Jan 12 2008

Going to a wedding in Florida

fort-myers-beach-picture.jpg

My husband’s sister is getting married in May. She lives in Florida, and that’s where the wedding will be.

As a bonus, we’ll be in there during our first anniversary.

This trip is going to be really expensive. We haven’t yet put money aside for it, since we’ve been putting money toward other more pressing things.

With about four months to go, it’s definitely time for us to start socking away funds.

But, how much?

Paidtwice has a recent post explaining how a trip was a total budgeting failure. It failed because she didn’t take a detailed look into past trips to come up with a realistic dollar figure.

So…I’m going to do my best to estimate what this will cost. I’m going to put these estimates on the high side, and then add a cushion to the overall figure. My goal is to spend as little money as possible, so if we over budget and have money left over, we won’t spend it in Florida. We’ll use it to throw at our emergency savings.

We don’t yet know how long we’ll be there, or where we’ll stay. So…that leaves quite a bit up in the air still. We’re thinking a five-night stay, so I’ll use that for these calculations until it changes.

Please, if you think I’ve left anything out or if you have suggestions for me, let me know!

  • Wedding gift $50. They’re registered on Bed, Bath and Beyond, and I’ll be able to use a 20 percent off coupon. We’ll choose something that will fit in our suitcase without much risk of breaking along the way.
  • Dress for me to wear $30. I have absolutely nothing suitable to wear to a beach wedding. I will start shopping now at thrift stores and discount stores, and hopefully I’ll find something much less. I hope to only buy a dress, and use shoes I already have, if possible. Also, DH thinks he has something he can wear, so no need to budget for that now.
  • Things we’ll buy solely to use on the trip. I’ll probably buy a better sunblock than I have now, for one thing. Other things inevitably come up. $20.
  • Parking at the airport – no more than $6.75 per day, but we’re looking for online coupons, searching for deals in our Entertainment Book, and will use our AAA membership to see if we can save more here. For 6 days, that’s $40.50.
  • Flight from Pittsburgh to Fort Myers – I’ve seen deals for $200. Let’s hope the price stays where it is, or dare I hope? Drops.
  • Taxi from airport to hotel. Since we’re under 25, renting a car is not an option. Well, it is, but we don’t want to pay the insane daily surcharges for that. Double this, since we’ll also want to go from the hotel back to the airport. Let’s say the taxi costs $30 each way (I have no way to check rates yet). $60. If we didn’t have luggage, I’d say we could take the city bus. But…that’s a bad idea.
  • Hotel/condo for five nights. We might join some family and rent a place to save money. I’ve seen a few that might be available for $800/week. If we fit 8 people into a place like that, that’s $100 per person plus tax, so about $220 for DH and I. If we have to get a hotel on our own, it will be much more expensive.
  • Food. If we get that condo, we’ll cook breakfasts, maybe lunches and snacks there. We’ll probably share the cost of groceries. Since I can make breakfasts and lunches go a long ways, I’m only going to put $20 in this category.
    • Two dinners will be covered (rehearsal and wedding dinner), and that leaves three more dinners. Let’s say each dinner is $20 per person (hope not!). That’s $120 for dinners for two.
    • I always get airport food. I know I shouldn’t, but I do. I won’t try to hide that from my projected budget, but I don’t usually spend more than $5 per airport, so $10.
  • Fun. We need to figure out some fun things to do after the wedding. I imagine we’ll spend some time on the beach n’at, but I don’t know what else. $50 for now.
  • Total: $1,020.50.
  • Adding 10% “Forgot to budget for this,” so total needing to save is $1,122.55.

I’m going to scour the internet for deals, as well as use my Entertainment Book for airport parking discounts, and we’ll go to AAA to get tour books and see if they can help us save.

Also, to get around the Fort Myers area, we’ll either share a rental car with our in-laws (who don’t have to pay the under-25 surcharge). If that doesn’t work out, we’ll take the city bus.

Ideas for saving money or things I’ve forgotten in this budget are appreciated!


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37 Responses to “Going to a wedding in Florida”

  1. Since it will be your first anniversay, you could make it known that you’re view this trip as an anniversary present to your selves and would welcome trip related gifts.

  2. how much would it cost to take a taxi or shuttle from your house to the airport so you don’t have to pay for parking? Or do you know anyone in Pitts that could drop you off at the airport and pick you up when you land? That is a good way to save money.

    You could also work some sunscreen into one of your CVS, Walgreen’s, or Rite aid trips and it would come out free or a lot cheaper.

    that’s my two cents! Sounds like a great trip!!!

    :)

  3. Have you considered purchasing an Entertainment Book for FL? It might be helpful since you think you’ll be staying for 5 days. Just a thought.

    I really enjoy your blog, as I am young as well and I am trying to save as much money as I can. I’m definitely a lurker, but I thought I would share this tip because it helped me and my mom years ago on a trip to NM.

  4. Gift: I would price compare what you are interested in from BBB with Amazon, which sometimes has better deals than 20% off. Also, if you spend $25+, you can use Free Super Saver Shipping, and not have to worry about lugging it. Remember to use priceprotectr too!

    Dress: Does a friend have something you can wear instead of buying?

    Trip items: I agree that items in this category will come up, but I’ve heard that sunblock is pretty much as effective at 15SPF as higher numbers so maybe check with your doctor or do online research to see if you really need some.

    Parking at the airport: Is there a taxi or group taxi that is cheaper? Can a friend pick you up/drop you off? What about public transportation?

    Taxi: Can your SIL put you in touch with other people flying in/out the same day as you so you can ride with them or share a rental car together?

  5. Don’t forget about shower gifts. I had two family weddings last year and had to get a household and personal shower gift for each as well as a wedding gift. Also, we had some unexpected “let’s go out to eat” moments with family we don’t see often. It’s hard to tell them no when you don’t see them often. Enjoy the wedding and thanks for your blog! Jessica

  6. I was just going to say the exact same thing. This time I’m flying out of my home airport, and I’m having a friend take me to the airport so I don’t have to pay for parking. I figure, parking in my driveway is free, why should I have to pay for it at the airport since I’m about 10 minutes from there.

    Also, I remember being in Orlando in April last year, and it was cold there. Maybe you don’t really need that sunscreen, or someone you know can let you borrow theirs. I bought it for my trip to Florida and didn’t use any of it.

    Good luck with your trip! I hope you stay under your projected budget.

  7. Hmmm… ideas? While reading I thought of a bunch… let’s see if I can remember them now. :)

    Gift ~ unless you have something particular in mind, perhaps something you could put together yourself from your new experience as a bride. Since you have time, maybe a nicely presented “how to” on all things newly wed (just an idea… I can understand wanting to give something from the registry too).

    Dress ~ being from California, I can tell you that most beach weddings are far more casual than other weddings (unless it’s a night wedding or they specifically name a dress code. You can easily get away with a simple sundress or the like. Whatever you buy, pick something you could wear again and again.

    Stuff soley for this trip ~ sunblock and the like may be able to be “purchased” free with your regular CVS trips! Especially if you start collecting them now. Keep in mind things like purel, wipes, etc as well since you will be flying.

    Parking at the airport ~ is there someone who could drop you off and pick you up? Maybe from church (we’ve done this tons of times and we drive from Harrisburg to Baltimore to do it… flying our of Pits shouldn’t be a problem for someone local). You can choose to give a $20 gift card to a restaurant or something as a thank you… you still cut the cost in half (and giving a thank you gift is way more fun!)

    Taxi in FL ~ perhaps your SIL has a friend (or other family) who wouldn’t mind picking you up from the airport if it isn’t far (the gift card thing can apply here too). When we got married, I arranged a handful of people who were willing to make the run to the airport for our friends and family who didn’t get rentals. Or I like the sharing a cab idea with someone else who arrives at the same time.

    That’s about it I guess. I’m proud of you for planning (hopefully) more than you should need. How nice it would be to get home with extra to do something else with (or stash away for later).

  8. You may want to book your airfare sooner than later…it’s been my experience that prices will go up as you get closer to your departure date. Also, it may be only a few bucks in savings, but I generally go through Ebates when I arrange airfare/rental cars. Expedia seems to have the best rates, but you can get good deals at Hotwire or Priceline if you’re willing to fly at whatever odd hours they throw at you! Good Luck :)

  9. Great advice so far! The only things I have to add are:

    Gift – I often find things at the thrift store that would make great wedding gifts. I found the exact thing that my SIL registered for (baby shower) at the thrift store. I just called the place and asked them to mark it as purchased, so she didn’t get repeats.

    Taxi – if you end up staying in a hotel, often they will have a shuttle at the airport. You just pick up the courtesy phone and let them know that you are there. If you have to book a hotel, it might be worth asking.

  10. I know what you mean about cost of going to weddings! For the people who suggest that you shouldn’t bother with sunscreen, I politely disagree. Even if you can’t SEE the sun, the harmful UV rays are still there!! Florida is a lot closer to the equator, and unless you’re used to that (I’m guessing no, since you are from IN and living in PA) then your skin might be more sensitive. It’s not worth harming your skin. :-) I also don’t think it will be very cold, though you might want to pack light layers for the evenings. I used to live in Florida (and my parents still do), and I remember wearing shorts and t-shirts, especially when I was coming home for spring break (I went to college in Indiana).

    Also, I’m assuming you will have a lot of family in Florida for the wedding – could one of them pick you up from the airport? I know when we were getting married, I thought it my responsibility as the bride to make sure all our attendants and family members had transportation (so they didn’t have to pay for a taxi). Perhaps there will be someone else coming in at the same time as you, so you can at least split a taxi?

  11. Oh my goodness I am so very impressed with all of you.

    I am 50 years old and still couldn’t plan out a trip this well.

    I will definitely be stopping in here as much as possible.

    There’s certainly a lot to learn from all of you!!

    I hope you have a fabulous time!!:)

  12. I just thought of another idea. If you know what restaurants you will be eating at, you can buy GCs at http://restaurant.com/ You can get a $25 GC for $10. If you don’t know, but it will just be you and dh, ask your SIL for recommendations. You can also get detailed restaurant info (including menu) on the site.

  13. Just a thought on the airfare, you may be able to get a better deal if you fly into a surrounding airport, and save on transport if you split a rental with other wedding goers.
    We had a wedding to attend not too long ago and where able to save a ton by flying into an airport 1.5 hrs from our destination and splitting a rental car with another family.
    Try Tampa/St. Pete or Sarasota Airports for rates, you may get lucky and book as soon as you can afford too!

    Take Care

    LJ

  14. Along the same line as several other commenters, I would suggest asking a friend if they could help with airport transportation. And maybe family once you’re in Florida?

    Regarding airfare, you might keep checking Expedia. If you find a fare from them you’re happy with, don’t buy it immediately. Instead, go the the airline’s own site and search for the same flight. It may save you a few dollars.

  15. I live in Florida on a beach and here are some tips for the beach occasion.

    Don’t get fancy shoes to wear down in the sand. Wear flip flops if you must or just go bare foot.

    It is almost always windy at the beach and loose hair winds up in your face. I find that very bothersome and use hats or whatever….

    And sunblock and bug spray….every one needs it especially here.

  16. Would a hotel that has a breakfast bar be a workable option for you? We book such hotels as often as possible when we are traveling.
    Depending on the service, your “continental breakfast” could include oatmeal, toast, donuts, bagels with cheese, orange juice, coffee, milk … anything that is typically eaten for American breakfast that doesn’t require a skillet.
    This saves big bucks as compared to a restaurant breakfast.
    Another option is find a hotel room that has microwave and fridge rather than a full kitchen. You can do quite a bit with those resources, I am sure!

  17. Aren’t family weddings fun?!?! We are doing a similar trip in the fall–a destination wedding of sorts to a winery out side of Atlantic City. A couple of years ago we flew into NJ for a family wedding and it did run us close to $1000 (we were there for 3 days, but we did rent a car).

    Anyway, I think the advice about finding alternate transportation/ways around airport parking is solid! It is nice to at least be fed for the rehearsal dinner and the wedding–you may also find yourselves at a brunch or something the day after as a bonus.

    Keep us posted on how the planning is coming. I just booked a flight from IND to Orlando for late Feb for $188–I hope you can find a similar deal. After a nightmare experience with Travelocity, I always book with the airline–they are a lot more flexible if anything needs to be changed and they do price match.

  18. Good suggestion. I certainly wouldn’t turn down a gift :)

  19. I will definitely look into picking up sunscreen and the other incidentals at the drugstores. Hope I can snag a good deal!

    Everyone had great suggestions about having a friend take us to the airport. That would work, except we don’t have any friends here, just a few acquaintances, and I don’t think they’d do it.

    One way, a taxi would cost $50. Yikes! We’re about 25 miles from the airport.

  20. That’s a great idea about the entertainment book. I’ll check and see if my SIL has one already that we can use,but if not, I might get one.

    Thanks for commenting!

  21. re:

    gift: Awesome idea. BBB is not the cheapest, so I’ll shop around and see what I can find.

    As a recent bride myself, I can see the benefits of sticking with the gift registry, so that’s what I plan to do. She already has her house mostly set up (as far as I know) so I’ll stick with it, but maybe find better deals at other stores on the exact items.

    dress: No–of all my friends across the country, none of them are my size. Oh well.

    taxi: We’ll try to share a taxi ride or see if someone can pick us up from the airport if possible. But, they’re on vacation too, and I don’t want to hassle anyone. So, we’ll do it only if it’s not a total inconvenience for someone.

  22. Good thinking. I don’t know if there will be a shower or not, but it’s good to be prepared for it.

  23. I’m looking forward to buying my dress! I’d love a nice sundress that I can wear for many more summers. Hope I can find something that works.

  24. I forgot all about Ebates, thanks for reminding me that maybe I can use them for the flight. I considered trying Priceline, but for this trip, we’ll need flights at better times of the day so we can maximize our vacation.

  25. The last time I was in Florida, the air temp wasn’t insanely hot, but the sun’s rays were. I could feel myself burning, even though I was lathered in sunblock. Ugh.

    I already have 25 spf for my face, but I want some for my body and DH and anyone who might forget theirs. Sunburn just isn’t worth it! And neither is skin cancer. I hope to pick some up at the drugstore to save some $$ on it.

    We’ll try to split a cab or have someone pick us up if possible, but if that doesn’t work out, I wanna be prepared.

  26. I forgot all about bug spray…thanks for the tip!

    Also, the good news about flip flops is they cost like…$1. I’d feel totally fine wearing those on the beach, and maybe changing into some nicer shoes (that I already own) for the reception.

    I’ll probably just wear my hair up so it doesn’t blow around and drive me nuts.

  27. They are fun! I’m glad it’s in a fun place, too.

    I will definitely keep everyone posted on prices and unexpected expenses and everything.

    To everyone who has commented–I really appreciate it! You’re helping me consider even more ways to save money!

  28. Most airports have a shuttle service (different from taxi service) for around $20-30. Something to consider – your car is unprotected in the lots. One thief, or hailstorm, and it could be damaged.

    Most hotels have a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel. Definitely take free breakfast into consideration! If a hotel costs $5 more per night, but has free breakfast, you’ll probably save money. Otherwise, pack cereal bars, etc.
    Some hotels have fridges you can rent for the week – I’ve paid around $25 in the past. If you can do that and hit the grocery store for milk, lunchmeat, etc. you could save a lot of money there.

    You did not budget any gas money for the rental car.

    Find out how much a weekly bus pass is. Also, buy your ticket sooner rather than later – as soon as spring break hits, prices aren’t very likely to go down.

    Have fun!

  29. Definitely go bare foot or flip flops. Fort Myers Beach has the softest sand ever!

    For airfare, check JetBlue. They sometimes run promos that are ultra cheap.

    Also, check out http://www.fortmyers-sanibel.com/ for fun but frugal stuff to do around Fort Myers.

    I’ve been to Fort Myers many times and I wish I could tell you where to go/what to do but we mainly stay home when we’re there and just spend time with family.

  30. I didn’t read all the comments so sorry if I repeat anything, but I would
    buy an entertainment book in that city. (You can do it online.) Maybe stay at a hotel in the city you live the night before you leave. You will get free airport travel, 7 days free parking and free breakfast that day.
    I would probably buy the tea pot or something memorable that is less than $30. I still remember who got us our tea pot! Have a great time!

  31. I’m OK with leaving our car in the pay lot. I don’t have a garage, so a hailstorm will ding my car no matter where it is. If a thief meddles with it, well, shame on him/her. I have insurance, though.

    We’ll look into the shuttle service, but if we use that we still might have to leave our car somewhere. Still, it’s an option.

    We’re leaning toward renting a condo for the time we’re there, but if not, we’ll certainly be looking into hotels that offer a breakfast buffet.

    I didn’t include gas $$ in my budget since I’m not going to be renting a car. But, if someone else rents a car and drives us around, I should offer gas money. Knowing my MIL and FIL, I know they won’t accept, but I’ll still offer :)

  32. Continental use to have special entertainment books they sell to use in your area, you are traveling in. I am not sure how much they are, but they are cheaper then the regular books. I can’t find the link on continental now, but maybe you can call them. Good luck with the trip. Not sure when you are going in may, but memorial day weekend will be expensive. And try to fly on Tues/Weds. those are the 2 cheapest days for travel.

  33. What size are you? I may have a dress that I wore to a wedding…… Email me at dreamy @ gmail dot com

  1. 4 Trackback(s)

  2. Our trip to Florida: Flight & more update | Sense to Save
  3. How to get a $16 rebate on an Entertainment Book (Some are free!) | Sense to Save
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  5. Plan ahead for out-of-town weddings | Sense to Save

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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