Tag Archives: summer vacation

Vacation “Rules”

My Summer Vacation Rules:

1) Limit Technology: Check Emails once or twice a day and not first thing in the morning.  Make it a low priority to always be “connected”.

…BUT make time for TV and movies. I rarely get time to watch TV so it’s nice to just relax and watch old favorite shows or movies.  I associate internet, emails and smartphones with work/adulthood while TV is a thing from childhood and thus, more relaxing.

3) Don’t keep up on blog reading: I’m sure I’ll miss some interesting conversations but I associate blog reading with my usual routine and need a break.

…And Read Lots of Books Instead! One of the joys of summer. I remember many days spent at the local library.  I may even revisit books from young adulthood.  Since my vacation is just one week,  I actually don’t think I’ll go through that many books but I’ll be happy to just get through one or two.

I started reading “A Separate Peace” a classic coming-of-age story that takes place one summer but decided to put this reading on hold til my actual vacation.  It’s so beautifully written that I feel like I was once a teenage boy at a New England boarding school during a long, lazy summer.  If anyone has recommendations for books that place in the summertime, let me know!

3) Enjoy Unscheduled Moments: I like to plan some fun things or else we’ll end up in our PJs at home all vacation.  At the same time, it’s nice to have unscheduled free time… The key word is to enjoy it and not stress about “not doing anything”

…But Plan At Least 2 Fun Activities: If we don’t plan anything, we’ll end up doing nothing. I may end up settling for some playdates and library storytimes but I am determined to do some fun and new things with the kids!

Do you have any “rules” or must-dos for your vacation?

A Cheap Summer Vacation?

One of the biggest take-aways I got from the classic finance book, “Your Money or Your Life”, was the idea that you can meet your needs differently.  In our consumer-driven culture, we instinctively reach for our credit cards to meet our needs and wants.  If we want to relax, we book a massage or trip.  If we are sad, we buy a gadget or purse.  We often forget that those same needs/wants can be met by frugal options.

As I said, the idea of frugal options was eye-opening for me.  However, after my intial enthusiasm wore off, I fell back to my usual habits of swiping my credit cards.   As soon as we decided on our summer vacation, I booked a hotel and started looking for deals to amusement parks and zoos.

Of course a slew of bills, including dreaded DMV fees and medical bills, made me re-think our vacation plans.  I cancelled the beach hotel reservation ($140 per night + $20 daily parking fee).  Our planned excursions will be scaled down, too.  Instead of the Long Beach Aquarium  ($18.95 per adult after a discount), I found a smaller aquarium with a $5 admission fee for the entire family.  Plus, the beach is free!

If this change of plans was only about saving money, it would be kind of depressing.  What makes a difference is that I know that these cheaper options will meet the same needs.  A hotel stay would have meant a change of scenery but the kids get cranky in foreign settings and the sleep battle would probably not be worth it.   If I hire the cleaning lady for an extra visit, buy some fresh flowers and change the bed sheets, I’ll be pretty happy.  As for the fancy aquarium, all I really wanted was to expose my kids to more things. They probably don’t have the stamina or interest to appreciate a large aquarium.  A smaller aquarium combined with a visit to a beach (free) will do the same thing.  

I’ve also found a lot of free or lower-cost family-friendly activities to fill out the rest of our summer vacation calendar.  Summer can be fun and cheap.

What are your exciting vacation plans, if any?

July 20: Unplanned

Every Wednesday, I’ll (try) to post up a Simple Living Tip, with an emphasis on tips that can be done while living a more traditional 9-to-5 life. 

While on my own mini-staycation, I had many unplanned days.  To tell you the truth, these stress me out a bit.  My unplanned days tend to turn into household chores and errands, with a bits of or lots of TV and web browsing.  

Unplanned days did not stress me out when I was younger (or even now whenever I’m traveling).  That’s because in college or early 20s, you can stumble upon things to do.  While I admit that my unplanned days were usually humdrum, there was always the possibility — like the time I had nothing planned but ended up with free tickets to a heavy metal concert.  

These days, I stress out because I know that my unplanned days will definitely be errand-filled and the scary thing is that I don’t really want to do anything out-of-the ordinary.   I guess I have to kick myself out of my rut once in a while.