Carolina Dreaming

Suzanne Coblentz CareOne Debt Relief Serivces Blogger

My Idea of Nirvana

If you are able to take a vacation each and every summer, good for you, but for many of us juggling various financial goals, sometimes the big trips don’t make the cut.

Getting away can get extremely pricey, and that does not even include what you paid in advance for your trip.  Vacationing in general is just an expensive process.

As a result, it is not something that we do as a family each and every summer.  We typically do a few small weekend jaunts and live it up with the plastic pool in the backyard.

Normally the idea of any trip, big or small, fills me with mild financial panic.

I have a very hard time reconciling spending money on something like a trip; which does not bring any intrinsic value beyond quality time and memories. I realize that sounds like a harsh perspective, but working for a debt relief provider makes you super aware of your spending habits and the value of every dollar spent.

I just don’t remember doing the big summer vacation with my family each and every summer and yet, I have nothing but the fondest memories of my childhood.

Wait here as I heave myself up on my soapbox…

Sometimes I think we let social pressures get the best of us.  We worry we are not providing the best memories and experience for our children if they don’t attend the right summer camp, or if our annual summer vacation is not a Facebook worthy spectacle.

If you read my last blog, I am done with Mommy guilt about not being able to afford the life my kids are supposed to be having (At least the life we should be leading as depicted in the latest JC Penny, Old Navy, or similar retail chain’s commercial) and my attitude applies to vacations too.

Climbing down now…

Okay so with all of that said….I am less than two weeks away from my version of Nirvana….two weeks at a beach house in North Carolina.

Now a trip like this is a doozy. Believe me when I tell you that I have been planning this beast since LAST summer.

Yet, here I am, days away from my idea of Nirvana and I am blissfully stress-free about the financing of this trip. Normally I am fretting my heart out, worrying over every miscellaneous expense.

Not THIS year!

We planned in advance and had a stroke of good fortune that made a trip of this scale a possibility for my family.  Another stroke of good luck, good friends are going to stay at our house while we are away since they are here visiting family! They can keep our plant alive while we are gone!

So let me share a few things that we did to make this dream trip a reality!

  • As mentioned, we planned WAY in advance!  We started planning this trip last summer.  That gave us a year to strategize financially for it.
  • We are making this an extended family affair and sharing a very large beach home with my brothers, their families, my mother, and her brother and his family.  It is going to be a big boisterous group, but with everyone going, it helps to keep costs way down.
  • Staying in a home allows us to cook and prepare the bulk of our meals just as we do at home, a significant cost savings.
  • We are doing the bulk of our grocery shopping here and taking it with us to avoid the pricey grocery stores on the shore. The beach grocery stores are substantially more expensive than their counterparts on the mainland. We can bring a lot with us and save our budget for the fresh items down at the shore.
  • Each family member is bringing a different form of entertainment to share.  One family is bringing a volleyball net and gear, another is bringing a Wii, another family is bringing a variety of board games and the other is bringing a movie collection.
  • Gas, snacks, and the occasional mini golf outing will be covered based on some savvy budgeting moves taken the past six months.

So that is how we are making our summer dreams come true.  What about you?

About Suzanne Coblentz

12 Responses to “Carolina Dreaming”

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  1. Peter Quantock says:

    Couldn’t agree more Suzanne! Vacations growing up in my family usually involved lots of camping and the occasional trip to the beach (which my parents spent a year saving for!). Now I find myself doing the same thing…my wife and I have been planning a vacation overseas and we have gotten help from family too, including a free place to stay for a week! We are also renting an apartment for part of the trip so we can cook our own meals and not always spend money on dining out. This trip is a year and a half in the making. We have also already started planning (and saving for) our next trip next summer!

  2. Kathy says:

    what a great idea! I always envied families that did this. Sounds like the best of all worlds. I am looking forward to hearing about it afterwards. enjoy!

  3. Alicia says:

    Planning is key!!! But also a great idea to work with local tourism bureaus from the destination you are planning to visit… they know the inside scoop and cost-saving strategies while maximizing the experience for the traveler! My family is lucky because I work for the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau and know all the tricks to leisure travel! Can’t wait to hear about your trip… and from the kiddos too! Enjoy!

    • @Alicia, I love that tip about working with the local tourism bureau! Great idea and I wished I had employed it before leaving, but I am storing that away for next year 🙂 I absolutely love the Pocono Mountains, you are so lucky to live there! (I must come to visit soon….)

  4. KB says:

    I think it`s fantastic that so many of you are getting together for the vacation. It may not have any intrinsic value but some memories are priceless (if you`re not going into debt to have them!) Planning in advance is a major factor to keeping costs down. We usually do most of our grocery shopping by finding out where the locals shop as I find it hard to pack food in with all our stuff which is on a Thule luggage carrier on our vehicle roof!

  5. I’m definitely going to be saving this article for future reference. Thanks for the great tips! Enjoy your vacay!

  6. Planning and doing a trip like this makes it so much more enjoyable–no financial hangover!

    More and more hotels seem to have at least fridges and some stoves and plates and cutlery. It’s getting easier to avoid expensive restaurants for every meal when traveling. And avoid that vacation weight gain too!

    • Hi Kurt,

      Somehow I did manage to avoid the dreaded vacation weight gain, but I kind of messed up with my budget. Oh well, I learned a great lesson for next year 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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