The Luxury of Vacation

This was a guest post I wrote last year to answer the question posed by the Yakezie blog swap, “Name a time you splurged and were glad you did.”

There are so many things that I’ve wanted to spend my money on, and quite a few that I have.  Just this week, we went a little nuts when we found out that the owner of the game store near us was retiring and had his entire stock 40% off.  Another time, we splurged long-term and bought smartphones, more than doubling our monthly cell phone bill.

This isn’t about those extravagances.  This is about a time I splurged and was glad I did.   Sure, I enjoy using my cell phone and I will definitely get a lot of use out of our new games, but they aren’t enough to make me really happy.

The splurge that makes me happiest is the vacation we took last year.

Vacations are clearly a luxury.  Nonessential.  Unnecessary.  A splurge.

When we were just a year into our debt repayment, we realized that, not only is debt burnout a problem, but our kids’ childhoods weren’t conveniently pausing themselves while we cut every possible extra expense to get out of debt.  No matter how we begged, they insisted on continuing to grow.

Nothing we will do will ever bring back their childhoods once they grow up or—more importantly—their childhood memories.  They’ll only be children for eighteen years.  That sounds like a long time, but that time flies by so quickly.

We decided it was necessary to reduce our debt repayment and start saving for family vacations.

Last summer, we spent a week in a city a few hours away.  This was a week with no internet access, no playdates, no work, and no chores.  We hit a number of museums, which went surprisingly well for our small children.  Our kids got to climb high over a waterfall and hike miles through the forest.  We spent time every day teaching them to swim and play games.   Six months later, my two year old still talks about the scenic train ride and my eleven year old still plays poker with us.

We spent a week together, with no distractions and nothing to do but enjoy each other’s company.  And we did.   The week cost us several extra months of remaining in debt, but it was worth every cent.   Memories like we made can’t be bought or faked and can, in fact, be treasured forever.

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  • 12 comments

    Comments

    1. This post resonates with me. We are in the midst of paying down debt as quickly as we can, but we are starting to wonder if the sacrifice is worth missing our kids growing up. We still plan to pay down debt quickly, but we are going to give ourselves a little time to relax and enjoy our kids too. Glad you had a good vacation!

    2. I’ve always been a fan of spending money doing things in stead of accumulating things in our lives. We will spend our whole lives collecting things. That is just human nature, but it is the memories that we will always keep with us.

    3. I really do think there’s a lot of long-term value in a good vacation. Good memories, good time to recharge…as long as you can afford it it’s overall a good idea!

    4. I remember this post. You posted it on my blog. You make a lot of great points. I have always traveled and continue to do so. To me it is these experiences that are what life is meant for and we ought to use money on them. They have a lot more value than things.

    5. I remember every one of my vacations fondly, and I think that it’s important to set aside some time and money to make these memories, particularly for children. I’m so excited to take my first child to Disney World when she’s old enough that it’s a little ridiculous!

    6. Definitely the right choice. Though I’m sure some anti debt folks may disagree. You can’t put a price on memories and family time.

    7. I totally agree!

      It’s good to see that you realize that childhood time is a once in a life time range that can’t be replaced. It seems so many folks don’t :(

    8. My “boys” are in their late 20′s and early 30′s and they still talk about the vacations we took when they were children.

      It’s important to have experiences all through their lives and yours. That’s why my husband and I continued to take vacations when I was paying down debt. Life is short.

    9. One of the funnest things I’ve found is actually going on vacation back to the places where you grew up. Also, going back to college for homecoming is a wonderful, wonderful thing, b/c you actually have money to do things now!

    Trackbacks

    1. [...] Real, Now: The Luxury of Vacation – The splurge that makes me happiest is the vacation we took last year. Vacations are clearly [...]

    2. [...] If you have debt, you may want to focus all of your time and energy to debt repayment.  Jason at Live Real, Now reminds us why this is not necessarily a good idea in his post, The Luxury of Vacation. [...]

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