So you’ve decide to a flying leap off the treadmill that has become your daily routine and embark on an adventure. Good for you!
Now you just have to pay for the thing.
If I was David Chilton, author of The Wealthy Barber, I could provide you with some sound financial advice that would allow you to budget your trip effectively and avoid hearing the monthly howl of the financial wolf at your door in the months that follow your journey.
But David Chilton has sold over two million books and I’ve sold… Well, let’s just say I’ve sold considerably less and leave it at that, okay? However, I can tell you this: when it comes to paying for your trip you need to..
PREPARE FOR THE “X-FACTOR”!
I’m not referring to the Simon Cowell American Idol rip-off, I’m referring to the seemingly-endless list of extra costs that most people refuse to acknowledge during their planning process. Of course, most people don’t even plan their trip at all, they simply fly by the seat of their Walmart-brand-pants and hope for the best.
And then they raise their arms in disbelief when their trip goes off the rails.
Listen up, folks… When traveling, especially with kids, you have to accept that the Modern World is actually too expensive for the Modern Citizen to live in! Here is a simple rule that should help you survive your journey:
IF YOU AREN’T PREPARED TO SPEND A RIDICULOUS AMOUNT OF MONEY WHILE ON VACATION, STAY HOME!
The word “overkill” is flashing in your noggin right now, right? Well, trust me, if I could have used LARGER type, I would have! By the time your trip is over your wallet/purse is going to have been opened more than a… Well, I can’t think of a “clean” analogy. Let’s just look at some of the expenses most people refuse to acknowledge while vacationing…
1) Parking charges/gratuities for the valet drivers: Once upon a long ago, it was unheard of for hotels to charge their guests to park their vehicles; now the term “Free Parking” is akin to the term “Free Lunch”.
And if you think it’s a wise idea to stiff the guy that will be driving your car, consider this: it’s safe to say that your vehicle’s value exceeds the five bucks your valet driver is expecting, right? But if you want to enrage an underpaid, under-appreciated hotel employee and inspire him to re-enact the valet driver scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, be my guest…
2) Food: Every day I unload plastic shopping bags (way to save the planet, people!), filled with cookies, bread (but strangely, no butter!), fruit snacks – that never contain actual fruit – and various items meant to stand-in for real food.
People think they can feed their kids garage and thus save on the cost of dining out. HELLO! You’re away from home! EVERY… SINGLE… MEAL is considered “dining out”!
3) Luggage: Most people think a cloth shopping bag is a suitable substitute for a suitcase. It is not. The same goes for a laundry basket, a Rubbermaid tote or a garbage bag.
It all comes down to the all-mighty dollar – again; people don’t want to spend the money, so they cut corners. But that just leads to a big pile of crap that someone has to lug through the lobby – I’ll happily do it, but you won’t like waiting for me to sort through it all as you load/unload – so do both of us a favor and wait for a sale or borrow a suitcase or two.
Put a few dollars away every week if necessary, but purchase the proper tools and you’ll avoid that shock people experience when they arrive at a hotel, pop the trunk and take a good long look at a huge pile of junk that they have to transport to the room.
The list goes on, but I think I’ve made my point. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if you truly can’t afford to travel, then don’t! Find a budget system that works, muster your willpower and save your pennies (I can’t say that for much longer, can I?) and you’ll be happier for the effort.
There is nothing worse than spending a year staring at a credit card bill and remembering that lousy vacation you took, the one you’re still paying off…
See you in the lobby, kids…