Tag Archives: vacations

Vacation Style

Going to the Ocean on Vacation

What’s your vacation style? No, not vacation in style. How do you like to spend your time away on vacation. Just a quick internet search brought some entertaining results which centered around luggage styles and travel fashion. I’ve gone through three different styles as I’ve gotten older and my choice of vacations is an indication of that. They are: Beach Bum, Whatever Happens, and Adventurer.

The first vacations I had decisions in was crossed between ‘beach bum’ and ‘whatever happens’. Spring Break in Daytona Beach is what I consider my first independent vacation where I primarily just wanted to lounge on the beach with the biggest decision to be made for the day was what to eat. A second vacation on a cruise ship brought more of the same as I never wanted to leave the ship even while at port. Apparently there is enough adventure when you’re a college student between classes, homework, working, and activities that vacation was all about R & R. Of course, spring break usually came after difficult exams and large projects requiring a mental vacation.

Beach Bum

That first vacation along with several after did include a bit of ‘whatever happens’ as Daytona Beach was the sight of Mtv’s Spring Break broadcasts and I took part in those from time to time along with a quick trip for my first time to Disney World. Planning is not a priority for these types of vacations but you still decide to take advantage of an opportunity or two when they happen to go on an adventure. Maybe a snorkeling trip or a ride in a submarine for something to talk about later.

Currently I reside in the adventure vacation style which can take quite a bit of planning. As daily life now involves a lot of routine, vacations need to be more fulfilling to me. The need to just catch some sun has passed and actually feels like wasted time away from work. It usually takes 3 – 4 days away to begin to mentally get a break from the grind of everyday events so just using my vacation time a day at a time does not accomplish its purpose of refreshing me. My goal often times is to return from a trip needing to catch up on sleep but with many great memories packed into a short time.


There are definitely downsides to the ‘adventurer’ vacation style. Usually these trips can be more expensive because everything costs money and they require more time planning and making reservations. Along with the planning can often come additional stress because of trying to figure out if you’ve taken care of everything in preparation and needing to be at a certain place by a certain time once on vacation.

These vacation styles kind of came to me recently because of our next trip coming this spring break which happens to be a Caribbean Cruise. Cruising has lost its appeal to me because I want to spend the time in port doing things instead of be on a ship most of the time with all that food. So why am I going on a cruise you ask? It’s has become part of a family trip to celebrate my mother and father in-laws 50th anniversary and they would like that trip to be on a cruise ship. Our initial plans where to visit Padre Island and Hot Springs Arkansas for spring break which falls into the ‘Adventurer’ category. That will happen another time as a 50th wedding anniversary is an incredible milestone to me. I can only try to imagine it.

Going on a Cruise Ship

Back to my vacation style realization. When booking this next trip the portion I really was having a difficult time with is spending all that time on the ship. That has become kind of boring to me and I’m not all that attached to food so there is not as big of an appeal there either. That enlightenment helped me understand that I’m no longer a ‘beach bum’ and have moved further from the ‘whatever happens’ style as well. For this trip being in the ‘whatever happens’ category would be most beneficial but I’m not able to let myself and my family be that type of traveler because I know I’m missing an opportunity to create life long memories with my wife and children and the chances to do that are diminishing as the children get older.

It’s interesting to me to recognize changes in how I spend my vacation time from when I first started taking vacations to now. I’m sure that will continue to change as things in life continue to evolve. I know several people who like to be in the ‘beach bum’ or ‘whatever happens’ categories and that is a great place to be, just not for me at this point in my life. Is there a benefit to classifying vacation styles? Probably not. Just something I did without realizing it and decided to put out there. Enjoy you’re vacation any way you can!

Creating Family Memories

Drive or Fly

A Driving Vacation

This is a question asked quite often when preparing to travel somewhere assuming you can drive to that destination. This is a question that has come up while preparing a vacation from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Louisville, Kentucky which is about 700 miles and takes about 10 1/2 hours to drive plus stopping time. So what are the factors that determine whether to fly or drive?

First, how many people are traveling? If you’re going with 1 or 2 people than flying can be just as economical as driving but if your party is 4 or 5 people it gets to be a different story. Let’s take an average airfare cost of $378.62 as reported by Airlines for America in 2012 and the average per gallon cost of gas in that same year which was $3.60 per gallon according to this CNN/Money article. So at these prices, driving 700 would cost you $228 in fuel at 22 miles per gallon round trip driving your own vehicle.

What is Your Fuel Cost?

Many people choose to rent a vehicle for a trip like this to keep these higher miles off of personal cars. Lets use $65 per day for a standard size car from this USA article. For a week long vacation take that $65 per day X 7 days which gives us $455.00. A car rental and fuel cost would be $455 + $228 = $683. Two airfares would cost $757.24. Not much difference in price but quite a bit of difference in time since a direct flight lasts about 2 hours plus airport time. Can you drive this distance in one day or do you need a hotel stay? That can add another $130 per night to the bill depending on the type of hotel you would choose to stay in. Obviously traveling with 3 or more people shifts the economics to driving.

Another consideration is how much time do you want to take travel to a destination? Vacation time is a premium and are you willing to spend 3 or 4 days driving or do you want to spend that time at your destination? Sometimes the trip to the destination is part of the adventure allowing you to see the sights along the way. I do enjoy seeing different parts of the country from the car. From palm trees to mountains to prairies. Plus there are always some intriguing tourist areas to visit while traveling. Be careful not to indulge in all of them otherwise you may not actually make it to the final destination before needing to head back.

Taking these factors into consideration I’ve determined that 750-800 miles is as far as I’m willing to drive right now since I can do that in one long day. My family include 4 people so there are that many airfares so it is not all about the economics that I’ve made that decision. I do spend some time to get cheaper air fares using credit card points and air miles programs combined with watching airfares and booking when prices are less. The bigger deciding factor for me is the amount of vacation time available. I like to spend my time exploring a the final destination and anything more than a days drive takes away from that. In all fairness, I do usually drive about 1,500 – 2,000 miles during a weeks vacation while exploring this destination with a rental vehicle.

Other people that I know drive to as many of their destinations as possible and there are others that can not fly for different reasons so driving is one of the few options left. How far do you like to drive on vacation?

Taking Off in an Airplane at Sunset