Went way overboard on vacation

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Went way overboard on vacation
Fri, 08-31-2012 - 3:00pm

We had a great vacation in California this past month. The only problem was that we went significantly over budget on a vacation for the first time ever.

One thing I did not plan for correctly was the tax rate.  San Francisco & Santa Monica, for example, both levy a 14% tax rate on hotel rooms!  We had either two hotel rooms (family of 5, two are young aduilts) or a large suite the equivalent of two rooms.  Either way, the rooms ended up being 10% over budget.

On our previous trips to Europe, we've stayed at B&Bs, where breakfast is included in the rate.  This time we stayed in hotels where breakfast was included only half the days we were there.  For a family of 5, that adds up fast - especially with higher taxes and higher tips (in the UK, it's only 5-10% and in some places you're not expected to tip at all).

The rental car, with its associated taxes, also cost more than our prior rentals in Europe.

Airplane upgrades added another $375.

We got a new dog before going on vacation, and boarding her for 12 days added another $300 to the cost.

Overall, I'm just really annoyed with myself that I didn't anticipate the costs correctly.  We've done 3 trips to the UK & Ireland and one to Virginia in the last few years, and each one came in at or under a generous budget that had us staying at very comfortable though not 5-star digs.  If I'd planned better and sooner, I would have done things differently, but I kept thinking, "Oh I'm so busy, and it's just California, no exchange rate, no big deal."  Argh!

We're not in debt because of this, but it was poor decision-making on my part.  Frivolously spending money is not how you stay out of debt!  Grrrr.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2001
Fri, 08-31-2012 - 5:14pm

I can really empathize with your situation.  This sort of thing has bitten me in the butt in the past also.  

I also do some pretty good planning re: vacations (and have never ONCE been anywhere "on season" - lol) but occassionally you'll get a surprise thrown at you.  All you can do is learn from it, I guess.

Last month I unexpectedly hosted an exchange student and ran up vacation expenses that I hadn't planned in order to make her time here worthwhile.  Just today I paid off the overage from last month.  I still feel good that I did this, and it didn't take me long to catch up on the extra expenses.  

I'm sure you'll be caught up in no time too!

I hope you had a great time.  I love San Fran!

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 08-31-2012 - 5:00pm

I feel your pain, as I get frustrated when other people don't fully disclose such things.  So although I would be frustrated, too, don't be too hard on yourself.  If you were used to 8 or 10% tax, I don't know that I would have thought any differently, either.

I used to do a little traveling for my home business, and although I always over estimated and brought extra cash, I do recall getting suprised in Long Beach.  Ouch!  Luckily some of my friends were okay with sharing a meal, or it would have a week full of soup and water.  Even our best efforts fall short sometimes. 

Just take it as a lesson learned and be grateful you didn't have to incur a bunch of debt to go on vacation. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008
Fri, 08-31-2012 - 3:09pm

I often throw money at things for convenience and it sounds like this is what you did. However, you are wise and will plan better next time! Dog with relatives or friends, more research on hotel and taxes rates etc. 

Let it go and plan the next one! You often inspire me in your posts, wise wise you are!