Saving and Spending: Vacation Edition


On the beach in Coronado!

We traveled to the San Diego area last week for a friend’s wedding. It wasn’t a place I’d ever particularly wanted to go, but it was such a fun trip, and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to go.

I tend to let loose when it comes to my budget on vacation, but I still try to be sort of sensible. Here are a few highlights of where we saved and where we spent:

• The flight: My husband and I had enough credit card points to cover one ticket,saving us $400 or so right off the bat. We always pack together in one large suitcase (making sure to stay under 50 lbs), saving $25 each way compared to packing separately. And, though we were very tempted to get a cab home, we sucked it up and took the subway past our house, walked through downtown, and picked up my husband’s car from his downtown office instead.

• Activities: We did a kayak and snorkel tour in La Jolla, which cost about $80 for the two of us. It was so worth it. The tour lasted more than two hours, and we got to see such cool wildlife and seascape (including about 100 bat rays all swimming together). We also went to the San Diego Zoo, which was $44 per person. Again, totally worth it. We were there for 5 hours and didn’t even see everything! The rest of our activities were free and mostly consisted of walking and swimming in various places. So, we might have spent quite a bit in this category, but I feel satisfied with it.

• The food: A big budget buster, starting with my sudden and undeniable hunger as soon as we got to the airport for our flight out. I bought a cupcake, a coffee, and a sandwich all before taking off! We ate free hotel breakfast three days out of four but went out for several meals. Of course, two meals were covered as part of the wedding, and I ate leftovers for one meal.

Vacationing isn’t cheap. But that’s part of the beauty of growing your income: you can go snorkeling in caves on the coast of California, see koala bears, and eat tacos and waffles at the street fair without worrying about being able to pay your bills. If you ever get the chance to go to San Diego, do it.


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