Vacation Planning

When my wife and I got married, our honeymoon cost us about $400 and lasted three days.  This was our first vacation together.  We made the most of it.  We stayed at a B&B.  We had a couple of dinners out, bought some cheap kites to fly around the lagoon, rented a couples bike for an hour and went canoeing up a small creek.  I learned never to let my wife paddle a canoe, she learned that I can’t fly a kite.  It was simple and relaxing.  We went back for our one year anniversary for a night.  My wife was due with our first child within a few days of this.

But we didn’t vacation much after this.  We began to save for a home.  We also bought our first new car.  Then our second daughter was born.  We became busy with raising kids.  Our family was growing.  We had a third child a few years after.  We were now married for five years and no vacations were in sight for the near future.  Such was life.

First day at Disneyland in 2009. Early enough to stand at the gates waiting with anticipation.

Then it happened.  Early 2009 I got laid off.  I was given two days notice.  We had three small kids.  Six, four and two.  Being forced to take time off, I went on to the Disney website and booked a hotel and park tickets for us.  We left on the Friday driving straight down (24 hours with one four hour nap in a rest area).  We spent a week in Disneyland and forgot about all of our worries.  For under $2000 we had the experience of a lifetime.

When we returned home, we vowed to go to Disneyland every couple of years.  Turns out 18 months is the maximum time away that we can endure.  We have returned for Trick or Treating a few times and once for Spring Break.  Every time we go we make a new experience and set of memories.  I’m no expert on Disneyland, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve on how to make the most of a trip.

Sunset in Hawaii. 2014.

Besides Disneyland, we haven’t done much in the way of vacations.  We made it to Hawaii once for a Cheerleading competition.  We bought plane tickets and booked our hotel so far in advance that we ended up paying less than some of the other families that went along.  We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, and had all of the amenities we could need.  We loved that trip, but I’m not sure we will ever return to Hawaii.  There are plenty of other warm locations that we would love to travel to.

Side trip back from California through the desert.

Over the years we even incorporated a few extra days into my wife’s convention circuit.  Attending a variety of Comic Cons, we have had opportunities to see more of the world as we drive to and from the venues.  This is another huge money saver for us.  Adding a small detour doesn’t really add anything to our trip.  Plus my wife’s business makes enough that we pay cash for the hotels and use some of it as spending cash as we travel.

All of this is wonderful.  And generally inexpensive.  We budget like crazy to afford the trips.  We also plan months/years in advance.  We also enjoy that aspect of the vacation.  (At least I do.)

Planning their next stop back in 2009.

This year we have a couple conventions that were already booked and we also plan to go for a few days camping.  All of it either paid for already or not going to cost us much.  I have decided that we need to really expand for our next big vacation.  Worldwide expansion…

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