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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The "Other" Vacation Costs

Someone asked me yesterday if we had everything taken care of, meaning purchased, for our upcoming summer vacation.  They were just trying to have polite conversation, but it got me thinking about how budgeting for a vacation contains more possible expenses than just the vacation itself.  Here are other expenses that are a part of the vacation budget:

  • Pet care.  Whether you board your animal(s) or have someone else take care of them, there is an additional expense.  Even if someone is willing to help out for free, there is still the expense of feeding the pet.  We have a person who comes to our home to take care of our pets.  We love the convenience of this and happily consider her fee into our vacation budget.
  • Gas.  If you are driving to your destination and back, more than likely you have calculated the cost of fuel into your vacation budget.  If you are like us and are driving to an airport (ours is 2 ½ hours away), then it is also important to consider this expense.  And, if you are traveling a long distance, a car maintenance check-up may be in order.
  • Parking.  Okay, if you are traveling to Disney and not staying on-property, then there are going to be parking fees and they can be a hefty daily fee.  Even if driving to Port Canaveral and parking your car, there is an expense.  For us, the parking expense is at the airport. 
  • Lawn Care (or snow removal).  We live where there are four distinct seasons and leaving our home for a vacation means that someone has to be on standby to either take care of the lawn or remove snow, depending on when we take our vacation.  Thankfully, we have a reasonably priced reliable service available to us.  I just have to remember to tell this person and the person who takes care of our pets about each other so that if they bump into each other in our driveway, it isn’t a surprise!
  • Food.  Even though we have the Dining Plan while at Walt Disney World and are sailing with Disney, there are additional food expenses, especially on the days traveling to and from our destination.  Our family has already planned to pack fruit and sandwiches for our travel to Orlando.  But there will still need to be other food purchases.  And, I’ve got a Dominos Pizza gift card waiting for us for the day we get back home!
  • Clothing.  If you are traveling out of season or are in need of specialized apparel, this can be a budget buster.  We have heard of folks spending lots of money to buy new clothes prior to vacations.  I can say that we pick up a few items along the way—such as matching shirt sets, but they come out of our regular budget, not the vacation budget.
  • Fees.  There can be addition fees such as luggage fees that can add up and take a bite out of the vacation budget.  There is typically no way around various fees, so just be mindful of the expense.
  • Tips.  We definitely budget for this category.  On the ship, Disney now has guests pay for gratuities upfront which means that when we paid for our cruise in full, we also paid for tips—unless we want to exceed the recommended amounts.  But then there are tips for luggage porters, bus drivers, housekeeping at our resort, excursion guides, room service, and bell services.  I make sure we have a handy supply of ones and fives so we can happily tip them. 

There you have it; a list of other potential expenses when taking a vacation.  I’m sure there are more, though knowing means being able to plan and experience less surprises.  Let us know if you have a potential vacation expense that isn’t on our list!

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