Thursday, February 4, 2016

Our 2016 vacation budget . . . where are we going?

We have lots of great plans (as always, we are travel lovers!) in 2016. We typically spend a big chunk of our travel budget visiting our family (in the Portland area), as well as an adult weekend away. Here's how we're planning to spend our travel budget in 2016, and our plans for each trip.

  • January - nothing. I did go to Tokyo, but let's not count that, shall we? I saw the airport, the hotel, the office, I did go for omakase, and then back to the hotel, & airport. Sigh. Work trips. Budget = nada. Or, the $14.99 for my wasted flat bread. However you want to look at it. ;-) 
  • February - the boys get a week off in February, so we take advantage of the long weekend & fly to my parents. We actually take the boys & their cousins to an indoor water park (Great Wolf Lodge ;-)) Then we have a joint birthday party for the kids at my parents house. It also happens to be my 40th birthday, but we're saving that for something a bit later in the year & will celebrate when we have more schedule flexibility. I paid for the flights & the hotel stay back in 2015. The total budget for flights for 4, a car rental for M to get to & fro while we're at the Lodge, and our half of the hotel = $1800. Remaining to pay for = $450.
  • March - Nothing scheduled.
  • April - I'm taking the boys to the beach for spring break. Not counting my time off (which, technically I could have cashed out when I left), the flights & expenses are actually right around the same price as a camp. Also, I changed the date of a girls weekend to bookend with this trip, and my parents will watch the boys for a few days while I'm having girl time at the beach house. Win/win! The total budget for the beach trip is flights for 3, a car rental for me to get to & from the beach house, and extraneous food = $1100. Remaining to pay for =$350.
  • May - Nada. 
  • June - I'm going to take the boys to my parents house for the big biking tournament, then leave them there while I potentially go sort out my work situation & finish up the last few things. Basically, I'd like to stay until my options vest on the 25th. So, I'll fly out, take them to my parents, fly back & then fly back again a week or so later to kick off our family beach trip that will last through the 4th of July. Haven't even started to price this out, but the total budget for this trip is flights for 5 (4 of us plus me one extra time), a car rental, & extraneous food = $2000. Would obviously love to shave this down a bit, so I'll have to keep my eye out for great deals on airfare.  Remaining to pay for = $2000.
  • July - It's my annual girls trip, although this year we're thinking of doing Napa rather than Las Vegas, and celebrating my 40th birthday, as well as my BFFs big day. M has given me $5,000 towards this, but there's zero chance I'll spend that much, even if we really "live it up". ;-) The $5,000 technically isn't part of the vacation budget, as M has a special fund he saves up for big events, gifts, etc. But, for visibility, let's include the more reasonable expectation of budget here. Total budget for this trip is the hotel, food, gas money & likely some sort of transportation during one of the days (as we'll be doing tastings & won't want to drive) - $1500. Remaining to pay for = $1500.
  • August - I'll be joining my family again for the Portland to Coast relay. Total budget for this trip is my part of gas money for the van, my flight, a little food, etc. You really don't get to eat much - I occasionally buy a hot dog & bag of chips out of someone's yard, but that's it. ;-) Total budget - $400. Remaining to pay for = $400. 
  • September - Nothing
  • October - it's our anniversary. Now that my parents are both retired (my dad is freelancing, so has a very flexible schedule), it should be easy for them to come to visit the boys. We just came up with this plan this week, so no budget has been planned for. But, I'll cover the cost of my parents flights. So, total budget for this trip = $2000, including flights for my parents, and whatever M & I decide to do. Remaining to pay for = $2000. 
  • November - We've been planning to take the kids to Hawaii for Thanksgiving, using mostly mileage & hotel points. However, the miles are insane this year. We've done it before with no problem, but now it looks like each ticket will cost 80,000 miles. Not a great way to spend our miles, and would also require a cash outlay. So, instead we may spread those miles around on other trips (Christmas, the summer trip, etc) & then funnel that cash savings into Hawaii flights. Still TBD, obviously. I also need to look into the hotel to see if using points are a viable option on that end as well. My original budget was meant to include a rental car and food, with the rest covered by points & miles, so budget = $1500. Remaining to pay for = $1500. This one needs some serious scrutiny, however, as I'm not sure this will happen in 2016. We may push out to spring break of 2017, given miles & points issues. 
  • December - we'll head to see my parents for Christmas, and then to the beach house. The budget includes flights for four at a premium time of year, & a rental car. Total budget = $1500. Remaining to pay for = $1500. 

Looking at it all in one place is a little nuts! 

Total budget for 2016 travel = $9800
Total left to pay for in 2016 = $7,700

Looking ahead to 2017, when I will (I presume) be making significantly less money, I'll likely cut out the February trip, and we won't go to Hawaii with the kids (it's currently an every other year thing, but will likely move to less frequently). I'd like to keep the remaining trips, but find ways to continue to reduce the costs, as spending time with my family is super important. 

And now you, how do you budget for your travel? What's on the itinerary for 2016? Are you already planning ahead for 2017?


  1. Not yet planning for 2017 but have plans in the work for this year. We have sons in New York and Portland, so we have trips planned for both coasts. Most likely we will travel to both Portland and New York a couple of times this year and work in a trip to the beach (just 4 hours by car) and every other weekend at the lake.

  2. Lots of fun stuff! I think you tend to be like me, save on little stuff so you can spend money on travel and fun. We have Spain 10 nights in April and I am about to book a 3 night June weekend for Hubbys Birthday to Tofino. In December we fly to Alberta to see family but can't really see anything else at this point.

  3. Wanted to share my experience with a trip to Maui. I have always planned vacations myself, room, car, and dining. When I planned our trip to Maui, it was going to be close to four thousand dollars. Spoke with a travel agent who got us same deal, for half the money. I decided I should let the experts do their thing from now on.

    Garrett Newman @ Branson Regal