Vacation? In This Market?

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Commuting to and from Lower Manhattan every day—among people who may or may not have jobs next week—has gotten us thinking about the wisdom of spending money on luxury items like family vacations in such uncertain financial times. Even families who are lucky enough to have a stable and predictable income stream over the next few years, seem hesitant too book that luxury safari holiday for four.

For those of us who still choose to devote line items of our family budgets to travel and who make travel a focal point of our families, you may be wondering …

Should we choose a staycation this year and skip our big annual trip?
Flying is a big expense these days so it’s tempting to forgo the hassles and taxes associated with airports in favor of vacation time around the house. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of staycations—it’s too tempting to remain connected with work and other household obligations. But, a staycation is better than no vacation. Upgrade your staycation by staying at a hotel that is nearby and perhaps closer to the activities you have planned for your “home-based” vacation. Creating family memories is worth its weight in gold so don’t miss out on a chance to truly detach and enjoy each other.

Will a scaled-back, penny-pinching family vacation be worth the effort?
In our family, vacation time spent worrying about every penny we spend isn’t really a vacation. That isn’t to say we always spend a lot, we just don’t like to worry about what’s a good versus wasteful expense while on vacation. One way we make sure that we do not spend valuable moments performing a cost/benefit analysis on every vacation expense is to choose a place we can comfortably afford. I know, it’s not rocket science but it’s a simple idea that can be tough to implement—if we want to go to an exclusive Caribbean island but know the hotel and food prices will stretch our budget, we challenge ourselves to get creative and pick a less expensive warm, beach destination. As a bonus, if we trade a four-star resort in Barbados for a three-star resort in the Bahamas or Jamaica, we can afford a nicer room category and maybe a partial meal plan option.

We are going ahead with our grand vacation plans anyway. Am I risking my child’s college tuition?
We say go for it—they say state schools are really quite good these days. If you’re going anyway, just do it and don’t look back!

While it’s probably not a great idea to jeopardize other financial goals or run yourself into the red for an exotic vacation, sometimes that family trip you’ve always dreamed about is worth a lot more than all the cash in our savings accounts.


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