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The Cost Of Our Summer Vacation

yurt summer vacation

The yurt even has a heater. Nice!

Whew! We are back from our road trip to California. It was great to see family and friends, but baby RB40 really hated the long drive. We had to stop a lot more often than usual to calm him down and let him stretch his little legs a bit. Usually we would just drive straight through to San Jose in one day, but this time we had an overnight stop and the drive was a lot more leisurely (meltdowns aside). We visited old friends along the way and it was great to see them. Once we arrived in San Jose, we didn’t want to go anywhere. Even the 75-minutes drive to San Francisco seemed too daunting. Oh well, next time…

We haven’t taken a vacation out of town for almost 3 years since Mrs. RB40 became pregnant. Β Before baby RB40 came along, we usually took an annual international trip (last trip was Japan), but now we’ll explore the US more until he’s old enough to appreciate foreign countries. There are so many state and national parks nearby that we haven’t been to and I’m sure the little guy would love to see all of them. Well, I would love to visit all of them. Traveling in the US is also quite a bit cheaper than taking a trip to a foreign country. The airfare alone is too expensive these days.

Here is what we spent on this trip.

Gas – $187

We drove about 1,500 miles this trip and spent $187 on gasoline. Gas isn’t cheap, but it’s still a lot more affordable than airfare, especially if you take a family vacation. Driving also let us stop to visit friends and take different routes. We took the coastal route on the way back and it was much nicer than I5, but it did took a lot more time. We had to leave at 3am to get to Coos Bay around 5pm. That was a long driving day.

Food – $263

It’s tough to eat healthy when you’re on a road trip. I probably ate 10x more junk food than normal, but it’s ok, we were on vacation. Now that we’re back we’ll revamp our diet and eat a lot healthier. We stayed at my brother’s house so we were able to eat in mostly. We did go out to a few restaurants and that increased the food cost quite a bit. The best meal of the trip was at Local Ocean Seafood in Newport, Oregon. I had oyster shooters and a Dungeness crab Po’ Boy. Mrs. RB40 had the pan fried oysters. Baby RB40 had the roasted garlic & Dungeness crab soup. Everything tasted fresh out of the ocean and we’ll definitely head back there if we’re in town.

Lodging – $101

We didn’t spend much on lodging this trip because we stayed with my brother. We got a room at the Red Lion Hotel ($57) in Medford on the way down. See my hotel cost saving strategy post if you need some help with hotels. On the way back, I was able to book a yurt ($44) at the Sunset Bay State Park. I liked the yurt, but Mrs. RB40 let me know that a Best Western or other motel would have been better this time. We weren’t prepared for camping and didn’t bring cooking gear and other stuff. I wanted to try the yurt for a long time though so I was fine with it. πŸ˜‰

Petsitter- $80

While we were out of town, we had a pet sitter take care of the cats for about $10/day. Mrs. RB40 had considered other alternatives, like having a neighbor look after them, but she hasn’t had time to talk to the neighbors lately, and this pet sitter has been reliable in the past.

All in all, we spent about $630 on this vacation. That’s pretty cheap overall and we had a great time. We also drove by a lot of interesting places that we plan to visit another time. In a year or two, the little guy will be ready to go camping and we’ll be able to spend a week camping along the coast. I think that will be a lot of fun for him at a very frugal price.

How much did you spend on your summer vacation this year? Or how much are you planning to spend? I think $630 was a great bargain for a summer vacation. An oversea trip would have cost at least a few thousand dollars.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 30 comments… add one }
  • Alexa June 27, 2012, 5:29 am

    Less than a grand for a vacation is great!

    I like your plan to see more of the US now that you have a kid. We have the same plan for when we have kids. We’ll get all the international destinations (and Hawaii) out of our systems before kids!

    • retirebyforty June 27, 2012, 9:47 am

      I want to visit Yellowstone, that should be a great trip. Mrs. RB40 didn’t travel much when she was young because she got motion sickness so we’ll also visit Yosemite and many other parks again. πŸ™‚

  • Niki {Hello Paper Moon} June 27, 2012, 5:41 am

    The California/Oregon coast is so beautiful. The whole Northwest is probably one of my favorite places. Glad you had a good time and that it was a fairly inexpensive trip.

    • retirebyforty June 27, 2012, 9:47 am

      I love the Northwest in the summer, but the long cloudy period is a drag. Thanks! We had a great time. πŸ™‚

  • [email protected]&More June 27, 2012, 6:23 am

    Sounds like you had a good time! I am going on a cruise later this year with my girlfriend. After we get back I will have to do a total cost post but right now we have paid for the tickets which were 760 including tips and taxes. We will still have to pay for driving to the departure port, parking, and any extras or excursions we decide to purchase. Should be a blast though!

    • retirebyforty June 27, 2012, 9:49 am

      Have a great time on the cruise. We went on a 3 days cruise once and decided that it’s not for us. We like to walk around and didn’t really use the facilities that much. Where are you going? Greece would be a good cruising spot. πŸ™‚

  • jefferson June 27, 2012, 7:18 am

    Those costs are super low for an awesome road trip.. That was a great move on your part, staying with your brother, as hotel costs are what always seem to balloon our vacation costs.

    • retirebyforty June 27, 2012, 9:49 am

      It was great to stay with families because baby RB40 has so many people to play with. It’s boring for him in a hotel room.

  • Daisy @ Add Vodka June 27, 2012, 7:25 am

    Wow, awesome! That’s really cheap! I’m impressed that you spent that little on gas for how far away it is. Must have found some good deals.

    • retirebyforty June 27, 2012, 9:51 am

      It looks like we got near 30 mpg and that’s pretty good. I think the price average about $3.90/gallon on our trip.

  • Mr. Everyday Dollar June 27, 2012, 7:47 am

    You spent about $80/day? That’s not bad at all for a vacation.

    I’m trying to accomplish all the foreign travel I want to do now, before I settle down. I feel the same way about exploring the US – there are so many places I haven’t been to and national parks I haven’t visited! But there will be plenty of time for that when I will relegate myself to traveling within the lower 48.

    Have you thought about utilizing your place as a short term vacation rental when you are on vacation, to make a bit of income?

    And I’ve always wanted to stay in a yurt! Nice job.

    Mr. Everyday Dollar

    • retirebyforty June 27, 2012, 9:52 am

      I haven’t thought about renting our place out. It’s just too personal and we aren’t ready for that. I would consider some kind of swap if we go on a longer vacation though. One week doesn’t seem worth it.

  • Aloysa @ My Broken Coin June 27, 2012, 8:35 am

    Wow! Three people and $630? Not bad at all! Our vacations are waaay more expensive.
    We need to talk about Japan! I want to go there maybe next year. Will email you my questions.
    Welcome back, Joe!

    • retirebyforty June 27, 2012, 9:53 am

      Really? Road trips are pretty cheap in general especially if you can stay with friends or family. Sure, Japan was great. I should write a post about that soon. πŸ™‚

  • 20's Finances June 27, 2012, 9:07 am

    Nice job saving some dough. I would have been okay with the yurt (or even tentin’ it), but Mrs. 20’s would have objected. πŸ˜‰

    • retirebyforty June 27, 2012, 9:54 am

      Mrs. RB40 is okay with camping, but we have to prepared mentally and have more camping gears. πŸ™‚ She was a girl scout, but I guess she grew out of it. πŸ™‚

  • Well Heeled Blog June 27, 2012, 9:09 am

    You did great on the budget. I just got back from our overseas honeymoon, and even with lots of hotel points and air miles, plus an extremely generous stranger who paid for our most expensive dinner, we still spent $3,000. I like the idea of an international vacation every year, and I’m not going to have kids for at least a few more years, so like the pre-kid you, I’m hoping to maximize on travel. πŸ™‚ I did have a professor who travels internationally with her kids to Europe all the time – I think they filled up their passports before they turned 3.

    • retirebyforty June 27, 2012, 9:55 am

      Where did you go? We always spent a lot of money when we travel oversea, but it’s worth it. The kid isn’t going to appreciate international travel until they can remember things. It’s just too much trouble for me. πŸ™‚

  • DaveL June 27, 2012, 9:14 am

    Thats impressive that you were able to take your entire family on a summer vacation for so cheap! How’d the Priceline hotel room work out for you?

    I havent done very much international travel and would love to but when I was younger we did family vacations all over the US. One of my favorite was a month long, cross-country trip. We bought a motor home, went to Mt.Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Tetons, Yosemite, San Francisco, LA, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Colorado, Kentucky and back home to NY.

    I thought it was going to be tough being in an RV with my family for a month but being in a new location ever day made it possible. It was a great experience to cross so many places off my list to go to.

    • retirebyforty June 27, 2012, 9:58 am

      Priceline worked out pretty well. We got a nice room at the Red Lion Hotel for $57. The bid was $45 + $12 service fee. The RV trip sounds great. I would like to do that someday, but I don’t know if I like driving in the big vehicle. We’ll try camping and see if it works out first. Maybe we’ll rent an RV when we have more people to go with.

  • krantcents June 27, 2012, 9:39 am

    Before I cancelled my (European cruise) trip, it was around $8K. This year, I will take it easy . After all there is always next year!

    • retirebyforty June 27, 2012, 9:59 am

      Sorry to hear that. Hope it all goes well next year. A European cruise sounds like great fun. We went backpacking for 8 weeks and probably spent about that much.

  • Michelle June 27, 2012, 9:44 am

    Wow you definitely did great!

  • LifeInTransition June 27, 2012, 12:20 pm

    Great job on making the vacation less than 1K. I’ve always wanted to stay in a yurt. Is it just a nicer/larger version of a tent, or does is have electricity,etc?

    • retirebyforty June 27, 2012, 12:49 pm

      It has electricity and the sides are much more insulated than a tent. We had a bunk bed and a fold out futon. The deluxe version even has a bathroom in it. It’s pretty nice camping. πŸ™‚

  • JW @ AllThingsFinance June 27, 2012, 12:45 pm

    That’s a great price for an entire vacation. I recently flew to CA and paid that amount on two plane tickets alone.

    • retirebyforty June 27, 2012, 12:49 pm

      Airfare is getting more and more expensive. That’s too bad. πŸ™

  • Crystal @ Vaerdi June 27, 2012, 6:25 pm

    You did awesome! Our road trips can stay cheap, but I hate driving, lol. I hope you had as much as it sounded. πŸ™‚ We cut out our summer vacation this year but will jump back on the summer trip train next year.

  • Roshawn @ Watson Inc June 28, 2012, 5:00 am

    Sometimes a vacation is just want the doctor ordered, and this isn’t bad at all for a vacation. You REALLY saved on lodging. Kudos to you for taking a frugal vacation.

    • retirebyforty June 29, 2012, 9:36 pm

      We haven’t had a vacation for a while so it was really nice to get out of town. Cheap is good too. πŸ™‚

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