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It’s currently freezing outside. So, I’m naturally dreaming about warmer weather. Previously, I wrote about how taking a vacation can actually earn you more money. So I started thinking, where should we go this year?
In the past, our family has gravitated towards the Caribbean during the winter, but with the Zika outbreak, my wife and I are trying to exercise caution. I’ve done a little bit of research and know that Zika is mostly contained. Resorts tout that they consistently spray down their properties, which makes me happy since a pest control company is a part of 10% of my portfolio. While we might be too cautious, we are going to pass on the Caribbean until there is greater resolution or until we stop growing our family.
So with the Caribbean off limits, where else could we go? Each year, I am able to take off four weeks from work. This is normally a mix of staycations and usually a trip or two as well.
One location that we have penciled in is Toronto this summer for a quick weekend getaway. Flights are fairly cheap and through TripAdvisor, and we have found some really interesting things to do in that city. I’d also love to see Niagara Falls. I’ve always heard that Niagara Falls from the Canada side is more spectacular than the U.S. side. So I’ll have to see for myself 🙂
My parents are also thinking about joining us on the trip. My mom has an old friend that lives up there, so if they come with us, that might help determine if we stay in a hotel or Airbnb.
For those that have been or live in Toronto, is a weekend trip too short, or is it just right? I also welcome any suggestions you have on sights to see, restaurants to visit, and especially where to stay.
So, I know some of you that follow the blog closely are thinking, wait Toronto? Aren’t I obsessed with Iceland? Yes, you are correct.
My biggest concern is my son on a flight for six hours. He is an active little boy, and he has very little interest in watching TV for more than a few minutes. So I am a bit concerned of how we would keep him occupied on a flight. Especially since he would be contained to his seat. I would also hate to do an overnight flight and subject passengers to his crying or screaming, if he is not happy. So while I’d love to go in late August, I’m not sure it will be feasible for us this year. If you have any tips on flying with a rowdy one year old, I welcome any suggestions.
While it may not be the Caribbean, we are still considering a beach trip somewhere on the East Coast, unaffected by Zika. September seems to be a nice, quiet time, when most of the kids are back in school and beach rentals tend to be a bit cheaper. We were able to go down to the beach during that time of year a couple of years ago, and there is definitely a different vibe down at the beach, post-crowds. The weather is also still really nice. I’m sure my son would be able to get out all his energy rolling around on the beach. It will also be really nice to be able to catch up on some reading on my Kindle while soaking in some September sun.
Finally, I really hope that I have an opportunity to go to FinCon this year in Dallas, TX. I have heard so many great things about it, and I’m really sorry that I didn’t get an opportunity to go last year. At that time, I was so green with the blog that I wasn’t even sure how I would do as an introvert. Hopefully though I’ll have the confidence to go this year.
I haven’t signed up yet though, as I was looking for a new job and wanted to ensure that the conference wasn’t held during a particularly heavy workload time. So, I’ll have a much better idea of the office when I start my position. The last thing that I wanted to do was drop money on a non-transferrable FinCon pass.
If you plan on attending, please let me know as it will definitely allay some of my fears of walking into a room full of strangers.
Average Budget for Vacations
So with all these vacations and trips planned, I wondered about the amount of money that people budgeted for vacations. The average family of four spends around $4,000-$4,700 a year on a vacation. Almost half of the cost of a vacation is spent on transportation alone. Of course, some of you are professional travel hackers and have all sorts of ways to save tons of money in this area. Unfortunately, the average family may not be aware of all the savings tricks, as the above figures represent almost 8% of a family’s budget, based on a median income of $52,000.
Our Budget for Vacations
My wife and I make a little bit more than the median income, and the past couple of years our vacation budget as come out to roughly 2-3% of our total budget. Although I will admit that we did blow our vacation budget a couple of years ago after we paid off our mortgage when we backpacked through Europe as a celebration. Eight cities in 16 days is no small feat!
So readers what are your vacation plans this year? Do you spend as much as the average American? Do you budget for your vacation? Share your thoughts below.