Annual Vacation Budget

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researcher
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by researcher » Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:54 am

metrunt wrote:
metrunt wrote:2 adults, 3 children. 2 x 1 week driving trips. 1 x 3 week trip by air with rental car.
$4,500 budget. 5% of gross income.
I've included the rough expenses below...I do a lot of credit card/ mileage games with Southwest so my wife and I each have a Companion Pass, plus enough miles each year to fly one more for free. The longer East Coast trip is visiting various family, so we stay for free. And the Food* and Events* costs are above our normal budget. We spend $25/day on meals normally, so on a trip, we budget +$10 or $35 a day (which is usually one meal out each week). Our monthly "Events" budget (movies, zoo, etc) is normally $150/mo so, this is pro-rated for the trip length and the amount listed is above that.
This is misleading for readers, as the costs cited are NOT the true full amounts spent while on vacation.

If I understand your explanation, you actually spend an additional $875 on food ($25 x 35 days) and an extra ~$175 on events, which are not accounted for here.

On another note, I'm intrigued by the house/condo you mentioned in a "gated community with beach access and pool" for only $75/night, including all taxes/fees. That seems like quite a deal. Would you mind posting a link to this place, or one similar?

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market timer
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by market timer » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:20 am

I have to travel regularly for work and my wife will often join. Her airfare alone is around $10K/year. We spend several long weekends at resorts throughout the year, perhaps another $3K.

Once my children are a bit older and taking longer flights with us, I expect our travel budget to increase substantially. I would like to have 6-8 weeks per year for travel with the kids. The travel budget could easily balloon to $30K+ for four people, even if we fly economy.

MrNewEngland
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by MrNewEngland » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:34 am

I'm amazed at how frugally some of you can take a trip. I just went to the keys with some friends. We drove there and shared hotel rooms to save costs but each of us still spent a few hundred dollars a day.

Now granted we dove almost every day, drank like fish every night, and really spared no expense in terms of doing whatever we wanted... but that's what we were down there for.

SRenaeP
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by SRenaeP » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:48 am

market timer wrote:I have to travel regularly for work and my wife will often join. Her airfare alone is around $10K/year. We spend several long weekends at resorts throughout the year, perhaps another $3K.

Once my children are a bit older and taking longer flights with us, I expect our travel budget to increase substantially. I would like to have 6-8 weeks per year for travel with the kids. The travel budget could easily balloon to $30K+ for four people, even if we fly economy.
How is your wife's airfare so high? If you're traveling regularly for work, it seems like you'd have hundreds of thousands of airline miles available for her use.

-Steph

metrunt
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by metrunt » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:49 am

There are some interesting replies...seeming to disagree with my budgeting methods. I'm curious now how other people in this thread came up with their budget. The past few posters believe everyone is on the same page. How do you know that? And this is a budget, right? How much money you spend on something?

Of my annual budget, $4,500 of that goes to vacations, so I'm posting how much comes our of my bank account as a result vacations. Why wouldn't you post how much you actually spend (rather than some fictional number), and explain how you got there.

One issue is my use of miles/SW CP...If someone asks me how much I spend on groceries and I use coupons, I don't tell them the actual price of the items, I tell them how much I actually spent after the coupon. Why is vacationing different? For the days we stay with family, our housing costs are near $0. should I instead use a number as if we stayed a hotel?

Another is discounting by our base budget for food. If I included that money in my vacation budget, I would have to reduce my food budget. But that makes things more complicated and confusing. This way is simpler. Being on vacation costs $15 more per day on food than if I weren't. Simple. When saving for a vacation, I know I need to save that amount extra.

If my family never took a vacation, we would spend $4,500 less a year. Since we do, and do it this way, it costs us $4,500. That's our budget.

And, I know this is Bogleheads and not Mr Money Mustache, but really, you don't need to spend so much!

metrunt
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by metrunt » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:50 am

researcher wrote:On another note, I'm intrigued by the house/condo you mentioned in a "gated community with beach access and pool" for only $75/night, including all taxes/fees. That seems like quite a deal. Would you mind posting a link to this place, or one similar?
Well...I don't want to give the exact house, since we want improve our chances of it being available when we want to go back! But spend an hour on VBRO or AirBnB in some Mexican beach towns and you will get you a bunch of options.

San Carlos is a delightful town within driving distance of the Southwest USA.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by SRenaeP » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:55 am

MrNewEngland wrote:I'm amazed at how frugally some of you can take a trip. I just went to the keys with some friends. We drove there and shared hotel rooms to save costs but each of us still spent a few hundred dollars a day.

Now granted we dove almost every day, drank like fish every night, and really spared no expense in terms of doing whatever we wanted... but that's what we were down there for.
I think it's all about preference. I try to save (by finding deals, etc. not scrimping or being uncomfortable) on the big items like airfare and hotel. After that, I'm there to have a good time so I do. Now I have no objections to walking or taking public transportation vs taking a taxi/Uber but I'm not going to not do/eat the things I want because of the price. Perhaps it helps that I don't have particularly expensive tastes - no French Laundry or five star hotels (unless booked with points). Otherwise, why do I bother to work?

-Steph

metrunt
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by metrunt » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:56 am

lthenderson wrote:I spent a week this past summer with my brother-in-law and his family on a road trip with my family. There were 10 of us. We had plenty of meals that were in the $40 range for all of us. ...
We did a lot of getting stuff at a grocery store and using the motel grill out on the patio in the evenings. ...
To save money, we brought our rice cooker and rice and cooked it in our motel rooms. For lunches, we were always on the road so we packed lunches to eat at rest areas picnic tables and such.
...
Breakfast was the continental breakfast in the motel lobbies..
This is standard for us travelling by car staying in motels. Not grilling so much. But we do have a cooler with ice packs full of food and drinks and the kids love the continental breakfasts at motels.

The rice cooker is a great idea. I might steal that. One year, I tried cooking on the engine while driving! Baked potatoes and yams. Didn't really work.

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JDCarpenter
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by JDCarpenter » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:42 pm

MrNewEngland wrote:I'm amazed at how frugally some of you can take a trip. I just went to the keys with some friends. We drove there and shared hotel rooms to save costs but each of us still spent a few hundred dollars a day.

Now granted we dove almost every day, drank like fish every night, and really spared no expense in terms of doing whatever we wanted... but that's what we were down there for.
Gulp--hopefully you all had DAN or other dive accident (chamber/evac) insurance! :beer I love to dive (preferably 4 or 5 times a day) and love to drink (sometimes like a fish), but not going to dive the day after drinking more than one or two small glasses of wine with dinner. Air evac can really send the cost of vacation up. :shock:
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smitcat
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by smitcat » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:49 pm

"There are some interesting replies...seeming to disagree with my budgeting methods. I'm curious now how other people in this thread came up with their budget. The past few posters believe everyone is on the same page. How do you know that? And this is a budget, right? How much money you spend on something?"

Miles / CC perks / Hotel credits all have a value that you can use as money. In most cases they cost you something to begin with and you have a choice where to spend the credits. If we 'trade' a pile of these we still know that the cost is without the perk. When we figure the true costs of a vacation we use that value to compare to both future vacations and other folks input and opinions. If/when we drive we figure the average cost of mileage for that car/truck and when we take meals we look at the full costs and do not subsidize it with the normal budget at home.

While it may be a bit unusual we really could take a week and fly to the Caribbean (and likely will) in March and with the perks we have saved it will likely cost us near nothing if we did not use the perks. But in our experience we are still spending an asset that could be saved or used for something else in most cases.

Drew777
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by Drew777 » Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:23 pm

smitcat wrote:"metrunt wrote:
so on a trip, we budget +$10 or $35 a day
While staying in hotels, I find this hard to do for myself, much less a family of 5."


Per the post they are only counting... 'those costs above their normal daily costs".
They use air mileage and perks that are not counted, they drive to relatives homes for stays, they do not show 'events and activity' costs below their normal costs at home.
Given the method to secure these costs they are not relative to most posters on the board.
Example - because of our current large CC activity ate work and air mileage banks we could likely go on a one week Caribbean vacation for $0 dollars out of pocket. But I post what the vacation would actually cost with relative value of the 'perks' and with no 'discounts' from our typical family & home costs in order to capture the true vacation costs and allow them to be compared to other folks on the board.
Have a great vacation whatever you choose....
Well in that case my vacation "costs" are more like $35,000 a year instead of the ~$2-4k I actually pay.

metrunt
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by metrunt » Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:37 pm

smitcat wrote:Miles / CC perks / Hotel credits all have a value that you can use as money. In most cases they cost you something to begin with and you have a choice where to spend the credits. If we 'trade' a pile of these we still know that the cost is without the perk. When we figure the true costs of a vacation we use that value to compare to both future vacations and other folks input and opinions. If/when we drive we figure the average cost of mileage for that car/truck and when we take meals we look at the full costs and do not subsidize it with the normal budget at home.

While it may be a bit unusual we really could take a week and fly to the Caribbean (and likely will) in March and with the perks we have saved it will likely cost us near nothing if we did not use the perks. But in our experience we are still spending an asset that could be saved or used for something else in most cases.
Who's this "we"? Is it you personally (and your SO) or are you assuming you're speaking for everyone posting in this thread? It looks like you're doing one thing in the first paragraph and another in the second.

There seems to be two issues. One is accounting for airline miles and other perks. The second is accounting for base living costs.

With regards to flights, my wife and I each have a SW Companion Pass which we use with one of our children. Those cannot be 'spent' in the sense of being 'used up and not usable elsewhere'. Basically, we fly as a family at a 40% discount. If I found a special deal on 5 flights that was 40% less, why would I say I paid more than I really did? While I see some validity in assigning a value to airline miles, I do get the miles for free (opening and closing 5 credit cards every 3 years between myself, my wife, and my business gives me 200K-250K miles and the CP). I don't see where we would use them except for vacations, and that's why I cycle those cards. What's important to me at the end of the day is what my bank statement says, and my bank statement says I spent $1,000 on roundtrip cross country flights for 5.

As far as using base spending...As I said already, your methods don't make as much sense to me as mine does. Mine actually reflects the 'true' cost of my vacation, it says so right there on my bank statement. Yours seems inflated, maybe you'd be better off using my methods? My goal for a travel budget is in understanding how I spend my money. Does it compare well to other posters? I don't know. It's not clear how others are calculating their budgets. I'm making no assumptions about that.

The original question was "What is your average annual budget/spending for vacations?" I've given my answer and the methodology for getting there. If you don't like how I did it, that's ok.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by smitcat » Thu Jan 19, 2017 2:03 pm

'We' is my wife and I and sometimes our one daughter.

"As far as using base spending...As I said already, your methods don't make as much sense to me as mine does. Mine actually reflects the 'true' cost of my vacation, it says so right there on my bank statement"'

We are going for a week (my wife and I) to the Caribbean from NY area in March.
We can use our air miles for the tickets after discounts and pay nothing.
Using the left over credit on my parents timeshare we stay for nothing for 7 nights.
The CC credits (over $1/4 million charged) will cover most all of the meal expenses but if they do not quite make it we will utilize the 'base' costs at home to be ahead.
Activities can be covered between the gift cards we have on hand ones the ones we get shortly.
This next vacation will cost us no funds out of the bank statements.

"The original question was "What is your average annual budget/spending for vacations?" I've given my answer and the methodology for getting there. If you don't like how I did it, that's ok."

We can/will do a similar vacation to the above vacation again this year for no funds.
So far two fly to destination vacations with no funds used.
We will do two more flying destinations 'weeks' this year for between 7 and 10 days for each trip.
Using this method: total will be 4 vacations each with fly to destinations for approx. 5 weeks that cost approximately $6,000 total.

We plan to visit relatives later in the year as well by driving - but will likely pay more than a typical drive vacation due to treating them out to dinner / activities and a gift or two to show our appreciation.

researcher
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by researcher » Thu Jan 19, 2017 2:31 pm

metrunt wrote:There are some interesting replies...seeming to disagree with my budgeting methods. I'm curious now how other people in this thread came up with their budget...

Of my annual budget, $4,500 of that goes to vacations, so I'm posting how much comes our of my bank account as a result vacations. Why wouldn't you post how much you actually spend (rather than some fictional number), and explain how you got there.

Another is discounting by our base budget for food. If I included that money in my vacation budget, I would have to reduce my food budget. But that makes things more complicated and confusing. This way is simpler. Being on vacation costs $15 more per day on food than if I weren't. Simple. When saving for a vacation, I know I need to save that amount extra.
The thread started with this question..."What is your average annual budget/spending for vacations (Family of 2-4)?"

For responses to be useful, the total amount one spends while on vacation during the year should be posted.
This includes all expenses incurred, from the time you leave your house, to the time you get home.

This is NOT what you have done. The $4,500 you posted is misleading, as it under-reports the total amount you spent during your vacations.
You actually spent an additional $875 for food and $175 in entertainment. So $5,550 is the actual amount that "comes out of your bank account," not $4,500.

I assume you have a "base" budget for electric/water/utilities at your house. Since those are reduced when you are on vacation, do you apply this "everyday spending" as a credit to your vacation lodging, like you do for food & entertainment? Do you also subtract the gas you would typically put in your vehicles when not on vacation?
Last edited by researcher on Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

smitcat
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by smitcat » Thu Jan 19, 2017 2:55 pm

"For responses to be useful, the total amount one spends while on vacation during the year should be posted.
This includes all expenses incurred, from the time you leave your house, to the time you get home."

I agree for it to be useful to anyone else you need the entire picture.
Similarly if I have credits, freebies or prepaid items within the vacation and I do not let the reader know what that entails it is equally as useless for someone else.

hoops777
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by hoops777 » Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:41 pm

Like everything else in life it comes down to the individual.I can see someone getting more happiness out of driving a nice car everyday than a week on vacation.All vacations are not magical as much as we would like them to be.Do we really need a study to tell us what makes us happy.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.

MrNewEngland
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by MrNewEngland » Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:49 pm

JDCarpenter wrote:
MrNewEngland wrote:I'm amazed at how frugally some of you can take a trip. I just went to the keys with some friends. We drove there and shared hotel rooms to save costs but each of us still spent a few hundred dollars a day.

Now granted we dove almost every day, drank like fish every night, and really spared no expense in terms of doing whatever we wanted... but that's what we were down there for.
Gulp--hopefully you all had DAN or other dive accident (chamber/evac) insurance! :beer I love to dive (preferably 4 or 5 times a day) and love to drink (sometimes like a fish), but not going to dive the day after drinking more than one or two small glasses of wine with dinner. Air evac can really send the cost of vacation up. :shock:
It's ok, I'm indestructible.

metrunt
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by metrunt » Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:03 pm

smitcat & researcher,

If you think this thread actually a straight comparison of vacation budgets rather than a way to collectively explore our views of money and value as it relates to the concept of "vacations", then we disagree about something else as well.
Last edited by metrunt on Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

an_asker
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by an_asker » Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:07 pm

metrunt wrote:There are some interesting replies...seeming to disagree with my budgeting methods. I'm curious now how other people in this thread came up with their budget. The past few posters believe everyone is on the same page. How do you know that? And this is a budget, right? How much money you spend on something?

Of my annual budget, $4,500 of that goes to vacations, so I'm posting how much comes our of my bank account as a result vacations. Why wouldn't you post how much you actually spend (rather than some fictional number), and explain how you got there.

One issue is my use of miles/SW CP...If someone asks me how much I spend on groceries and I use coupons, I don't tell them the actual price of the items, I tell them how much I actually spent after the coupon. Why is vacationing different? For the days we stay with family, our housing costs are near $0. should I instead use a number as if we stayed a hotel?

Another is discounting by our base budget for food. If I included that money in my vacation budget, I would have to reduce my food budget. But that makes things more complicated and confusing. This way is simpler. Being on vacation costs $15 more per day on food than if I weren't. Simple. When saving for a vacation, I know I need to save that amount extra.

If my family never took a vacation, we would spend $4,500 less a year. Since we do, and do it this way, it costs us $4,500. That's our budget.

And, I know this is Bogleheads and not Mr Money Mustache, but really, you don't need to spend so much!
I agree with your way of calculation. If you have a budget of $xxx,xxx, that means you can spend cash upto $xxx,xxx.

Think about it this way, if the airline bumps you from cattle class to first class, would that change your budget for that trip? If you are going for a cruise at the lowest category and paying $400/person for a cruise that folks pay up to $1,000/person (bigger cabin, etc), does that change your cost for the cruise?

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by an_asker » Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:10 pm

metrunt wrote:smitcat & researcher,

If you think this thread actually a comparison of $$ vacation budgets rather than a way to collectively explore our views of money and value as it relates to the concept of "vacations", then we disagree about something else as well.
metrunt:

Based on the OP (below), what he/she is trying to figure out is exactly what you (and I) are doing, i.e., maximize the fun while minimizing the expenses (i.e., creative ways of paying for the vacation without impacting the budget).
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.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by an_asker » Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:12 pm

MrNewEngland wrote:
JDCarpenter wrote:
MrNewEngland wrote:I'm amazed at how frugally some of you can take a trip. I just went to the keys with some friends. We drove there and shared hotel rooms to save costs but each of us still spent a few hundred dollars a day.

Now granted we dove almost every day, drank like fish every night, and really spared no expense in terms of doing whatever we wanted... but that's what we were down there for.
Gulp--hopefully you all had DAN or other dive accident (chamber/evac) insurance! :beer I love to dive (preferably 4 or 5 times a day) and love to drink (sometimes like a fish), but not going to dive the day after drinking more than one or two small glasses of wine with dinner. Air evac can really send the cost of vacation up. :shock:
It's ok, I'm indestructible.
Plus, maybe you were literally drinking like a fish ... water ;-)

researcher
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by researcher » Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:40 pm

an_asker wrote:I agree with your way of calculation. If you have a budget of $xxx,xxx, that means you can spend cash upto $xxx,xxx.

Think about it this way, if the airline bumps you from cattle class to first class, would that change your budget for that trip? If you are going for a cruise at the lowest category and paying $400/person for a cruise that folks pay up to $1,000/person (bigger cabin, etc), does that change your cost for the cruise?
metrunt:
Based on the OP (below), what he/she is trying to figure out is exactly what you (and I) are doing, i.e., maximize the fun while minimizing the expenses (i.e., creative ways of paying for the vacation without impacting the budget).
An Asker -
I don't think you understand how metrunt is calculating his vacation spending.

This is what metrunt is doing...
He actually spends $5550 in CASH while on vacations in a given year, but reports here that he spent $4500.

Let me ask you a question...
Say you take a 5 day vacation and spend $500 cash on food. What would you report as your food expenses? The answer is $500 of course.

Metrunt would report his food expenses were $375.
He creates this number by theorizing that he would have spent $25/day in food if he weren't on vacation, and subtracting this amount from what he actually spent.

Metrunt's calculations have nothing to do with "maximizing funds while minimizing expenses."

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by smitcat » Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:05 pm

"Based on the OP (below), what he/she is trying to figure out is exactly what you (and I) are doing, i.e., maximize the fun while minimizing the expenses (i.e., creative ways of paying for the vacation without impacting the budget)."

That may be of great help and have value to fellow bogleheads with a description of how you may be able to defray costs and maybe someone else here can use that technique and maybe not. Here are some more real life past techniques on how to defray costs but I would not put them into a post without a careful description of where they come from as they may very well be misleading....

- My wife and I went to Canada for a couple of weeks a while back. We visited friends so we did not have a hotel bill for half the time saving about $950. We were able to purchase 6 epipens and antibiotics which were in our budget saving over $2,400. We drove there and back but our mileage and truck costs were actually much lower than two weeks driving to and from work so there is another $200 + dollars off the vacation. We turned the heat down in the house (December) so we saved about $350 dollars on oil that was not burned. Had we stayed we would have been at a Giants game so we have another $400 plus saved since we sold the tickets and did not pay for food and parking.
All in all we 'made' money on that vacation using this method of costing - but without the background facts there is little or no value in the posting of the costs to other bogleheads.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by Vilgan » Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:40 pm

average vacation spending in this thread seems really high

We (family of 2) just got back from 10 days in Hawaii. While the lodging was cheap since we stayed with others, total cost was about $1k with $700 of that being for the flights and $100 in souvenirs. For food, we hit up costco and generally cooked our own meals so $100 higher than usual there as well with a bit more eating out.

For the rest of this year, planning on 2 weeks in Kansas City, 2 weeks in Toronto, 2 weeks in San Diego, and a week in Victoria for another 3k, almost all of that being lodging since the remaining flights will be paid for with miles.

Admittedly we don't have kids which makes it a lot easier to be flexible and keep costs low.

Income seems relevant, we are around 300k household. If we had millions in the bank and were FI, we might splurge a bit more.

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HomerJ
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by HomerJ » Thu Jan 19, 2017 6:06 pm

Vilgan wrote:average vacation spending in this thread seems really high

We (family of 2) just got back from 10 days in Hawaii. While the lodging was cheap since we stayed with others, total cost was about $1k with $700 of that being for the flights and $100 in souvenirs. For food, we hit up costco and generally cooked our own meals so $100 higher than usual there as well with a bit more eating out.
Well lodging for a nice place on the beach would probably cost you $300 a night, so you saved $3000. Also, if I was in Hawaii, I'd want to go on a couple of snorkel trips, and probably rent a car to drive up the volcano and explore a bit. Maybe deep-sea fishing or at least go out on the water. Did your friends also have a free boat for you to use?
since the remaining flights will be paid for with miles.
Many of us do not have miles.

So does the spending make more sense for those of us without a free place to stay and free airline tickets?

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JDCarpenter
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by JDCarpenter » Thu Jan 19, 2017 6:48 pm

Vilgan wrote:average vacation spending in this thread seems really high

We (family of 2) just got back from 10 days in Hawaii. While the lodging was cheap since we stayed with others, total cost was about $1k with $700 of that being for the flights and $100 in souvenirs. For food, we hit up costco and generally cooked our own meals so $100 higher than usual there as well with a bit more eating out.

For the rest of this year, planning on 2 weeks in Kansas City, 2 weeks in Toronto, 2 weeks in San Diego, and a week in Victoria for another 3k, almost all of that being lodging since the remaining flights will be paid for with miles.

Admittedly we don't have kids which makes it a lot easier to be flexible and keep costs low.

Income seems relevant, we are around 300k household. If we had millions in the bank and were FI, we might splurge a bit more.
Wow. You aren't FI and retired? That's 4 or 5 years of vacation for us. Very impressive for still being employed in one or more high paying jobs. :beer

For better or worse, DW and I chose careers/jobs in which one best achieves work/life balance by quitting work. :oops:
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Ron
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by Ron » Thu Jan 19, 2017 6:53 pm

Going back in our records reflecting travel for more than two decades, it averages around 15% each year compared to our joint gross income.

Actual dollar amounts really don't matter, IMHO.

- Ron

madbrain
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by madbrain » Thu Jan 19, 2017 7:28 pm

No fixed budget. We are a couple, no kids.
Quicken shows me between $3600 and $18800 per year for the last 10 years for the travel categories, which includes airfare, car rentals, travel documents (passports, visa), hotels, misc (cash spending during trips not otherwise tracked), other transportation, travel insurance.
This is likely overestimated by at least $1k - $2k due to dining which we don't separate between travel/non-travel.
95% of our trips are abroad. I have family in Europe and he has family in Asia.
We try to take at least one big trip a year, between 2 and 3 weeks.
Last year, we spent $18,800 on 2 long trips, more than 4 weeks. However, we got about $9,000 worth of those expenses paid by credit card signup bonuses.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by market timer » Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:52 pm

SRenaeP wrote:
market timer wrote:I have to travel regularly for work and my wife will often join. Her airfare alone is around $10K/year. We spend several long weekends at resorts throughout the year, perhaps another $3K.

Once my children are a bit older and taking longer flights with us, I expect our travel budget to increase substantially. I would like to have 6-8 weeks per year for travel with the kids. The travel budget could easily balloon to $30K+ for four people, even if we fly economy.
How is your wife's airfare so high? If you're traveling regularly for work, it seems like you'd have hundreds of thousands of airline miles available for her use.

-Steph
Yes, I need to do a better job of managing airline miles. Her airfare is high because it's business class and typically long haul (>12 hours).

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by Wildebeest » Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:08 pm

My vacation story is that when I was a youngster I wanted to take my true love on vacation. I had money saved up but that was money saved for a rainy day so that was off limits. So I decided to work for 2 weeks to save to go to the Canary Islands.( that was the thing to do where I was, at the time). I got a job as I nursing assistant. Work sucked and it was a good lesson for me that I heed to the rest of my life. You should never be in a position, that you feel obliged to take punishment ( if you have a way out).

A lesson well learned, and may have put us on the road to financial independence.

The lesson was only $5 a hours I made 40 years ago. My spouse sometimes still refers back to how miserable I was.When I got paid the money I earned in blood, sweat and tears ( okay a little melodramatic) , I could not spend the money on the vacation to the Canary Islands. It made no sense to me, to suffer and then blow it. I could not believe that people would spend hard earned money on vacations. I saved the money and put it in a 11% savings bond.

The good news is that I am still with my love.

Now we spend money on vacations. How much? I asked my spouse and the answer was: "Are you trying to depress me? I am going to bed".

We try on different things to see if we enjoy it.
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by Vilgan » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:56 am

HomerJ wrote:
Vilgan wrote:average vacation spending in this thread seems really high

We (family of 2) just got back from 10 days in Hawaii. While the lodging was cheap since we stayed with others, total cost was about $1k with $700 of that being for the flights and $100 in souvenirs. For food, we hit up costco and generally cooked our own meals so $100 higher than usual there as well with a bit more eating out.
Well lodging for a nice place on the beach would probably cost you $300 a night, so you saved $3000. Also, if I was in Hawaii, I'd want to go on a couple of snorkel trips, and probably rent a car to drive up the volcano and explore a bit. Maybe deep-sea fishing or at least go out on the water. Did your friends also have a free boat for you to use?
since the remaining flights will be paid for with miles.
Many of us do not have miles.

So does the spending make more sense for those of us without a free place to stay and free airline tickets?
Free airline tickets take 2-3 hours of effort per year, why not take advantage of the free miles everyone is handing out?

Snorkel gear is cheap to buy and then costs 0 going forward.

I forgot about the car rental since that was paid with miles, so another $200 for a car.

I can absolutely get spending 3-4k on a vacation and I might do that someday in the future. So someone saying they spent 3k for their Hawaii vacation seems reasonable. But these numbers like 18k etc sound insanely high unless you are spending months in hong kong living high on the hog.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by metrunt » Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:19 pm

smitcat wrote:- My wife and I went to Canada for a couple of weeks a while back.
...
We were able to purchase 6 epipens and antibiotics which were in our budget saving over $2,400.
Can you buy oral antibiotics and EpiPens in Canada without a prescription? Or does a US prescription work in Canada? Is it different buying them in person in Canada, rather than from a reputable online Canadian seller?

If you could buy them without the trip, I wouldn't include that savings in your trip's calculations.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by SRenaeP » Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:40 pm

Vilgan wrote:
HomerJ wrote:
Vilgan wrote:average vacation spending in this thread seems really high

We (family of 2) just got back from 10 days in Hawaii. While the lodging was cheap since we stayed with others, total cost was about $1k with $700 of that being for the flights and $100 in souvenirs. For food, we hit up costco and generally cooked our own meals so $100 higher than usual there as well with a bit more eating out.
Well lodging for a nice place on the beach would probably cost you $300 a night, so you saved $3000. Also, if I was in Hawaii, I'd want to go on a couple of snorkel trips, and probably rent a car to drive up the volcano and explore a bit. Maybe deep-sea fishing or at least go out on the water. Did your friends also have a free boat for you to use?
since the remaining flights will be paid for with miles.
Many of us do not have miles.

So does the spending make more sense for those of us without a free place to stay and free airline tickets?
Free airline tickets take 2-3 hours of effort per year, why not take advantage of the free miles everyone is handing out?

Snorkel gear is cheap to buy and then costs 0 going forward.

I forgot about the car rental since that was paid with miles, so another $200 for a car.

I can absolutely get spending 3-4k on a vacation and I might do that someday in the future. So someone saying they spent 3k for their Hawaii vacation seems reasonable. But these numbers like 18k etc sound insanely high unless you are spending months in hong kong living high on the hog.
Most of the times, the people saying $18k are going on numerous trips OR one or two 'high end' trips. DH and I spent around that much last year but it included the following:

Weeklong ski trip in Lake Tahoe - Lift tickets are expensive and we stayed at a very nice Marriott at the base of the gondola.

Long weekend in St. Pete - We drove down since DH was doing a triathlon but we stayed a beachfront property.

Weekend in NYC for me alone - I piggybacked off a business trip so I didn't pay for a the flight but I ate out all weekend, took several Uber/Lyft rides since it was rainy and went to a show.

Eight days in Colombia - We used FF miles for the international flight. While nothing was particularly expensive in and of itself, we stayed at nice properties, purchased intra-country flights and took a couple of tours and did sightseeing.

Long weekend in Toronto - Once again, stayed at a nice property, took Uber a few times, etc.

Weekend in Minneapolis for a wedding - This was one of the cheapest trips. We paid for the flights but used points for the hotel. We only paid for a few meals and a couple of Ubers.

Ten days in Argentina and Chile for DH alone - Guys trip which included lift tickets and dining out every meal every day. I don't know what level the accommodations were but this also included a flight between Argentina and Chile in addition to the RT trip to/from home.

Weekend trip to MI for me alone - This was another one of the cheaper trips. I paid for the flight but used hotel points. I also rented a car but I was visiting family so I think I only purchased one meal.

Weekend trip to VA for me alone - I paid for the flight and rental car and one night of hotel. I stayed with family the other night and bought a few meals.

Ten days in Thailand - We paid for the RT international tickets as well as two intra-country flights. First hotel was paid for with points. The other two properties were paid for with cash; one was nice but the other was a pretty swanky beachfront property. We paid for several tours/attractions over the course of the trip and ate every meal out.

Christmas with the in-laws - We paid for the flights and one night hotel. The other nights were booked with points. We also got a rental car and paid for several meals out.

So tallying it up, that's eleven trips for the year. It's not hard to hit a high number for total spending even when not being particularly lavish.

-Steph

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by metrunt » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:04 pm

researcher wrote:I assume you have a "base" budget for electric/water/utilities at your house. Since those are reduced when you are on vacation, do you apply this "everyday spending" as a credit to your vacation lodging, like you do for food & entertainment? Do you also subtract the gas you would typically put in your vehicles when not on vacation?
If I guesstimate it's less than $10 a day difference, I don't bother and assume it will all wash out in the end. The difference in my water bill when I'm home and when I'm not is far less than $300 a month, so I don't bother.

Now, some questions for you, if you pay your mortgage while on vacation, does that count as a vacation expense? What if it's your lake cabin that you only use for vacations, how about if then? What about your six month car insurance premium if it comes due while you're on vacation? What if it's a road trip for a month in your own vehicle? Do you count that month's premium? Your month's supply of birth control pills? Is that a 'vacation' expense? Your monthly gym membership at home. Is that included? What if your home gym has a location in the city you're visiting and you go there, is that now a vacation expense?

Those situations are all parallel, in different degrees, to what you're criticizing me for doing with food and 'event' expenses. You're already doing something similar to what I'm doing just for different expenses. I've chosen to build my budget in a certain way. If you don't like it, then don't do it that way.
Last edited by metrunt on Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by prudent » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:16 pm

There is no reason to make comments that disparage or insult others for their choices.

Forum policy states:
At all times we must conduct ourselves in a respectful manner to other posters. Attacks on individuals, insults, name calling, trolling, baiting or other attempts to sow dissension are not acceptable.
We may not all agree but we must be civil when posting.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by smitcat » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:25 pm

"Those situations are all parallel, in different degrees, to what you're criticizing me for doing with food and 'event' expenses. You're already doing something similar to what I'm doing, you just don't see it. I've chosen to build my budget in a certain way. If you don't like it, then don't do it that way."

It does not matter how you build it - it is your budget and you should always do whatever you think is best for your situation.
But posts have no value or they can easily be misleading without any type of explanation when they contain much more than face value.
Without any further explanation how does one understand the costs and budgeting behind the initial post?

"2 adults, 3 children. 2 x 1 week driving trips. 1 x 3 week trip by air with rental car.
$4,500 budget. 5% of gross income."

I am hoping that any of my posts can help others,, certainly there are plenty of posts that I read that help us.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by leonard » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:39 pm

an_asker wrote:
leonard wrote:[...]I realize we are talking total budgets here. $15k is a lot of total budget for one year for vacations.
I agree.

Also, the largest shirt anyone should wear is "Large", which is really too big in itself - any size bigger than that, and you're wasting cloth material :oops:
Darn. I hadn't even considered the shirt. I mean I wear a XXL and you clearly point out that a large is well - a "Large". And of courser the cloth. The cloth!

What on earth are you talking about? That's the problem with analogies. They go sideways and get everyone wrapped around the axle. Plus, why discuss shirts when we have the topic of vacations waiting right there for us?
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by metrunt » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:46 pm

smitcat wrote:But posts have no value or they can easily be misleading without any type of explanation when they contain much more than face value.
Without any further explanation how does one understand the costs and budgeting behind the initial post?
I posted just my 'number' just like everyone else, yet you call me 'misleading'. Why are you so focused on me? You haven't called anyone else out for being misleading. Even though you don't actually know how other people are calculated their numbers. Isn't every post without context misleading?

I've posted more about my methodology than anyone else on this thread, maybe more than everyone else combined actually! Yet, you're still saying I'm being misleading. It's hard not to find that insulting.

If I ran my numbers the way you think everyone should, then I come out to 6% of gross rather than 5%. How does that affect the 'value' of my posts? Have I 'misled' you because of single percentage point difference?

And finally, (and really finally, this will be my final post in this thread), lighten up. This is a thread about vacation budgets, it's not tax advice, it's not medical advice, it's not life or death. It's "what do you spend on a vacation". You've spent a lot of time saying what I'm posting has no value or is misleading as if it's some sort of danger to the Boglehead community. Really?

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:48 pm

leonard wrote:
an_asker wrote:
leonard wrote:[...]I realize we are talking total budgets here. $15k is a lot of total budget for one year for vacations.
I agree.

Also, the largest shirt anyone should wear is "Large", which is really too big in itself - any size bigger than that, and you're wasting cloth material :oops:
Darn. I hadn't even considered the shirt. I mean I wear a XXL and you clearly point out that a large is well - a "Large". And of courser the cloth. The cloth!

What on earth are you talking about? That's the problem with analogies. They go sideways and get everyone wrapped around the axle. Plus, why discuss shirts when we have the topic of vacations waiting right there for us?
I think the point was - and is - that not everyone wears the same size shirt.
Everyone should wear whatever size "works for him/her".

There isn't "one size fits all".
We are all at different points in our lives, in our savings, and - importantly - in what things or experiences give us pleasure, when we have the resources to afford them.

Ditto vacations.
Or cars.

$15k (or "whatever amount") isn't "a lot" (or "too much") for someone who can afford it and prefers to spend their money on "that".

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by HomerJ » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:54 pm

Vilgan wrote:Snorkel gear is cheap to buy and then costs 0 going forward.
Who wants to pack snorkeling fins in their suitcase?

And snorkeling off the beach is okay I guess, but you can usually find much more to see by taking a boat out to a reef. Which isn't free.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by leonard » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:08 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
leonard wrote:
an_asker wrote:
leonard wrote:[...]I realize we are talking total budgets here. $15k is a lot of total budget for one year for vacations.
I agree.

Also, the largest shirt anyone should wear is "Large", which is really too big in itself - any size bigger than that, and you're wasting cloth material :oops:
Darn. I hadn't even considered the shirt. I mean I wear a XXL and you clearly point out that a large is well - a "Large". And of courser the cloth. The cloth!

What on earth are you talking about? That's the problem with analogies. They go sideways and get everyone wrapped around the axle. Plus, why discuss shirts when we have the topic of vacations waiting right there for us?
I think the point was - and is - that not everyone wears the same size shirt.
Everyone should wear whatever size "works for him/her".

There isn't "one size fits all".
We are all at different points in our lives, in our savings, and - importantly - in what things or experiences give us pleasure, when we have the resources to afford them.

Ditto vacations.
Or cars.

$15k (or "whatever amount") isn't "a lot" (or "too much") for someone who can afford it and prefers to spend their money on "that".

RM
Did we need a convoluted analogy for that point?

BTW - anyone - anyone - tries to charge me $15k for my XXL shirt - I'll squeeze in to that Large.
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by JDCarpenter » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:20 pm

ResearchMed wrote:...

There isn't "one size fits all".
We are all at different points in our lives, in our savings, and - importantly - in what things or experiences give us pleasure, when we have the resources to afford them.

Ditto vacations.
Or cars.

$15k (or "whatever amount") isn't "a lot" (or "too much") for someone who can afford it and prefers to spend their money on "that".

RM
Good summation. For us, different points in our lives have made a huge difference. When raising kids (especially when all three were in college!), the percentage of spending on vacations was much smaller than now that they are on their own. The differences in that percentage between last full year of work, this year with 1/2 year of work, and next year as fully retired will be huge. No way would >50% of spending on vacations/travel have been appropriate for us when we had kids; nor could we personally justify it for a couple annual weeks of vacation when we are still working. When we quit work, it will be another story entirely for a decade or more (fingers crossed!)--but we anticipate travel to be the focus of our lives, and many/most would not be interested in going that route.
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by boglephreak » Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:22 pm

we take one high-end international vacation a year. our philosophy is that we want to see and enjoy as much as possible in that country as we can in a short amount of time (due to vacation time restrictions), and thus tend to spend more. my wife also demands high end hotels (it is a constant struggle since i think they are a waste of money) and so we splurge there. we dont "budget" although we do compare prices and try to get the best deals we can, we look for free options wherever we go and we buy food from grocery stores for most breakfasts and lunches. that being said, we usually spend less than 5% of our gross annual income. we are well to do though so not sure exact amounts will help. since this is my one true "vice," i have no qualms about spending a lot on vacations.

when i was younger and backpacking with a high school friend (not my wife), we did the hostels and cheapest options in our international travel. those were great times as well. i cant say the amount of money spent equates with the enjoyment value since i loved those vacations, and love the ones i do now. i am older and less in shape now though (and less desirable to deal with all of the inconveniences of cheap travel). my wife has really taught me to loosen the purse strings.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by researcher » Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:47 pm

metrunt wrote:If I guesstimate it's less than $10 a day difference, I don't bother and assume it will all wash out in the end. The difference in my water bill when I'm home and when I'm not is far less than $300 a month, so I don't bother.

Now, some questions for you, if you pay your mortgage while on vacation, does that count as a vacation expense? ?????

You're already doing something similar to what I'm doing just for different expenses. I've chosen to build my budget in a certain way. If you don't like it, then don't do it that way.
I don't want to beat a dead horse here, so I'll keep it short. You are the one who adds/subtracts expenses from your "everyday budget" or "base budget" from your vacation expenses. I don't do that.

It is simple. Say I leave home with $5000 in cash to take an impromptu 7 day vacation. I come back a week later with $0, having spent my money on gas/food/lodging/entertainment/ect. My vacation spending was $5000.

You would report spending ~$4700 on that same vacation, even though you'd have nothing left from the $5000 you started with.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by an_asker » Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:27 pm

leonard wrote:
ResearchMed wrote:
leonard wrote:
an_asker wrote:
leonard wrote:[...]I realize we are talking total budgets here. $15k is a lot of total budget for one year for vacations.
I agree.

Also, the largest shirt anyone should wear is "Large", which is really too big in itself - any size bigger than that, and you're wasting cloth material :oops:
Darn. I hadn't even considered the shirt. I mean I wear a XXL and you clearly point out that a large is well - a "Large". And of courser the cloth. The cloth!

What on earth are you talking about? That's the problem with analogies. They go sideways and get everyone wrapped around the axle. Plus, why discuss shirts when we have the topic of vacations waiting right there for us?
I think the point was - and is - that not everyone wears the same size shirt.
Everyone should wear whatever size "works for him/her".

There isn't "one size fits all".
We are all at different points in our lives, in our savings, and - importantly - in what things or experiences give us pleasure, when we have the resources to afford them.

Ditto vacations.
Or cars.

$15k (or "whatever amount") isn't "a lot" (or "too much") for someone who can afford it and prefers to spend their money on "that".

RM
Did we need a convoluted analogy for that point?

BTW - anyone - anyone - tries to charge me $15k for my XXL shirt - I'll squeeze in to that Large.
I love analogies. Your shirt might vary haha ;-)

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by an_asker » Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:32 pm

researcher wrote:
an_asker wrote:I agree with your way of calculation. If you have a budget of $xxx,xxx, that means you can spend cash upto $xxx,xxx.

Think about it this way, if the airline bumps you from cattle class to first class, would that change your budget for that trip? If you are going for a cruise at the lowest category and paying $400/person for a cruise that folks pay up to $1,000/person (bigger cabin, etc), does that change your cost for the cruise?
metrunt:
Based on the OP (below), what he/she is trying to figure out is exactly what you (and I) are doing, i.e., maximize the fun while minimizing the expenses (i.e., creative ways of paying for the vacation without impacting the budget).
An Asker -
I don't think you understand how metrunt is calculating his vacation spending.

This is what metrunt is doing...
He actually spends $5550 in CASH while on vacations in a given year, but reports here that he spent $4500.

Let me ask you a question...
Say you take a 5 day vacation and spend $500 cash on food. What would you report as your food expenses? The answer is $500 of course.

Metrunt would report his food expenses were $375.
He creates this number by theorizing that he would have spent $25/day in food if he weren't on vacation, and subtracting this amount from what he actually spent.

Metrunt's calculations have nothing to do with "maximizing funds while minimizing expenses."
I missed where metrunt actually spent money and then represented that part of that would've been normal spending anyway. If that was mentioned, I would disagree with metrunt.

But I did see a discussion where folks (maybe not you) were saying that free travel obtained with credit card mileage points etc should be represented by an actual real dollar figure. That I disagree with.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by Rodc » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:34 pm

an_asker wrote:
researcher wrote:
an_asker wrote:I agree with your way of calculation. If you have a budget of $xxx,xxx, that means you can spend cash upto $xxx,xxx.

Think about it this way, if the airline bumps you from cattle class to first class, would that change your budget for that trip? If you are going for a cruise at the lowest category and paying $400/person for a cruise that folks pay up to $1,000/person (bigger cabin, etc), does that change your cost for the cruise?
metrunt:
Based on the OP (below), what he/she is trying to figure out is exactly what you (and I) are doing, i.e., maximize the fun while minimizing the expenses (i.e., creative ways of paying for the vacation without impacting the budget).
An Asker -
I don't think you understand how metrunt is calculating his vacation spending.

This is what metrunt is doing...
He actually spends $5550 in CASH while on vacations in a given year, but reports here that he spent $4500.

Let me ask you a question...
Say you take a 5 day vacation and spend $500 cash on food. What would you report as your food expenses? The answer is $500 of course.

Metrunt would report his food expenses were $375.
He creates this number by theorizing that he would have spent $25/day in food if he weren't on vacation, and subtracting this amount from what he actually spent.

Metrunt's calculations have nothing to do with "maximizing funds while minimizing expenses."
I missed where metrunt actually spent money and then represented that part of that would've been normal spending anyway. If that was mentioned, I would disagree with metrunt.

But I did see a discussion where folks (maybe not you) were saying that free travel obtained with credit card mileage points etc should be represented by an actual real dollar figure. That I disagree with.
Agree that free miles are free. But it is, let's say not entirely fair, to castigate others for buying airline tickets because they don't have free miles to use, or imply some sort of virtue for low spending on vacations.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by madbrain » Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:46 pm

Vilgan wrote: I can absolutely get spending 3-4k on a vacation and I might do that someday in the future. So someone saying they spent 3k for their Hawaii vacation seems reasonable. But these numbers like 18k etc sound insanely high unless you are spending months in hong kong living high on the hog.
The 18k included a round the world trip from California to Paris, Ho Chi Minh, Shanghai, Macau, and Hong Kong. But not months - only 23 days total.
Also included the end of our last year-end 2.5 week trip to Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh and Siem Reap. It was over 20,000 miles in the air and 8 flights.
We only fly economy. We do stay in 4 and 5 star hotels only. In Paris, I stayed with my mother, so hotel involved.

I shopped the cost of every accommodation and ticket very carefully. However, as I mentioned, half of the cost for our last year was covered by frequent flyer miles/credit card signup bonuses, so most of the flights & hotels were actually free net of those. I assigned a value based on what these flights & hotels would have cost assuming paying cash. And I tracked the value of the credit card rewards in quicken under my "credit card rewards" category. If we didn't have the rewards, we might have waited a little longer to take such a trip, or maybe split it in two trips - one to Europe and another to Asia.

Most of our hotels for the last trip included room & board, so we didn't have separate food expenses. I track and categorize every single dollar and cent of spending in Quicken so I have a pretty good idea of our actual spending. Only the cash spending is hard to categorize unfortunately as there are no receipts.

Also, even if we paid cash, $18k would represent about 10% of gross income, and with the offsetting CC rewards, only about 5% of gross income, which is I think is a very reasonable amount to spend on vacations, especially given limited number of vacation days we have here in the US. If we were retired and traveling for much longer periods of time, we probably would not splurge for 4/5 star hotels, though. .
Last edited by madbrain on Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by madbrain » Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:49 pm

an_asker wrote: But I did see a discussion where folks (maybe not you) were saying that free travel obtained with credit card mileage points etc should be represented by an actual real dollar figure. That I disagree with.
I think it makes complete sense to put a dollar figure on them, especially if you would have taken the trip and paid for it cash anyway. We didn't change the style of our vacations - didn't splurge for business class tickets or more expensive hotels than we already used to go to and paid cash for in the past. So of course I put a dollar figure on those and counted them as expenses, and put a corresponding offsetting amount as income under "credit card rewards" in Quicken.

an_asker
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Re: Annual Vacation Budget

Post by an_asker » Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:36 pm

madbrain wrote:
an_asker wrote: But I did see a discussion where folks (maybe not you) were saying that free travel obtained with credit card mileage points etc should be represented by an actual real dollar figure. That I disagree with.
I think it makes complete sense to put a dollar figure on them, especially if you would have taken the trip and paid for it cash anyway. We didn't change the style of our vacations - didn't splurge for business class tickets or more expensive hotels than we already used to go to and paid cash for in the past. So of course I put a dollar figure on those and counted them as expenses, and put a corresponding offsetting amount as income under "credit card rewards" in Quicken.
On the drive home from work (before I read your and Rodc's reply above), I thought through a bit more and I guess both ways make sense as long as you say what your reasoning is.

If you didn't have the miles, for instance, your vacation budget would've been $xx,xxx and now that you have that, your budget is now $xy,xxx (or something like that) because you earned $z,000 from the miles!

PS: Maybe say that annual vacation budget is $xx,xxx plus "whatever I get from second job, miles, aunts and uncles, yada yada yada" ;-)

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