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It All Adds Up…

October 7th, 2014

Recently I have had several families come to me looking for family vacations ovr Spring Break. Traveling over Easter and Christmas are the most expensive times to travel and while people are looking to get away, they are still looking to stay within a family vacation budget (and I know firsthand how expensive traveling with a family of 5 can be)! Most importantly, they are looking for a lot of the same things – laying on a beach, a hotel the kids will enjoy, great pools and activities for everyone to enjoy. All sounds wonderful until I send them over the options and they go into sticker shock. They then reconsider Mexico or the Caribbean and want to head to Florida in hopes of saving some money. This got me thinking….comparing international travel to stateside travel can be difficult.

The appeal of international travel to my clients is often because they want an all-inclusive resort where they have time to relax and don’t have to think about shelling out money for lunches, dinners, snacks and activities. All-inclusive resorts are a perfect option for people who are looking for a relaxing vacation – and also people who know up front just how much they are spending. Stateside vacations are often a great option for people who want to see and do everything on vacation – Disney, skiing, seeing the White House – and also great for people who pay for their air and hotel up front but want to pay for everything else as they go.

So let’s talk about just how much of a difference there is on a 4-night vacation for a family of four traveling over Spring Break for comparison’s sake (7-night vacations to Mexico with non-stop air are already selling out)!

4 nights over Spring Break at an all-inclusive 4 ½ star resort on the beach in Playa del Carmen from $4,200 and includes:

  •  Round-trip, non-stop flights from Milwaukee to Cancun
  • 4 nights in a standard room
  • All meals, beverages, snacks, non-motorized watersports, access to a kids club
  • All of your transportation to and from the airport
  • Peace-of-mind that you do not have to spend 1 more dime, think about a meal or entertainment for 4 days – unless you want to!

4 nights over Spring Break at a 2 ½ star resort on the beach in Naples, Florida – from $3,400 for a family of 4 and includes (a 4 ½ star resort starts at $4,300):

  •  Round-trip flights including a stop at New York’s LaGuardia airport
  •  4 nights in a standard room

So, you’re not saving too much to begin with. The real kicker is that you have a flight with a stop and limited, if any entertainment and very few bars and restaurants on-property. So once you arrive at your property (you have to rent a car which is not included here and ranges from $302-$360 depending on size) you have to think about grocery shopping at least for the staples, get the kids in their suits to go play on the beach it’s close to lunch time so you need to get dressed and either walk or get back in the car to go get lunch if you don’t have an onsite restaurant and then do the same for dinner. You have to take into consideration a food budget/entertainment budget for your family of 4 while on a Florida vacation (for example) and so the money you were trying to save by not going into destination has since disappeared two fold because you need to shop or go out to eat for every meal as well as find something entertaining to do for part of the time should the hotel not offer anything. Inconvenience alone would probably keep me from doing this unless I had a real reason for going to Florida – which would be Disney.

Before you start planning your family vacation, above all things get comfortable with your budget. You can have wonderful experiences with your family whether you travel internationally or stateside. My job is to help you find the family vacation that fits your dreams and your budget. And when all is said and done, you really won’t remember what you paid… it’ll be the memories you take with you that will last a lifetime.

Life is Short… Pack Your Suitcase!

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