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The True Cost of Taking a Break

Every one of us looks forward to taking a break from our routines sooner or later. Whether it’s to visit family or friends over a holiday, a weekend trip to the mountains to ski, or a kid-cation to one of the best kid-friendly destinations in the country, it’s good to get away and spend quality time with those we care about.

When we start to add up the costs of taking off, there are a lot of little costs that might be forgotten. Here’s a good list to get you thinking as you plan this year’s excursion(s):

1. Time away from your job may and may not “cost” you. If you are self-employed or in a part-time or contract position, taking time away could mean loss of real dollars from not producing while you are gone. If you have an employer-provided benefit that includes vacation days, then that cost is already factored into the equation. Be careful if your employer benefit has evolved to PTO (paid time off) benefits as you may use up valuable days off as vacation and leave insufficient time in case you have an illness or other reason to be away from work.

2. An important consideration for any trip is the cost of travel which can include anything from auto wear and tear, gas, car rental fees, airline tickets (with all the accompanying fees), hotel, food, and other accommodations en route. Packages are available and wise shopping for these costs pays off. Buying ahead of time when costs are lower is key in many cases. If you have rewards you can use, every dollar saved is invaluable in the end.

3. If you are going to a destination where there will be tickets for attendance at events or venues you wish to take advantage of, be sure to take advantage of specials and recognize that most venues now require that all food and beverages be purchased once in the site area. Add those costs in and be honest with yourself about all the possibilities. When planning for trips to kid-friendly destinations, encourage children to save ahead from their change or allowances for any items they might want inside the theme park – or simply establish a dollar amount for each child and stand by it when the day comes.

4. Let’s be candid here – most people want new clothes or equipment when it’s time to hit the road. On its own, clothes are a big expense no matter what the reason to buy them. But somehow going away can bring out the worst shoppers in the best of us. From new beachwear, to cruise wear, to ski gear, to the accessories that go with most trips, the retailers are more than prepared to give us tons of options. But shop smart and dig into what you already should see if it can’t work again this year. Only buy new items as they are needed and save those bucks for more fun while you are gone.

5. You say we are going to see family and there will be no expenses once we get there. Think again. Experience tells us that there will still be some eating out, visiting venues where there are costs to cover, and who doesn’t try to help out with food costs when we stay with family? After all, when utilities and grocery bills are being impacted by the host family, it only makes sense to pitch in.

6.Don’t forget those fur babies most people leave behind when it comes to traveling out of town. Unless you have a sitter, friend, or family who agrees to take your fur child (if you will trade out later), it’s likely that there will be a cost for a sitter or kennel fees.

The list goes on and grows the more consideration it’s given! But one thing is certain, if you’ve saved and planned well, and stay within budget, taking your loved ones and heading out now and then is good for so many reasons that may have value much higher than the money spent. Bonding, sharing experiences for memories and just the health (mental, physical and spiritual) value to forgetting everything “normal” for a few days is often more than any money can buy.

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