Covering parenting and child development issues
He is richest who is content with the least. (Socrates)
It's vacation planning season. Those who are planning big trips, or who head to the same destination every summer have already made reservations and sketched out plans. Those in the mood for something different - or for whom vacation simply isn't a given - are still pondering. At least that's the situation at our house.
Vacation of some kind has always been a given in our family, at least since our daughter was little. The day trips and weekends away when she was small gave way to weeks at the beach, first as a family, then with company for her. Somewhere in the middle of those typical vacations, we took a cruise - a trip we talk about doing again, but so far, haven't planned.
This summer, we're all itching for something new, but with the exception of the excursion to Europe my daughter dreams of, no one has really come up with a fantastic destination. Since she turns 16 in the fall and is angling for a (chaperoned) trip to NYC with friends, that factors into the plans we'll make for this summer.
Yet even with options that seem endless, we're having difficulty. The beach, a longtime default that we've all enjoyed, was less than alluring to some of us this year. Accustomed to downsizing champagne tastes into a beer budget, we decided to look at local and regional destinations, only to find that hotel costs quickly eliminated the savings we'd hoped for by taking long weekends nearby.
By this time, I knew I'd discovered my blog topic, so I did what I should have done first - I googled budget vacations. The first several hits reminded me why travel sites are so popular. On a whim, I priced a 7 night cruise to the Bahamas, an all-inclusive trip that included a day at a private beach. When I compared the price to the price of the accommodations alone for our two "long weekend" (in the interest of variety) stays, there wasn't much difference - and when we factored in details like meals and activities at our local destinations, the difference was negligible.
And so we're back to the drawing board. I don't know where we'll end up going for vacation this summer (though I'm holding out for at least a weekend at a beach somewhere - private or otherwise), but having opened my mind to something beyond the "same old same old," I'm pleasantly surprised to discover I don't necessarily have to open my checkbook as well - at least not any more than usual. And whatever our destination may end up being, it's truly the least important consideration. What matters most is the memories we'll make wherever we are.
Even if it's not a private island in the Bahamas.