Recently, my family and I went to Boulder, Colorado, for a week. My daughters' spring breaks lined up on the same week and we wanted to do something fun and casual, but that wouldn't break that bank! Ginger Leigh, my wife, and I used to live in Boulder, as did my oldest daughter, Haileigh, for the first three months of her life. In the last couple of years we have started going out to Colorado to hangout for a week or two. This time we drove from Inlet Beach, Florida, to Boulder. Yes…we drove! 24 hours, split up over two days. That's a lot of time in the car together, but I enjoyed it!
In the past, we would usually would rent a hotel and go out to eat for each meal. This approach adds up…FAST and can set a family back a bunch! We love to travel, but the cost of doing so started to impact the amount of traveling we could do.
Thank goodness for VRBO and Airbnb!
A couple of years ago we went to Ireland. The cost of hotels was going to stop us from going, until we found Airbnb. For my wife, this was a gamble. If it went wrong, I was going to need a lawyer. She gave in and we tried it. Luckily, we are still married! It ended up being a lot of fun. There were a couple of places that weren't great, but the majority were wonderful! The thing that saved us the most money was the kitchen. We can all cook decent meals, and Ginger can actually cook better than most of the restaurants we go to. So we started looking for Airbnbs and VRBOs with kitchens. We cook breakfast at the place and then go and do our thing. And if we feel like cooking dinner, we do. We have gotten into the state of mind that we would rather save the money and travel more than eat out and gain a couple of unwanted pounds. Plus, bacon, eggs, and a bowl of fruit at the place will cost about $3 to $4 per person instead of eating out for $10 to $15 per person.
So, on our trip to Boulder we stayed in a VRBO, spent $200 in groceries and stayed under our budget. We hiked Mt. Sanitas, the Boulder Creek path, and went on a couple of other hikes. Haileigh went thrift store shopping and bought four items, which she then turned around and sold on eBay and made a 75% return on her investment. We had a great time. We got to be together. That’s the most important part to me. Time with my family.
Money buys us things that can bring pleasure, but often times those things end up in the closet because the shine wears off. It’s the experiences and time with my family that I have found to be the thing that brings me the most joy in life. Maybe it's because I’ve lost the opportunity to be around some of the people that I love. It makes me want to experience life with those that mean the most to me. Money is a tool. It has no feelings. It never cries over me. So why cry over money? Learning to use money to create memories is the trick. It’s the memories that you will take with you…so learn to cook.
If you want to talk more about some simple ways to save money when you travel so you can spend more time with those you love, reach out to me. We can discuss your situation and figure out what may work best for you. Email me at email@example.com to get in touch.