Sunrise on Jekyll Island

My absolute favorite thing about the summer is going on vacation, especially a beach vacation. I am most relaxed when I am walking on the beach, or sitting in a beach chair reading a great book, or simply listening to the waves.

Our best vacations were on the beach. Almost 11 years ago, Kevin and I honeymooned on the shore of Maui (how could it get any better than that??). During the summers of 2010 and 2011, we rented a house with other families on Jekyll Island, Ga. I truly did nothing more than read, write and hang out on the beach. Our daughter had a blast building sand castles and running in and out of the waves. While all of those vacations were great, the vacation of 2011 was the best one ever. Why? Because it didn’t follow us home.

Before we started forming the vacation plans, we had a financial vacation plan in place. Please stick with me and hear me out. I won’t make your vacation dull, or boring, or feel like a job just because there is a financial plan around it. Having a financial vacation plan will help you have the best vacation ever because after the vacation is over you will have memories and souvenirs; not debt and piles of bills.

The vacation of 2010 was a very good vacation. To be honest, it was the first vacation we took since our honeymoon nine years earlier. We paid for our portion of the rental house with a credit card, but set aside some cash for a few months in order to pay for other vacation expenditures. We packed our bags and placed the cash envelopes in a secure location as we headed out for a week of beach bliss. At the end of the week, we returned home with slight sunburns, a camera full of memories and empty cash envelopes. The only form of money that we used during the week was the cash from the envelopes. We were amazed. We could do this! We really can take a nice vacation and not go into debt!

Within a few months after that vacation we put a plan in place to save a predetermined amount of money each month in preparation of the next summer’s vacation. When July 2011 arrived, we had paid for the rental house and had our cash envelopes ready to go. At the end of that week, we returned home not only with slight sunburns and a camera full of memories, but with some cash left over in our envelopes! We had a fantastic vacation and didn’t carry it into the next year.

It is wise to develop a plan. Planning doesn’t take the fun out of your summer vacation. In fact, it provides you with parameters… guidelines… guardrails, if you will, for the extent of fun that you have during your summer vacation. Planning well broadens the guardrails and provides you with an abundance of opportunities for your summer vaca.

Due to other ways we have chosen to allocate our budget this year, we will not have a beach vacation. However, we have a plan in place in order to have a Hawaiian vacation in the very near future and to travel to Paris, France within the next five years. I know that we will get to do both and not pay for it in the years after.

To where are you traveling this summer?

What is your summer vacation financial plan?

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2 Responses to The Best Summer Vacation Ever

  1. Great idea! It’s so easy to overspend in the vacation mentality without a set budget.

  2. Alesha Graves says:

    Thanks, Dana! Have a fantastic summer!

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