Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Announcement: Traveling Plans

Getting away from it all without tearing your hair out
(c) 2016 P.Lynne Designs
Warning:  it may contain affiliate links

It has now come to my attention that you cannot go on the annual family vacation because someone decided that they needed to do everything on their vacation.  This option usually costs an arm, a leg, their home, and their first-born child.  Aww, the sacrifices we make as a family these days to make vacation living a fun adventure.
I am here to tell you that you do not have to do that type of sacrifice.  Not at all, my friend. I want to tell you a little secret.
A little announcement ….
I started this project when I had 5 blogs and on the verge of creating what is now forming into P. Lynne Designs. I had to quit because I was burning out.  I have been inching to get back to it, and that announcement is I am going to re-write my Disney Vacation book.  You never saw it because of that burnout.  I was adding too much, and I will be starting over again from the very beginning.  I never truly planned out this book, and that is the second reason why I quit writing it.  I never really planned on how much I was going to write.  I can discuss all of that later.  For right now, I want to get back started.  
OK, enough of that, back to the secret that is a vacation…
The secret to a good vacation is planning.  Notice I did not say the perfect vacation.  If you are a Christian, you know that only God is perfect.  Planning helps out a lot.  Planning keeps you sane and focused of the task at hand, and the plan is to have fun.  Planning for a vacation also helps you:
  • ·         Know how much money to spend
  • ·         What places in that area you want to see
  • ·         Where you want to eat

And so on ….
Here are the areas you need to concentrate when planning
  • 1.      Where do you want to go?
  • 2.      Time off (both parents and children)
  • 3.      Budget.
  • 4.      Where you are going to live for the next few days
  • 5.      Eating
  • 6.      Activities
  • 7.      Transportation
  • 8.      Packing

Now I could go on about this, but for now, I will make it brief.
The first part is where.  I will use Disney Parks as an example.  Let’s go with that for now.  You have dreamed of Disney, your family loves Disney. 
There are 6 different regions that hold a Disney Park Resort:  2 in the United States, 1 in Japan, 2 in China, and 1 in France. So, which one do you and your family want to visit?
For most people, it is obvious, go to the one in your country.  This is a little bit tricky if you live in either the United States or China, where there are two sets of resort parks to choose from.  Well, technically 3 if you are also close to Tokyo Disney.  OK, you decided to go to Disney World. 
Time Off
Once you decided where to go, the next question is when are you going?  This depends on your job and your children’s schedule.  The job is a no brainer.  If you are new in your position or company, wait a year before going.  Why?  Consider this:  There are people who have been there longer than you and have more experience than you.  Your company may operate on the “Low man on the totem pole” method (AKA Seniority) or the “earned time off” Method (AKA PTO).  In either case, it is best to wait a year to ask for any time off, so skip the vacation.  If you have been there for a while, you know by now when you can ask for time off, and when you cannot.  The tricky part is when you have kids in school.
School systems have gotten smarter since my last day in the 12th grade.  I might say “dumber” since my last day, depending on where you live, and how much the school is willing to turn you into children services for a 5-day vacation to the “Mouse’s Florida Home”. As an aunt of 5 (3 of which are currently school-age children, 1 grown, and a great-nephew of age 2), I am in constant watch of the changes within the Columbus and Dayton Ohio school systems.   They are not as bad as some of these school districts across the U.S. and in other countries.  One school system in the UK can impose a fine on a parent if you pull your child out of school for anything but an illness.  Another school district in Oklahoma, U.S. can turn a parent into children services if a child has several unexcused absences (equal to that of a week-long vacation).  If this sounds like your school system, my suggestion is to do the typical Summer Vacation/Spring Break/Winter Break routine.  It works out in the end and no one gets arrested, fined, or working out visitation rights with children services.  Apparently, schools do not see an educational value in Disney.   
What is your budget? 
You can decide what your budget is this way:  What is your income and how much you are willing to save.  Disney has several options to work with every type of budget.  Figure how much you are willing to spend on transportation, living arrangements, food, and activities.  One website mentions a method called “Pre-trip costs”.  They also said to allow for spurges, such as foods you never tried before, activities you never done before (I am thinking about trying a zipline course on my cruise in September, even though I am afraid of heights, LOL), and so on.  If you allow these things, you feel less guilty when you overspend because it is already figured in the budget.
How are you getting there?
 Plane, car, train, or bus.  Teleportation is not yet available, and it probably will not be available in my lifetime, although I am not sure I want my atoms scattered throughout the cosmos for two seconds (thinking Star Trek thoughts, LOL).  Anyway, since the last one is not available, you have to do a bit of snooping around for this part of your planning.  What is the best price?  How much will it cost you to get there and around?  Again, it should be in the budget part of your planning.  For example, from where I live, I can fly for 4 hours at the current rate of $484 (April 19, 2017) and returning April 25, 2017, which is the typical Disney Trip.  (there is also a cheap trip of $107 I found in Google search).  I can drive, which using my car (a 2008 Dodge Caliber), I need to get an oil change (it is screeching that right now), and gas is now $2.13 at the station where I live and in Orlando, Florida, it is $2.10 ($.03 difference, wow).  My car is a gas guzzler, so I might opt for renting one.  The average cost of an SUV per day is $44 (for now).  Trains run about $1,200 for the round trip, and buses run about $141 for the trip to Orlando from where I live.  Let’s rent a car.
Now where are you going to stay?  Disney World has two options:  On-site, Off-site.   This is the typical case for most theme parks today.  The advantage between the two is when you stay on-site, there are a lot of things to do outside of the actual park itself, many of the amenities are free.  Your transportation is free, activities are free at the resort (some, not all).  The problem with Disney is there are so many resorts (which there are 23 of them), and they are divided between value, moderate, and deluxe.  If you are the type of family that does not have that much money in the budget, always on the go, and you use the rooms as a stopping and sleeping point, maybe it is best to have a value resort.  Deluxe resorts are high-end resorts and close the parks.  Some may have eat-in kitchens, and you have lots of money to blow (splurge on). 
Off-site (or Off property) are your Hotel 6, Holiday Inn Express, Sheraton, or even there are some places where you can rent a home for a week (Airbnb is considered).  These places are your home.  You do not have housekeeping to come and make your bed, make cute little animals.  It is like you are living in your own home.   Some properties even have their own pool at each home.  You do need to leave the place where you found it.  I have a link to the advantages and disadvantages of staying off and on site above.

I am going to stop there because this post is growing as I type.  I know I have a lot of Disney World references in this post, and this is not sponsored by them at all.  As I have explained many times that I am still a big kid at heart, and I love Disney.  Your favorite vacation spot may be a cruise, Las Vegas, Spain, Italy, or even Africa.  It may be a quiet romantic getaway for 2 without the kids, or girl friend’s “get away from it all trip.”  Whatever the trip, the budget, and the time spend away from “normal life”, make it a good one by planning, budgeting, and “enjoying the moments” while there.  The world is not going to cave in a week, and you deserve it.