Taking a Vacation from Vacations

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When we went to Disneyland on our yearly family vacation this last summer, a lot of people probably thought we were a little crazy at the amount of excitement we felt and the amount of photos we took. For a lot of families in Arizona, a trip to neighboring Anaheim is a reality a few times a year — many friends of ours have season’s passes to Disneyland and go every school break. We got so much advice from them on restaurants, wait times, prime days to go and rides to “not miss” because they vacation there so often. For us, it was a different kind of trip — it was one we saved for and it will be the only time we visit this year so it was a huge deal for both us and the kids. We splurged on dinner packages and excursions because it was our “hurrah” for 2016. And you know what? That’s not sad…it’s ok with us.

When families think of a big trip maybe they think it involves a plane ride or an exotic location — or even taking off to a location they’ve never been to. For us, we try to really think practically about our trips, as we don’t vacation too often. That isn’t because we’re poor or don’t have time off, it’s because we choose to spend our money on something else and it’s a decision we made a few years ago.

Sawyer decided at a young age that her sport of choice was horseback riding. Although at the time we figured it would be a short stint (like most activity choices at 4 years old are) it has spiraled into a lifelong aspiration to become a competitive rider and even work with/own horses one day. Horseback riding is definitely an investment and it doesn’t have immediate payoff. It takes years of practice and dedication – along with minor setbacks and plateaus. The price tag that goes along with this longterm interest matches its rigor and it was something we didn’t plan on but now budget for.

At the ripe old age of 3 Garrett decided he had a passion for golf. Again, what does a three year old know about likes and dislikes? But, as it turns out, the kid can swing and he has continued to improve his game, leading him to private lessons and a league starting this fall. Do you hear the “Cha Ching” sound effect? You should because like riding, golf is not an inexpensive sport. We accommodate his longing to be a pro golfer (maybe) one day and help nurture his natural ability. Again, a budget we had no idea we’d have to set.

Add in Karate which we feel is dramatically helping Garrett with self discipline and respect  — and theater — which Sawyer takes very seriously these days and has asked for voice lessons to assist in her new hobby — and you have a hefty chunk of change leaving the bank account each month.

I feel truly blessed that Eric is the sole provider in this house, leaving me to be a stay at home mom, a job I take very seriously, and a job that has become a bit of a necessity since my health has been sketchy the last few years. However, it means something has to give in order to maintain a financially secure lifestyle — I am sure this is a balance many people can relate to! We talked about what needs to fall by the wayside and we decided travel was not going to be in the plans for the next few years.

Of course we take weekend trips — local or in a state nearby. We plan carefully to make sure the trips are chock full of memories and excitement. But we don’t take larger vacations more than once a year. Disneyland was a huge deal for us and the kids really appreciated it and still talk about it. They love Las Vegas, they love Chicago, these are excursions they look forward to all year, and they are happy to be doing what they love more regularly. I don’t think they feel slighted over their lack of travel. And in time, we will do more and travel to new places — we just like to make sure the destinations are ones they can truly appreciate, are old enough for and that we can do it up when we go. That way “travel is quality even when it can’t be quantity.”

I think priorities are a part of every family’s budget and lifestyle. I’m happy we can support our kids’ passions and we will travel as we can. For right now, we’ve taken a vacation from vacations — and that’s a sacrifice we aren’t sad about.

 

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