May 22 2008

What we did right (and wrong) on vacation


Our trip to Fort Myers came and went so quickly! I can’t believe it’s already over. That’s how good times go, I guess–they fly by! We did a few things right, in terms of saving money, but there are a few things we should have done much better.


We chose a vacation rental house for the eight of us, rather than getting a few hotel rooms. This option proved to be more affordable, and we had more space to lounge around. It felt homier than a hotel. It was more quiet. We had a private swimming pool. And, we were able to cook some meals at the house. Definitely the way to go when you’re traveling with a group (or even a small family, perhaps).


Even though we had a fully equipped kitchen, we didn’t do the food thing right at all. People went to the grocery several times, and most of the time without a list. We picked up a cartload of snacks and one quick meal of frozen pizzas for $100. Bad. Most of the food got eaten, but without a list, we had so much junk, and no real meals out of it. The other night we ate in, we had bratwursts and hamburgers on the grill. That seemed to go a little better. I don’t know how much people ended up spending on food, but if we had been more organized and created a list (and stuck to it) we would have been way better off.


We bought our plane tickets as early as we could (January). Prices have gone up quite a bit since then.


My mother-in-law rented a car that seated five. But, we were a group of eight. So, she kindly shuttled groups of us up and down the island as needed. Even though that was a hassle, it wasn’t that bad. And, it was cheaper than renting two cars, or a larger car to hold all of us. I had planned on taking a taxi from the airport to the rental house, but she wouldn’t hear of it, and picked Shane and I up. She ended up saving us quite a bit of money in doing that. Also, I expected we could take the island trolley to and fro. That thing was seen just a few times. I don’t think it was running on its full schedule.

Kinda right, kinda wrong:

I bought an Entertainment Book for Fort Myers, thinking we’d get at least a little bit of use out of it. Nope. Not a single bit. But, it wasn’t expensive, and my Ebates money covered the purchase price of the book. Plus, as we were leaving, I gave it to the bride & groom, who live in the city. They’ll probably be able to save money with it.


I’ve mentioned in the past that Shane and I are total debit card people. We hate using cash, generally. But, on vacation, I think it’s the right way to go. We took $300 in small bills to cover all of our trip’s expenses while there. Having that cash helped us keep tabs on what we were spending (we didn’t have internet access and couldn’t logon to see our debit card balance…though we could call several times per day if we wanted). We knew we wouldn’t have trouble buying things at stores that didn’t accept plastic. And, it was easier to deal with at restaurants. The day after we got back, we deposited the remaining cash back into our checking account, so we can use it as normal.


We spent our money as we had originally intended. I bought a refrigerator magnet (I always do) for about $3. We bought some meals out. And that’s about it.


We didn’t take off our rings before jumping in the ocean. ‘Nuff said.

Posted under Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “What we did right (and wrong) on vacation”

  1. Did you guys get to check out Sanibel Island? It’s so pretty there! And driving down the Causeway that connects Fort Myers and the island is so cool. I’ve been there twice on vacation with my family.

  2. We didn’t make it to Sanibel, though I could see it from one point along the Fort Myers Beach. It looked neat, even from a distance!

    It’s amazing how when you go to other parts of the country, you can see so many differences–landscapes, architecture, etc.

  3. I loved your post, it is similar to my experience while on spring break.

    Jabber’s last blog post..Sports betting with CentSport

  4. This was a helpful post. We are leaving for the beach tomorrow, and after reading this post I’m going to plan a grocery list in advance and take cash. Thanks!

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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