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Home > 2 Year Spending Goals Update Number 1 - 25th Anniversary Trip

2 Year Spending Goals Update Number 1 - 25th Anniversary Trip

July 10th, 2016 at 08:38 am

My how things change as time passes. When we were in our 30's we started talking about what we'd do for our 25th anniversary. We quickly decided that we'd take a "big trip." For a very long time we thought we wanted to ride the Blue Train in South Africa. Other itineraries we fantasized about included touring the British Isles, soaking up jazz and mojitos in Cuba, or taking a Crystal Cruise.

And now that the time is approaching all we want is a relaxing, fairly economical little getaway that can include the dog!

Due to the hoopla over the 100th Anniversary of the National Parks System, I've been reading about our National Parks and developed an interest in visiting more of them. Because we want to drive so we can take the dog, the "big deal" parks (Grand Canyon, Acadia, Smokey Mountains) are not practical due to the distance. The nearest National Park that interests us, and the one we are planning to make our 25th anniversary destination, happens to be the smallest one --- Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas.

Our plan is to take a 3 day / 2 night trip (in about a year and a half). Our budget is $1,000 for 2 adults and 1 dog.

Mileage (IRS Business Rate): $600
Hotel (Pet Fee & Taxes): $75
Admissions & Tickets: $100
Mineral Baths: $75
Food & Drink: $120
Misc (Souvenirs, Photo Development, etc): $30

We plan on using points for "free" hotel stay but will have to pay a pet fee and taxes.

Regarding Mileage: Mileage is 60% of our budget. I practice steely-eyed realism when it comes to budgets. To say that the only driving-related expense is gas would be cheating. So I'm going to use the IRS business rate for mileage. Will our actual driving expenses be less than $600? Oh, probably. I drive a Toyota Prius. But isn't it better to have a higher number in the budget and wind up with "extra" money in the bank than to cheat on the budget and wonder where the money went?

Possible mini-goal: Because the park is centered around the natural hot springs and the bathhouses, "taking the waters" is a big part of the experience. My current budget includes one mineral bath treatment. It might be nice to indulge in an extra spa treatment (massage, pedicure, etc). I am cooking up a little scheme for earning "spa splurge snowflakes." Will post more details later if it materializes.

5 Responses to “2 Year Spending Goals Update Number 1 - 25th Anniversary Trip”

  1. rob62521 Says:

    Interesting how one's "dreams" change as we live. Hope you find something enjoyable, economical, and relaxing. Our 25th anniversary trip last summer was to Door County Wisconsin. We drove up on Tuesday and came home on Friday. We saved to stay at a b and b and figured out how much we could spend overall. It was all paid for by the time we came home and had a nice time. It was close enough for convenience (I won't mention missing a couple of tolls driving through Chicago -- had to pay online to make sure I didn't get fined), far enough away to make it different, and economical enough to make it affordable.

  2. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    What made you decide to give up the blue train? Or are you saving it for something else? Is it not as appealing? I want to redo my vows and have a big party for my 20th anniversary. I just feel like we missed 5 and 10 and probably won't do much for 15. But I'd love to reconnect with our friends that we still see and talk to. And just have a party for us again. Maybe even just splurge on the photographer.

  3. scfr Says:

    LAL - Our reasons for giving up on the Blue Train can really be boiled down to 4:
    1. Our dog - We want to take a trip where we can bring her with us.
    2. Other priorities now for our money, with the biggie being the possibility of buying a condo for the in-laws.
    3. Luxury travel that requires formal wear has lost its appeal to us.
    4. We've already been to South Africa. When we next make a big international trip to someplace other than DH's homeland (maybe not until retirement) I'd like to go someplace we have not been to before.

    A trip to Hot Springs seems to be a nice fit for us. Since moving to Texas we've already made several 2-3 day jaunts around the area (Dallas, Houston, Corpus Christi/Padre Island) and realized that mini-getaways can be super enjoyable, enriching, and economical.

  4. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I like your plans for your anniversary trip. Smile

  5. MonkeyMama Says:

    Sounds nice!

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