Vacation (All I Ever Wanted), or: How to Feel Better the Next Time You Get Away

blog tips travel vacation Dec 01, 2021

Good morning, afternoon, or evening, money pals! Let’s get right into it:


I love road trips, I love gas station snacks*, I love planes, I love overpriced airport Starbucks, I LOVE ACCOMMODATIONS.

But it can be hard-- if finances are low/tight--to feel like you’re even allowed to take a vacation, much less really enjoy your time away, right? Today we’re going to break down three basic tips to help you feel more emotionally and financially euphoric about your next adventure.

Fun personal fact: *my* favorite vacation spot in the world is Walt Disney World (yeah, I’m one of THOSE gays), so I’ll be referencing Disney a lot in this article. But you should go wherever you want!

You know what’s free? TAKING A BREAK. 

I can hear my Dad now: We paid $$$ for tickets, so by golly, we’re gonna get the most bang for our buck!

I mean, valid, Dad, but hear me out here:

As I write this, the operating hours of Disney’s Magic Kingdom are 9am to 9pm. THAT IS A LOT OF A DAY, YEAH? And you know what’s not super fun? Being exhausted and cranky and unhappy with yourself, your traveling party, and this wonderful, expensive place you’ve paid to spend your day. So: take a break! Go back to your hotel (we’ll get to hotels…), take a nap, chill at the pool, RECHARGE THOSE BATTERIES. What’s the point in staying for Disney fireworks if you’re too tired to even enjoy them?

To that end: figure out what you and your team’s priorities actually are. It’s okay to not be a fireworks person, just like it’s okay to not be a super bright and early park opening person! I judge that it’s important to undo the mindset that Disney-time spent resting ought to be considered a waste; either of Disney itself or of what you paid to be there. 

Choose your accommodations carefully.

Again, I can already hear my Dad on this one: “The hotel is just where you SLEEP! You shouldn’t spend a lot of money on it!”

And, like, okay, Dad! That’s a valid set of values regarding how you want to spend your money and your time regarding your vacation! But a friendly little whisper to all my fellow adult children of fancy-hotel-averse-parents: You’re allowed to want the luxury accommodations.

Hotels might be my favorite part of traveling. I love tiny shampoos and watching Food Network in a bed I don’t have to make and I LOVE the smell of industrial cleaner in a hotel hallway. Sometimes I fantasize about just staying overnight at a nice hotel in my own city. Which is okay! The point here is to untangle the voices in your head that make you feel like your recreational desires might be “too” indulgent, etc.

Now, sure: if you know you’re a Fancy Hotel Person who doesn’t always have Fancy Hotel Money, you’ll need to be extra considerate about your budget leading up to your trip. (Have you taken Michelle’s No BS Budgeting MasterClass yet?)

Maybe you’re more like my Dad, though, and the lodgings aren’t a big deal to you! In that case, maybe also look into an option like AirBnB! Here’s a handy article I found on TravelFreak that lists some helpful pros and cons of hotels and AirBnBs. 

Your goals are yours alone and they are worthy. 

There's plenty of useful information out there about traveling on a specific budget, which, of course, is awesome! My goal, though, is to help you feel empowered to consider a different route for your trip, IF THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT. Maybe that means you travel a little less frequently, but that you go all out when you do, right?

My main recommendation is to get with your travel party with plenty of time in advance to figure out everyone's goals and needs. For example, maybe it doesn't matter as much to you to stay in luxury, but you do want to arrive in style, so budgeting for a first class flight is important to you. Get those fancier snacks, my friend!

Maybe you're 32-years-old and you can't bear to leave Disney World without a $15 Mickey Mouse balloon. No judgement!

My travel pals and I have become big spreadsheet planners and it's nice to have an easy place to track accommodation, recreation, and dining goals all in one place. Send that Google Sheet invite today and get to color coding!

You're not any more or less of an adventurer for the travel details that really mean the most to you. Take a deep breath, get organized, and be sure to send me pictures while you're there. Bon voyage!

* Shout-out to Buc-ee's, the finest purveyor of fudge and brisket tacos between Atlanta and Orlando.

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