I mentioned last week that we weren’t sure if we were taking a beach vacation this summer. Thanks to all of your comments and feedback, we’ve decided to plan a low budget (for us) beach vacation.
The memory of a summer trip to the coast is more important to us than the money we would save by skipping a year.
It’s become well known that with passing time, memories or experiences appreciate, while stuff we buy oftentimes depreciates. And even if our stuff doesn’t depreciate in actual value, our happiness with it usually does.
For example, if you take a hard look at the new refrigerator you bought five years ago, it probably doesn’t make you boil over with excitement. You wouldn’t likely glow with enthusiasm when telling the tale of the first time you swept the coils and then pull up your digital photos to relive the experience.
An enjoyable family trip on the other hand, will likely bring fuzzy memories and stories for years to come. When you gather with your family for holidays you’ll laugh as you talk about the time little Timmy didn’t realize that pretty shell he was collecting was actually a live crab.
And as this CNN.com articles verifies, our brains need vacations!
What Makes for a Fun and Affordable Beach Trip?
We have about $1,300.00 saved in an account specifically earmarked for a summer vacation. We knew we wanted to visit either North or South Carolina, but we weren’t sure exactly where. As our search progressed, we decided that we would really like to visit Hilton Head Island — but we didn’t want to pay the Hilton Head vacation rental prices!
From what I’ve seen while searching for vacation rentals in Hilton Head, there are some stunning, and expensive vacation resorts on the island. It is important to us to have kitchen so we can prepare many of our own meals, so we knew we wanted a condo-type rental.
It’s also important that all of us have a place to sleep, but we decided that a pullout sofa bed would be fine for our oldest, while our toddler will sleep in a portable crib. This eliminates the need for a two bedroom condo.
The highest priorities for us overall are a great location and a covered balcony with ocean views.
We saw many phenomenal condos throughout our search over the past week. We talked to a handful of owners we found through VRBO.com. And after an all-consuming search, we found a vacation rental.
The Winning Vacation Rental
The condo we went with is a one bedroom unit with a pullout sleeper sofa, a full kitchen and one full bathroom. It was newly renovated this year and the covered balcony has a great view of the ocean. It will be a smaller place than what we would usually stay in, but the price is really, really right.
We saved a little money ($50) by shaving one day off our trip (thanks for that tip Rachel!), and making it a six night vacation instead of seven. We’re also going during the first week of the off-peak season. Or so we thought.
The VRBO site had the first week of off-peak rates listed as mid-August for the unit we rented, but the site was supposed to list summer rates through the end of August. Because the site was erroneous, the owner honored the off-peak rates for us.
Hilton Head has something like 50 miles of bike paths streaming throughout the island, and our condo rental comes with two bikes. This means Kirk and I won’t have to rent bikes and we’ll just need to decide whether we’ll rent a bike for our oldest, or try to bring his with us.
The unit also has two beach chairs, which is a bonus — if we ever get to sit in them. Last year we never bothered to rent beach chairs because with two young boys, we never got the chance to sit down!
The Cost of Our Low Budget Beach Vacation
So, you’re probably wonder how much the rental will actually cost us. And you know I LOVE to share the juicy numbers…so here they are: For six nights, we’ll pay $525.00, which averages out to about $87.50 per night. There is an 11% tax on top of that total, which brings it up to $582.75, or $97.00. Not bad.
This means we will have spent $717.25 less then what we thought we would on a vacation rental. I would love to say that we’ll use the savings to pay down debts, but it will likely go towards gas and food for the trip, along with something fun while we’re away.
And if we have any money left over in the account after our trip, we’ll just let it grow into a new fund for another trip!
How do you prioritize traveling or experiences in your life? At what point do you decide to skip a trip?
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