We love travel, and believe it's important to show the world to our kids, so that's where we splurge.

10YearPlan
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by 10YearPlan » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:34 pm

HomerJ wrote:
Rupert wrote:
pop77 wrote:What is your average annual budget/spending for vacations (Family of 2-4)?
I am trying to step up a little bit on my vacation spending (live a little!) but do want to spend too much. Currently I am thinking 8-10k for three people.


Without knowing your income and our incomes, the responses to your question are going to be pretty meaningless. 8-10k for 3 people is a lot if your family income is $80,000 a year. It's a drop in the bucket if you're a two-doctor family bringing in $500k+ per year.


Exactly. It all depends on income and other expenses.

I will say spending more on vacations is a good way to stretch one's lifestyle without locking in higher expenses. What I mean is, there came a point where my wife and I realized our base lifestyle was "enough". We didn't need a better house or better cars, or more expensive clothes or food, etc. But we did spend a little more on vacations, either taking an extra one, or upgrading to a nicer vacation. Because you can always cut back on vacations. A little harder to cut back on a house that's too expensive. :)

We usually cruise once a year (which can be very cheap) with the family, and we usually have an extended family vacation at the lake (we used to rent at different lakes each year, but now we have our own place). My wife and I also usually do an all-inclusive resort-type vacation alone every other year as well. WIth our own lake place, we now get multiple 3-day or 4-day weekends there too.

We budget about $10k a year or so. Our normal spending is about $60k a year, so another $10k for vacations is a pretty big bump. But it's worth it. My wife may possibly enjoy planning the next trip just as much as going on one.


The bolded above is an interesting perspective, I never thought about it in quite that way before, but is precisely what we are doing. We actually planned to spend more on vacation several years ago because all of our needs/must do items were taken care of and we feel it is important and fun to travel as family now. So, we probably spend more than we should (hovering around $20k) for our family of 4, but we are okay with that. If times get tough, we can always pull back.

stoptothink
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by stoptothink » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:53 pm

Da5id wrote:
blinx77 wrote:
surfstar wrote:
rgs92 wrote:Zero dollars. I'd rather spend it on a nice car; at least it doesn't depreciate as quickly as a vacation (which goes to zero as soon as you get home).
I notice here that spending a lot on a car is often disparaged, but vacation spending seems more popular. Why is one more wasteful than the other?


Studies have shown that real, lasting happiness is derived from experiences, not "things".
The joy of a new car quickly fades, much more and sooner, than the joy of a nice experience ("vacation") with a loved one / friends.

You're completely off-base by 180 degrees in your "depreciation" assessment. It is the reason that many people who live the most fulfilled lives, actually own (or at least spend money on) very few things. Experiences and relationships deliver true value.


This depends on how much you like cars and how much you like vacations.

Given the replication crisis in social psychology I am not sure I would lecture someone who is living below their means about how to allocate their spending.


I'm with surfstar here.


What exactly are you debating? Blowing money on a sports car would increase my happiness way more than fancy vacations, but I am extremely unlikely to do either even though we can probably afford both (to an extent). The logistics of vacations usually result in me being much less relaxed than I am in normal daily life and I greatly value my routine (that's Aspergers for you). Yes, research shows that lasting happiness comes from experiences rather than possessions, but what constitutes an experience? Is a scenic mountain drive in a high-performing car not an experience? My best family experiences most definitely are not vacations (in fact, they represent some of my worst memories); as my wife would gladly tell you, vacations with her Aspie control-freak husband are usually experiences she would prefer to forget :happy. This is not a black & white thing, it completely depends on the individual.

Da5id
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by Da5id » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:58 pm

stoptothink wrote:What exactly are you debating? Blowing money on a sports car would increase my happiness way more than fancy vacations, but I am extremely unlikely to do either even though we can probably afford both (to an extent). The logistics of vacations usually result in me being much less relaxed than I am in normal daily life and I greatly value my routine (that's Aspergers for you). Yes, research shows that lasting happiness comes from experiences rather than possessions, but what constitutes an experience? Is a scenic mountain drive in a high-performing car not an experience? My best family experiences most definitely are not vacations (in fact, they represent some of my worst memories); as my wife would gladly tell you, vacations with her Aspie control-freak husband are usually experiences she would prefer to forget :happy. This is not a black & white thing, it completely depends on the individual.


I can't argue with anyone elses priorities or preferences, we each get to set them. I was arguing with the concept of putting zero value on a vacation because once it is done you have nothing. Obviously if vacations bring you no happiness, they have no value to you. But to many where it does give enjoyment, the fact that you have "nothing" but memories when it is done seems to me to be weak.

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avenger
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by avenger » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:09 pm

We've spent $45k over the last 5 years. Two of us.
cheers ... -Mark | "Our life is frittered away with detail. Simplify. Simplify." -Henry David Thoreau | [3 fund portfolio: VTI, VXUS, SV fund (yield 3.01%)]

stoptothink
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by stoptothink » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:17 pm

Da5id wrote:
stoptothink wrote:What exactly are you debating? Blowing money on a sports car would increase my happiness way more than fancy vacations, but I am extremely unlikely to do either even though we can probably afford both (to an extent). The logistics of vacations usually result in me being much less relaxed than I am in normal daily life and I greatly value my routine (that's Aspergers for you). Yes, research shows that lasting happiness comes from experiences rather than possessions, but what constitutes an experience? Is a scenic mountain drive in a high-performing car not an experience? My best family experiences most definitely are not vacations (in fact, they represent some of my worst memories); as my wife would gladly tell you, vacations with her Aspie control-freak husband are usually experiences she would prefer to forget :happy. This is not a black & white thing, it completely depends on the individual.


I can't argue with anyone elses priorities or preferences, we each get to set them. I was arguing with the concept of putting zero value on a vacation because once it is done you have nothing. Obviously if vacations bring you no happiness, they have no value to you. But to many where it does give enjoyment, the fact that you have "nothing" but memories when it is done seems to me to be weak.


At the end of a vacation I'd usually prefer nothing over the memory - my wife probably agrees, but we'll keep trying. They'll probably be interesting stories to tell the grandkids...can I tell you about that time your grandpa flipped out at Disneyworld because he woke up too late to get in his workout and then forgot "his food" and there was nothing available in the entire park which met his nutritional standards? True story. I know I am odd, but I can't be the only one right?

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wander
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by wander » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:23 pm

We spend about $5k - $10k for travel each year. We drive old cars but love travel. Observations is the best teacher.

delamer
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by delamer » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:49 pm

Da5id wrote:
blinx77 wrote:
surfstar wrote:
rgs92 wrote:Zero dollars. I'd rather spend it on a nice car; at least it doesn't depreciate as quickly as a vacation (which goes to zero as soon as you get home).
I notice here that spending a lot on a car is often disparaged, but vacation spending seems more popular. Why is one more wasteful than the other?


Studies have shown that real, lasting happiness is derived from experiences, not "things".
The joy of a new car quickly fades, much more and sooner, than the joy of a nice experience ("vacation") with a loved one / friends.

You're completely off-base by 180 degrees in your "depreciation" assessment. It is the reason that many people who live the most fulfilled lives, actually own (or at least spend money on) very few things. Experiences and relationships deliver true value.


This depends on how much you like cars and how much you like vacations.

Given the replication crisis in social psychology I am not sure I would lecture someone who is living below their means about how to allocate their spending.


I'm with surfstar here. And I don't think spending a lot on a car is disparaged all THAT much here, this isn't the MMM blog. Now buying an expensive car on credit while balancing your minimum payments on credit cards, that is disparaged. I think the ethos here is more living comfortably within (or below) your means. And if your means allow you to save plenty and you want to buy a Tesla or heck a Ferrari, can't see why anyone should care. Not saying some don't suggest Civics when the topic is Porches, just saying it is far from a universal sentiment and certainly nowhere in the list of bogelhead values per se.

I believe the real objection to the post above is that blinx77 values vacations at 0, as they "depreciate" immediately. I personally really value interesting experiences growing up, including travelling, and enjoy taking my kids to different places, some of which are expensive. e.g. looking at doing Galapagos one of these years. I think as with cars, expensive vacations are great IF you live below your means and aren't compromising your future. YMMV.


Agreed. There really isn't much commonality amongst Bogleheads commenters other than spending less than our incomes and investing in low-cost index funds. You don't need to agree about much else in life in order to subscribe to those tenets. And the dissimilarities aren't a bad thing because it is good to hear (and sometimes learn from) other perspectives.

There will always be those here who like to hike in the woods on vacation and drive used Subarus, while others like luxury cruises and new Mercedes.

So I agree with those who've commented above that what another family spends on vacations is irrelevant to my family.

Ron Ronnerson
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:57 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Da5id wrote:I personally really value interesting experiences growing up, including travelling, and enjoy taking my kids to different places, some of which are expensive. e.g. looking at doing Galapagos one of these years.


I would do Galapagos sooner rather than later. There is talk of severely restricting access because of the environmental damage that is caused by unthinking visitors. It is among my favorite experiences, maybe #1.


I will second this. Galapagos ranks as my favorite vacation of all time. It was like being on another world. You must go one of these days, Da5id!

Tiffku08
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by Tiffku08 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:05 pm

.....
Last edited by Tiffku08 on Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

2015
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by 2015 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:09 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Da5id wrote:
blinx77 wrote:
surfstar wrote:
rgs92 wrote:Zero dollars. I'd rather spend it on a nice car; at least it doesn't depreciate as quickly as a vacation (which goes to zero as soon as you get home).
I notice here that spending a lot on a car is often disparaged, but vacation spending seems more popular. Why is one more wasteful than the other?


Studies have shown that real, lasting happiness is derived from experiences, not "things".
The joy of a new car quickly fades, much more and sooner, than the joy of a nice experience ("vacation") with a loved one / friends.

You're completely off-base by 180 degrees in your "depreciation" assessment. It is the reason that many people who live the most fulfilled lives, actually own (or at least spend money on) very few things. Experiences and relationships deliver true value.


This depends on how much you like cars and how much you like vacations.

Given the replication crisis in social psychology I am not sure I would lecture someone who is living below their means about how to allocate their spending.


I'm with surfstar here.


What exactly are you debating? Blowing money on a sports car would increase my happiness way more than fancy vacations, but I am extremely unlikely to do either even though we can probably afford both (to an extent). The logistics of vacations usually result in me being much less relaxed than I am in normal daily life and I greatly value my routine (that's Aspergers for you). Yes, research shows that lasting happiness comes from experiences rather than possessions, but what constitutes an experience? Is a scenic mountain drive in a high-performing car not an experience? My best family experiences most definitely are not vacations (in fact, they represent some of my worst memories); as my wife would gladly tell you, vacations with her Aspie control-freak husband are usually experiences she would prefer to forget :happy. This is not a black & white thing, it completely depends on the individual.


Absolutely! I despise these "studies" and "research" that tell me what I'm supposed to like or enjoy or feel based on the experiences of others. Upon retirement, last year was the first year I've had a dedicated generous budget line item for me to travel every year. Trouble is, I'm not all that keen on travelling. I prefer adventures of the mind (reading, lots). This year I finally got my head around how I intend to view travelling versus what other retirees do with all their "bucket list" mania. I've realized travelling is disruptive to me, and at most I'll take one big trip per year. I'll take smaller trips to use up the generous travel budget only when I feel like it; therefore, that out of town trip planned for this month is cancelled because I don't feel like it. And yes, that Benz I bought last year still increases my happiness every time I get in it. Same for the expensive house remodel last year.

Don't even try to tell me what gives me "lasting happiness."

lunean
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by lunean » Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:24 pm

We are a family of 5, and average about $5000 a year on vacation. Some years are more and some are less. We did our first big family vacation 3 years ago to Disney and it was around $6k. The next year, we did nothing but short weekend trips to my parents cottage up north (nearly free). Last year was Washington DC for about $3000. This year is Yellowstone and the Tetons and I'm estimating at least $7000 for that.

AlohaJoe
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by AlohaJoe » Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:36 pm

2015 wrote:Absolutely! I despise these "studies" and "research" that tell me what I'm supposed to like or enjoy or feel based on the experiences of others.


It seems like the main problem is you don't know what the studies actually say and project onto them. Admittedly, popular science reporting doesn't make it exactly easy.

The studies never say "every person is happier if they do X and unhappy if they do Y".

2015
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by 2015 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:40 pm

It's implied rather strongly (e.g., Best Places to Retire lists).

TravelGeek
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by TravelGeek » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:04 pm

Travel or vacation?

Visiting family requires air travel for us, between 700 and 5000 miles each way. Not cheap, but obviously worthwhile/necessary. I mentally separate it from true "vacation".

TravelGeek
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by TravelGeek » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:07 pm

Ron Ronnerson wrote:
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Da5id wrote:I personally really value interesting experiences growing up, including travelling, and enjoy taking my kids to different places, some of which are expensive. e.g. looking at doing Galapagos one of these years.


I would do Galapagos sooner rather than later. There is talk of severely restricting access because of the environmental damage that is caused by unthinking visitors. It is among my favorite experiences, maybe #1.


I will second this. Galapagos ranks as my favorite vacation of all time. It was like being on another world. You must go one of these days, Da5id!


I'll third it. I guess if TomatoTomahto is right, I should start thinking about another trip to the islands in the not too distant future.

amitb00
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by amitb00 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:22 pm

Just came from 10 day cruise on Allure of the Seas. Cost 15K for two balcony staterooms for 5 of us and 2 parents. We spend b/w 20-30 K every year on vacations.

travellight
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by travellight » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:24 pm

I spent 16k for travel last year according to mint dot com; this is for 2 people and doesn't include food. We actually "spent" more because there was probably another 50% funded by credit card frequent flier rewards. We did 2 international trips last year and travel monthly as well.

noco-hawkeye
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by noco-hawkeye » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:13 pm

I think 5%-10% of income would provide some nice vacations, and what we would consider a nice year. Some years we are less.

If I can find flights, lodging, and car (if needed), I like to use $1k per person per week as a good point of reference. You can probably find an all inclusive in Mexico for that. Hawaii will run more, and some places like a beach house on the east coast will be less. A family of 2 spending 8k on a trip better be a very nice trip, a long trip, or some combination of the two.

I wouldn't get too worked up if you are a bit less or a bit more. If you are saving near 20%, you should enjoy today in one form or another.

Traveler
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by Traveler » Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:05 am

Single person who does a lot of solo travel: budget is about $12K/year which is about 25% of my total spend and about 7% of my gross income.

In 2016 I spent 12 days in Iceland, 10-11 days in Greece, 5 days in the Dominican Republic as well as two trips to see family in Portland, Oregon.

This year I'm planning 9-10 days in Malta, a 7-day Alaskan cruise with my mom, ~12 days in Asia, 3-4 day weekend trips to Santa Fe and NYC, and a Christmas trip home to Portland. Not sure if I can stay within budget on all this, depends on how airfares play out this year.

Cruise
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by Cruise » Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:32 am

When my spouse finally retires, I've estimated that we will spend 23% of our annual pre-tax income on travel. However, we might double that if all goes well.

Wannaretireearly
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by Wannaretireearly » Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:14 am

White Coat Investor wrote:We spend a lot, but we go on vacation more than most and thankfully make more than most.

Some vacations are pretty cheap- we did a 5 day backpacking trip for a couple hundred bucks. Others are not. A week in Belize for DW and I ran about $5K. The most expensive trip this year will be Japan. I shudder to think what that will cost for a family of six, but it's certainly more than Roth IRA contributions.


this. Its better (for my sanity) that i dont work this out...but here goes for last year's tally:
1. Feb: Austin and Dallas with family (long weekend), $1k - used miles.
2. April: Tahoe with family (long weekend), $1k?
3. July: Florida with family (a week?), $2K? - used miles/hotel points.
4. Sept: Bachelor party in Medellin, Colombia (3 days? Seemed like a lifetime ;) - $2 to $3K?
5. Dec: Friends wedding in Cancun, left kids at home (4-5 days) - $2k? used miles.
6. Dec: Bermuda with family (1 week). - $5 - $6 K? used hotel points.

So probably between $15 to $20K. Maybeanother $5k spending money I havent factored.

Needless to say, 1. we "work to live", maybe really "work to travel" & 2. we try to sign up for every miles/points credit card deemed worthy.
I think we prob still average $20 to $25k a year, going on the past few years.

:sharebeer :sharebeer
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junetree
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:49 am

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by junetree » Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:24 am

Our family of 4 has a budget of $60,000 a year for pleasure trips. We travel 4 to 5 times a year to various continents (we live in the US while our respective families live in 2 other different continents and our favorite continent is yet another!). Summer trips for 4 typically last over a month in foreign territory engaging in a lot of sightseeing and adventurous activities. We don't cut corners and like to travel comfortably, whilst maximizing our experiences. We also use a ton of travel rewards/awards per year to supplement this budget.

HopeToGolf
Posts: 285
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 4:04 pm

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by HopeToGolf » Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:13 am

Way less than we should (or want). It depends on the year but probably $5K-$10K.

We have trouble scheduling them between the kid's schedule (school and sports) and a two career family (limited vacation time and work demands creating conflicts when the rest of the family is free to travel).

We are actively working to do better here. If we could coordinate better, we would be in the $10K-$30K range not including the once in a lifetime type trips like an African safari or the Galápagos Islands.

tyrnup13
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:59 pm

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by tyrnup13 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:46 am

We spend 10-15% of take home pay on vacation. It is our biggest expense, more than housing. Savings rate is around 65%. We are a family of five. This year, we went to Oaxaca for two weeks (8k), sailing in Caribbean (wife and I, 6k), mountain biking from Telluride to Moab (solo--1500), Inca trail (just wife and I, 6k), Costa Rica (6k), and Seattle three times (4 total)

cutterinnj
Posts: 219
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:08 pm

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by cutterinnj » Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:02 am

We likely spent around 30-35k in 2016 for a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 small children.)

Had a good year financially; emotionally it was a mixed bag, where a good (young) friend died of cancer, and I realized that I need to live for today rather than just 30 years from now. Hopefully, the memories my family get are worth it.

We did:

NCL Cruise to the Bahamas ~8k; we do a cruise every year, usually at a fraction of the cost. This time, we stayed in the "Haven", which was its own section with a 24/7 butler, restaurant that had lobster at every meal, 2 bedroom large family suite (we took my dad and his wife, so it was really for 6 people), semi-private pool and hottubs, quiet deck with many chairs and bartenders bringing non-stop drinks, etc... It was a great trip, and well worth it to us.

Trip to Boston and NYC for 1 week- Probably around 3-4k, largely on the nice Boston hotel- we walked the city, went to museums (free for us, as we are members of our local children's museum- something I highly recommend to all families, as it pays for itself with one trip anywhere.) Then we stayed with relatives in NYC for a few days- paid for a few meals, but the rest there was free.

California trip for 2 weeks- probably around 11-14k: flew in to San Diego, and did the zoo, Balboa Park, etc... Drove up to Disneyland for a few days, then up to Santa Barbara and then Big Sur; went to Carmel/Monterey (AMAZING Aquarium) then finished off at San Francisco. What an amazing trip! We could've done this a little cheaper if we stayed at different hotels (Fairmounts, boutique, Disneyland), but it was worth it for us.

We also did a few day trip to Washington DC which was likely a few K, but that was paid for mainly by work.

This year, we'll probably do a cruise and some shorter trips.

jhh9327
Posts: 247
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 9:06 am

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by jhh9327 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:15 am

I budget $20K a year for our family of 5 for travel/vacations. Anytime we travel away from home for more than a day trip, I expense it there including food and all other costs (ie. going camping for the weekend counts even if it is less than an hour from home and also the major trips like a cruise to Alaska ). Doing this has really helped me enjoy the trips more as I stress less about the costs once the travel starts. I still spend a good portion of time pre-trip planning to try and make minimize transport and accommodation costs especially when we have flexibility in when to go.

As others mentioned, this would also be the first category to get reduced if our finances ever required it.

Da5id
Posts: 1637
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:20 am

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by Da5id » Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:50 am

2015 wrote:Don't even try to tell me what gives me "lasting happiness."


Responding because I was in the chain. I agree with you, and think that if vacations give one no happiness one should not do them. If luxury cars give one happiness and one can afford them, one should buy them. I'm not much of a shopper, and find doing new things with my kids and going new places makes me happy, but I totally get that we are all different and what brings us joy can likewise be different.

The objection I had to the post that started that particular chain was that the poster valued vacation experiences at 0 because they "depreciate". I assume/hope that you have many positive experiences of whatever sort in the past that cost money, do you really value them at zero because "all" you have is memories? Weddings? Family events? Attending sports events or theatre? Whatever? That was my only point, not that everyone must go on and love vacations!

NorCalDad
Posts: 720
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:14 pm
Location: Northern California

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by NorCalDad » Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:37 am

I would probably choose low-cost staycations if I had my way, but my wife loves getting away more than anything else. We spend about $9,000/year (with an additional $2,000 in points-subsidized travel). I thought that was a lot but it doesn't seem so high compared to the numbers I'm seeing here. Our usual mix includes a 4-6 days at a house on the California coast, a long snow weekend and a week somewhere in the sun. Plus trips here and there to Oregon, San Diego and sometimes to locales where I run a marathon. Vacation is our fourth highest expense after child care (biggest expense two years in a row!), housing and groceries.

Dandy
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Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:42 pm

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by Dandy » Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:54 am

My children are grown up now so I don't recall how much. But, I can say we always had a great vacation and it built strong bonds - they still talk about them and still vacation with us most years for at least a short time. (their choice but very welcome).

You can do a lot to curb vacation expenses. We avoided ocean views and had a nice view of the parking lot or green dumpsters. We spent time on the beach so we didn't miss the view. We ate at reasonable restaurants most of the time, didn't order drinks delivered to us as we sat by the pool, drove more than flew to most vacations. Drove from NJ to Florida many times to visit parents and a couple of trips to Disney.

I'm glad to see you trying to increase this family time - you can't get these years back.

feh
Posts: 1123
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:39 am

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by feh » Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:00 pm

Family of three, one destination vacation for anywhere from 6-10 days.

$3.5 -> $7.5K

2015
Posts: 977
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:32 pm

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by 2015 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:07 pm

Da5id wrote:
2015 wrote:Don't even try to tell me what gives me "lasting happiness."


Responding because I was in the chain. I agree with you, and think that if vacations give one no happiness one should not do them. If luxury cars give one happiness and one can afford them, one should buy them. I'm not much of a shopper, and find doing new things with my kids and going new places makes me happy, but I totally get that we are all different and what brings us joy can likewise be different.

The objection I had to the post that started that particular chain was that the poster valued vacation experiences at 0 because they "depreciate". I assume/hope that you have many positive experiences of whatever sort in the past that cost money, do you really value them at zero because "all" you have is memories? Weddings? Family events? Attending sports events or theatre? Whatever? That was my only point, not that everyone must go on and love vacations!
'

I should have worded that differently as I would never be so rude and ill-mannered as to direct that to anyone in this thread. It was directed at the authors of these types of studies.

We're all wired differently. In my case, I've had many very wonderful vacations, trips, etc., but they are in fact just memories to me, nothing more. I had one of the best times ever in Cancun last year but that was more of a function of who I was with more than anything else. I don't have kids, but I think if I did I would probably value adventures more because (I imagine) it can be fun to have these adventures with children.

As I stated above, after retirement I had to really wrap my head around how different I am regarding adventures than the "typical" retiree. I have always been a highly cerebral individual (INTJ?) and have found adventures of the mind to be the most fulfilling. Once I finally realized that, it became to okay to acknowledge many of the adventures others want to do I have no interest in. Will I go on an African safari, trek a rain forest, see the northern lights? Yes, but only because these are things I feel like doing. Beyond that, ambivalence to most adventures is high. YMMV.
Last edited by 2015 on Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JimmyD
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Location: Smyrna, GA

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by JimmyD » Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:50 pm

I budget $3,000/year for the three of us which typically covers us when you kick in another $2,000 or so we accumulate through credit card points. These days, with a toddler in tow, we try to do most of our vacationing with family who thankfully have houses on / near beaches which is what we enjoy.

We were actually just discussing this at dinner tonight. As much as we'd love to spend a week in Mexico for our anniversary this April, we'll most likely drive down to Sarasota and spend the week at my mother-in-law's second home. It's beautiful down there and will save us thousands. We'll be using the savings to pay off my wife's vehicle (four years early).

It seems we also find ourselves flying out to a wedding or some other random event at least once a year and that typically comes out of the travel budget as well.

fpr4
Posts: 190
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:47 pm

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by fpr4 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:37 pm

Probably under $1,000 for a family of 4. Would love to do more, but other priorities right now.

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 383
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:33 pm
Location: New York

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:53 pm

We spent ~$6k last year for two people.

9 Nights, 10 Days all inclusive at 4 star resort in Dominican Republic
7 Days, 6 Nights in Tahiti & Bora Bora at the Four Seasons
6 Days, 5 Nights in Tampa, FL (stayed with friends)

Extended weekend trips to...

Lancaster/Hershey PA for a concert
Cape May, NJ for a Triathlon
Philadelphia for a food/booze tour

Numerous day trips all over the New England area.

:sharebeer

SQRT
Posts: 573
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:44 am

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by SQRT » Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:07 pm

Really depends on your priorities and means, if you are retired or still working. Not sure what use such personal info would be? For the record we generally spend about 10-15% of our total after tax spend. 2 people retired. Often include friends and family who we pay for. My view is that I am creating a wonderful "portfolio of memories" for my daughter that might give me a little immortality (at least as long as she is alive). Weird,eh? Travel first class.
Last edited by SQRT on Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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snackdog
Posts: 129
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:57 am

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by snackdog » Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:13 pm

5% of gross income.

For us that is 1-2 intercontinental trips and 1-2 international trips (we live on multi-national continent!) for a family of two. I don't count intra-national travel since the cost is trivial and doesn't come out of income.

gamboolman
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:32 am

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by gamboolman » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:10 pm

We could not afford vacations while the kids were growing up.

It was near to age 50 before we could take vacations.

Now we budget and spend $25K to $35K per year. It still makes me take pause - but my wife plans them and we go....and I have a great time and am always glad she does this.

It is not cheap to go places. We keep up with the costs - although we don't have too. But if your honest and count all costs incurred for vacations - they are not cheap.

MoonOrb
Posts: 889
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:58 pm

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by MoonOrb » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:20 pm

We value travel and spend money on it, but we don't budget for it. I'm not even sure how much we spent on it in the last year. We're relatively frugal when we travel, I guess, but our finances kind of work like this:

-Figure out what our financial and investing goals are;
-Meet those goals;
-Spend whatever money we want to spend on things we value, like travel;
-Invest or save whatever is left over beyond that.

For a family of two, we take typically use about 4 weeks of vacation a year to travel (3 one week trips or 1 one week trip and 1 two week trip, plus about 4 long weekends). I'd estimate this is about 5-7% of gross income. Possibly less, probably not more.

avalpert
Posts: 6313
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2008 4:58 pm

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by avalpert » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:26 pm

gamboolman wrote:It is not cheap to go places. We keep up with the costs - although we don't have too. But if your honest and count all costs incurred for vacations - they are not cheap.

Nah, it definitely can be cheap to travel the world. The hardest cost to reduce is planes but with all the methods available for acquiring points these days even that can be mitigated. Once in country, even 'expensive' countries like Japan can be traveled very affordably (the more time you have to do it, the cheaper it can be done which favors those who travel in retirement).

I agree with some others who noted that the comparison of budget isn't meaningful for several reasons. One not mentioned is that the amount spend is not necessarily connected to the value of the travel experience. Most experiences can be had reasonably if you know what you are doing.

So with that in mind, my spend on vacation varies widely - in 2015 for example we spent ~$40k but that included 4 months overlanding in Africa (family of four), our annual Thanksgiving week in Bonaire, and several other weeks of smaller vacations. On the other hand, 2016 was under $10k with only a few weeks in Panama, our week in Bonaire, a couple of week long camping trips in the US and a few other weeks of smaller trips.

avalpert
Posts: 6313
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2008 4:58 pm

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by avalpert » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:27 pm

snackdog wrote:5% of gross income.

For us that is 1-2 intercontinental trips and 1-2 international trips (we live on multi-national continent!) for a family of two. I don't count intra-national travel since the cost is trivial and doesn't come out of income.

Isn't Australia the only continent that isn't multinational?

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